This one would fit squarely under the “People believe the STRANGEST things” category (if we actually had that). There is a website that collects stories of eyewitness accounts of… Santa Claus.
In the two years since [Stephen] Wagner [of Paranormal.about.com] started compiling these sightings, he has received “several hundred” submissions, and he is convinced that most of them are genuine in intent, if not verifiable in fact. His hope is that the stories will make people think a little differently about a holiday dream most of us leave behind in childhood. If nothing else, the frequency of these visions, and the sense of absolute certainty apparent in many of the people who have had them, speaks of the power this figure has over the collective imagination.
With Santa, even this standard falls away. Furthermore, these sightings sound a bit silly, which is something else serious researchers get touchy about. “I’ve never even heard of people seeing Santa,” says Loyd Auerbach, who teaches a course on parapsychology at Atlantic University in Virginia. “The Grim Reaper, yes, but not Santa.” Auerbach goes on to make a passable attempt at finding a maybe—“The only possibility of this being real is if it’s an alien or a ghost pretending to be Santa”—before giving up. “I wouldn’t put that kind of sighting in the paranormal category,” he says finally. “We can’t investigate that. There’s nothing we can do with that.”
Wagner, for his part, is adamant that Santa sightings have a legitimate place in paranormal research. “Paranormal is, by definition, something that’s beyond the norm, unknown, unexplained,” he says. “I have postings on my site about apparitions of the Virgin Mary, and I get the same kinds of reactions—‘That’s not paranormal, that’s religion.’ Well, where do you draw the line? Whether these characters are fictional or real, these are experiences that people have had that have not been explained by science.”
This is fascinating if very doubtful. There are reports of glittery, glowing Santa, of not so nice Santa, of pipe-smoking Santa. Is Santa a ghost? The details some people give are quite specific as they try to convince you their sighting really happened.
Obviously, this is EXTREME to believe such sightings are genuine but better explained by the people’s ability to see what they believe. Yes, people really do believe this stuff.