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What Do Youth Believe In? They Believe in Theresa Caputo!

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
The Medium is the Message Alright

Theresa_caputo1.jpg
I completed an informal paranormal poll in a grade 12 academic class during a lesson on critical literacy, for kids about 18 years of age getting ready to head to university. The results were fascinating and worth sharing. While the sample size was small (21), i feel that for reasons provided it's probably indicative of what informs youth in general when it comes to the paranormal and UFO's.

So out of 21 students the following results demonstrate how many kids believed the topic was real and probably true. I provided minimal explanation for these topics - just enough for those unfamiliar with the topic to understand a simple definition of the term. I kept a straight and serious face throughout the voting and explanations. It's interesting to note which areas were of most concern to them:

UFO's are visiting earth: 6/21
Ghosts - the dead wander lost on earth: 8/21
Time Slips - people move in and out of time periods while in the same physical location: 3/21
Spirits and Mediums have real skill: 14/21
Dreams of the dead = contact with the dead: 11/21
Ouija Boards help to contact the dead: 8/21
Reincarnation happens again and again to people: 4/21
Bigfoot is a hairy unknown hominid living in the woods of the west coast: 1/21
Remote Viewing (people can see geographic co-ordinates in their head): 0/21
Telepathy (mind reading): 0/21
Telekinesis (moving stuff with your mind): 0/21

They categorically rejected mind powers - thought that this was ridiculous, but they were very convinced that mortality is not the whole story, that we can contact the dead in various ways, and that mediums are particularly good at their ability to do this. About a third were into the notion that UFO's are in fact alien ships - very ETH, but hardly any had any knowledge or any real concern for Bigfoot. He's just not part of their media culture landscape. When't the last time Bigfoot tweeted?
sad_bigfoot.jpg
They didn't really have a clear explanation as to why they thought ghosts existed, or how Ouija Boards worked, if at all, but they were all very big on dreams, dream symbolism and about half of them were convinced that dreams of the dead meant contacting the dead. One student told an excellent story of a young sister who was born the day a grandparent died and has continued over the years, since being able to speak, to relay messages from gramps to specific family members about unique and specific elements, mentioning a specific clothing item in one case, and in telling another adult not to worry any more - this had the audience very engaged. Their family was convinced that this child was in fact in contact with dead grandpa.

But when it came to explaining why they were certain that mediums were the real deal - one thing was clear, Theresa Caputo has shown them the light and they believe her stories and the media constructions that she spins up various sequences of human emotional exploitation. Just goes to show that the medium really is the message, at least for teens circa 2014.
 

Wade

FeralNormal master
pretty interesting results, they obviously connect with the idea of some kind of contact from the afterlife more than anything else. I've never watched the long island medium ( i had to google her to get some perspective) but it appears many of your students watch The Learning Channel, maybe you should tell them about the Paracast
 

Digital Trickster

Paranormal Maven
Very interesting results.

Curious what would have been results had you asked how many believe in ETs period vs the fact of them visiting earth.
 

boomerang

Paranormal Adept
The Medium is the Message Alright

I completed an informal paranormal poll in a grade 12 academic class during a lesson on critical literacy, for kids about 18 years of age getting ready to head to university. The results were fascinating and worth sharing. While the sample size was small (21), i feel that for reasons provided it's probably indicative of what informs youth in general when it comes to the paranormal and UFO's.
Very interesting !
 

nameless

Paranormal Adept
should have asked them if they believed in heaven and god(s) too and wether or not it plays a part in everyday lives.
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
i dont understand the picture you used?
Today's pop culture is even more ephemeral and disposable than it's ever been before. I was going to pick one of her standard big hair shots, like she walked off of the set from Hairspray, but I thought this artist's rendition was more appropriate. This version, which defines her as part of trash culture, seemed to me to be a stronger comment on both media influence and constructed, mediated values.
 


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