Curiosity may have killed the cat, but boredom killed the rest of 'em.
in Feedback / Help by Denial (12 points)

I would consider these words to be synonymous. Their dictionary definitions are pretty much identical:

"Unable to be explained by current science and the known natural world."

Of course, in culture and in practice, words often gain very unique connotations.

So, I'm curious (and although I imagine if you strictly believe these words are not interchangeable, that you forgive others interchanging them as they are so closely related), do you feel it's proper or not proper for them to be interchanged?

And, if the latter, please explain below how you feel the words differ in meaning or use.

2 Answers

by Denial (5 points)
I would personally think that in society we see them as two different categories.  Supernatural seems to refer more to folklore as in werewolves fairies and urban legends.    When one hears the phrase paranormal ghosts and spirits most often come to mind.  Although they have a similar definition I think society has categorized them differently in how we perceive them.
by Denial (25 points)
The terms are very often confused as one and the same. Paranormal refers to occurrences and events that can't be scientifically explained YET. Supernatural refers to occurrences and events that go beyond logic and can never be explained through scientific methods. So when it comes to spirits, ghosts, UFO's, cryptids, etc., are paranormal or supernatural as a matter of perspective. Non-believers should be using the term supernatural because they believe that they don't exist and will never be scientifically proven and that it is illogical for them to exist. Believers should use paranormal because we strive to provide scientific proof. My team does not work with UFO or cryptids but when it comes to spirits, basic physics does explain why they could exist but only further investigation and advancement of tech can prove their existence. So, they do seem to mean the same thing but actually differ greatly.

Jason (via Sinister Sightings Paranormal Society)
by Denial (12 points)
Yeah, it's a tough one. So many words: strange, weird, unknown, unexplained, otherworldly, metaphysical, phenomenon, and of course our paranormal and supernatural. Searching around the web, I see that it's drawn right down the middle on people who are debating that they're interchangeable and those who think they're not.

Just like the words might do themselves, we want to avoid splitting everything 50/50, this or that, or having to state "the supernatural and paranormal" every we want to discuss all possibilities. We need a strong word that encapsulates all possible unknown life and nature. I've just discovered the word preternatural, but again, like all words that currently exist, they may simply have too much baggage.

Perhaps we should coin our own term? Something like multinatural, omninatural, othernormal, othernature, or combine supernatural and paranormal: supernormal.

Supernormal doesn't seem to have too many existing attachments already, and feels comfortable saying, so that might work.
by Denial (25 points)
I agree, there should be a more distinct term or terms categorizing these things but I guarantee it would cause an uproar in the field because people are so stuck in their ways and views. Tough enough getting people to properly differentiate between paranormal and supernatural so a more specific term being created just would take to widely. I'm all for it but it would just confuse and irritate people. I generally call most any evidence we can't explain that we gather, an unknown anomaly as to not label it either one unless we can definitively say that it is this or that. It's a tough topic and there's agreements in the field for both words so sure, a better, more concise term should be used.

Jason (via Sinister Sightings Paranormal Society)
by Denial (12 points)
Haha, you're definitely not wrong that people hate change. Even if we wanted to impose a new word onto the field itself, which I'm not suggesting, we simply wouldn't have enough influence anyways.

As for here on CCC, which is what I mean, maybe we can agree to a term or phrase that embodies all possibilities outside of simply nature, opposed to having to say "supernatural and paranormal" (which you'll notice I've updated all copy to include both terms now to avoid excluding anyone) every time. Perhaps "Other Nature"?

I think I'll start a new question and ask for suggestions and perhaps we can all vote on it.
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