Chris Bader on Ghosts, UFOs and the Paranormal
Date: October 25th, 2010
How pervasive is belief in UFOs, Bigfoot and the paranormal in America? Christopher Bader — professor of sociology and resident scholar at ISR at Baylor University – discusses his extensive research into this topic. Our podcast begins with an examination of the survey data, demonstrating that belief in the paranormal is wider than many have supposed. We examine various demographic patterns related to these beliefs. Interestingly enough, dabbling in the paranormal is not exclusively the purview of the uneducated. Chris describes how conventional religious belief has a curvilinear relationship with interest in the paranomal — individuals who are marginally associated with mainstream religions are more likely to be adherents to belief in one aspect of the paranormal, whereas those in strict religion or those with no interest in religion typically have no interest in UFOs, ghosts, astrology or other such things. We also find out that adherents to the paranormal are average, everyday kind of folks. In the second half of the podcast, Chris discusses his in-depth field work into this area, including participation in Bigfoot hunts, attending UFO abduction sessions, having his aura photographed at paranormal conferences and spending the night in a haunted coffee house. You won’t want to miss these stories!
We finish the podcast with discussion of The Association of Religious Data Archives (housed at Penn State University). Prof. Bader is the manager of web development at The ARDA and tells us what a great resource this is for scholars, students, homeschoolers and anyone interested in religion. In addition to having an extensive collection of databases, The ARDA also has several features that makes it easy for anyone to explore what people believe in the cities that they live in. Give it a try! Recorded: September 28, 2010.
Chris Bader’s website at Baylor University.
Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and other Curiosities in Religion and Culture by Christopher Bader, F. Carson Mencken, and Joseph Baker.
Website for Paranormal America.
The Association of Religious Data Archives (www.TheARDA.com).