Anomalous phenomenon

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An anomalous phenomenon is an observed phenomenon for which there is no suitable explanation in the context of a specific body of scientific knowledge, e.g., astronomy or biology.

Many bodies of knowledge exhibit "anomaly gaps" where theory does not explain (or seem to explain) one or more observations. Common examples though are out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, extrasensory perception, ghosts, UFOs, alien abductions and close encounters.

These concepts are not widely accepted as real by mainstream scientists, some of whom go as far as calling the study of them pseudoscience. Other anomalous phenomena verge into the fringes of what is known as pathological science, such as cold fusion; while there are some serious, competent scientists researching the phenomenon, there are also many less competent, biased cranks, and even cultists.

As the body of knowledge available expands, some anomalies are incorporated into an explanatory framework and lose their standing as anomalies. For instance, while the idea of stones falling from the sky was long ridiculed, meteorites are now acknowledged and well understood.

Often used as a synonym, but actually a subclass, are the paranormal phenomena studied by parapsychology.

Paranormal phenomena can be divided into three main classes:


Written works

Classical civilization included unique signs and prodigies of nature in works of paradoxography such as The Phaenomena (240 BC) by Aratus of Soli.

Inoue Enryo, a Japanese educator and philosopher, authored the six-volume The Study of Yōkai (妖怪学). As a result, he was best known as Dr. Ghost (お化け博士) or Dr. Yōkai (妖怪博士).

Charles Fort, in his four works on anomalies, lambasted and ridiculed the scientists of his day for their shortsightedness. Some of the anomalies listed in his work have been explained and incorporated into modern science, while others continue to be unexplained.

William R. Corliss' Science Frontiers has covered reports in the scientific literature regarding anomalies for years. He, through his Sourcebook Project, has published a large body of reports collected in many of the scientific disciplines.

Leonard George, a psychologist who specializes in anomalous phenomena, compiled an authoritative encyclopedia of unusual experiences, activities, and beliefs in his 1995 book Alternative Realities.

Fortean Times, a British monthly magazine, continues in the spirit of Fort's work by publishing reports of anomalous phenomena and longer investigative articles.

The Anomalist, edited by Patrick Huyghe and Dennis Stacy, is another magazine/journal devoted to the study of anomalies (which may be called anomalistics).

Strange Magazine ( is another magazine devoted to the study of anomalies in the spirit of Fort's work.

Adventures Unlimited (, edited by The World Explorer's Club, is another magazine dedicated to exotic travel, lost cities, ancient mysteries and other anomalous phenomena.

See also

External links


Further reading

  • Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena: Eyewitness Accounts of Nature's Greatest Mysteries, William R. Corliss, Anchor Press, Doubleday, 1983, trade paperback, 423 pages, ISBN 0-385-14754-6
  • Remote Viewing Secrets, Joseph McMoneagle, Hampton Roads, 2000, paperback, 296 pages, ISBN 1-57174-159-3
  • The Conscious Universe, Dean Radin PhD, Harper, 1997, hardback, 362 pages, ISBN 0-06-251502-0
  • Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources. John Klimo, St. Martins Press, 1987. ISBN 0874774314
  • Mr. Wilson's Cabinet Of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, Lawrence Weschler, 1996, trade paperback, 192 pages, ISBN 0679764895 (see web site link above)fa:فراهنجار

fr:Paranormal it:paranormale ja:超常現象 ro:Paranormal ru:Аномальные явления


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