In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 31, 2005 / 28 Tishrei, 5766

Politics of the Paranormal

By Tom Purcell

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's Halloween and we all know what that means: something else to howl about.

According to Gallup, more than a third of Americans believe in haunted houses, possession by the devil, ghosts, telepathy, extraterrestrial beings having visited earth, and clairvoyance. More than half believe in psychic healing and extrasensory perception (ESP).

What's most interesting is how beliefs break down by age, gender, education, religion and political ideology.

More than half of the folks under 30, for instance, believe in ghosts whereas only 8% of people 65 and older do.

As for gender, women are more likely than men to believe in ghosts. They're more likely to believe that people can communicate with the dead, too, and for some women this is the preferred way of communicating with their husbands.

Men are more skeptical about such things, though we're more likely to believe in extraterrestrials. We're also more likely to cite abduction by aliens as the reason we were out late the night before.

Education plays an interesting role in belief. The more educated people become, the less likely they are to believe in astrology, haunted houses and possession by the devil. They are more likely to trust in the power of the mind and its ability to heal the body.

Keep in mind, though, educated people — in the liberal arts fields anyhow — are more likely to trust in the power of government, too. They're more likely to pine for months when northeastern liberals lose presidential elections.

Ghostly belief breaks down along religious fault lines, too. If a fellow is religious, he's less likely to believe in extraterrestrials and more likely to believe one's soul can be possessed by the devil. He's especially likely to believe this if he was of voting age during the Clinton era.

That brings us to political ideology. Among liberals, 42% believe in ghosts compared to 25% of conservatives. As a rule, liberals prefer supernatural beings that aren't omnipotent, demanding and judgmental.

I don't know what to make of these Gallup findings. Though I can be accused of being both educated and conservative, it seems to me there are lots of dimensions we don't yet understand.

I'm no psychic, but I did have an interesting experience once. When I was a freshman in college, I woke suddenly one weekend night about 2:00 a.m. I had a vivid dream about an old elementary school friend I'd not talked to or even thought about for years. A few days later, I learned he died in a car accident the night I had that dream.

As for ghosts, my brother in law, a skeptical fellow, swears he saw one and I believe him. He went to college in Indiana, PA, and lived in a big old house with five other fellows. Two elderly sisters had lived downstairs and one of them had recently died.

One Friday afternoon he was in the house alone packing for a trip. He got the sense someone was looking at him. He turned to see an old woman in a purple sweater floating in the air — her composition was consistent with vapor coming out of a tail pipe on a cold morning.

"What did you do?" I asked him.

"I did a Tony Dorsett," he said. "I faked left and cut right."

With all the planets and stars in the cosmos, it would be awfully conceited to believe we're the only ones inhabiting the universe. I'll bet there are other creatures on other planets. Some are less advanced than we, while some may be light years ahead.

But I'll bet they have the same struggles with good and evil that we do. I'll bet they have honest beings locked in a perpetual struggle with opportunists and charlatans. I'll bet some beings are trying to politicize and argue about every aspect of life.

They're probably howling about if ghosts and extraterrestrials exist, too.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR Contributor Tom Purcell's column, by clicking here. To visit his web site, click here.


© 2005, Tom Purcell