Is it paranormal or 'xenonormal'
Paranormal is such a common word to us these days that it is essentially 'normal'. We relate it to the supernatural or the unexplained. It is synomonous with 'ghost hunting' and 'UFO's, but what does it actually mean? The word 'Para' is of Greek origin and means beyond or alongside. Normal is an expectation of something that is conformed to a typical standard. It would be of no surprise then that the word paranormal means anything that is beyond what is typically classified as normal. As I have written about in a previous article 'Paranormal is more than ghosts', paranormal covers a plethora of topics - not just 'ghosts and ufos'. You can check out the article here. In the mean time, there is now a new word to familarise yourself with because it is actually pretty important. Xenonormal
What is Xenonormal?
Xenonormal means 'the unfamilar but natural'. When we incorporate this into our little paranormal world, it means that a person thinks that something is paranormal, when there is actually a natural explanation. To them it is 'paranormal' because it is beyond what they classify as normal as it is not familar to them. Someone else could immediently come in an explain it because it is 'normal' to them and has a natural explanation. This is the basis behind 'xenonormal'. There are many reasons why people would incorrectly believe that something is paranormal even though it has a natural explanation. I personally believe this would be more prevailent now than it was a few years ago thanks to social media. There are thousands of facebook pages and youtube channels putting out exaggerated content. There are reality television shows telling us that every bump in the dark is potentially demonic. We are shown in movies that if we play with Ouija boards we are opening the portal to hell. While we are influenced (well not all of us) by this sensational content, there are a bunch of other reasons why someone may think something is paranormal when it isn't.
It in a lot of cases, it is really just a case of not knowing. A perfect example would be to look right up in the sky at night. At the time of writing this article, the planet MARS is the closest that it has been to Earth in the last 15 years. It means that over the last few nights, it has appeared as a bright orange star in the sky. It is very commonly reported as a UFO. To the person reporting this, it is a UFO as it is unidentified to them, however a lot of other people automatically know that it is a planet. I know in my case, I know it is a planet, but I couldn't tell you which one. There was a wave of people reporting strange UFO activity in the sky at the time of the SpaceX launches. It is certainly a sight that would be confusing to a lot of people. In that particular area where there are space launches on a regular basis, people would be used to seeing this kind of phenomena and would know what it was straight away. If you did it here in my neighbourhood in Australia, I guarentee you the lines would light up because to us it is not normal and not something we are used to seeing. I too would be looking for my underground bunker because it is something I would have never seen before. These are the perfect examples of something being xenonormal and the perfect phrase to describe it.
Look for your own answers
This is why it can be imperative to 'get a second opinion' on things and where peer review is really essential when it comes to trying to determine what is 'paranormal'. We all have a different perception. A lot of it stems from our belief system. We all have certain beliefs. Some are influenced by religion, and some are just influenced by how you were raised and the experiences that you have had. It could be a part of your culture? In some cultures, ghosts are not spoken about because they are brought up to be scared of them. For example in some cultures you aren't supposed to be near water at night as they believe evil spirits can pull you into the water. They believe this because this is part of their cultural beliefs. They don't know any different because that is what they have been told all of their life and forms their belief system.
One of the probems with the paranormal field is that a lot of the time when we hear information, we just accept it. Quite often a lot of investigators (myself included) will talk about things within the field as if they are well known and we are certain about them because we all just know about them. Look at the Singapore Theory. It is one of the things I base my techniques as a paranormal investigator on. For the longest time I would talk about and use the Singapore Theory in the way that everyone else did because that is just what we do. Everyone else does it so they must know what they are doing right? Until one day I dared to ask the question, where did this theory actually come from? What in the world has it got to do with Singapore? No one could answer my question. We all knew about this theory, but never questioned it. In fact there is no documented information that I have been able to come across where this term even come from. So why aren't more people questioning it? We are just accepting it. So when interpreting 'paranormal' don't just take someone's opinion as the final say. Look for your own answers as your perception and the person's next to you and then the person next to them will all be different. Perception is not what actually happened, it is what someone thinks happened.
We all have different levels of education. I am not exactly into techinical things. While I research a lot of alternative explanations for paranormal phenomena, I wouldn't say I have an interest in Science. In fact Science kind of scares me with all of the big words and things that I don't understand (which as a paranormal I really probably shouldn't say but I am being honest). Your level of education may be higher or you may have an area that you specialise in. This can be a big contributer to something being 'xenonormal'. I may be sitting at home and my tv might turn on by itself on rare occasions. It's a ghost I think to myself (not really but let's just say so for the sake of the story). My friend comes over and he is a electrician. Straight away he is able to tell me that there is some bad wiring causing this and can pinpoint the exact problem. To me I don't know anything about this field but he can diagnose it a mile away.
There is never going to be a way around this. We are people think different, react differently and believe different things. It's the human method. This is the why the word 'xenonormal' is such a vital one as a paranormal investigator to know. Realistically and we all know this, in most cases it probably isn't paranormal. Just because it isn't something that is normal to me, doesn't mean someone else can't explain it. This is where we have to listen to each other and learn from each other. While there are no experts in this field, there are people that have experience. They have seen and done a hell of a lot more than I have. I am forever learning from these people and they tell me they are still learning and they are often still stumped or are presented with something they haven't seen before. This is why we need to all work together. We are the ones that define that word 'normal' and what falls under it. Collectively it is our knowledge and experience that can be used to help one another. The information is important because it can also be empowering. People fear the unknown which is why a lot of people fear the paranormal. If we empower them with knowledge of what the 'natural' causes are, maybe it can help them sleep a bit better at night in the house they once thought was haunted but in reality had bad wiring. As investigators we are used to seeing all of this and a lot of the stories are the same. We have to remember we are in this field and deal with it every day. They don't and it is very much unknown to them. In these cases we need to be a little compassionate and sometimes patient. There are always going to people that will not listen and don't want to hear another explanation and that is fine, but there are equally a lot of people out there who will happily take this information on board. Remember it isn't easy for someone to have their beliefs challenged. If they are set on something being paranormal they possibly have some sort of emotional attachment to the situation. In the same way if something happens to something they can't explain, it can challenge their belief system if they are the type that can usually explain everything. We humans don't like to question ourselves and we don't like our beliefs challenged. It can be taken as a personal attack when in reality, someone is really just trying to help.
We are 'looking' for the paranormal. In our quest, we have to make sure our eagerness or passion for wanting to see the paranormal doesn't influence our perception of things. Most of all, don't take what hollywood or reality television says as anything more than entertainment. Question EVERYTHING!
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