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The Psychology of Cryptid Belief


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#1    Fstop

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:49 AM

I've been coming here to the forums a while now and have pretty much read all the discussions on cryptids. In the end it all boils down to the skeptics saying "if it exists, then where is the evidence?" and the believers saying "when so many people have seen ______, how could it be fake - and prove it doesn't exist, then."

Neither side is going to get their way. There will never be any objective evidence for any of the cryptids that are bandied about in this forum, neither also will any proof of their non-existence be posited...as it is impossible to prove a negative.

So how about we talk about a different subject, but one related to the overall debate?  Lets talk about the psychology of our beliefs or non-beliefs in cryptids.

What causes a person to believe fervently in an animal that doesn't play by all the rules that all the other animals play by?  In some cases believers are people who have had personal experiences.  But for most of us, that is probably not the case.  I was a believer at one point and had never experienced anything paranormal.

Conversely, what is it about a skeptic's mind that makes it possible to dismiss all the things that make believer's so sure?

Our beliefs and our refusal to accept belief all come from somewhere.  Where?

We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. – Anais Nin

#2    keninsc

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:36 PM

That can be a deep subject. Why do we believe in anything that is not tangible? Religion, cryptids, old wives' tales?

There's a whole myriad of reasons people believe in the things they do, could be they simply wish to think there is more than the ordinary to life or they are simply looking to connect with others who do believe.


#3    QuiteContrary

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 04:18 PM

Yes, I agree with keninsc.

There are also many "stages" of  belief as those of us who used to believe in bigfoot can remember.
A person passes through stages of belief where it is strengthened or weakened or held or lost and then maybe later vice versa.

What changes to affect our stages of belief? That list is long.

But a couple simplistic examples might be:
For some of us, to weaken or "end" our belief, all that is needed is when the information, "facts", etc  just doesn't add up .
For some of us, to strengthen or "ensure" or "assure" our belief all that is needed is a zealousness,  a hope,  and others who share the belief.

Edited by QuiteContrary, 18 June 2013 - 04:19 PM.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#4    Slave2Fate

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:26 PM

View PostQuiteContrary, on 18 June 2013 - 04:18 PM, said:

...and others who share the belief.

I think this is a very large part of the psychology of belief.

Disbelief on the other hand usually comes about on a personal level when there is a disconnect between what we know* to be true and what we are told is true.


*know, in this case can be considered a very strong belief as well.

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#5    Fstop

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:45 PM

One thing that I am curious about is related to those members who are believers.  I used to be and was confident that my beliefs were solid.  I think part of that was due to my rebellious inner self that has issues with authority and refused to accept that science did not support existence in cryptids.  Its interesting to me that as I've aged I've become more reliant on believing in what can be objectively demonstrated to me.  Hence my current position as a skeptic.

Has anyone else here undergone that sort of shift?  From believer to skeptic or vice-versa?  What caused it?  How does it affect you now?

Edited by Fstop, 18 June 2013 - 10:45 PM.

We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. – Anais Nin

#6    keninsc

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:49 AM

I was once curious about them, then I became a skeptic. However, I'm now open to the possibility that there might well be a large primate in North America. That's not to say that ever time I read something someone posts or see a new video I'm getting all excited. All-too-many times they turn out to be hoaxes or misidentifications.

So I guess I'm sort of all over the place.


#7    QuiteContrary

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:52 AM

I am rebellious as well. "Down with the Establishment! :tu: " And like to ask questions no matter how unpleasant they may be. So as a believer when I began asking “unpleasant” questions on  bigfoot forums, I was chastised and of course no one satisfactorily answered my questions.

I realized my questions had merit, I had nothing to be ashamed of and the bolder I got, the more questions I had, and the more I saw their information or “answers” made little if any sense or were chastised without a logical reason given. This was not only my experience, as I watched other "questionners" rebutted unfairly and unsatisfactorily as well.

This has helped me to continue to ask more questions without apprehension when it comes to cryptids and paranormal Internet stuff and TV shows and books and speakers (and other stuff too).  And so far, has confirmed for me, personally, that my skepticism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Edited by QuiteContrary, 19 June 2013 - 12:53 AM.

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#8    keninsc

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 08:21 AM

I would add that the only reason I changed up and became "open" to the possibility was due to two friends of mine confiding in me that they had actually seen a Bigfoot. The two didn't know each other, one was in Georgia and the other in Virginia. Both had military backgrounds and one was a law enforcement officer, now yes, I do know that this means little to anyone else. The stories they told me are anecdotal at best, what makes the difference in my case is I knew both these guys personally and well. Telling something like this as a joke and keeping it going for all the years they did was just not in their nature. I would also say that both men gave up hunting or venturing out into the woods after their encounters........which seems to be an odd trait with many who've claimed to see one. I can say that both were armed at the time and out deer hunting, one actually had the creature in his sights and just couldn't pull the trigger because it wasn't threatening him and it looked remarkably human. The second was pretty sure the critter saw him or where he was, he was using a ghillie blanket to break up his silhouette, however he said the thing looked up at him and gave a growl/roar/nasty/p***ed off sound and took off away from him.

I know that this story will mean little to anyone but me and I'm good with that. Personally, the only thing I've ever encountered in all my time spent hiking, hunting, camping and just plain getting out in the woods is a funky smell once that I'd never smelled before and haven't smelled since.

Anyway, this is the reason I'm now more open to the possibility of such a creature being out and about, now having said that. It's sort of like a UFO sighting, people report seeing them, there's some pictures and video, none of which are conclusive.


#9    Farmer77

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 06:37 AM

View PostFstop, on 18 June 2013 - 03:49 AM, said:

I've been coming here to the forums a while now and have pretty much read all the discussions on cryptids. In the end it all boils down to the skeptics saying "if it exists, then where is the evidence?" and the believers saying "when so many people have seen ______, how could it be fake - and prove it doesn't exist, then."

Neither side is going to get their way. There will never be any objective evidence for any of the cryptids that are bandied about in this forum, neither also will any proof of their non-existence be posited...as it is impossible to prove a negative.

So how about we talk about a different subject, but one related to the overall debate?  Lets talk about the psychology of our beliefs or non-beliefs in cryptids.

What causes a person to believe fervently in an animal that doesn't play by all the rules that all the other animals play by?  In some cases believers are people who have had personal experiences.  But for most of us, that is probably not the case.  I was a believer at one point and had never experienced anything paranormal.

Conversely, what is it about a skeptic's mind that makes it possible to dismiss all the things that make believer's so sure?

Our beliefs and our refusal to accept belief all come from somewhere.  Where?

For me I've been absolutely blessed to witness ghosts, shadowpeople (ok that sucked), and several different types of ''UFO"(I got binocs on the giant triangle,call the rest swamp gas if ya want) so I know that weird **** happens. Point is the unexplained and the impossible are out there so why not a relic species living in secrecy here and there?

I don't suffer from insanity, I rather enjoy it

#10    Papagiorgio

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:54 AM

View PostFstop, on 18 June 2013 - 10:45 PM, said:

One thing that I am curious about is related to those members who are believers.  I used to be and was confident that my beliefs were solid.  I think part of that was due to my rebellious inner self that has issues with authority and refused to accept that science did not support existence in cryptids.  Its interesting to me that as I've aged I've become more reliant on believing in what can be objectively demonstrated to me.  Hence my current position as a skeptic.

Has anyone else here undergone that sort of shift?  From believer to skeptic or vice-versa?  What caused it?  How does it affect you now?
I have pretty much undergone the same shift from believer to skeptic. When I was younger I was an a believer in everything paranormal. I think growing up, and learning how the world works is what caused the shift. The more I looked into things like Bigfoot, and Nessie the less likely they seemed. I have learned that there are enough amazing things in this world that are definitely real to keep me occupied, I don't need the paranormal to be real the way I used to. I try to remain open minded, and if new evidence is presented I will re-examine things.

I'm just saying.

#11    Erowin

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 05:43 AM

It is my firm belief (as an ex-believer) that it stems from the need to believe our world is more magical than it is. Realizing there are no ghosts, bigfoots, aliens visiting us, etc. just makes the world dull and lifeless.  Its less fun this way, but I want to embrace reality. Hearing a good mystery or eye witness account you WANT to believe it so bad you do. Nevermind theres no actual evidence that could stand- its true because it NEEDS to be.

However, I think there is still some amazing things and mysteries out there that aren't paranormal. Thats why I look to space as the next amazing adventure. Humans have a believing brain, we evolved to be superstitious and believe in Gods, dieties, spirits, monsters, auras, energies, strange occurences others see as coincidence or a trick of the mind. Its part of who we are, and isn't an easy mindframe to break out of. There will ALWAYS be superstition and religion- though there are always some who break from the mindframe to see reality clearly... as painful as it might be.


#12    Fstop

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:04 AM

View PostErowin, on 01 July 2013 - 05:43 AM, said:

It is my firm belief (as an ex-believer) that it stems from the need to believe our world is more magical than it is. Realizing there are no ghosts, bigfoots, aliens visiting us, etc. just makes the world dull and lifeless.  Its less fun this way, but I want to embrace reality. Hearing a good mystery or eye witness account you WANT to believe it so bad you do. Nevermind theres no actual evidence that could stand- its true because it NEEDS to be.

However, I think there is still some amazing things and mysteries out there that aren't paranormal. Thats why I look to space as the next amazing adventure. Humans have a believing brain, we evolved to be superstitious and believe in Gods, dieties, spirits, monsters, auras, energies, strange occurences others see as coincidence or a trick of the mind. Its part of who we are, and isn't an easy mindframe to break out of. There will ALWAYS be superstition and religion- though there are always some who break from the mindframe to see reality clearly... as painful as it might be.

I like your post.  What I want to differ on is that the world is FAR from boring, even without believing in woo.  The natural world is just chock full of fantastic things that are real and have been documented by science.  I used to be jealous of those people for whom belief is easy, but my mind has shifted since. I don't need to load the world around me with pretendings - I can access and appreciate its wonder without relying on myths and fairytales.   I love that :)

We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. – Anais Nin

#13    Insanity

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:28 AM

View PostFstop, on 02 July 2013 - 04:04 AM, said:

I like your post.  What I want to differ on is that the world is FAR from boring, even without believing in woo.  The natural world is just chock full of fantastic things that are real and have been documented by science.  I used to be jealous of those people for whom belief is easy, but my mind has shifted since. I don't need to load the world around me with pretendings - I can access and appreciate its wonder without relying on myths and fairytales.   I love that :)

Death seems appropriate to quote here, "Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom." - Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

"We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." - H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond" Published 1934

#14    CHRIS_UK

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 04:32 PM

Personally i am a Believer. I Believe in things that make plausible, rational sense. I am a curious, but realistic person.

I love anything to do with unexplained mysteries, regardless of genre (crypto, alien, paranormal etc) but i just cannot believe in
certain things.

It is well known that people lie. They make things up. Social status and trustability to me means nothing. I was always told,
that the only person you can trust is yourself. Chinese Whispers was so called because in such a short line of people, things get
manipulated and changed so much that a simple fact can turn into a tsunami of total b******s.

I do believe that people see, hear, experience things. I also believe that 99% of the time these things could be rationally explained.
I have had many experiences myself, but i always rule every possibility out before deciding on my belief. I also happen to know that
people like to manipulate other people for fun. These people are the hoaxers of the world, who will make up a whole lifetime lie, plainly
to dupe people.

I'm not a miserable person, far from it, i never stop smiling, but i just cannot believe in certain things. People and their minds are too
complicated to just believe everything that gets seen or said. Things have to be explored and looked into to uncover the real truth. Another
reason for this is technology. Nowadays so much is possible, and that makes hoaxing easier and things harder to believe.

I'm a Skeptilever :clap:





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