Talking About Your Strange & Apparently Paranormal Experiences Without Sounding Like A Complete Kook

Think you've seen UFOs or ghosts? Fairly sure you're an otherkin? Or are you subjected to anything else strange and otherwise out of the ordinary?

Basically, here's the whole game in a nutshell: when you describe your strange experiences or apparent phenomena, avoid attaching untestable meaning or significance to them, and don't get so attached to a paranormal/metaphysical explanation that you're unwilling to consider a non-paranormal/metaphysical explanation. For example, let's say you saw a semi-transparent figure walking through a hallway. You might be very tempted to say that you saw a ghost and that you have definite evidence of the afterlife now.

Except... do you? Do you know that the figure you saw was a ghost? How do you know you weren't glimpsing something that happened in the past through some strange and unknown means? How do you know you weren't looking at some strange ethereal being taking on the appearance of someone else? What if something was messing around with your head making you think you were seeing something that wasn't there? How do you know you weren't glimpsing an inhabitant of a parallel reality? How do you know it wasn't one of the fae? You don't. And for all anyone knows, you may have dreamed it (people have mistaken dreams for real events), or your medication may have been messing with your head, or any number of other completely mundane explanations may have been the real culprit.

Whatever the real explanation, the fact of the matter remains: at the end of the day, you did not see a ghost. You saw a semi-transparent figure walking through the hallway that you suspect might have been a ghost, but could possibly be anything else, even something that wasn't paranormal at all.

Likewise, many people who identify as otherkin, therians, etc. are far too eager to take a nose dive off into the deep end of the pool of metaphysical explanations - if they feel like an elf or dragon trapped inside of a human body, then by golly they must be an elf or dragon trapped inside of a human body. Apparently, the possibility that otherkinism/therianism may be a relatively harmless, if rather unknown quirk of neurology has flown over many of their heads. Instead, you see any number of tortured, nonsensical pseudoscientific justifications for how they could totally have the soul of whatever it is they feel like they are.

It gets exponentially worse when people start trying to justify literally having past lives in fiction universes initially made up by writers just struggling to get their next paychecks before their works ended up getting mauled and mangled under the orders of executives who wouldn't greenlight them until they fit their narrow-minded criteria of what a product needs to be "successful," often to the point where the end products only superficially resembled the writer's original visions.

Whatever's really going on, if you identify as otherkin, therian, etc., all you know is that for one reason or another, you feel like something that isn't a vanilla Earth human. Maybe there is something metaphysical to it - or maybe (and more likely) it's just a quirk of the human brain.

I've had my share of strange experiences. When I was young, pretty much everyone who ever visited one relative's house for any length of time would eventually see strange figures in their peripheral vision. This wasn't a case of "mistake a stack of junk for a person" - this was a case of "see a person standing in a doorway and when you look there is nothing there." Eventually (about the time the surrounding areas were put into subdivisions) everyone stopped seeing these figures. At one point, I and several family members witnessed objects moving in the sky that zig-zagged and turned at ninety degrees. To this day I have encountered no "muggle" explanation that could satisfactorily account for either one of these - and not for lack of trying.

Does it mean I've seen ghosts and extraterrestrial spacecraft? No. All it means is that I've seen some pretty weird things that as of yet defy any mundane or naturalistic explanation. For all I know, the UFOs (and I use that term in the literal sense - UNIDENTIFIED Flying Objects) could have been giant glowing space jellyfish.

Finally, for about 99% of the "phenomena" I see people claiming as paranormal on the Internet... well, these are things that have been explained by non-paranormal means for a long time. EG, it' been known for years that orbs and spectral trails are nothing more than dust and other objects caught by the flash of the camera. "Old hag" experiences - the ones where you wake up unable to move and feeling or even seeing something sitting on your chest - are adequately explained by hypnagogia. The people who insist that these experiences must have been genuine paranormal encounters just end up making themselves look foolish.

If you have a strange encounter or suchlike, stop and ask yourself: why do you need it to be one particular thing? Why is it so very important that the strange blob or shadow in your photograph be a ghost and nothing else? Pause for a moment and ask yourself - so what if there was nothing magical or supernatural in this world? Would that really be so horrible? I think not. It wouldn't make those warm family memories any less wonderful. We'd still have bobtail squid, the hot lips plant and the glass wing butterfly. Our cats and dogs will still love us. Mind-blowing insights come up with by a voice living inside the head of someone I know aren't going to be any less amazing because the "voice" is simply another part of that person's mind rather than a disembodied spirit or something. (And I think the fact that said voice is a popular fictional character means it's a bit more likely that he's simply a part of this person's mind.)

When you're ready to accept that things may not be magical or mystical or supernatural and that the "boring" answer is going to be the right one more often than not, then you're ready to start talking about your strange experiences.

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