THE DEFINITION OF PARANORMAL
or Origins: Greek --- para (outside, beside but not part of, beyond) +
Latin ---- normalis, (rule, standard, average)
Therefore; Para = Beyond or outside.
Normal = Standard, not deviating from the norm, or average
So, “paranormal” is: something beyond what is normal.
Most definitions refer to supernatural phenomena as an example, but the basic definition comes down to this:
phenomena that cannot be explained by normal scientific investigation.
Paranormal: Dictionary Definitions;
Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier;
pertaining to phenomena that cannot be explained by normal scientific investigation.
Segen's Medical Dictionary, © 2012 Farlex, Inc.;
adjective - Pertaining or relating to phenomena (e.g., clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, telepathy) which are not explained by natural laws and principles of the physical universe.
Jonas: Mosby's Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (c) 2005, Elsevier;
adj - 1. outside the realm of normal experience or scientific explanation.
n - 2. collective term for anomalous phenomena.
The Free Dictionary;
“Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.”
“of or pertaining to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation.”
“not scientifically explainable.”
What is Paranormal?
We are often asked, “What exactly does paranormal mean?” The term paranormal is used to describe a wide variety of activity and phenomena. According to the Journal of Parapsychology, the term paranormal describes “any phenomenon that in one or more respects exceeds the limits of what is deemed physically possible according to current scientific assumptions.”
Many people associate the term paranormal as only dealing with hauntings and ghosts.
However, the paranormal also includes subjects considered to be outside the scope of parapsychology including UFOs, cryptozoology, psychics, mediumship, prophesy, astrology, witches, place memory, Déjà vu, telepathy, ESP, faith healing, clairvoyance, perinormal phenomena, astral projection, auras, Bermuda Triangle, time travel, teleportation, telekinesis, poltergeists, Life after Death, zodiac, I-Ching, horoscopes, spiritualism, incantations, mysticism, magic, demonology, reincarnation, orbs, and ghosts.
Since paranormal phenomena is not generally accepted as real by traditional scientists, most of these ideas and theories about hard-to-reproduce anomalies are considered pseudoscientific (not a real science), partly because science needs evidence to be reproducible in a controlled environment.
Some anomalies eventually get a scientific explanation, losing their status as unexplained phenomena. For example; while the idea of stones falling from the sky was once considered anomalous, meteorites are now well understood. One significant modern example of a perinormal phenomenon is electromagnetic fields (EMFs). At one time EMFs were debatable from a scientific perspective but later were proven to be real and is currently accepted by scientific and medical communities.
“Carl Sagan was correct in asserting that ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,’ but that does not mean that anything less than extraordinary evidence may be ignored.”
“ Paranormal” does not mean “ghostly.”
If you mean “ghostly,” say so.
If you just mean something that — at this time — can’t be explained by anything normal in that setting, at that time… that’s paranormal.
There is a difference, and it’s an important one when we’re discussing research techniques and results.