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Why is the Unexplained Unexplained?


A thought experiment on why many aspects of the paranormal - from ghosts to UFOs - remain elusive and unexplained

The mysteries of the paranormal seem to have been with people are long as there have been people. Ghosts and UFOs have been described and reported for thousands of years. Psychic phenomena for probably just as long. Creatures like Bigfoot and Loch Ness-type sea monsters have been documented by credible witnesses for at least hundreds of years.

Yet they remain frustratingly elusive. We have no definitive, solid proof for their existence. We have bits and pieces of evidence, and in the case of psychic phenomena some very good data from respected institutions of higher learning. Yet we are no closer to really understanding them - what they are or how they work - than we were 200 years ago or more.

Why? Why with all our intelligence and sophisticated technology does an understanding of these phenomena still elude us? The skeptic (or rather debunker) would dismissively proclaim that it's simply because they do not exist. But that response, in my opinion, is intellectually dishonest and, in fact, not scientific. Phenomena that have been part of the human experience for thousands of years cannot and should not be dismissed because they cannot be dissected and observed in a laboratory. That is very narrow-minded thinking.

But the question persists: Why? Why haven't we been able to figure this stuff out?

One possible reason is that we can't. Now I realize that is not much of a reason and certainly isn't very helpful or hopeful to those of us who devote a good deal of our time and thinking to the questions of the paranormal, but it is a possibility we must consider.


It may very well be that what we experience as the paranormal is - for now at least - literally beyond what we are capable of understanding.

Let's use the analogy of the Flatlanders. Flatland is an imaginary two-dimensional world. It has length and width, but no depth - just two dimensions. And the beings that live in Flatland - the Flatlanders - are two-dimensional creatures that do not - cannot - have an understanding of a three-dimensional world. They can understand a line, a circle, or a square, but cannot comprehend a sphere or cube.

If a three-dimensional object, such as a sphere, should somehow enter their world, they would only be able to understand it in their very limited two-dimensional way. They would only be able to see the sphere, if it were passing through Flatland, as a growing then diminishing circle or disc, but would still have no concept of its full shape, size, color or other attributes. They would experience the phenomena the sphere created but would not really understand it at all.

We might be like those Flatlanders when it comes to such phenomena as ghosts and UFOs. We live in a three-dimensional world and perhaps these things exist in some other form of reality. (We can all it another dimension if we want to, but that label might be too limiting).

Somehow and for some reason, these things occasionally intrude on the reality of our three-dimensional world, becoming visible and interacting with our world not only in a physical way but perhaps on a level of consciousness as well. After all these things are beyond our physical world.

It might be for this reason that we cannot currently hope to understand these phenomena. Like the Flatlanders, we can sometimes experience the phenomena created when they enter our reality, but we cannot comprehend their full nature. We can only perceive them and interpret them in our very limited three-dimensional way, but we cannot know why they look the way they do, how they affect us, where they come from or where they go. In fact, "where they come from or where they go" might have no meaning in their reality; those are three-dimensional concepts.

Next page: How can we hope to understand?

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