Sensationalistic Paranormality: The Presence of the Unknown in Everyday Life

This is an article that I write as a long time fan and believer in all things paranormal.  In today’s society, there is an influx of media and entertainment focused on the supernatural and paranormal activity.


The question is: why? And what is it about such a phenomenon that appeals to North American society?


I can’t speak for society, but I do know what has continually fascinated me about the paranormal, and that is its mystique, the fact that by and large, the origins of it all are unknown. In general, humanity fears what they cannot understand, and while I would have to agree on this, as there are elements of the paranormal I fear, thanks in no part to popular entertainment throughout the years; the mystery intrigues rather than frightens me.


Among all things paranormal, however, I do have my favourites: chief among them, vampires and witches. The aura of darkness both of them hold as well as the sex appeal and culture that has developed from both myth and reality is what appeals to me most. With vampires, such as with poltergeists and other supernatural phenomenon, there is no concrete proof that they exist, however, in my view, that doesn’t mean that don’t exist.


What draws me to the world of the vampires among the dark sex appeal and possibilities of immortality is the fact that these beings who exist when night falls, used to be human.  As such, in spite of their seemingly endless thirst for blood, they experience the same emotions they did before they were ‘turned’: love, hate, fear, anger. Yet, within vampiric culture, it is viewed as weakness and all these beings do their best to ignore or suppress such feelings.


It’s that very concept that drew me to books such as The Vampire Chronicles by one of my favourite authors, Anne Rice, and shows such as Angel.  In Angel, the title character is a 250 year old vampire, cursed with a soul for killing a Romanian gypsy years before. 



Throughout the entire series run, and beforehand on its predecessor, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel struggles to atone for his past sins and the denial of he truly wants in this world: his true love, Buffy. It is a premise that those of us, as humans, can relate to, as we all have from time and again, wanted to atone for past mistakes, even those we deem unforgivable in our eyes, and in whatever Higher Power we believe in.


In popular culture, vampires have been typecast as creatures without an ounce of humanity and use their powers or sex appeal to lure unsuspecting victims. Buffy and Angel are two programs that I believe have changed such a perception. The notion of vampires once being human, and being able to feel emotion and remorse is a different concept for many, and one I believe, as vampires such as Lestat, one of the primary players in Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, would not be as selfish, manipulative, or afraid, had he truly been devoid of emotions.


In regards to witches, they do exist, though not in the stereotype of brooms, cauldrons and black cats, made famous in the holiday of Halloween. Modern witchcraft, which interests me, consists of pagan rituals and items such as crystals as a wish for good health. There is a dark magic component to certain rituals, which include voodoo and other rituals, but it is not the stereotype perpetuated in society.  Modern witchcraft, such as the religion Wicca is about having a connection with nature and becoming one with the environment, whereas the darker component centers on spells done for your own gain, or as I’ve heard in stories and see myself, to connect with the spirit realm for our own reasons.


The darker component does intrigue me, as I wonder what lies beyond this plane of existence, and whether it can truly be reached through a spell, the Ouija board, or a psychic. And if it’s able to be reached, therein lies the question of whether or not we would be letting evil spirits roam our reality, instead of coming in contact with the ones we wish to contact.  The fear of that lies with me, though it also intrigues me as is with everything else that is unknown, there is no concrete proof of it succeeding or failing.


Above all, I am one who believes that North American society would be naïve to believe that we are the only beings that exist within this plane of existence. As humans, our knowledge of the world and technological ability only extends so far, and I believe that there are beings who are different from our reality, and thus there is much we have yet to learn about their abilities.


Aliens, for example, are an excellent example of something other than what we know existing out there in the universe. As in the show Roswell, there could be the possibility of one or more of them living amongst us without out immediate knowledge, though there could be those in power who believe that ignorance is bliss in dealing with the general public.


And perhaps, they may be right. After all, fear causes massive panic and anger as the masses can’t deal with what’s unfamiliar.


I, for one, believe in their existence, and it is with an embrace that I face such possibility, not fear.