by Dr. Scott Cashman, Ph.D., Manager for CE Personal and Cultural Enrichment
I sometimes get asked how a college can teach classes about paranormal phenomenon. Scientists say it is not science. Paranormal investigation as seen on TV isn’t really science. I understand that completely and yet I think that paranormal phenomena is something that is worthy of study on a couple different levels.
First, the social sciences have been interested in ghosts, spirits, and religion for a hundred years or more. The simple definition of culture holds that it is the things that groups of people know and do. There certainly is widespread agreement that ghosts and spirits exist in cultures around the world. The !Kung of Africa know that all illness comes from dead ancestors. The Vietnamese know that “angry ghosts” are the result of improper burials and ceremonies. These “angry ghosts” also make people sick. The Ifaluk of Papua New Guinea know that all bad behavior is caused by ghosts. So as an anthropologist, when I teach about ghosts, I get people to understand how cultures around the world understand them and the role that they play in the lives of the living.
Summer Paranormal Classes:
Ursula Bielski is the preeminent authority on Chicago ghostlore. Having earned a Master’s Degree in history, she applies that knowledge of research procedures and historical perspective to understanding the folklore of Chicago as it relates to ghosts. Add that with her experience investigating the paranormal and you have a fascinating combination sure to provoke interesting discussions in Hauntings in the Des Plaines River Valley, Wednesday, 8/2, 7-9 p.m.
We do get to explore methods used to investigate paranormal claims, but don’t think this is just a “how-to session.” If you want to understand what is commonly done in hands-on investigations, Mary Marshall brings her extensive field experience to help you cast a critical eye on methods being used in the field. You will learn that the question “how” really isn’t as important as “why”. Mary’s new class Outdoor Paranormal Investigation, Wednesdays, 7/19-7/26, 7-9 p.m. does just that. Rather than just accepting a box of techniques overly used on TV, you will actually think about what techniques you are using and why you are using them and how to apply them outdoors.
So, are ghosts real? Anthropologists will tell you that every culture we know of has ghost and spirits. But we’ll empower you to make that determination based on evidence by asking the right questions not by employing random techniques.
Register online now or call 847.925.6300.
Details on these and all our Personal Enrichment classes can be found in the May-August 2017 CE Course Schedule.
Our August-December 2017 CE Course Schedule is now available, with registration opening July 10.