The “anything goes” attitude in parapsychology, which seems to lend credence to virtually any “paranormal” claim, serves to weaken the credibility of parapsychological endeavors in the eyes of critics. This general willingness to suspend doubt is another indication that parapsychology is more than the quest to explain anomalous experiences, as is claimed. It is argued in this paper that parapsychological inquiry reflects the attempt to establish the reality of a nonmaterial aspect of human existence, rather than a search for explanations for anomalous phenomena.
Many researchers have examined psychological differences between people who believe in the paranormal and people who do not believe in the paranormal (see, e.g., French, 1992; Irwin, 1993). For example, such beliefs have been found to be positively correlated with creativity and sensation seeking (Davis, Peterson, & Farley, 1974), hypnotic susceptibility (Wagner & Ratzeburg, 1987), neuroticism (Windholtz & Diamant, 1974), fantasy proneness (Irwin, 1991a), and ostensible psi ability (Lawrence, 1993).