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The Evolution of Women in the Paranormal Field

Claire Barrand is a writer, blogger and paranormal investigator living in South Wales U.K with husband, four children and a menagerie of animals. A fascination with the paranormal began after since first seeing an apparition aged just 12, and Claire has investigated many haunted locations with her sister Linzi. Having developed skills in psychic counselling and tarot reading, Claire also has a special interest in capturing E.V.P. Fascinated by history and folklore and inspired by local legends, Claire is the resident paranormal expert writer for her local paper, the Abergavenny Chronicle. See more of her work on www.clairebarrand.com

Women involved in the paranormal field are used to being typecast into a certain category within today’s media and general society. If we tell a stranger that we are a spiritual medium, or a paranormal investigator, then we may not be “ taken seriously”. I once was singled out during a dinner party about my religious connotation, asked to clarify my beliefs in order to entertain a table full of strangers who all listened in amusement, exchanging not so subtle glances between them. The “Ghostbusters” theme tune has been played more than once in my presence, it is really very funny even after the tenth time. Take a look at most women’s magazines, for example, full of horoscopes, “ask our resident psychic”, adverts for dial a medium and Tarot Card readings fill the back pages, whereas magazine features and adverts aimed at men focus on cars, gadgets sex and beer. There has always been a strong feminine influence in the paranormal

world, so I wanted to look at why is this might be. If we delve into the past it will be clear that women have played a vital role in the world of meduimship, and the investigating of supernatural phenomenon since the Victorian era. Prior to the 1800’s there was a widespread belief both in men and women, in folklore, fairies, witches, goblins and ghouls. Those times were thick with superstition, people that believed that a sighting of any of these, perhaps in the form of a black rabbit or dog, believed to have shapeshifting abilities, would bring bad fortune and even death. Witches were believed to be predominantly women, however, and they would be tried and hanged or burnt at the stake. The appearance of ghosts, even those of loved ones, was rarely considered a welcome experience to anyone in those times, because the Catholic Church taught that the blessed were in Heaven, and the damned in Hell, they had to

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provide a space within which ghosts could operate. It was taught that apparitions were the miserable souls of those trapped, unable to rest until they had paid for their sins... so unsurprisingly it was rare for anyone to publicly confess to seeing a ghost. The Church was in trouble when people began to turn their back on conventional religion in the later part of the 19th century, so theologians began to allow a belief in ghosts, and so Spiritualism was born, and the idea that the dead communicate with the living, became a fast growing trend, especially from the 1850s. Education and changed social structures did little to affect the belief in ghosts which became widespread amongst all the classes, even royalty. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert participated in Spiritualist séances as early as 1846. We know that on July 15 that year, the clairvoyant Georgiana Eagle demonstrated her powers before the Queen at Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight.

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Haunted Magazine #16 - Women in Paranormal Special  

Women, women, women, you can't live with them but you can get them to write the features for Haunted Magazine Issue 16, and like a female ve...

Haunted Magazine #16 - Women in Paranormal Special  

Women, women, women, you can't live with them but you can get them to write the features for Haunted Magazine Issue 16, and like a female ve...