The paranormal is a unique aspect of society. Unlike the 20th century, the 21st century is fortunate enough to be surrounded by like-minded people who all believe in the unknown. The major difference is that they can now step out of the "paranormal closet." Most paranormal enthusiasts and investigators know that the line that defines “paranormal life” and “normal life” has become dull. There is no long a defined edge in that line ever since the paranormal has become more, dare we say...normal.
Paranormal television shows have changed the social perspective on believing in the unknown and the unexplainable, how open one is to declare their belief. Until “Ghost Hunters” came out, this belief was very much underground. Besides notable icons such as Hans Holzer and the Warrens becoming well known, and films such as "The Exorcist" increasing the number of occupied seats at church, the acceptance of the paranormal has greatly increased since the new millennium. Perhaps it’s because between television shows and celebrities coming out of the "paranormal closet", the paranormal is becoming more socially acceptable.
Unfortunately, there is a perception of those who believe in the paranormal that they aren’t mentally sound. It’s so incorrect but societal norms have seem to have pegged us that way. Many investigators, enthusiasts, and even regular every day people have found that since become more open with their paranormal beliefs, people want someone to talk to about his or her experiences with as well. They have stories to share. They want to tell their story to someone who won’t think they’re crazy. They want to hear that it’s okay from someone else to help them think that they are not crazy, especially from someone who comes across as more rational.
Why is it that the belief in the paranormal is associated with those who aren’t rational? Some of the most intelligent people are believers in the paranormal. Furthermore, there are many religious people who don’t believe in the possibility of ghosts. How is that possible? This mindset is based on believing without seeing (the whole idea of faith), but it can’t accept the idea that there may be supernatural beings at work? There’s even a reference to the “Holy Spirit."
But, the skeptic keeps the believer in check. The skeptic challenges the believer into questioning on a regular basis. If everyone believed in the paranormal, there would be no challenge. But how far does the challenge have to go before it damages self-esteems? What is the threshold of being offended? No one has the same boundary of how far a skeptic can go before enough is enough and the confidence is hurt and possibly a friendship or family relationship is damaged.
However, will the universal acceptance of the existence of the paranormal ever come to fruition? Well, nothing in this world is universal. Even if one agrees on the same plain that blue is indeed blue, everyone has a different interpretation of that color. One might see sky blue while someone else sees baby blue. Nothing is universal. So there can never be a universal acceptance of the paranormal, but instead perhaps an agreement among the masses that indeed there may be something out there that we cannot quite explain. The better question should be how can there be a healthy belief in the paranormal shared by many while still being challenged to the point where it doesn’t damaged the individual?
As members of the paranormal community, there is the potential to break the societal norms and show the world that there are rational and intelligent and wonderful people who believe in the paranormal. Those who believe in the paranormal are on the road of being taken more serious...and one day there can be an open discussion about the paranormal without worry of judgment. But for now, hope that skeptics and believers can have a healthy debate and continue to grow and challenge themselves as they learn and explore more of the unknown.