As we observed countdown 2000 did you notice the resurgence of the supernatural in everyday life? Consider the following:

Occultopedia An Encyclopedia of Occult Sciences and Knowledge
The WWW Virtual Library: Archive X, Paranormal Phenomena
The Mysterious & Unexplained
Hope's Metaphysical Mindscape
Psi Explorer: Premonitions, ESP, psychic healing, mind or matter ...


As the Soviet Union became embroiled with internal dissention with glasnost triggering nationalist sentiments and critical reflections on the past, curious reports trickled in from Voronezh of four-meter- tall aliens with small heads landing in the city's park. In 1952, in the midst of McCarthyism, numerous UFOs were reported (and photographed) over the White House. Might there be some connection between a country being in the midst of moral upheaval, suffering crises of legitimation, and such sightings?

Click here to see the numbers of UFO stories reported in the New York Times and in the Reader's Periodical Guide between 1947 and 1988. (Thanks to Dawn Teel for this inventorying. Through 1958 the index category was "flying saucer," after which it became "UFO.") Evident are a high correspondence between these two sources and a longitudinal pattern far from being uniform, with peaks in the early 1950s, mid 1960s and late 1970s.

At the risk of running into some historicist error, at least the first two of these peaks correspond to acknowledged times of moral uncertainty in the United States, the post-war period of McCarthyism and the time of dramatically increasing U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The late-1970s peak is less clear.

Another hypothesis is that these times of moral uncertainty correspond with periods of heightened Cold War tensions. The damper in 1997 for UFO enthusiasts celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the much-hyped Roswell crash was the declassification and release of the "CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90". Your government at work: fan the beliefs in extraterrestrials to cover-up the existence of new secret spy craft.  To see what the government might really be up to, check out the Black Vault archives, which include UFO files (over 4000 pages) released under the Freedom of Information Act.


Sir James George Frazer (Man, God, and Immortality: Thoughts on Human Progress, Cambridge: Trinity College Press, 1968) argued that the belief in the existence of apparitions of deceased persons are but manifestations of humanity's belief in the immortality of the human soul. This belief has, he wrote, "led race after race, generation after generation, to sacrifice the real wants of the living to the imaginary wants of the dead" (1968:380). Interestingly, as Americans' belief in an afterlife have increased over the past two decades (from 77 to 82 percent, according to the NORC General Social Surveys), the ghost theme seems to have become an increasingly popular movie genre, evidenced by such films as "High Spirits," "Field of Dreams," "All Dogs Go to Heaven," "Always," "Ghost," and "Ghost Dad." Instead of the living sacrificing for the needs of the dead, in these we find ghosts generally coming to the aid of their loved ones.

Any haunted places in your community? Check out Shadowland's Haunted Places Index
Dagulf's Ghost
Paranormal Investigations of Texas
South Texas Ghost Hunters Alliance
Ghost Research Society
Yahoo's collection of ghost sites
Ghosts of the Prairie: The Travel Guide to America's Haunted and Mysterious Places
The Ghost Hunters Gallery

Before making any assumptions of truth to the stories and accounts that you read above, be sure to check out Robert T. Carroll's "The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Guide for the New Millennium".


The Bermuda Triangle

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