Interest in preternatural and supernatural themes has revitalized the Gothic tale, renewed explorations of psychic powers and given rise to a host of social and religious movements based upon claims of the fantastical. And yet, in spite of this widespread enthusiasm, the academic world has been slow to study this development. This volume rectifies this gap in current scholarship by serving as an interdisciplinary overview of the relationship of the paranormal to the artefacts of mass media (e.g. novels, comic books, and films) as well as the cultural practices they inspire.

After an introduction analyzing the paranormal’s relationship to religion and entertainment, the book presents essays exploring its spiritual significance in a postmodern society; its (post)modern representation in literature and film; and its embodiment in a number of contemporary cultural practices. Contributors from a number of discplines and cultural contexts address issues such as the shamanistic aspects of Batman and lesbianism in vampire mythology.

Covering many aspects of the paranormal and its effect on popular culture, this book is an important statement in the field. As such, it will be of utmost interest to scholars of religious studies as well as media, communication, and cultural studies.

chapter |10 pages


part I|94 pages

The return of the sacred

chapter 2|14 pages

Paranormal medicine

chapter 3|13 pages

The right to a narrative

Metamodernism, paranormal horror, and agency in The Cabin in the Woods

chapter 4|13 pages

The Dark Knight Rises

Shamanic transformations in Gotham City

chapter 5|10 pages

These lovers are out of this world

Sex, consent, and the rhetoric of conversion in abductee narratives

chapter 6|14 pages

The mystery of everything out there

Bigfoot and religion in the 21st century

chapter 7|13 pages

The haunters and the hunters

Popular ghost hunting and the pursuit of paranormal experience 1

part II|192 pages

The spell of occulture

chapter 8|13 pages

Religions of the red planet

Fin de siècle Martian romances

chapter 9|13 pages

Paranormal women

The “sexual revolution” and female sexuality in Hammer Studios’ Karnstein Trilogy

chapter 10|14 pages

“We’re ready to believe you!”

Spiritualism and the interpretation of paranormal experience in Ghostbusters (1984)

chapter 11|13 pages

Jesus and the undead

Resurrected bodies in scripture and the zombie apocalypse

chapter 12|13 pages

Haunting the ghost of Mark Twain

chapter 13|11 pages

Accounts of high strangeness

A Brazilian perspective on the paranormal and popular culture

chapter 14|14 pages

How the Necronomicon became real

The ecology of a legend

chapter 16|13 pages

“What would you do when …?”

Ostensive play in the zombie apocalypse narrative

chapter 19|22 pages

When did fairies get wings?

chapter 20|14 pages

A contactee canon

Gray Barker’s Saucerian Books

chapter |8 pages