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Know Jack #221 Paranormal or Supernatural?

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

I am a part of a persnickety line. I won’t say the trait began with me, but I do own up to spreading that strand of DNA to my descendants. This fussiness about details is not a bad affliction to have, however, the men in my family combine it with a rather aggressive tendency to banter it about with those in positions of authority.

Okay, we’re smart asses with a drive for scoring points with the powers that be. Now you know why I’m the guy the group chooses to be their representative when bucking the boss.

If you have ever used the phrase, “Don’t judge me,” or any of its kin in my presence chances are extremely good you have heard my mini-lecture on the definition of the word “judgment” and now know this is not exclusively the negative term most people imagine it to be.

My son once ran afoul of his teacher by arguing that a hare and a rabbit are not the same thing. (He was correct in his information.) I received a call from my grandson not long ago inquiring whether I shared the opinion that alchemy was a valid forerunner of modern science before pursuing further discussion with his science teacher.

I probably use the dictionary more than most. I remember having it open by my side when I began to read Poe. I still resort there frequently and am a fair hand at Jeopardy’s word origin category.

When billing myself as a horror writer failed for lack of fright inducing stories, I equally adopted the sobriquet paranormal/supernatural writer, using the words interchangeably until I chanced to listen to a podcast discussion that mirrored my usage. It suddenly hit me that if these men were using “paranormal” in the way they were speaking…these two things were not the same and I knew from experience why.

While in a practical sense there may be only a subtle shade of difference in the terms, they are in fact as different as the hare and the rabbit. Paranormal is that which is not scientifically explainable (given science of the times), but may, in fact, have a scientific explanation.

Supernatural on the other hand, speaks of an order of existence beyond the observable universe…i.e, above/beyond nature perhaps even outside the realm of matter and energy.

I’m still a paranormal/supernatural writer, but I try to do them one at a time. Here, I set you free to opine. Which is Bigfoot? Dogman? Dragons? Let me here you. Fire away with your favorite.


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