The most direct means of encountering the paranormal is through the use of the five senses. Ordinarily, because of the physical orientation of the senses, they block out far more signals than they bring to awareness.
The senses are often quite acute when danger is present, linking us to the instinctual world of our primal ancestors. Sensory data then seems intensified or heightened, even riveting.
It’s probable that at one time in human evolution what we think of as paranormal encounters were far more commonplace. The boundary between life and death, between the ordinary physical and the realms of spirit would have been far more permeable. This seems to be the case even now with psychically gifted people. As our species chose more and more to literalize physical experience, granting it an independence that it does not possess (for all is energy,) the closely linked living energy field we share with all else became seemingly more dense, opaque and separate. We conceived a world of objects rather than an animate realm of interdepedent subjects.
Primal peoples around the world have generally maintained their intimacy with nature as a participant living framework. What we think of as heightened sensory abilities or psychic/intuitive awareness remain far more commonplace. There is no abrupt break or chasm between what we call the paranormal and the normal. Evidence suggests that most of us can extend the use of our senses and psychic awareness with some training in harnessing these natural abilities, for example through meditative or similar practices. Learning to explore the paranormal is also learning to know ourselves more, including a wide range of abilities we probably all possess that remain latent until called into service. The paranormal is certainly one trajectory for expanding our consciousness, and deserves our respect for that reason alone among many others.
Harry C. Stafford