The last one.
All my life I've had a love/hate relationship with science.
In school I loved literature for its parables of the human soul, for its magic and mystery of myth and legend -- and excelled in math and physics.
So, regarding the supernatural, I am a skeptic who yearns to believe.
While tossing files last week I came across a newspaper clipping from 7 July, 1999 ( Nicholas D. Kristof, The National Post) discussing a disorder called sleep paralysis.
The article goes a long way toward destroying the anecdotal evidence used to support various claims of alien abductions, flying broomsticks (the primitive tech version,) demon attacks, perhaps even near-death experiences and visitations from the dead.
According to Kristof, sleep paralysis has been reported in many cultures from antiquity.
In China, the condition is described as gui ya - ghost pressure. The Japanese call it kanashibari. In the West Indies: kokma; in Newfoundland: old hag.
The symptoms remain remarkably similar, only the interpretations of the hallucinations vary.
Researchers explain these illusions (of transportation/panic /suffocation /malignant presence) occur when the body is still in REM sleep but the mind had disconnected from dream and is half-awake.
Seems logical. Ah well.
And then I think that science has merely provided an explanation for the conditions of the event. Moreover, at basis, the research remains anecdotal.
And while I don't really believe my dead father walked into my bedroom and spoke to me early one morning, still...
Skepticism goes both ways.