Paranormal activity or witchcraft? These are some of the ‘scariest’ courses to study

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Are you curious about ghosts and paranormal activities? Do you love bingeing on “BuzzFeed Unsolved” on YouTube, where paranormal investigations are conducted? Do you love reading about all things supernatural? 

If that sounds right up your alley, you might be heartened to know that some of the world’s top universities offer a variety of “scary” courses where you will learn about the devil, witchcraft, ghosts, and more.

paranormal activity

The success of “Buzzfeed Unsolved” on YouTube shows that paranormal investigations still pique the interest of many. Source: Shutterstock

Paranormal science at Thomas Francis University

Thomas Francis University is a metaphysics school that offers online spiritually-based Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD Metaphysical Science degrees as well as single, standalone courses in related metaphysical and esoteric topics. Here, you can study online at your own pace and earn these degrees in three to 12 months, which makes these degrees excellent for busy students. 

The programmes are made for students who wish to conduct paranormal or parapsychological research, lead a paranormal investigation team, write books on paranormal activity topics, and present lectures on them. Courses offered range from the metaphysics of dying and introduction to paranormal research.

The Paranormal Science and Parapsychology degrees cover all aspects of paranormal activity and parapsychology, providing students with a broad knowledge base in the field. These degrees also include training in Ufology so students are cross-trained in all aspects of paranormal research. Upon completion of the Forensic Anomalous Evidence Analysis and Collection Course 2 module, a Certified Paranormal Investigator (CPI) designation and certificate will be issued.

Ghosts, Witches and Demons: the Renaissance Supernatural at the University of Exeter

Taught by Professor Nicholas McDowell, the 30-credit Ghosts, Witches and Demons: the Renaissance Supernatural module at the University of Exeter explores the representation of the supernatural in a selection of poetic, dramatic, and prose works written between 1580 and 1680.

Some of the topics covered include considerations of how the various representations of the supernatural — witches, ghosts, devils — could be in tension with Christian religious belief to the point where such representations might be held to be irreligious or atheistic. 

The module aims to understand how the Renaissance imagined supernatural beings and to explore how great imaginative writers such as Marlowe, Shakespeare and Milton combine, or fail to combine, orthodox religious belief with representation of the supernatural. Some of the greatest works of English literature are covered in the module: Doctor Faustus, Macbeth, and Paradise Lost.

Parapsychology at the University of Edinburgh

Listed as a possible research interest PhD in Psychology students at the University of Edinburgh can undertake, the Parapsychology unit allows students to conduct research into the psi hypothesis, pseudo-psi (“what’s not psychic but looks like it”), beliefs about the paranormal, and the history of accounts and studies of paranormal activity.

There are two supervisors that prospective researchers can choose to learn from: Peter Lamont, whose interests include the history and psychology of magic and the paranormal, as well as the wider history and theory of psychology or Caroline Watt, who is interested in the replication and methodological issues in parapsychology.

paranormal activity

Satan, the Devil, or Lucifer, is perhaps the most feared and most studied beings of all time. Source: Shutterstock

Witchcraft and Magic at the University of Oslo

If you’re wondering whether you can learn at the University of Oslo in English, fret not. There are courses offered at the university taught exclusively in English, like the module Witchcraft and Magic

In this course, students will get to study aspects of the cultural history of magic, focusing on the period of the witch hunts in early modern Europe. It explores how conceptions of magic, witchcraft and “trolldom” changed over time and how they were put to use in philosophical reflections, demonological manuals, legislative texts, literature, as well as oral traditions. The course will also detail how these ideas eventually become social realities. Students will also be introduced to redefinitions of magic expressed in modern occultism and neopaganism. 

By the end of the course, students will know how to demonstrate orientational knowledge in the history of magic and witchcraft in Europe, discuss historical implications of critical terms like magic, witchcraft, trolldom, esotericism, and occultism, identify different approaches to historiography and interpretation in the academic study of magic and witchcraft, and perform a critical contextualisation of a historical source. 

Satan in the History of Ideas at Uppsala University

Those interested in the origins of satan can take a summer course called Satan in the History of Ideas, offered by The Department of Theology at Uppsala University. This summer course was a big hit among students as it was unique – it deep dives into the history of ideas about the figures of satan from the fourth century BCE until the seventh century CE. Besides that, the course also explores social concepts of the devil, how he has been represented, as well as its different attributes and features. 



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