Final Blog

I went into my research thinking there had to be an explanation for the paranormal. Turns out, there are many explanations because there is not enough scientific evidence to back up one or any of the stories I have read. With being said, my research was constantly steering into all different directions.

First I wanted to study the different beliefs people had pertaining to their paranormal superstitions. I found that many of the stories and theories ended the same way. For example, my first source, the book “Eerie Eau Claire,” in which Lewis left it upon the person viewing the stories to decide where they stood in a broad spectrum. Where one end meant you were a believer and the other meant being a non-believer, and if you were unsure you would fall somewhere in between the two.

The difficult part when researching paranormal views is that I came across biases often. I thought it would be important to incorporate both sides of the story, so I made sure I found sources that included a mixture of responses that could explain how a paranormal belief someone has, was not proven because there is not good enough evidence to back it up. For example, the photograph of the ghost girl a woman found in her picture she had taken a few years back before discovering the ghostly figure of a small girl. There was not enough proof to prove it was a real ghost or just a fake, it could have possibly been an illusion like the Paulding light legend.

Once I learned that stories are just stories and that there are people who oppose and people that believe, I decided to research why people choose to believe in the paranormal especially after I found the Paulding light article. That article was such a shock because even after the light was concluded as an optical illusion and not a ghost, people still chose to believe in the legend, even after scientific evidence said otherwise.

From there, I became curious to the psychology behind paranormal beliefs. In this case, known as parapsychology, which is the study of the paranormal in a humans mind. This helped me understand a person’s way of thinking and how they see things that they only think are there. I learned that psychologist do not believe in the paranormal because “extraordinary things need extraordinary proof (Honorton 4).” I have come across many experimental studies in one of my sources that share what a psychologist has discovered with the help of physics, skepticism, different experimental methods, and lots of data and replications of the same results to support the findings. Thus, making them a valuable and helpful source towards answering my research topic.

My topic question, why do people chose to believe in the paranormal? Is answered with what I have been saying all along; there is no evidence therefore parapsychologists believe people rely on their supernatural beliefs for comfort. “Magic, religion, and all forms of reality distortion are simply species-specific responses unique to the human animal, it’s an adaptive technique making us feel more secure and protected (Lawrence 1).” Some people need to believe in something. Without believing in something, there would be no hope for anything. “Creating illusion and escaping reality provide self-worth, meaningfulness, and power, functioning as a kind of counter-intelligence (Lawrence 1).”

Honorton, Charles. “Does Psi Exist?” American Psychological Association, 1994. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.

Lawrence, Samuel. “Why People Believe Weird Things.” Psychology Today. N.p., 9 June 2013. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.


Looks Like You’ve Seen a Ghost!

I was not successful during my research for a strong article on a psychologist’s perspective on the paranormal. So I have nothing as of now but I intend to keep searching. Instead, I came across several photos but there is one in particular I want to focus on. This photo helped me see connections to another source I blogged about. With this photo I was able to come to a partial conclusion towards my question, can science solve paranormal events using scientific evidence?

ghost girl

Recently, on October 26th, 2011 Stephen Wagner wrote an article about a woman named Elizabeth who took the photo shown above. She thought that all she captured was her husband fishing on the beautiful remote lake in northern Wisconsin. Little did she know that her photo also captured the ghostly figure of a young girl.

Elizabeth says, “I took the picture in early 1990s. It wasn’t for some time after I had it developed and then realized it appears that a young girl, possibly wearing a pinafore and bonnet, is off to the right of my husband (1).”

It drew my curiosity that this photo was taken in the 1990’s. I felt it somehow connected to my other source about a paranormal legend from over 50 years ago (Paulding Light). Both sources have in common, a paranormal belief that had taken place before being investigated. For the case of the Paulding light it was scientifically proven that the ghost’s lantern people claimed they had seen shining off in the distance was just an optical illusion. As for the mysterious ghost girl standing only several feet away from Elizabeth’s husband. I come to question if this as well was an optical illusion or if it could be scientifically proven real or fake? Elizabeth insists this is no joke and she supports her claim when she states,

“The lake has no boat launch and no homes are on the lake. We had to hike in to the lake through brush and weeds (1),” Elizabeth defends her photo by informing us it would be impossible for a child to be out and about because there were not any homes around, nor people, they were in the middle of nowhere, just her husband and herself and all that there was surrounding them was brush and weeds. So, the photo and the ghost girl is strongly believed to be real.

Elizabeth shares historical insight of this Wisconsin lake and how it once was a busy logging area. Many young children died in this location years ago due to a plague. Elizabeth explains “there is a cemetery in the area — Star Lake Cemetery — with all of their graves. If I had to guess, I’d say maybe it is a child spirit or possibly a Native American child spirit. I don’t know. I just know nobody was there when I took the picture (1).” With being said, the ghost girl that appeared in her photo could very well be one of the many innocent children that lost their lives during the tragic time.

Overall, I learned that some mysterious are meant to stay mysteries. Maybe 100 years from now when technology advances and we gain more intelligence there may be answers to the paranormal, such as the Paulding Light case that was solved over half a century later. Until then, our knowledge, explanations and theories we have are not sufficient enough to explain every superstition with science.

Wagner, Stephen. “Little Ghost of the Lake.” Web log post. Paranormal Phenomena. N.p., 26 Oct. 2011. Web. 06 Nov. 2013


Mystery of the Paulding Light

I chose this source because it brought more curiosity towards my research on paranormal superstitions.  This source shows that some things can be solved, even if it’s over 50 years later. Professor Faris had sent me an email with an attachment that led me to the Michigan Tech University’s news site. Here I came across an absorbing report written by Marcia Goodrich on how these college students chose to solve this paranormal legend for a school project.  This is a credible and valid source because it provides scientific evidence to support the truth behind the mysterious light.

paulding light

The picture above shows the distance from the designated spot on US 45 to the observation point where the paulding light had been appearing.

October 28th, 2012, Michigan Tech students solved the mystery of the Paulding light; a paranormal legend that has been around since the 1960’s. This strange light can be seen every so often flashing once, twice, and sometimes repeatedly flashing off and on where railroad tracks were once believed to have been years ago. There are many different stories explaining the unknown light but the most popular one is the belief that a railroad brakeman died while trying to stop a train from colliding with railway cars parked on the tracks. There have been many reports since the 1960’s claiming that they have seen the light of the dead brakeman’s lantern shining. PhD student, electrical engineering and organizer of the investigation, Jeremy Bos notes, “the lights are not fake but neither are they ghostly lanterns of a railroad brakeman killed trying to stop an oncoming train (1).” After a successful and well-organized investigation, the Michigan Tech students came to a conclusion. Using telescopes, they looked into the direction of the Paulding light 4.5 miles away in distance in the designated spot on highway US 45. The students discovered that every time the Paulding light appeared, a car drove by on the specific spot. So, the mysterious light is not a ghostly spirit messing with our superstitions, nor is it a paranormal legend. Scientific evidence proves that it is an optical allusion.  To better explain and prove the reasoning’s behind the different flashes the light projects to the human eye, Bos notes that, “heat rises from the pavement on the highway and contributes to the lights distortion (1).” He also explains that the lights often come in two because cars are driving past closely together at the specific spot on US 45. Also, the reasoning’s for the flashing lights every so often are predicted to appear when a cop turns on their red and blue lights when pulling someone over.

After reading the investigation of the Paulding light, I was confused and shocked with one statement from the article. Turns out, that even after a solid case was made through scientific evidence, people still chose to believe in the paranormal legend (1). Which formed two new questions. Why do people choose to believe in paranormal activities even after the investigation was concluded an optical illusion? And if paranormal activities can be solved such as the Paulding light, are their solutions to other unsolved mysteries? Perhaps, some things are supposed to be left unknown.

I am starting to make connections between my last source and this source.  Now, I want to look into the psychology, for educated explanations to reason with the ways of thinking people have about their paranormal superstitions. By researching a psychologist’s perspective I may find support for my new questions. Using the knowledge I have gained from my research so far, I use the word “support” because I don’t believe that all paranormal happenings have explanations, most just seem to have unexplained theories people make based off what they see with their eyes and hear with their ears. Hopefully a psychologist can help come to some sort of conclusion.

Goodrich, Marcia. “Michigan Tech Students Solve Mystery of the Paulding Light.” Web log post. Michigan Tech News. N.p., 28 Oct. 2010. Web. 03 Nov. 2013.

Eerie Eau Claire

Inside the book “Eerie Eau Claire” author Chad Lewis puts together pages upon pages of strange stories from Wisconsin’s past (1880-1910). I chose to begin with this source because I am living in Eau Claire and thought it would be an interesting approach towards my research on paranormal and superstitious experiences people have had. Starting about a hundred years ago, where the book takes place and provides true stories from people living in Eau Claire during this time.

This book contains multiple stories that share either the sightings or beliefs people have of ghosts, UFO’s, strange animals and paranormal activities. Before Lewis’ readers read any of his stories he states in his introduction, “I have left the belief in these cases up to you.” He also claims “I have not corrected any spelling or grammatical errors, nor have I made any commentary on these cases (Lewis 1).” Here are two captivating stories from the book itself:

August 18, 1905, Police Seek for Ghosts

“The Kenosha police were called out at midnight this morning to hunt a ghost which was alleged to be moving about the Kenosha city cemetery. The army of bluecoats advanced against the supposed spirit, but it failed to put in an appearance. Several people testified to seeing the spirit in the cemetery at midnight. It was alleged that it was a flesh and blood “ghost” and that it had taken this practical joke on some women friends. Several of the women who saw the alleged spirit are suffering from hysteria.”

February 6, 1907, Sight Returns Just before Death

“Miss Mamie Kentbon died at the home of her niece, Mrs. Joseph Hintz, last week in the town of Sherman, with whom she had made her home for the last thirty years. Twenty years ago she went blind, but about two weeks before her death she again recovered her sight and once more beheld the surroundings amid which she lived for the last thirty years. She could easily distinguish the distant hills and the pictures, which were hung in her room. The cause of her returning eyesight is a mystery, which has been exciting much interest. Doctors are unable to explain it and many people regard it as a special act of providence.”

I do not doubt that these individuals’ stories really happened or not. Although I personally have not had experiences with ghosts or other strange events, I have been told convincing stories relating to these superstitious topics. For example, my parents, who both believe their deceased parents, came to them in a dream shortly after their deaths. I think it became so easy for me to believe them because they are my parents and they have been my teachers all throughout my life. It helps when you know you are learning from a valuable and trusted source like your parents because you know that they wouldn’t try to stretch the truth on such a touchy subject. Which is what Lewis does, his purpose is to make his readers think and eventually leaves it up to them. His readers are interested in these strange events and they will be able to decide where they stand after reading just a few stories. Lewis provides his readers with supportive stories to guide their way of thinking. Just like my parents belief guided my way of thinking to be more open to the ideas. Because of these trusted sources it is made easier to become more open to these new ideas/beliefs. As I mentioned earlier Lewis says he did not edit any of the stories, so he makes himself promising to his audience and it is made obvious he did lots of research in order to include actual stories/reports people wrote themselves without doing any editing.

For people who are opposed to these ideas/beliefs, my parents for example would probably be considered insane. Psychologists on the other hand may explain their dreams as a way of coping with the loss of their loved ones. Lastly, for the creator of the book “Eerie Eau Claire,” Lewis allows his readers to believe whatever they want to believe after they learn about the valid stories Lewis provides.

I feel that at least once in everyone’s life they will become superstitious for something. Whether they have claimed to see a ghost, or were a witness to a miracle that has no explanations. Whether they believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or blowing out all your candles on your birthday cake the first try will assure your wish will come true. Either way, there is no scientific research that provides evidence for the strange sometimes-lucky events that happen throughout lifetimes.

I learned from the stories in the book that superstitions, paranormal activities and all that talk about a super natural world is a very biased topic. I learned that there are many people who have had experiences related to unexplained situations and without any evidence through scientific research. I really like how Lewis left it up to his readers to decide what they want to believe because in reality it’s such a biased topic and people would base their beliefs off of their own experiences and sources anyway. Overall, Lewis’ purposes of his book full of stories became very insightful and helpful to begin and understand my research more.

Lewis, Chad. Eerie Eau Claire: And Other Strange Stories from Wisconsin’s Past, 1880-1910. Eau Claire, Wis.?: C. Lewis?, 2002. Print


I will be researching the beliefs people have of the paranormal by focusing on the superstitions people have of different areas across Wisconsin that have left them intrigued, questioning or superstitious of their surroundings.

I became interested in this topic because paranormal activity is very popular right now. It easily fascinates our minds and immediately gains curiosity. Often, it forces people to question whether or not the spooky stories they grew up being told are true or not. There are several movies, television shows, books and such relating to paranormal events that capture our attention, such as witchcraft, UFO’s, monster sized animals or encounters with ghosts. What really messes with my brain is that some movies even claim to be based off of true events! We all can admit that at one point in our lives we have been scared of what could be lurking around in our dark basements, or what hides under our beds at night. I know I have. Whether it was in a dream, on a certain date and time, or in a specific area. Who knows? And that’s the best part about phenomenon’s, there is so much to research and it is never a dull topic.

Usually you can find patterns of similar experiences of people who have been exposed to the super natural. Why are their stories similar? Taking a psychologists point of view, could it all just be in our heads? Has there ever been good evidence to support the belief of the paranormal or is it just a form of entertainment? Are haunted houses real? Since there are two sides to almost everything, what do people who don’t believe in these superstitions have to say, what is their evidence/proof? Lastly, does a person’s age, gender, race, religion, or their education have an effect on what people believe?

There is an endless amount of unanswered questions I have for my topic, which means there is a lot I don’t know and I want to learn. As of right now I don’t think there are yes or no answers to my questions. I feel like during my research I am going to find many open ended responses leading to biased views. I have never thought of exploring the super natural world until now because it never seemed relevant to other school work I have done in the past. Normally I watch horror movies or read books on the paranormal as a source of entertainment, not to understand how the super natural world is believed to work.

Haunted WI

The photograph is of Maribel Caves Hotel, also known as “Hotel Hell” located in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Which is very close to my home town (Green Bay, Wisconsin). There have been a number of reports of a figure standing at one of the windows and looking out. Many people have reported hearing strange noises such as voices, screams from the basement, footsteps, ringing bells, rolling wheels and things moving around upstairs. An odor of sewer gas smells in the bathrooms and ojects moving on their own. People have felt the presence of the ghosts of people who have died in the fires that claim to have occured at the hotel. The dare is, if you shine your flashlight at a second story window, a ghost will flash a light back at you. I have driven past the hotel many times and one time my friends and I were daring enough to walk to it but I chickened out and left, I had bad feelings.  I think all of the horror stories got to my head or the feelings I was having were threats or warnings to stay away!