National Paranormal Society NPS FOCUS June 2016 - Page 59

The relationship between the study of the occult and the paranormal has a deep history, but is one that must be recognized by the more experienced paranormal investigators whether they regularly allow occult practices in their work or not. First, semantics, the study of the relationship between words and their meanings are an important aspect of this discussion.

When someone simply mentions the term “occult,” many people’s minds move to dark magic or evil endeavors. This, in reality, is a very minor part of occult study, and is an extreme, emotional reaction. The term “occult” in its original and most succinct definition is simply that which is hidden (originating from the Latin words occulere and celare; to hide or conceal) as today, could be used as a verb, adjective or noun. Medical professionals in their own culture, use it in within its original meaning, to describe, for example, a condition that does not have obvious or notable signs or symptoms. The doctors may then order

tests to find if there is hidden blood in an area or a fluid, or order a scan to see if there is a mass that should not be there in the body of the afflicted patient. The lesson here is that by looking for the dark or occult (hidden) causes, one is able to shed light on the situation and make a better decision or diagnosis.

While occult in general conversation often means secret practices, supernatural or magical powers or inexplicable phenomena, it is also important to be aware of the same confusion regarding the term paranormal. The

definition of this term simply refers to events that are beyond the scope of science at this time. It would be fair to say that this references the “hard sciences” as well as the social sciences in this context. Yet paranormal investigators have not always used that term for self-definition. The 1960’s and 70’s seemed to prefer the term “ghost hunters” especially in the media. If we go to some of the founders of the field, we find that author and researcher Harry Price referred to the study as psychical research. Why? One can give a nod to the evolution of the field


Paranormal Investigations: An Occult Perspective

Occult Perspective