“It’s not funny! It was scary!”
This was the admonishing remark from my mother after I giggled at the dream she had had the night before…something about my grandmother (who has passed on) choosing my mother’s basement as a final resting place. My mother – who spends most of her TV time watching disturbing crime shows.
“I don’t want to dream about dead people!” she added.
After describing her dream to the guests in the kitchen, it opened up a discussion on all the creepy things that they had experienced, or stories of hauntings they’d heard about. My mother, meanwhile, spent the next hour looking over her shoulder and jumping at various sounds (“Did you just hear someone whistle?”). I just kept laughing.
Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in the paranormal, and for someone reason, relatives who have passed away always seem to enjoy making guest appearances in MY dreams. But as my great-grandfather put it, “It’s not the dead you should be afraid of, but the living.”
There is no denying it – people love to be terrified. Nothing ignites our curiosity like the unknown, and nothing excites us more than entertaining beliefs of dark creatures who go bump in the night. That’s why we peak through splayed fingers when watching horror movies. That’s why we inconspicuously peak over our shoulder or take a second look at that shadow in the corner. Anthony Hopkins, who portrayed the eerie and memorable Hannibal Lector, said it best: “We are fascinated by the darkness in ourselves, we are fascinated by the shadow, we are fascinated by the boogeyman.”
A lot of people I know may raise an eyebrow at talk of the paranormal, but skepticism doesn’t always stop them from instinctively knocking on wood to ward off some evil, or cringing at the thought of 7 years of bad luck after breaking a mirror. In fact, 18% of people who took Queendom’s Paranormal Beliefs Test admitted that superstitions impact their actions at least to some degree…like skirting around ladders or refusing a hotel room that’s numbered 13. (Aren’t there hotels that refuse to have a room 13 or 13th floor? FYI – In my culture, number 13 is considered good luck. Personally, I think Italians just did this to be unique, because God knows, we are a superstitious people). 9% of Queendom’s test-takers also dread the idea of having a black cat cross their path (I have a black cat – she’s crossed my path several times with little to no consequence), and a whopping 63% believe in ghosts, spirits, and poltergeists.
Gender comparisons reveal that women believe much more strongly in paranormal phenomenon than men do, particularly in terms of the idea of karma (average score for women 71, 57 for men). The only exception was that of aliens and UFOs, where men are more likely to believe that there is the potential for life on other planets. Some paranormal beliefs increased with age, with older people believing more strongly than younger ones in the afterlife, the existence of God, psychics, telekinesis, and aliens.
So what are some of the unexplained, spooky phenomena that still make us want to pull a blanket over our head and call our mommies? Here’s what the 22, 000 people who took Queendom’s test revealed:
- 11% refuse to open an umbrella indoors.
- 17% believe that luck or love spells work.
- 26% believe in the foretelling ability of palm reading.
- 27% believe that there is no such thing as a coincidence.
- 27% believe in the effectiveness of black magic.
- 30% believe in the power of curses.
- 38% fear the Bermuda Triangle.
- 48% believe that the dead can get in touch with the living through a medium or during sleep.
- 58% believe in karma.
- 60% believe that there is life on other planets.
- 64% believe that death is not the end.