• Baylor profs study Americans’ belief in the paranormal

    Paranormal AmericaHalloween is the one day a year where Americans are neither surprised nor scared to find ghosts, goblins and boogeymen on the front porch. But a surprising number of people believe in those and other curiosities — UFOs, Bigfoot, and the like — not just at Halloween, but yearround.

    Baylor professors Dr. Carson Mencken and Dr. Christopher Bader went out in search of those people — not looking for Bigfoot or ghosts, but those who believe in them. The pair tagged along with Sasquatch hunters and spent nights in reportedly haunted houses, along the way conducting thousands of interviews. Mencken and Bader then combined all that work with findings from the Baylor Religion Survey to produce their latest book, Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture.

    The 272-page book chronicles the types of paranormal experiences, beliefs and activities claimed by some Americans; whether those who hold unusual beliefs are unconventional in other ways; and how/whether those beliefs tie in with religion. For more on their findings, check out this Q&A with the authors.

    Sic ’em, Drs. Mencken and Bader!

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