The Paranormal

To many people the acme of the uncanny is represented by anything to do with death, dead bodies, revenants, spirits and ghosts.” (Freud, 1919) In the realm of magic, sorcery and, particularly, paranormal activity, the notion of lost souls is one of great fear. Those who believe in such things, or even those who are simply unsure of their position of the matter, are fearful of the intellectual uncertainty surrounding notions of the magic or supernatural. Again, here we see concepts eluding back to Jentschs idea on intellectual uncertainty. Notions of magic, sorcery and the paranormal are all conceptually similar, and they can all be used in conjunction with all the other concepts that have been discussed so far. When used in a situation that would otherwise be completely normal and everyday, magic or paranormal activity can inject frightening conditions into the mix. Inanimate objects are possessed, the same person appears everywhere you look, apparently teleporting constantly, the number 666 appears everywhere, and the dead are reanimated.

An extension that I have observed is one of the age old ghost story. The use of a mantra based on paranormal beliefs to explain features and functions of the world that have since been explained scientifically. They also include tales of mysterious and terrifying figures, or monsters, used as a tool to frighten or intimidate children into doing what is wished of them. Examples like the Sand Man, who plucks children’s eyes from their heads if they don’t go to sleep, or Krampus who punishes naughty children at Christmas by whipping them and leading them off of cliffs, amongst other penalties. There are also the stories of ‘things that go bump in the night’, urban legends and scientific mysteries of the unknown.

Fig.5 'the Rake'

Fig.5 ‘The Rake’

In modern media, there is a phenomenon known as ‘Creepypasta’, a set of online ghost stories based on urban legends, myths and ‘real life’ atrocities. Any of these examples could be used in conjunction with the concept of the paranormal, but my personal favourite is the story of ‘The Rake’. This creature, which was spurred into existence by a photograph published in The Independent newspaper which later turned out to be a hoax, is meant to explain the times when you awake fromsleep without explanation. It is said to sit at the end of your bed, staring at you, and it is this presence that disturbs your sleep. As you wake the creature retreats, although rarely it has been seen before it takes its leave.

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