The Paranormal and Occult

Within chapter four of Religion the Social Context, McGuire talked a little of paranormal occurrences throughout the American population. McGuire reported several differing yet popular incidences with these supernatural events throughout the American people, “[a] 1994 Newsweek poll reported 13 percent of Americans have sensed the presence of an angel (Kantrowitz, 1994). Various U.S national surveys have found a sizable proportion of respondents felt they had experienced being really in touch with someone who had died…” (McGuire, 120), McGuire goes on to discuss similar instances with events such as déjà vu and ESP (extrasensory perception). Whilst reading this portion of chapter 4 I had a difficult time creating a sizable connection between these paranormal occurrences and nonofficial religion. Though some of what McGuire talked about (i.e. feeling the presence of an angel) did in fact have a distinct correlation with religion, yet some other quite common incidences such as déjà vu and feeling close to someone who has passed away do not strike me as necessarily religious. I say this because I personally have felt déjà vu several times and by no means attribute it to a religious experience, I think of it as something that is occurring in the brain which is most likely linked to a sort of error within one’s memory. And though I cannot directly speak for others, I have had friends and family members experiences these manifestations and feel no direct link between them and a religious experience. Another question I asked myself throughout this portion of the reading was how many people who experience these incidences explain them through science yet still legitimize the occurrence at hand? I’ll keep on thinking about that.