Attitudes Toward Occult-- One Study 1979
The writer's group sighed in understanding and yes, envy. The world views, the personal beliefs... the scientific discoveries... so much has changed since these books were printed. For my friend, these books gave her the perfect insight to the minds of her characters.
One never knows what odd, quirky book will pop up in those bins. I found one called Paranormal Borderlands of Science. In fact, I found this one in a box of old books for sale at my sister's college library. Published in 1981, there are still copies available at Amazon. Amazon.com: Paranormal Borderlands of Science: Books: Kendrick Frazier . I paid 50 cents.
Yes, 1981 isn't that long ago. To some of us. But with the up and down sways of public opinion in the years since, these essays are priceless. And it's a thick gathering of them on subjects such as ESP, astrology, psychics and other paranormal subjects. I thought I'd share an interesting table from a chapter called Superstitions: Old and New. It was written by William Sims Bainbridge and Rodney Stark-- both professors of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle at the time -- both multi-published authors.
This was a study given to students. They had a one in four response choice. Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree. There weren't any choices for "not sure" or "undecided." Keep in mind, some who picked "agree" might have been giving the subject the benefit of the doubt. So, no exact measurement, but a good comparison for 1979.
Attitudes Toward the Occult in the 1979 Survey of University of Washington Undergraduates.
241 With No Religion (WNR)
251 Ordinary Catholics (OC)
319 Christian Protestants (CP)
245 Born Again Christians (BAC)
The numbers after the question are the percent giving the indicated response. So 73 percent of 241 students agreed that Zen was probably of great value and so forth.
1.Agrees: "Some Eastern
practices, such as Yoga, Zen
and Transcendental Meditation
are probably of "great value"
73 WNR 66 OCs 60 CPs 28 BACs
2.Agrees: "UFOs are probably
real spaceships from other
67 WNR 66 OCs 60 CPs 43 BACs
3.Agrees: "Some occult practices
such as Tarot reading, seances
and psychic healing, are
probably of great value"
16 WNR 22 OCs 12CPs 6 BACs
4.Agrees: "I myself have had an
experience that I thought might
be an example of extra sensory
59 WNR 57 OCs 55 CPs 44 BACs
5.Respondent thinks that ESP
26 WNR 29 OCs 17CPs 17BACs
6. Respondent very strongly
dislikes "occult literature"
38 WNR 34 OCs 36 CPs 65 BACs
7. Respondent very strongly
dislikes "Your Horoscope"
29 WNR 24 OCs 23 CPs 53 BACs
Unfortunately, the table would not publish as typed, so it's a bit jumbled, but hopefully still legible. I find the fourth and fifth question responses amusing.
Also, they bring up the high number of responses to the UFO question from the born again students. It was high because of the "non" religious aspect of UFOs. One would think the arrival of aliens would turn the current system of beliefs upside down, but we all know what's said about assumptions.
This was done in 1979. I'd love to see updated versions from let's say... 1999 and then again today. Can you imagine the difference?