|“||There is a connection between our minds and the unknown, often hostile forces intruding on our world. These forces gravitate toward everyday objects – a gun, a television, a house with a reputation of being “haunted.” So somehow, we affect these events. We’re holding the key, but we don’t have a clue on how to use it.||”|
Paranatural is a term used by the Federal Bureau of Control to refer to elements which violate the known laws of nature and reality. The ostensible goal of the FBC is to contain, study, and ultimately gain control over these elements. Examples of paranatural phenomena include Altered Items, Objects of Power, Places of Power, other dimensions, and Altered World Events. Paranatural elements are studied in the Central Research Sector of the Oldest House.
The term "paranatural" is modern FBC terminology. Prior to the death of Director Theodore Ash, Sr. in 1964, the FBC employed the term "thaumaturgical" instead, which reflected the organization's origins in occultism.
Little is known about the true nature of paranatural phenomena. One of the goals of the Federal Bureau of Control is to empirically study these elements in order to understand them; however, due to the physics and logic-defying behavior of these forces, a scientific understanding may be impossible. Unlike natural forces, paranatural forces do not obey strict rules and are instead fluid and illogical. One thing that is known, however, is that paranatural forces gravitate to the mind; they display an affinity for ordinary objects (thus resulting in Altered Items), and are affected by mental forces such as consciousness and perception. For example, the Service Weapon is said to have changed its form to meet the general perception of a "weapon" during any given era.
It is not known why paranatural forces are connected to the mind, though the FBC investigates these connections in studies such as parapsychology. One of the main goals of the FBC is to find methods of controlling paranatural elements; this has led to the development of rituals, processes which allow for "attuned" individuals to manipulate paranatural forces in certain ways. In accordance with the mental nature of the paranatural, these rituals are designed based on connections of meaning and metaphor rather than direct causality. Zachariah Trench stated that "dream logic" is a requirement for understanding the paranatural, alluding to the illogical and subjective nature of these forces.
Various in-game documents and character dialogues associate paranatural phenomena with the psychological theories of Carl Jung, particularly the concepts of collective unconscious, archetypes, and synchronicity.
The Tennyson report criticizes the use of scientific terminology by the Bureau referring to the paranatural, due to the innately spiritual and occult nature of paranatural phenomena, and calls for a return from contemporary Bureau orthodoxy to the organization's roots.