Some of you may be wondering what the heck we’re all about.
Well, funny you should ask.
I can see no topic more fitting of my first post here on New England Oddities (long overdue, I might add) than a bit of an explanation – a mission statement, if you will. I am a firm believer in defining one’s terms. And in nearly no other field are so many diverse and colorful terms bandied about so indiscriminately – with irresponsible, reckless abandon, even – than when discussing the subject of, well . . . oddities.
First up, let us dispense with one of the more egregious offenders in our sundry lexicon of oddities – “Supernatural.” Breaking it down, we end up with super, from the Latin meaning “above, beyond, in addition to” and natural, meaning “now with no preservatives, lower MSG and 100% real cheese flavor” . . . or something like that. You get the point, I’m sure.
From a pragmatist’s standpoint, when one scales it down to its most basic bits, this word actually comes out to be worth less than the sum of its parts. Is there anything in existence that is beyond the scope of nature or even comfortably outside the far-reaching grasp of science? Not likely. We have all had experiences that defy the powers of explanation currently at our disposal. This speaks less to the imperfect nature of our empiric observations and more to the fallibility of our language. It helps to remember that the magic and miracles of the current generation tend to become the well-regarded scientific paradigms of the next; conversely, the theories and beliefs of the ancients have become mere mythology to modern man.
Since we are confined to speaking within the bounds of observable reality, I much prefer the term Paranormal. To the average speaker these words are interchangeable, but when we reduce paranormal to manageable bits as we did for supernatural, the differences become clear. Paranormal comes from para, Greek for “beside” and norma, Latin for pattern.
Patterns are nearly all we can be sure of in this life. As we can never hope to predict the future with absolute accuracy, we instead look to the past to define our surroundings. If all things can be expected to repeat, if circles characterize all the processes we perceive, looking to the past is not fallacy. The past only becomes a burden to the progress of the future when we borrow its words.
So, out of a sense of responsibility to all who read here, and to the work as a whole, we will not engage in speculation or sensationalism. When we observe something that defies modern language, we will speak of it scientifically. We feel that pictures are worth a thousand words of myth, and good empirical evidence will stand up on its own. We are not here to debunk anything, nor do we wish to pass judgment on the validity of anybody else’s observations. Our aim is to present all available information, leaving final interpretation to the reader.
And, with that out of the way, on to the investigations!