Learning objective: To use critical thinking in explaining the concept of the supernatural
Many people talk about the supernatural world or supernatural events. We have prepared a chart with some situations. Read each story and decide whether this event is natural or supernatural, based on your experience. Use the right column of the chart to write the reasons that support your opinion
Natural or supernatural?
1. Your best friend was absent from school yesterday. Today she came back with a cast leg. She said she had a car accident, but she can't remember anything.
Your friend could be suffering from memory loss related to the accident. Not remembering a broken leg could be a result of shock or a blow to the head; it doesn’t have to be supernatural.
2. This little kid is followed by a gang of classmates determined this time to catch him and beat him up well. The kid jumps some trash cans in the school yard. The others corner him. There's no escape. He jumps again and all of a sudden he realizes that he is on the rooftop. He later gets reprimanded by the principal for walking on the school roof.
I consider this to be supernatural because there is no way to physically explain how a kid can jump up onto a rooftop. He also can’t remember how he got onto the roof and can’t get back down, which shows it was a strange, one-time happening.
3. In my dream grandmother told me that 2,6, and 7 are my lucky numbers. I played the lottery the next day and I won 5,000 dollars!
I personally think that this was a coincidence. I would bet that most of the dreams that involve someone telling someone else lucky numbers are probably the byproducts of a spicy dinner. It doesn’t seem supernatural to me.
4. The leader saw the enemy approaching. His own people were weary and discouraged. They wouldn't last a minute the emperor's disciplined and well-armed troops. Just in front of him the sea was calm, deep, and endless. It prevented any escape from death and captivity. But he knew what to do. He stroked the land with his cane and all of a sudden the waters departed. There was now a path in the middle of the sea where his people could walk away from danger.
There’s no way to explain a calm sea parting before a person besides by a supernatural force. This story sounds something like the story of Moses, who parted the Red Sea with the help of God. This is outside human ability to part a gigantic body of water, and is definitely a supernatural occurrence.
5. His great-great-grandfather at the beginning of time was the prairie buffalo, the one that gives his tribe strength and courage to battle enemies and storms. Every Indian knows this fundamental fact and respects the buffalo and all living animals.
All Indian tribes have legends, and this is probably an example of one. This is probably just a story to make sure that all Indians respect nature and its abundance. The great-great-grandfather wasn’t a buffalo at the beginning of time; it is only folklore.
Give examples of a natural event and another example of a supernatural event. What about an event you are not sure of? Use your own life and experience. Write at least an event and be prepared to motivate why you placed that event in one of these three categories.
You are not sure?
I woke up one morning remembering a strange dream that I had had about a pop quiz in Social Studies. Sure enough, later that day the teacher handed out a pop quiz. I, luckily, had been prepared and was ready to take it.
I had just gotten off of the bus and was about to run across the street to my house. I dropped something, and had to stop a few seconds to pick it up. When I began again, a car whizzed right by in the place that I’d have been had I not picked up the item. The rearview mirror nearly grazed my shoulder. Had I not stopped for a second, I would’ve been hit.
One night in Kokomo, we heard a large booming noise. We looked up into the air and saw a fiery object flying towards the ground at an incredible speed. We looked at the paper the next day, and found that the military claimed responsibility and that it was a test on weapons aboard fighter planes. However, no planes were supposed to have flown near such a crowded city testing weapons. Also, No such planes were scheduled to fly in the area by the military.
This is a natural event because it was just a gut feeling that I had the quiz. There was no way I could be for certain, but it wasn’t outside of the ability. It was yet another coincidence.
This event was too strange to be considered natural. I had dropped an object before walking across a street and narrowly being missed by a car. It seems too extraordinary that I had dropped an item which had bought me a few seconds to avoid being hit the only time a car doesn’t stop at a stopped school bus.
I don’t know whether this event was natural or supernatural. On one side, the military claimed responsibility for the action, claiming it was a test. On another hand, it was found out that no planes were scheduled to fly in that area. It seemed strange that a giant ball of fire would go streaming down into the ground as a military test. However, I could be completely wrong and it could’ve been a test. I can’t determine it.
Aim: How Do Some People Explain the Supernatural?
There are numerous ways of explaining the supernatural. Let us present one of them.
There are two different worlds that stay separated most of the time. Sometimes, not quite often, these two worlds come into contact. This is when supernatural creatures visit the natural world for a short time.
In the world of fairy tales and ancient myths, there is also the possibility that the most powerful heroes find a way to the supernatural world: they slay dragons, they battle monsters and witches, and they even visit the world of the dead. Gilgamesh, Hercules, and Orpheus went there to prove their power or to search for answers.
Some of you saw Harry Potter, the movie, or you read the book. Remember Fluffy, the three-headed dog that guards the Sorcerer's Stone? Fluffy is in fact Cerberus, the monster whose only weakness is the sound of music. This is how Orpheus convinced him to let him into the Underworld to look for his dead wife, Eurydice.
1. Do you know of any other way of explaining the supernatural? Suggestion: Use this quote to draft another possible answer:
"The supernatural is the natural not yet understood"
I think that the supernatural is just the undiscovered parts of our world. For example, the giant sea monsters that used to plague the sailors of the seas. However, it has been found that what used to be a feared monster is only an animal called the oarfish. The oarfish is around twenty feet long, and can’t sink a ship or attack it in any way. Until the oarfish was discovered, though, people still believed in mysterious sea monsters that would attack and sink vessels. The supernatural world and normal world aren’t two separate entities; they are the same world, but one is the undiscovered and the other is the discovered. As soon as we can prove or disprove creatures like the Loch Ness monsters and the moth men of the world, the mysteries of supernatural will no longer be mysteries.
However, the supernatural may also be explained as things that we have proof of but do not understand. For example, this includes spontaneous combustion and ball lighting. These are occurrences that have been caught on tape or seen by humans, but scientists still can’t understand how these phenomenons happen. When we can finally create ball lightning or find the chemicals that cause spontaneous combustion, these will not be supernatural to us. Another example is ghosts; they’re caught on tape, but can’t be explained. However, if we ever learn what ghosts are, they’ll finally be proved or disapproved. These things may be uncommon in the future, but when we understand what factors cause these happenings they’ll be part of the normal world.
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