(Animation by TraceLoops, GIPHY.com)
A mysterious flying object shoots across the Kentucky sky, strange creatures advance toward an isolated homestead, August, 1955. A shootout lasting several hours, to keep the beings at bay, witnessed by five adults and seven children (Kelly–Hopkinsville Encounter).
Several flying saucers hovering over a Melbourne, Australian school on the 6th of April, 1966, hundreds of witnesses look on in awe (The Westall UFO encounter).
Also, allegedly on the 6th of April, 1967 (some sources disagree on dates of event), in North Dade County, Florida, Crestview Elementary School, another large group of witnesses observe the hovering and landing of several flying saucers (The Crestview Elementary School UFO Incident).
The 13th of October 1917, large crowds (30,000 to 100,000 people) gather in Fátima, Portugal to witness the Miracle of Fátima. Many claiming the sun shined and spun with colours similar to those that would shine through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral. One of the largest gatherings of onlookers to witness a “miracle” in human history (declared “of supernatural character” by the Catholic Church in 1930).
Many people believe some or all of the (randomly chosen) events listed above, to be entirely true. Others see a collection of elaborate misunderstandings or fallacies. Then there are a great many who don’t quite know what to believe. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, in other words, even if you yourself witness these incredible events, how could you absolutely, unequivocally, unabashedly declare such unworldly events to be definitively true (or accurately interpreted)?
You might think “seeing is believing”, but maybe you just haven’t seen anything literally ‘unbelievable’ yet?
Once witnessing an event that by all means could be viewed as a defiance of what you know of the laws of this reality/universe, would you be able to believe yourself? Or would you immediately seek out psychiatric help?
What if you view this incredible event in the company of hundreds or even thousands of others. Can everyone be mad (or rather deceived)?
(The gathering at Cova da Iria, Portugal, 13th of October 1917.)
Unshakable (speculatory or potentially baseless) belief can be quite a heavy burden to bear. I’ve known conspiracy theorists that have let their minds contort with paranoid delusions, eventually locking themselves in a prison of the mind, built of cynicism and fear. The self-fulfilling prophecy of one’s own growing distrust in their government, in some cases accurately predicting their own arrest or demise (Milton William “Bill” Cooper, May 6, 1943 – November 5, 2001). The path we take to avoid our destiny, is often the path that leads us to it.
I once knew someone, who in their desperate search for “answers”, found themselves involved with what was later revealed to be a cult, but not before this person (and father of two) partook in a ritualistic group suicide. Every so often, to this day, I wonder if he ended up learning what it was that he wanted to know so badly. Legally blame is placed on a specific guilty party, the fanatical leader(s) and so on. But in the end, was it the physical means by which his life was taken, that truly sealed his fate, or was it his unyielding dogmatic belief? A yearning to know the answers to questions the average person might live a lifetime and not even conceive, was that ultimately his doom?
One of the last conversations I had with this individual, before he vanished into the fanatical world, he was emphatically declaring events he deemed to be indisputable evidence of supernatural activity. I remember remarking something to the effect of, “these experiences are rooted in emotion and the interpretation of otherwise mundane happenings might be disregarded, unless the individual wanted to believe there was a governing will orchestrating the activities. But the same events could unfold even if such a will did not exist.”
Immediately, I knew he would never engage in another conversation with me again. And he never did. Shortly after, a series of unrelated events led to his dismissal from the company we were working for and the rest is history.
As time continues to unfold, what we call “strange and unbelievable claims” will continue to be reported. Perhaps you yourself will witness something that by all rights (governed by the current standards of normality), should not occur. Perhaps, you’ll experience something that will further solidify a belief that began to grow, a long time ago. Maybe you’ll know in the end, what you told yourself in the beginning, that it was nonsense, all along.
True belief is singular, regardless of how much any force attempts to influence and persuade otherwise. But in the end, outside of belief, outside of doubt, when there is no tangible evidence that an event ever occurred, where there is no physical proof that something ever existed, what are we actually left with?
In the end, in regards to the bulk of the paranormal, we are left with attempts to record or capture a moment in time. Experiences that echo throughout the ages, preserved in a collection of ink and shadows. You might not believe the letters marked in ink, as you might not believe the shapes that form in the shadows. Just as the ones who were there (or claimed as such) during those fateful moments might not have believed what their own eyes were seeing either.
Blind gullibility does not ascertain truth.
But neither does absolute doubt.