[7]

[7]

The World Values 2005 research has shown that compared with any other country, Finns have a half-hearted attitude to spiritual matters: positive and negative attitudes are seldom extreme (Ketola, Kääriäinen & Niemelä 2007a, 49). Religion is present as mediated by the Lutheran state church, but personal religious or spiritual belief is considered a private issue, which is not to be negotiated with others (Ketola, Kääriäinen & Niemelä 2007b, 60). The public discourse is unwelcoming towards spiritual matters and especially towards uncanny experiences that are not supported by any legitimate institution but suggest alternative interpretations of reality. By public discourse we mean newspapers, current affairs and factual discussions in traditional media, but also the public parts of social media. If we compare these with magazines and tabloids of the English-speaking world, in which paranormal topics have been flourishing (e.g. Hill 2010, 1), the Finnish media has been more reserved. Furthermore, it seems that the public also expects traditional media to ignore such topics. When an afternoon paper Ilta-Sanomat published an article about two specialists of the supernatural, Internet comments included a lot of negative feedback.