B1+ Reading Test
Read the following text about the paranormal and for questions 1 to 7 choose the correct answer.
A paranormal experience?
Ghosts, haunted houses, the spirit world and communication with the dead have fascinated humans since the beginning of their existence. Most people, whether believers or sceptics like myself, find paranormal experiences captivating; you could go on and on listening to these kinds of stories. But the debate lies on whether the allegedly paranormal events that witnesses claim to have experienced are real. I don’t doubt that many people really believe that what they have experienced is a paranormal event –real is what you believe to be real, after all.
I myself experienced an event that might be considered paranormal by some. A long time ago, my cousin died unexpectedly, and her husband, a great ghost sceptic, couldn’t find my cousin’s life insurance policy. One night, my cousin appeared in my dreams. “You smell terrible,” I told her. “Of course I smell bad. I’m dead,” she said. “Anyway, I’m here to tell you where is the document that my husband is looking for.” And she told me. The following day, I told my cousin’s husband that I might know where the policy was –I didn’t tell him how I knew because that would have prevented him from looking for it. We went to his home, and the document was precisely where my dead cousin had told me it would be. Paranormal?
No doubt it’s very tempting to believe that I actually talked to my dead cousin and that I have some kind of psychic abilities. That would mean that when we die, we go somewhere in the form of a spirit, which is a nice thing to think because that means that our soul never dies. But maybe I already knew where that document was from one of my numerous visits to my cousin’s home, and my mind just reminded me of where it was through one of my daily dreams. That’s more likely, and it’s what I am inclined to think happened.
The truth is that there has been so much fraud in the history of the paranormal that it’s difficult to give any validity to the high number of paranormal claims that populate the Internet and the different media. Actually, fraud played a key role in the very foundation of spiritualism, a religious movement based on the belief that the spirits of the dead exist and have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living.
The first mediums known in recent history, the Fox sisters, convinced a good part of the American and European society of the 19th century that they could talk with the spirits. They made lots of public demonstrations held before paying audiences, which gave birth to spiritualism and attracted many imitators who also claimed to be able to communicate with spirits. But surprisingly, in 1888, Margaret Fox confessed that her abilities were just a fabrication and showed which tricks she had been using to pretend to be talking to the spirits.
Now, can I really talk with the dead? Well, if you put enough money on the table, I might say ‘yes’ and even show you how I do it.
Reading comprehension test
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