October 5th, 2020
By Nikki Harper
Staff Writer for Wake Up World
2020 has been something of a global experiment in social isolation, fear and human coping mechanisms. Although much of the world is now out of what we might call ‘total lockdown’, research is starting to filter through which provides fascinating insights into human behavior during these unprecedented months.
One of the more offbeat revelations to have surfaced is that there appears to have been a global upswing in reports of paranormal activity during the months April, May and June, when many countries were at the height of their lockdown periods.
What’s going on here? Have we really been seeing more ghosts? Many articles, like this one from the New York Times, seem to think so – or is there something else at the root of this?
I’m what I would call a sceptical spiritualist. I believe in spiritualist principles and I have occasionally witnessed excellent mediumship which I can’t explain as well as occurrences I can’t discount – however, much of the mediumship I see (and I’ve sat through thousands of hours of it through many years of running a spiritualist centre) provides only poor evidence of life after death and honestly convinces no one of anything. For this reason, I’d love to consider an upswing in ghostly sightings as evidence that perhaps we have been joined by more spirit beings during the lockdown – but I’m also drawn to considering psychological reasons why people may have thought they were experiencing something paranormal when they really weren’t.
A 2019 YouGov survey reports that 45% of American believe that ghosts exist; a much older but still interesting report from the Pew Research Center asserted in 2009 that 29% of people believed they had interacted with or sensed a spirit presence, and 18% had actually seen something they believed to be a ghost or spirit.
There are not insignificant numbers to begin with, and this of course was pre-pandemic.
Possible Psychological Explanations for An Upswing in Paranormal Experiences
It’s relatively easy to find reasons to be sceptical of the apparent increase in paranormal activity during the lockdown period.
For a start, much of the world was more or less confined to home. If you’re normally in your home for only around 14 hours a day, and then suddenly you’re there consistently for a full 23-24 hours every day, you’re going to start noticing things more.
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