Last night's guests on Coast to Coast, Baylor Sociology Professors Christopher D. Bader and Carson Mencken, revealed that a staggering 70 to 80 percent of Americans strongly believe in at least one type of paranormal activity.
Bader and Mencken, co-authors of Paranormal America, conducted a unique survey that they believe more reliably reflects the attitudes and beliefs of survey participants. Instead of going to organizations and groups of people who already have some interest in the paranormal, they polled a completely random cross-section of Americans to find out if they believed in the paranormal at all and if so, what did they believe.
Bader and Mencken say past surveys have always been skewed because the researchers started with groups of people they knew were already interested in at least one area of the paranormal such as ghost hunting societies or UFO groups.
According to Bader and Mencken, more people believe in the existence of UFOs than any other type of paranormal activity and, of that group, more males than females are believers. However, in all other areas, women outnumber men in their beliefs.
The survey asked questions about education levels, income levels, religious affiliations and beliefs and the participants' lifestyles to ensure they were getting a good cross-section of the population. They found that, while people who believe in the paranormal are often portrayed in movies as uneducated and maybe even a little crazy, a good portion of those who believe had at least a high school education and an above average income.
Their survey also found that those who believe in the paranormal could usually be broken down into one of two groups – those with a strong sense of adventure who believed in things like Big Foot and ghosts and those who leaned more toward self-improvement or self-enlightenment who believed more in angels, demons, psychic powers and astrology.
During their research they did not try to prove or disprove any types of paranormal activity. They did, however, participate in a research expedition looking for signs of Big Foot, spent a night in a house that was reported to be haunted by over 150 ghosts and attended a psychic fair where they had their palms read and their charts analyzed.
Their book covering the results of their survey, Paranormal America, discusses not only their statistical findings but also recounts the tales of many of the survey participants.
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