The program was a “paranormal” panel. I attended because I knew three of the women who were presenting. They were bright, talented fiction writers. One wrote historicals and the other two wrote sweet romances for teens. The fourth panelist was a scientist, a woman with a PhD in biochemistry.
So what did they know about paranormal activity?
A lot, it seems. One was a self-proclaimed witch. Another was a shaman who used her powers to heal. The third channeled messages from the departed. And the fourth found her spirituality as a Druid.
And I did not know this about any of them.
There were doubters in the room, but no titters or discreet coughs. The stuff was fascinating and included experiences with shape shifting, time traveling, and spirit writing.
The witch casts spells, but not often. She held up a thick tome, her book of spells. She uses it as a doorstop. Her coven meets in a church and she believes in good and evil, but considers neo-paganism to be her chosen form of spirituality. Everything comes down to energy and it is all connected.
The shaman heals souls, gets right into the part that’s broken, and decides if the part is ready to return to the whole. If not, she leaves it alone. She’s studied for years and is considered a master.
The Druids believe in nature, honor ancestors, do a little bit of magic, some shamanic work. In the old days they were philosophers and priests, could stop battles…even kings would obey them. They believed in human sacrifice and still do. Now it is sacrificing one’s time, money, or possessions for others.
And the channeler, who no longer practices, learned her skills from someone who was already dead. She conducted séances, but was uncomfortable because people wanted to hand over their power to her…they wanted her to tell them what to do.
The takeaway from the panel was that there are people who truly believer in alternate forms of spirituality. We give them ancient names, but they’ve evolved and they’re still around.
When I did research for a book of ghost stories I wrote years ago, I met many people who had paranormal experiences. They were normal people, leading ordinary lives. It was hard to doubt them because they sincerely believed in the experiences they’d had, although I’d never had any myself.
We often doubt what we can’t see or haven’t experienced. Some of us will shake our heads and say its all nonsense. And yet it’s only a century or so that psychology has been recognized as a science, something other than mystical woo woo.
Next time I hear voices in my kitchen, I’m going to listen hard and see if I’ve stumbled on an alternate universe. Or, it might just be my refrigerator whining because it needs maintenance.
Who really knows?