Loose Ends
For as long as man has been here on earth, we’ve made some kind of effort to get a grip on and deal with the paranormal in a way that makes sense to everyone. In science, physicists have been looking for what they refer to as “the theory of everything,” which amounts to a single theory that will combine the forces of nature into one mathematical truth – simply, a way to explain it all. In the paranormal, which is anything outside of the normal, we search for the same kind of one-size fits all explanation, although for most of us in the field, the mathematics of it receives considerably less attention. Truth is, the Theory of Everything that scientists are in search of would also apply to anything paranormal, as one would have to logically assume such a theory would indeed include “everything.”

But while science moves successfully forward at what is quite a breakneck speed, paranormal studies seem a bit lost in this stampede toward universality. It’s true, there is no shortage of ideas within the paranormal field, and we have our own bona fide theories that are woven deeply into the paranormal culture, but most of those are pretty easily dispensed with. Problem is, should we dispense with them? Personally, I would say no.

There is so little that is provable in the paranormal scheme of things, that I count it as a great fortune to have all kinds of active minds focused on the subject. Paranormal studies are a legitimate expression of scientific thinking – even though they have been largely ignored so far, but I cannot foresee any scholarship in the subject progressing forward if we spend our time discrediting theories arbitrarily.

Still, there is a problem within the field, in my opinion, because we consist almost completely of non-scientists. We tend to grab on to something – a theory that speaks to us particularly well, and run full speed ahead into the abyss waving a flag and yelling “charge.” We’re ready and willing to battle the paranormal community’s explanations of things based solely on those few items we are able to pick out of some theory. Individuals who do this are not doing anyone any favors and are probably casting their theory of choice into a very bad light.

These kind of people are the same ones who get things outright wrong so frequently – they hear part of something they like and that’s all they require to wage a jihad of some kind on everything else. For instance, it has become very common in the field to believe that a spirit’s presence is always heralded by an increase in electro-magnetic fields in the area. There has never been any actual proof of that, and in my experience, it doesn’t ring true at all. But that certainly does not mean I should feel encouraged to dismiss the theory. I simply don’t have data to back it up – that’s all. People who do have legitimate data can always make claims and question theories, including what is contrary to my own thoughts. That’s how it works. If I were to deny this particular  theory based on nothing more than anecdotal evidence, I would be a fool.

And yet, there is a great deal of that kind of thing going on in the world. Electricians who think they know more than brain surgeons, store clerks who are positive they know everything there is about the law - I admit I don’t understand it. I actually think it’s part of the reason that society seems to be having trouble getting along these days – people don’t want to shut up long enough to learn anything. When they do, you can’t get them to question what they learned. Frankly, the last couple of dozen conversations I’ve had with paranormal people have not filled me with the confidence that the Paranormal Theory of Everything is anywhere near being discovered.