Eyewitness accounts of Santa. I’m not kidding.

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.

I saw paranormal Santa Claus – Ideas – The Boston Globe.

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.”

ghost santaThis 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.

  11 comments for “Eyewitness accounts of Santa. I’m not kidding.

  1. Am_Sci
    December 22, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    I honestly don’t see how Santa is any more ridiculous than ghosts or alien visitors. I’m sure I disagree Mr. Wagner on many things, but I definitely think he’s right about including the Santa sightings. This might be a good opportunity to learn about the nature of shared delusions.

  2. D. Walker
    December 22, 2012 at 6:20 AM

    You’d think everyone would know by now that Santa hangs out with Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster on Mars every Christmas these days. Sheesh !!

  3. Lisa Barth
    December 22, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Do you mean he doesn’t really live at the North Pole with a bunch of elves?? Bummer.

  4. December 22, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    The slight difference is that Santa is generally known by adults to be a fairy tale. A not insignificant part of our culture treats aliens and ghosts as real entities. Of course, that’s debatable but Santa should not be. His origins are real. However, making Santa some kind of ghost of guy who dressed up as Santa fixes their problem with that fairy tale thing.

  5. December 22, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I’ll believe in Santa when his picture miraculouly appears on a tortilla.

  6. Am_Sci
    December 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    You skeptics are so closed-minded. l left out milk and cookies on Christmas Eve and the next morning the glass was half empty and the cookie had a bite out of it. And I guess those presents just deliver themselves!

  7. Brian
    December 22, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    St. Nicholas was real. “Santa” was invented by someone in the early 20’s/30’s I think. *does google search* http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/cocacola.asp. Now, if people are seeing THIS version of santa- I’d say it’s media poisoning.

  8. spookyparadigm
    December 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    “Researchers” in the various woo fields have suppressed weird accounts for a long time. For folks who complain about mainstream paradigms, many double down in creating their own paradigms, and then enforcing them not just because accounts don’t fit their paradigm (seeing the dead during abductions, UFO sightings involving Bigfoot, and so on), but because they are well aware that if they actually report the weirder cases, it poisons the entire well, since these “fields” are just based on personal accounts, and once you start picking and choosing amongst those, it all falls apart. This tension has been in play for decades, with initially a minority of researchers admitting what gets called “high strangeness” in these fields. But in both ufology and bigfootery, with the passing of the first generation that tried to keep a scientific veneer, high strangeness is becoming more acceptable, and blended with more pseudoscientific (vs. straight mystical) ideologies.

    Which in a sense, completes the circle. Most of these “fields” were made from the stuff of folklore or even fantasy in some cases. But they obtained a patina of scientism, in spiritualism birthing parapsychology a century and change ago, and UFOs and cryptozoology getting their -ology just over 50 years ago. Now, they’re starting to head back in those directions, back to being folklore.

  9. Chew
    December 23, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    “high strangeness” Like that lady who told an assassination researcher she saw Lee Harvey Oswald and Guy Bannister working in the same office in New Orleans. And she told the researcher that she was one of only 5 people in the history of the world to have seen Jesus’ personal hand written scrolls. Guess which statement didn’t make it into the researcher’s book?

  10. spookyparadigm
    December 23, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Seriously? That bit in Stone’s film with the walk-around is brilliant film-making, and I’ve taken a group to the spot (now, amusingly enough, a federal building). But I was not aware of the scrolls thing. Is that for real? I’m not a JFK believer, and I’m well aware Garrison was either a nut or more likely hateful and corrupt. But still, that surprises even me.

  11. Chew
    December 23, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    I got that info from Posner’s book about his interview with Delphine Roberts so take it for whats it’s worth. I mangled a few details but not too badly for having read it 20 years ago. Here’s an except: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/delphine.txt

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