Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Giving context to the paranormal

If you've seen ghosts, apparitions or UFOs, Ph.D. candidate Bill Dewan wants to know about it.

Dewan is surveying UNM students about their experiences with the paranormal in an attempt to understand the cultural context behind such experiences.

"Different people conceptualize the supernatural or the abnormal or the paranormal differently - individually, culturally, historically," he said. "I'm just trying to determine how people conceptualize these things, and - for those that believe they've had paranormal experiences - how they make sense of them and what kind of meanings they derive from those experiences."

Dewan said it can be difficult to label a paranormal experience, because supernatural occurrences are subject to interpretation.

"For a lot of people, most experiences are hard to quantify," he said. "A good example is asking someone if they had a paranormal experience, and they reply, 'I felt like I was one with God,' and while I'm not saying that that experience is not real, it's hard for me to รข€¦ judge it along paranormal and supernatural terms."

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Giving context to the paranormal - News

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