The term "supernatural" comes from the Latin supra and natura, meaning "above nature." What does "preternatural" mean?
If an occurrence is described as preternatural, then it's beyond nature and our understanding of the natural world. In practice, however, such occurrences also fall under the classification of supernatural as well.
Question 2 of 10
You might know ectoplasm as the glowing, milky-white mucus allegedly exuded by spirit mediums as a physical manifestation of supernatural energy. Or perhaps you just saw "Ghost Busters" and think of it as green slime. Hey, one's just as real as the other. But which of the following was not used as fake ectoplasm among 19th century spirit mediums?
Green gelatin didn't make the ectoplasm cut. Cheesecloth, however, was a favorite ectoplasm of many a Victorian con artist, especially when moistened and secreted away in a garment or a handy orifice. Skeptics also observed the use of animal entrails.
Question 3 of 10
Let's step outside for a moment, away from the stink of all that rancid cheesecloth. What's this? An intricate geometric pattern pressed into the fields by gods, aliens or bored English farmers? Yes, it's a crop circle, one of Earth's most beloved supernatural phenomena. When were they first reported?
Crop circles really became a craze in the 20th century, but the earliest mention dates back to the 1500s. Much later, a 17th century English woodcut would show a "mowing devil" making a crop circle.
Question 4 of 10
If you find the prospect of prancing devils in the countryside ridiculous, then you might be surprised to learn how often they figure into English folklore and paranormal occurrences. Which of the following acts are devils not charged with in the United Kingdom?
jumping over London walls and clawing at people
cutting up prostitutes in Whitechapel
In the 19th century, Londoners freaked out over what was allegedly a fence-jumping, claw-happy devil. In 1855 and 2009, residents of Devon observed what appeared to them to be devil's footprints in the snow. The idea that Jack the Ripper, too, was actually a maniacal cloven-hoofed humanoid, however, isn’t a popular theory among serious Ripperologists.
leaving hoof prints in the snow around Devon
Question 5 of 10
Who coined the term "unidentified flying object" (UFO)?
the U.S. Air Force
Around the middle of the 20th century, the U.S. Air Force coined the phrase "unidentified flying object" as a catchall for unknown lights and discs spotted in the sky. The term can refer to everything from a weather balloon to the intergalactic starship of a corn-hungry extraterrestrial race.
Question 6 of 10
If you've glimpsed a UFO in the sky, then you've experienced what UFOlogists refer to as a "close encounter." As we know from the movies, a close encounter of the first kind occurs when Richard Dreyfuss sees (and is hugged by) aliens. The fourth kind occurs when aliens abduct Milla Jovovich. Seven different "kinds" have been established by varying authors. Which one involves a joint contact made as a result of a conscious human effort to reach extraterrestrial life?
the fifth kind
In the event that humans were to make first contact with an alien civilization, we'd have a close encounter of the fifth kind on our hands. The sixth kind results in death, and the seventh kind leads to human/alien hybridization.
the sixth kind
the seventh kind
Question 7 of 10
We're done probing you for extraterrestrial knowledge. Let's turn back to inner space and the world of parapsychology. If precognition is the ability to see the future, what do we call the ability to see into the distant past?
Retrocognition refers to the ability to see the distant past. If you happen to have precognition, of course, you already knew that was going to be the answer.
Question 8 of 10
Spontaneous human combustion continues to fascinate us, with theories ranging from exploding intestinal methane to psychokinetic powers. In which Charles Dickens novel does a character spontaneously combust?
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood"
Charles Dickens ignited great interest in spontaneous human combustion by using it to kill off an alcoholic character named Krook in "Bleak House." This followed the belief at the time that spontaneous human combustion was caused by excessive amounts of alcohol in the body.
A character spontaneously combusts in every Charles Dickens novel, with the exception of "A Christmas Carol."
Question 9 of 10
Speaking of "A Christmas Carol," what about ghosts? If Jacob Marley were to rattle his chains in someone's bedroom today, what piece of equipment would a modern ghost hunter want to use on him?
a neutrino wand
a PKE meter
an EMF meter
Neutrino wands and psycho-kinetic energy meters are fine devices to have if you exist within the fictional world of 1984's "Ghost Busters." In real life, however, ghost hunters are more likely to use an electromagnetic field meter.
Question 10 of 10
We all know who to call when some sort of Old Testament nasty takes possession of a child actress: the exorcist. As it turns out, Christians don't have a monopoly on exorcism. Judaism, Hinduism and Islam all boast traditional approaches to demon expulsion as well. Which of the following is not an actual exorcism rite?
carving a cross into the possessed
Offer the gods some sweets and, by all means, burn some pig excrement, but please don't carve any crosses into the possessed individual.