Expert answer:Anthropology Four Collected Supernatural Folklore

  

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Anthropology Final Project
As part of the course assignments, you are required to complete a final project that
reflects on the major themes and questions developed throughout the semester.
The project will contain a collection of four supernatural narratives based on the topics
statement below. Your project will be worth a total of 100 possible points and must
include:
1) An Introductory Statement: This one-to-two page statement should detail your
process in finding and selecting your narratives. It should also reflect on key class topics
and themes that aided in your understanding of these accounts (10 points).
2) Four personally collected supernatural narratives (from four separate individuals) with
accompanying analysis. Each discussion should include the following:

Basic background information, including the person from whom you collected the
narrative, and, if applicable, where that person in turn first heard it. Also, make a
concerted effort to locate the narrative’s folk origins through consultation of class
readings and internet inquiries (20 points).

Discuss what specific characteristics make this a legend, fabulate, memorate, or
related narrative (10 points).

Narrative itself, including any variations or parallels found in class
readings/discussions (10 points).

Most importantly—At least one page or more of analysis: What is the basic
background/demographic information of the narrator, and how does it compare to
the surveys discussed in Paranormal America? How did this narrative fit course
themes? Is it believable, particularly to the storyteller? What belief traditions did
the narrator subscribe to? Prior to his or her experience, what were the narrator’s
attitudes about the supernatural? Did the narrative change the individual’s
perspective on the supernatural or reinforce it? What was the setting for the
interview? What storytelling tactics did the narrator utilize? Does the narrative hold
an obvious social function or contain a clear moral message? Is it conveying a sense
of anxiety or fear? Does the narrator willingly discuss this story in public? Be sure to
incorporate arguments, examples, and parallels from our readings and class
discussions in your analysis!! (50 points).
Format: This is meant to be a creative assignment; choose the format the best fits your
set of supernatural narratives. You may use illustrations, pictures, graphics, videos and
specialized fonts at your leisure. You are also required to provide a works cited page.
Topics: This project offers the opportunity to select supernatural topics of your choice. I
encourage VARIETY in both your sources and your themes. All four of the narratives you
collect must come via oral interviews with friends, relatives, or other corporeal beings.
Please make sure you have explicit permission to collect and analyze their accounts, and
by default offer to use a pseudonym rather than their actual names. If you experience
difficulty in finding sources, please come talk to me! You must cite all sources using
either the APA style or MLA format.
**SOME SUPERNATURAL NARRATIVES AND BELIEFS ARE NOT OPEN TO PUBLIC
DISCUSSION OR DISCLOSURE. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF YOUR INFORMANTS’ BELIEFS
AND WISHES WHEN COLLECTING YOUR NARRATIVES. ALSO, REMEMBER: YOUR JOB IS
NOT TO “PROVE” OR “DISPROVE” THEIR BELIEFS OR EXPERIENCES**
Grading: Your final project is worth 40% of your final grade. We will grade this final
project based on your ability to fully engage and analyze the topics covered during this
quarter, including your ability to incorporate the course readings into your analysis. Do
not skimp on your analysis. Do not try to put together your project at the last minute.
Exercise good judgment in your selections, and take the time to put together a
thoughtful project that addresses all of the criteria listed above.
THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE
(2005)
ANNELIESE MICHEL (1952-1976)
LEGEND-MEMORATE-FABULATE
Legend
Memorate
Fabulate
HOW MEMORATES ARE
COMMUNICATED
A. Detailed, Cautious, Defensive
B. Observation Over Interpretation
C. Alternative Explanations
Offered
D. Avowal of Prior Skepticism
HOW COMFORTABLE ARE WITNESSES WHEN
TALKING ABOUT THEIR PARANORMAL
EXPERIENCES?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
What is controversial?
What is debatable?
What is common?
What is taken for granted?
What stories are not being told??
WHY MEMORATES ARE TOLD
1. Public, Sometimes Defiant Expressions of
Subjugated Knowledges
2. “Third Space” Between Conventional Religious
Traditions and Scientific Epistemologies
3. Hauntology: “Unknowing” Undermining
Certainty, Hubris, and Positivism (Partridge)
ROUND TRIP TO HELL IN A FLYING SAUCER
RELIGION, THE PARANORMAL, AND ECONOMIC
COMPETITION
THE THRILL OF THE HAUNT
GHOSTS OF CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY
Ryan Adams: Hipster Ghost Hunter
DEMONS IN THE “HOUSE OF 150 GHOSTS”
GHOST HUNTING THEMES
• Ghosts in the Machine: the use of technology to find ghosts in a
“scientific” manner
• Syncretism and Magic Rites: combining religious and spiritual beliefs
in their collection and interpretation of evidence
• Centrality of Narrative Experience: historical framings of hauntings
(deathlore), vicarious haunting experiences (media and/or fabulates),
and experiential recollections (memorates).
MARC EATON’S “PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION: THE
SCIENTIST AND THE SENSITIVE” AND “GIVE US A SIGN
OF YOUR PRESENCE”
INVESTIGATING THE PARANORMAL:
EVIDENCE-BASED SPIRITUALTY
PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION
AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
• Establish a Connection to the Paranormal
• Confirm Existing Beliefs
• Spiritual Transformation
• Limited Demographic Diversity
• Tensions Between “Scientists”
(Evidence-based) and “Sensitives”
(Enlightenment)
INVESTIGATION AND BELIEF
• Heidi, raised Lutheran:
Honestly, the reason why I even thought about getting into this was for
answers. You know, what does happen to you after you die? And why do
some people seem to go up to heaven, and some people stay here? . . . It
would be nice to be able to prove something that you believe in without
any doubt. You want to find that definitive thing that’s going to go, “Look,
here’s the evidence. Here it is.”
• Chad, atheist-leaning:
I always tell myself, “I don’t believe in God,” but I wish God was there
because I want to believe. I want to know that there is something for us
after this. Because it’s depressing to believe that we’re plant food. So I
want to believe there’s something for us afterwards. I want to believe that
I’ll see my kids in the afterlife. Maybe that’s all [ paranormal
investigating] is. Maybe it’s just a false sense of security.
PARANORMAL INTERPRETATIONS
AND AFFILIATIONS
Three types of interpretations in their work:
• Spiritualistic: Supernatural manifestations the result of actions of
entities “on the other side”
• Animalistic: Parapsychological-causes found in living people
• Conventional-natural: Hallucinations, errors in perception, hoaxes, and
misinterpretations (less common in U.S. investigators)
Three general types of affiliation/function:
• Hobbyists, Researchers, and Helpers
**Some Investigators are more equal than others**
PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION AND MEANING
Heidi, raised Lutheran:
I don’t see a conflict with being a paranormal investigator . . . I don’t know
that we’re meant to know exactly what happens after you die, but there’s
equipment now available that we can somewhat get closer to
understanding that. And I just think that if God truly didn’t want us to
understand, he wouldn’t have ever let these pieces of equipment—you
know, we wouldn’t have made that connection.
Kevin, raised Southern Baptist:
I’ve heard my entire life that when you die, you go one place or the other.
You don’t get stuck in limbo. Then, you know, once you start investigating
and you really, really know that you’ve seen a full-bodied apparition, it’s
kind of one of those things, like, “How does that work?” . . .In all, it’s made
me more open to other beliefs and practices . . . I guess you could say that I
have become more spiritual from everything that I’ve seen, that I’ve done,
that I’ve witnessed.
SEEING IS BELIEVING:
AN EVIDENCE-BASED SPIRIT QUEST
WHAT IS FOLKLORE?
CONTEXT: ENVIRONMENT AND PERFORMANCE
FOLKTALES, MYTHS, AND LEGENDS
COMMON TYPES OF SUPERNATURAL NARRATIVES
• Memorate: Personal Experience Narrative (PEN)
containing supernatural or “supranormal” content.
• Fabulate: A second or third hand retelling of a
memorate.
WHAT IS THE SUPERNATURAL?
BARBARA WALKER: COMPONENTS OF THE
SUPERNATURAL
• Objects
• Customs
• Food
• Place
• Everyday or Fleeting
• Contextual
SUPERNATURAL BELIEFS IN THE UNITED STATES
• A 2005 Gallup poll found that 3 out of 4 Americans professed some form of
paranormal belief (e.g., extrasensory perception, hauntings, ghosts, telepathy,
astrology, witches and channeling.
• A 2009 Pew Research poll found:
• 25% of respondents believed in astrology
• 16% believed in the evil eye or harmful spells
• 29% believed they had been in touch with a deceased person
• 18% reported being in the presence of a ghost
• 15% had consulted a psychic or fortuneteller
SUPERNATURAL BELIEFS IN CHINA AND THE
MIDDLE EAST
• 2005 Pew Research Survey in China: 3 in 5 people expressed
belief in the existence of one or more supernatural
phenomena, although belief in ghosts was reported at only
6%
• 2012 Pew Research Survey in the Middle East (among
Muslims only): 70% of people expressed belief in the jinn,
with 26% believing in witchcraft.
THE TRANSCENDENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL
THE SUPERNATURAL AS A MARGINALIZED SPACE
• How can the supernatural be a ‘normal’ part of our lives, yet still remain stigmatized
in public culture?

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