I remember taking a course in Parapsychology back in college many years ago. I thought it would focus on the things I love, like ghosts, cryptozoology, ufology, etc. Instead, it really was more focused on things like ESP, psychic abilities, the history of spirituality, etc. Or rather, I should say it focused on debunking these things. And I was fine with that, since there is plenty of evidence to show how most of the spiritualist movement of the 19th century was largely pure entertainment, with magic tricks, sound effects and tricks with the new emerging technologies (namely photography and sound recording). Learning how to do a “cold read” on anyone in order to appear to have the abilities of John Edward was also fun. But I always felt a little cheated, in that they were teaching a course on things that were largely known to be hoaxes, while ignoring the many paranormal phenomena in the world that we could not yet explain. But now Telegraph.co.uk is reporting that there is a new advocate for studying these things in a serious manner: Professor Philip Haseley.
The New York anthropology professor said the subject should be part of the mainstream as a serious “area of study”.
The Niagara County Community College, a state university in New York, lecturer said due to the high amount of sightings every year, it should follow that students should be able to investigate phenomenon.
“(A sighting) happens to millions of people (around the world),” he said.
“It’s about time we looked into this as a worthy area of study.
“It’s important that the whole subject be brought out in the open and investigated.”
Prof Haseley, who is also head of the Western New York Mutual UFO Network, an organisation that is focused on UFO research, said there were up to 50 UFO sightings are reported every month across region.
He said the group investigated the sightings in a “scientific manner” using field investigation, radar, astronomy and meteorology.
“To say we are UFO believers basically implies we are taking this on faith, and that’s not the case. There’s plenty of evidence,” he said.
He dismissed the inevitable suggestions from skeptics that such study would be waste of time.
Many theories have been put forth as to what UFOs (as well as other unexplained phenomena) are, but to assume that 100% of these sightings are mere misidentifications is foolhardy. Some of the best theories that I’ve heard, which are completely based on terrestrial, rational thought, are that these sightings could be some sort of collective unconscious hallucination. Maybe that is why we see ape men in the woods, or monsters in lakes, or things in the sky. Just genetic relics kicking around in our brain, our primal fears brought to life. And even if that is the tact that the researchers, universities or professors want to take, then more power to them. But I think these sightings deserve further study, even if it’s just to study why people are seeing such things. To be a skeptic who just throws out the “they’re seeing things” explanation is not enough. They need to explain why people are seeing these things. Or perhaps there really are Bigfoot roaming our forests, and dinosaurs still living in our lakes, or visitors from other planets watching over us, or souls of the deceased walking among us. If we don’t study these things seriously, how will me ever know what’s really going on, paranormal or otherwise?