Survey Says…

Skeptics suggest that the average person does not believe in the paranormal, and that such fields are often a source of ridicule and scorn by all but the most “crackpot” believers and “conspiracy theorists.”  Of course this hyperbole is often used in conjunction with dismissive ignoring of the mountains of anecdotal evidence and the general assumption that anecdotal evidence is no better than no evidence at all.  But polling by generally respected authorities tells another story.

In 1990, 2001, and 2005 a series of Gallup Polls were conducted.  Participants in these polls were not told of the nature of the polling questions, and often the questions were asked amid more mundane questions (How many hours a week do you spend watching tv, do you like cats more than dogs, etc.) in order to achieve maximal representation among people.  The assumption was, a belief that a test designed for paranormal may skew the answers of some participants.  Of course this is widely accepted as the most representative method of polling to this day.  Of course the main problem with polling is that the types of people who answer polls either truthfully or otherwise have been studied, and they are not always accepted as representative of the whole.  Still, polls and statistics are often used as a method of determining truth in many matters.  And the results of these questionnaires were astounding, and (as it turns out) ever changing.

In 1990 48% of all participants polled were on-board with the idea of ESP existing in humans.  This figure changed to 50% in 2001, but then dropped to 42% in 2005.  Why the change?  Contrary to the projections of many people are becoming more closed off to the idea of the paranormal.  In 1990 28% of people polled believed houses could be haunted.  This number spiked to 43% in 2001, but then dropped to 36% in 2005.  More people believe in hauntings today than did in 1990.  When asked if they believed that the spirits of the dead could come back in certain places and situations, 25% of people suggested it was possible in 1990, 38% in 2001, and 32% in 2005.  Telepathy maintained a steady 35% belief until 2005 when it dropped to 32%.  And a belief in reincarnation maintained at 25% until 2005 when people became more skeptical of that too.

What is the explanation for this rampant skepticism around 2005?  It seems people believed in less of anything after 2005.  One can only wait in anticipation for the next poll to be conducted in 2011 to find out what people will think in the future.  Do you think more or less of those polled will believe in contact with the paranormal?  An interesting twist reveals that with time more people believe the government is not telling the public everything the know about UFOs and possible alien visitors.  Those polled suggested that 68% believed there was more about alien life either on Earth or elsewhere in the universe than the government was telling them.  And over 76% believed the government knew more about UFOs than they were being told.  More than three out of every four people believe there’s something to UFO sightings and the government isn’t telling us everything.  Are these people surveyed all crackpots?