What makes a phenomenon “supernatural?” Is it our inability to explain it? Does defying the laws of nature justify the label? Today it seems synonymous with “impossible,” or “fantasy,” but that wasn’t always the case. Centuries ago, before we established a mature, scientific understanding of the world, the unexplainable was commonplace. We observed, developed ideas of the governing systems, and defined what was possible. We reinforced and refined those ideas through generations of systematic experimentation. And while scientists explored generalities, explorers reached out to the distant corners of the earth. Advances in transportation and communication brought isolated peoples together. We shared and learned the difference between myth and reality. In a world where almost half the earth’s population carries a camera in their pocket, it’s assumed that if something hasn’t been photographed, it probably doesn’t exist.

But we are wrong. Like the blind men and the elephant, our understanding is based on an incomplete picture. A rock-steady worldview built on the unsteady sands of a tiny sample of time. Our science can’t explain the world of a thousand years ago. It was a time of unlikely events, fantastic creatures, magic, and “supernatural” phenomena. Secret masters pulled strings and rewarded the bold. The impossible was rare, and the unexplained was everywhere. Things come and go, and by the 16th century most of what we consider “supernatural” was beginning to fade into myth and legend.

The powers that be have turned their attention to our blue marble once again. Their purpose is unknown, and their methods are brutal. With them, if not because of them, supernatural phenomena are slowly returning. But in a world with a global economy and viral videos such things, however slow, are bound to be explosive.

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