Elements of the supernatural are easily identified throughout our culture; these appear in films, social customs or practices, and literature. While the supernatural is made up of a variety of independent elements, the overarching trend among them is that they are things that people believe in but that do not occur in nature. Instead, they exist outside of the natural world, interjecting themselves from time to time to have varying degrees of impacts on individuals and societies.
One of the most common supernatural elements is that of magic; from films like Disney’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” to novels like the Harry Potter series, our culture often finds itself obsessed with the possibility of a magical realm. Equally common is the ghost or spiritual apparition. Entire genres of films and television shows are dedicated to the various elements of the spiritual realm, from quasi-documentary programs like “Ghost Hunters” to immensely popular film series like The Conjuring. In literature, the character of the ghost can serve a variety of purposes: among other roles, a ghost can influence characters’ actions, as seen in Shakespeare’s Macbeth or Hamlet, or serve to provide characters with a learning opportunity, as in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Other supernatural elements that can be found in culture – but particularly in literature – include gods (such as in countless examples of Greco-Roman mythology), creatures of legend (such as in fairy tales that include giants or trolls), or aliens and UFOs (such as in The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells – who also includes the supernatural element of time travel in his novel The Time Machine). No matter what the medium they appear in, elements of the supernatural play a profound role in our society and culture; they have done so for generations, and they will continue to do so for generations to come.