Ever since seeing “Paranormal Activity” two weeks ago, I can’t say I’ve had a single good night’s sleep. The first three nights, forget it! I slept at my boyfriend’s the first two, and the third I just didn’t sleep. I swear I felt cold air coming under my sheets, and that I could feel them lifting as a demon lay itself beside me. The sound of my cat scratching at my bedroom door became demon’s claws. The air conditioner that automatically turned on and off was the demon’s ice cold breath. In the dim shadow, I could make out the crack of my closet door, and imagine it moving ever so slightly. Presuming demons feed off of fear, and understanding the basic logic to the law of attraction, I tried to think happy thoughts, telling myself demons aren’t real and that there’s a logical explanation for everything… But is there?

I’ve talked with many people about the fascination of the paranormal, debating the differences between ghosts and demons, pondering the afterlife, personally denouncing any belief in God or other dieties altogether. And if there was no God, I didn’t believe there was a Satan, or demons and angels. But maybe there were ghosts, or other beings in existance that I don’t know what else to call but demons. Not a demon in the Biblically literal sense–God’s fallen angels–but in the sense of an ancient spirit that thrives on fear and negativity, that maybe wants to destroy the human soul and body. I have had paranormal experiences personally, that were so frightening I wonder how I even got through them without once passing out (which you can read in my blog post below). At the time I couldn’t find any explanation. My Christian upbringing didn’t help assuage my fears, as it reinforced the idea that the secular word for boogeyman or ghost was the Christiam term for what was really a demon, who wanted to steal my soul.

A few days ago I asked my therapist what he thought about the existance of demons. He said that while he didn’t want to negate my fears or the realness of my experiences, he didn’t believe in them. He told me of studies that found a place in the human brain where hallucinations are so vivid that they become confused with reality. For fun, he recommended that I watch “Is It Real?”, a National Geographic TV show that picks apart theories surrounding the paranormal and other questionable beliefs (like vampires, or Bigfoot). As soon as I got home, I did. The show portrayed the sides of both believers and skeptics, and the idea is that you decide for yourself what you believe. While the evidence the skeptics provided against the “proof” of ghosts assuaged my fears some, it was not 100% convincing. I looked up more studies that debunk and explain all ghostly and demonic activity.

Most parapsychologists and skeptics believe that we very simply just have over-active imaginations. This is what comforts me the most, and what I cling to at night, reminding myself how powerful and convincing my own thoughts are. Imagination doesn’t have to be conscious. Who wants to conjure up images of red eyes standing over their bed, or the sound of shoes clunking down a creaky hallway? But imagine these some of us do, whether we want to or not.

But what about poltergeist activity? A poltergeist is defined in the dictionary as “a ghost or other supernatural being supposedly responsible for physical disturbances such as loud noises and objects thrown around”. This stuff happens, for real, and has even been caught on film and/or witnessed by multiple peoples both skeptic and superstitious. After doing some research into the scientific explanation for poltergeist activity, I have personally deduced that telekinesis is responsible for the moving of objects–even people. I am amazingly convinced of the powers of the human mind, and the more I learn about quantum physics, the more it explains things mystical, such as the power of prayer, intention, and coincidence, both positive and negative. Still, there are those who will disagree with me and other skeptics, saying that it is not the intentional or unintentional mind controlling unexplainable activity, it is actually a negative being that must be dealt with. One online essay I read (http://www.crystalinks.com/poltergeists.html) sums up the debate in this excerpt:

Poltergeist activity tends to occur around a single person called an agent or a focus (typically a prepubescent female). Almost seventy years of research by the Rhine Research Center (Raleigh-Durham, NC USA) has led to the hypothesis among parapsychologists that the “poltergeist effect” is a form of psychokinesis generated by a living human mind (that of the agent). According to researchers at the Rhine Center, the “poltergeist effect” is the outward manifestation of psychological trauma (emphasis added).

Skeptics believe that the phenomena are hoaxes perpetrated by the agent. Indeed, many poltergeist agents have been caught by investigators in the act of throwing objects. A few of them later confessed to faking. However, parapsychologists investigating poltergeists think that most occurences are real, and the agents cheat only when they are subsequently caught cheating. The longevity and consistency between poltergeist stories (the earliest one details the raining of stones and bed shaking in ancient Egypt) has left the matter open for debate within the parapsychology community.

I am inclined to believe that extreme negative energy in a person could manifest itself as a disturbance of the energy all around them. Maybe it’s the flickering of lights, or the growl of a pet. Maybe the person’s self-hatred actually causes objects arond them to be thrown to their bodies, causing them physical harm. Perhaps they are conscious of this on some level, perhaps not. It doesn’t help when others around them chime in their two cents, jumping to conclusions ranging as far as demonic pocession. It also doesn’t help that in some cases, the more attention the victim gets, the more activity happens. Maybe the victims like the attention and so they continue raging, imagining things, contorting their bodies consciously or not as if possessed, telling others of their hallucinations in self-pity, which then can cause others to see the hallucinations themselves.

Whatever poltergeist acvitity is, supernatural or human, I don’t like it! But since I am much better at finding inner peace now than I used to be, I don’t think I’ll be having any more unexplainable and frightening experiences. At least this is what I am convincing myself of! Looking back, whenever those spooky things happened to me, it did coincide with a time in my life where there was a lot of inner strife going on. Emotional trauma, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, overwhelming change occuring in my family and in work… If frightening things happened to me, I can now see how my brain, willpower, and imagination all worked together to formulate the poltergeist symptoms, including voices, activity, and objects that wouldn’t have manifested otherwise. So instead of allowing fear to control me, threatening me, I will focus on maintaining positivity in my life, including healthy relationships, pleasant work environments, and inner happiness. That said, I still won’t be going to the theater to see the likes of “Paranormal Activity” or other supernatural horrors again!