July 22, 2010

I Want To Believe

When I was younger, I would regularly watch a then-new, fascinating series on Fox, called the X-Files. For those of you not familiar with the show, it follows the exploits of two FBI agents as they investigate a number of strange crimes, missing persons cases and just about anything else that could have a potential link to the paranormal. Before I had a driver's license, I would spend quite a few Friday nights home alone with the TV and a frozen pizza. Yes, to borrow a line from the rock group Barenaked Ladies, I watched X-Files with no lights on.

One of the FBI agents was more of a skeptic, while the other was a staunch believer in the paranormal. Needless to say, this created an interesting dynamic for the series. The believing agent had a poster on his wall, which said "I Want To Believe." The statement is an interesting one from a language arts standpoint, particularly the word choice. "Want" shows that the person has a desire to believe, rather than having the belief in the paranormal forced on them. Whoever put the poster together could have just as easily made it say "I Believe" but the meaning would have been drastically altered.

During my interview with Lisa Williams, a British clairvoyant now living in the United States, she told me something interesting about skeptics. She claimed, interestingly enough, that skeptics were almost always easy to do psychic readings on. When I probed her about the reason, she explained that many skeptics want to believe in the paranormal, but they just don't know how. I was taken aback a little at her claim and have been thinking about it ever since. Perhaps this conflict raging inside the minds of so many skeptics accounts for the sometimes almost violent reaction they display toward anyone who claims to have witnessed (or even believe in) a paranormal event.

So there is some food for thought. I have suspended final judgment on much of this, which honestly is my general practice with most of the notoriously puzzling paranormal cases in the history of the world.