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Unexplained / Science parade / Parapsychology / What is Parapsychology? / 

What is Parapsychology?

Parapsychology is the scientific study of paranormal phenomena. The "paranormal" (beside or beyond the normal) refers to unusual experiences that do not seem to be explainable in terms of our everyday understanding or known scientific principles. Paranormal experiences often seem weird, uncanny, or unnatural. Typically they are quite rare but there are a few exceptional "stars" who have regular paranormal experiences and may show seemingly consistent paranormal ability.

Belief, Scepticism, and Open-Mindedness
People differ in their attitudes towards the paranormal. At one end is the devout believer who will not consider any counter arguments or evidence. At the other end is the aggressive sceptic who dismisses or seeks to debunk any apparent evidence for the paranormal. Somewhere between these two extremes is the open-minded inquirer who has no particular axe to grind and is willing to consider the evidence on its own merits. Parapsychological research operates somewhere in this open-minded middle ground, although (adopting Occam's razor) the burden of proof always lies with those who would make paranormal claims.

The Range of Paranormal Phenomena
Most paranormal phenomena can be categorised in terms of whether they are primarily MENTAL (involving the obtaining of information in paranormal ways) or PHYSICAL (involving paranormal influences on physical objects, events or processes, or on living systems). In practice, however, this distinction is often blurred (e.g., a phenomenon may have both mental and physical features). Additionally, there are varieties of MISCELLANEOUS phenomena that do not fit neatly into either category. Many parapsychologists do not accept some or all of these miscellaneous phenomena as the legitimate study of parapsychology.
Mental Phenomena
Extrasensory Perception Telepathy Clairvoyance and clairaudience Psychometry Precognition and Premonitions Remote Viewing Mental mediumship Dowsing Past-life memories Possession Out of body and near death experiences Apparitions Automatic writing Xenoglossy

Physical Phenomena
Psychokinesis Physical mediumship Psychic photography Thoughtography Healing Poltergeist activity Materialization and dematerialization Levitation

Miscellaneous Phenomena
Bizarre coincidences Miracles Unidentified Flying Objects Other mysterious sightings Alien Abductions Animal Mutilations Corn Circles Stigmata Occult systems of knowledge and practice Psychological Phenomena

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