Ever since records began, in every known society, a substantial proportion of the population has reported unusual experiences many of which we would today label as "paranormal". Opinion polls show that the majority of the general public accepts that paranormal phenomena do occur. Such widespread experience of and belief in the paranormal can only mean one of two things. Either the paranormal is real, in which case this should be accepted by the wider scientific community which currently rejects such claims. Or else belief in and experience of ostensibly paranormal phenomena can be fully explained in terms of psychological factors.
Human behaviour often appears to be maladaptive, pointless, ineffective for its expressed purpose, and even completely absurd. In this talk Michael Heap will examine, with the aid of demonstrations and videos, some examples of odd behaviour that is based on unusual and paranormal ideas and beliefs. These will include healing practices, dowsing, hypnosis, and communication with "the spirit world."