Dictionary.com defines it as;
“of or pertaining to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation.”
Wikipedia says this about the word paranormal; “a general term that designates experiences that lie outside the range of normal experience or scientific explanation or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure.”
That sure sounds like UFOs to me although one might argue about the ability to measure UFOs. Many times a field investigator is able, based on the information provided by the witness, to measure how large a UFO is, how high it is, or how fast it has traveled. These are all measurements that help one determine if it is a known object, or something unusual, which at MUFON we label as an “Unknown”. If we are unable to determine after a thorough investigation what it is, then it ends up in the “unknown” bucket and is saved for further scientific research. In other words it remains outside of science’s current ability to be explained and hence meets the definition of the word paranormal.
The sticky point is when one begins to bring in other paranormal subjects like ghosts, Bigfoot, ESP, etc. On the classification of paranormal subjects, Terence Hines in his book Pseudoscience and the Paranormal (2003) wrote:
“The paranormal can best be thought of as a subset of pseudoscience. What sets the paranormal apart from other pseudo sciences is a reliance on explanations for alleged phenomena that are well outside the bounds of established science. Thus, paranormal phenomena include extrasensory perception (ESP), telekinesis, ghosts, poltergeists, life after death, reincarnation, faith healing, human auras, and so forth. The explanations for these allied phenomena are phrased in vague terms of “psychic forces,” “human energy fields,” and so on. This is in contrast to many pseudoscientific explanations for other non-paranormal phenomena, which, although very bad science, are still couched in acceptable scientific terms. The most notable paranormal beliefs include those that pertain to ghosts, extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects and cryptids.”
The common thread through Mr. Hines thoughts above again is not being able to explain these phenomena in “acceptable scientific terms” hence they become part of the paranormal bucket. On a different note, there appears to be some correlation between many of these events. For example, many people who report seeing a UFO have also reported seeing a ghost at some time in their lifetime. Orbs are many times reported in ghost encounters in addition to us at MUFON as UFOs. Also, some Bigfoot sightings also have a UFO reported as being seen in the same area where a Bigfoot was sighted. Could all of these somehow be related? Many within MUFON believe a correlation exists. Or perhaps, the same mechanism is used for how they are perceived by the human mind. Consciousness and how the human mind interprets or creates reality seems to be at play here. Which is a whole other field of study, or is it?
All this said, MUFON’s mission is the scientific study of UFOs for the purpose of determining the true nature and reality of UFOs, thus removing them from the realm of the unknown and by doing so, also remove them from the paranormal bucket. So although UFOs are part of the paranormal world at present (until we can satisfactorily explain UFOs in acceptable scientific terms), we at MUFON are not all things paranormal. Unless of course one of those inexplicable things shows up in the same witness testimony as a UFO. I guess the best that can be said is, it truly is a strange world that God created. Now it’s our job to figure it all out, and I can’t think of anything more exciting to do! Can you?