Demons, ETs, Bigfoot, and Elvis: A Fortean View of
George P. Hansen (Princeton Arms North 1, Apt. 59, Cranbury, NJ
There is a vast range of ghostly and apparitional phenomena that has
been shunned by parapsychologists. It is often considered socially unacceptable
to discuss many of these phenomena within parapsychology. They do not fall
into traditional categories that emerged from the notion of survival of
The survival hypothesis in psychical research is similar
to the extraterrestrial (ET) hypothesis in ufology. Both have served to
establish paradigms and theoretical constructs, and both lead to (premature)
invention of taxonomies and, unfortunately, limited ranges of inquiry.
Such structures obscure similarities across a range of phenomena and lead
to the ignoring of relevant cases.
Ghostly phenomena have much in common with UFOs, encounters
with demons, Bigfoot sightings, bedroom visitors, miracles associated with
Elvis, and ET abductions. These experiences are sometimes accompanied by
psi events, that is, ESP occurrences or macro-PK.
There is often overlap across these phenomena.
Bigfoot sightings are sometimes reported in the same area as UFOs. Miraculous
healings are reported as due to UFOs, saints, angels, and Elvis. Apparitions
of the dead sometimes occur in UFO encounters. Poltergeist phenomena sometimes
occur after ET abduction experiences. Deaths and disease are sometimes
found with UFO contact as well as with demon infestations. Humanoids seem
to display some of the characteristics of ghosts, Bigfoot, and seance materializations.
have generated cross-correspondence type prophecies. Striking
ESP and macro-PK occurrences are reported in cases of demonic possession.
Previously mediums communicated with "spirits of the dead"; now some channel
ETs. Reincarnation and walk-in cases are not restricted to deceased personalities
but can also involve ETs. The level of documentation in such cases is usually
not comparable to that found in the early work of the Society for Psychical
Research. This is because comparable time and effort have not been devoted
to such cases.
There is also overlap on a personal and social level. People
reporting one type of these phenomena seem more likely than the general
population to report others. The lay groups investigating UFOs often have
interest in psychic phenomena. Self-described psychics not infrequently
report contact with UFOs; notable are Uri Geller, Olof Jonsson, and Ray
Stanford. In my own experience, I have heard more reports of poltergeists
in UFO groups than at professional parapsychology conferences. Few parapsychologists
have much contact with the psychic and occult "subcultures" and are thus
unaware of the vast range of reported experiences and beliefs. Only a few
writers or other scientists have discussed both parapsychological topics
If one wishes to understand ghostly phenomena, one should
examine a range of phenomena that falls outside the traditional scope of
The above is an abstract
of a presentation made during the roundtable discussion "Shall We Give
Up the Ghost?" held at the annual convention of the Parapsychological Association,
Chevy Chase, Maryland, August 16-20, 1990.
Abstract originally published
Research in Parapsychology 1990: Abstracts and Papers from the Thirty-Third
Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, 1990.
Edited by Linda A. Henkel and Gertrude R. Schmeidler (pp. 140-141).
Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press. (1992).