Journal Article

Content Analysis of an Anomalous Memorate Collection: Testing Hypotheses Regarding Universal Features

James McClenon

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 61, issue 2, pages 155-169
Published in print January 2000 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2000 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712283
Content Analysis of an Anomalous Memorate Collection: Testing Hypotheses Regarding Universal Features

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The experiential source theory suggests that certain types of anomalous experiences are a source of recurring folk beliefs in spirits, souls, life after death, and magical abilities. The theory implies that these anomalous perceptions have physiological bases. Content analysis of a collection of oral accounts of anomalous memorates (N = 1215) indicates that experiences of apparitions, paranormal dreams, and waking extrasensory perceptions have cross-culturally uniform structures and that these experiences coincide with recurring elements within folk traditions. These findings support the experiential source theory and a broader ritual healing theory explaining the origin of religion.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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