Sunday, August 16, 2015

Varieties of weirdness viewers

Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog is a continual delight, and I was amused by this paragraph in a recent post which was, initially, about the number of people who have hallucinations:
Beach has had some experience with collecting fairy reports: that is children, men and women who believe they have seen an entity that they would describe as a fairy, here is a little (ahem) ‘wisdom’. Those who see fairies split neatly into two groups: there are the shamanic mystics and the Joe Publics. Mystics are individuals who have recurrent visionary events throughout their lives: the lady who is presently cleaning the Beach family kitchen has spotted fairies in the garden; she has encountered ghosts and she has ‘feelings’ and ‘instincts’ that she chooses to act upon. In short, she would have been burnt alive in the sixteenth century, whereas today she is pleasantly eccentric company and a bad influence on the kids. Joe Publics, on the other hand, are those who have never had these experiences prior to a one off bizarre event. Some will absorb it, some will ignore it, some will eventually discount it. Back in the sixteenth century they were doing the burning, and if they did see aliens with tin-foil helmets descending from the sky they shut the hell up or blamed their neighbours.

The second category is more interesting than the first, because their experiences demand more of an explanation.

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