Scare Tactics

By Anna Sachse

Posted August 27, 2009 in Mind Body Spirit

Have you ever had a dream or premonition that turned out to be true? Have you ever seen a light, heard a voice or experienced a physical sensation that defies explanation? Have you had an out-of-body or near-death experience? Has an Ouija board ever told you to have sex with that totally hot guy/girl sitting across from you? 


If so, there are at least five explanations: 1) It’s all just a coincidence; 2) There is a totally valid explanation; 3) You are extremely gullible; 4) You are on a lot of mushrooms; and  5) You might have had a paranormal experience. 


If it’s one of the first four, you can simply chalk it up to an interesting experience that makes for a good/possibly funny story. But what if there’s a good chance your experience was of the paranormal variety? What are you supposed to do if you have actually entered The Twilight Zone?


First off, I am no expert on paranormal experiences and, quite honestly, I don’t exactly trust most of the people who claim they are—they kind of remind me of faith healers who pray to aliens instead of Jesus. 


But even among the true believers, the definitions of, and reasons for the paranormal are quite diverse, and thus advice for how one should react to said experience is pretty murky. In fact, most of the many websites related to the subject seem to exist simply so that people can dish on the subject and feel a little less alone/crazy. 


In the end, I’d say that you have four options:


1. You could think it through and discover that there actually is a valid scientific explanation. For example, maybe you think you were a victim of “Old Hag Syndrome,” in which you awoke to find that even though you could see, hear, feel and smell, you were rendered immobile by a sinister weight. Instead of an invisible witch riding your chest (the paranormal explanation), you might simply be experiencing sleep paralysis. Weird apparitions could just be reflections from a hidden glass or metal surface; electronic voice phenomena (EVP) could be normal static or intercepted radio waves; your weird dream could be related to your subconscious fears or desires, or simply be an entertaining flight of fancy; an incubus or succubus attack could simply be a wet dream, etc.


2. You could freak out and go insane. But that doesn’t sound very fun or useful.


3. You could simply embrace the experience without judging it. If it leads to something good, such as your dead grandpa telling you about some buried treasure, good for you. If it leads to something bad, like you have a dream that predicts an earthquake, hopefully it was just a one-off. But if the bad stuff happens with any frequency, you could also try talking to a sympathetic counselor who can help you deal with the emotional aftermath and assist you in redirecting your cognition and energy. Either way, you may also want to start keeping a journal of your experiences. Journaling may prove to be simply therapeutic, but in the case of possibly paranormal experiences or dreams, a record could also serve as documentation if you should ever want or need it. Note: absolutely do not follow through if an apparition or dream tells you to take any action that could be harmful to yourself or others (jump off that bridge; push your little sister off that bridge).


4. Sell out to a cable network that will turn you into a reality TV show. In this case it probably doesn’t matter whether your experiences are truly paranormal or not, as long as you are good looking.


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