Introduction

INDEX

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No one knows for certain if ghosts, spirits and other psychic experiences are real. There are, however, many theories to explain the thousands upon thousands of documented experiences and ghost sightings that people around the world have had since the beginning of recorded history.

Some believe psychic phenomena are real, whether or not science, fraud, misinterpretation, hallucination or natural phenomena can explain them. Others argue that if something is unexplainable by science, it cannot be real. These two sides – believers and sceptics – engage in heated debates over whether reports of paranormal experiences are misinterpretations, coincidences, the product of hallucinations or something more substantial.

Meanwhile, researchers into paranormal phenomena continue to seek explanations. It seems that the three hardest words for human beings to utter are ‘I don’t know’. We demand an accounting for every claim or experience, even if that experience seems unexplainable. Consequently, scientists, parapsychologists and psychologists have come up with a variety of theories for why paranormal phenomena exist, if they exist.

The debate between believer and sceptic is fascinating but each theory presented only fuels more arguments. While sceptics, scientists, parapsychologists, researchers, ghost hunters and psychics debate the case for and/or against ghosts and related psychic phenomenon all we can do is decide on which side of the fence we wish to sit; and if we can’t decide we just have to sit on the fence instead. Perhaps some of the entries in this encyclopedia will convince you; perhaps they won’t. For the majority, though, the decision isn’t going to be based on evidence or data or what the scientists say but on individual experience and belief.