From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


This article was nominated for deletion on November 16, 2005. The result of the discussion was No consensus. An archived record of this discussion can be found here.

Wiktionary entry?[edit]

Wouldn't this be better in Wiktionery? Wetman 11:42, 19 Nov 2003 (UTC) Yes. This article is rubbish.

And what exactly does "science's 'too difficult' basket" mean? --Fastfission 05:11, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)


I believe this word 'preternatural' is somewhat ambiguous. It seems to be generally used as a somewhat more restrained alternative to 'supernatural', which is perhaps more suggestive of something 'religious' or 'mystical'. One could say "Einstein seems to have had a preternatural aptitude for mathematics" amongst a gathering of hardened skeptics without drawing awkward stares, whereas the statement "Einstein seems to have had a supernatural aptitude for mathematics" would be more likley to draw some groans. Weird illustration, but I think it conveys the point i am trying to make ;).~~

I have seen 'preternatural' used in fiction to denote werewolves and the like, while 'supernatural' seems to be reserved for demons and angels. In Christian writings, 'supernatural' seems to be reserved for God, and 'preternatural' is used for anything else miraculous or abnormal. Franzeska 19:47, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

The misunderstanding here justifies the need for the article to stay for now. Preternatural is used to describe an anomaly which scientific theory does not yet take into account. Preternatural describes occurances that are not explained by scientific theories, not the pre-scientific ideas that try to explain the anomaly in a mythical way. The preternatural does NOT include occultism, religion, mysticism, monsters, vampires, or legendary creatures. Please read the quotations on the main article. Stevenwagner 18:21, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

Really? From the introduction to Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural linked "on the main article" : Preternature is an interdisciplinary forum for the study of the preternatural as seen in magics, witchcraft, spiritualism, occultism, prophecy, monstrophy, demonology, and folklore. The word has no use to anyone but theologians who wish to separate one form of their nonsense from another.--OGRastamon (talk) 07:51, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
In contradiction to the above the article now says: "Other examples of preternatural creatures INCLUDE Lycanthropes (such as Werewolves), Vampires and Zombies.". I see the simple difference in the latin word meanings: preternatural=beyond nature, supernatural=above nature. Only difference seems to be that "supernatural" includes religion, deism and spirituality while preternatural excludes those. Is preternatural simply a subcategory of supernatural as "supernatural as a human coping mechanism" (like fear for undead or animals) or "supernatural manifested through nature" (like fallen angels power downgrading from supernatural godlike power to preternatural magic. See Category talk:Paranormal for differentiating definitions --Ollj 13:52, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

I am very humble when I enter this discussion. I came across the word for the first time in my life this morning, and, wanting to know what it meant searched one of my main sources of knowledge. The context I met this word in, tells me however, that in some senses there is a great difference between supernatural, a word which I have known and used for decades, and preternatural. This was an article in Nat'l Geographic about Reinhold Messner, and I feel that using the one word about his climbing abilities would make complete sense - meaning "out of this world" but definitely not the other one with its normal religious use. --Jancr0207 07:25, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

In other words, it's a word meaning merely "abnormal" or "exceptional", whereas "supernatural" would necessitate some divine origin (there is no evidence for lycanthrophy and the like, so they are not real phenomena and do not require scientific explanations for how they work -- there are scientific explanations for how the concept and the legends about them came about, though -- so I don't see how they would be preternatural in the sense of being anything BUT fiction and thus unlikely to be possible reality, although historically established). From what I understand, preternatural includes supernatural as a subcategory, not the other way around: it's not necessarily supernatural, but it's still out of the ordinary. Seems like something pseudoscientists would love to abuse to make their ideas sounds more science-proof. 19:28, 11 February 2007 (UTC) (Ashmodai)


"Supernatural" is not necessarily associated with "divine." (talk) 13:50, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Interchangeability with supernatural[edit]

'Supernatural' and 'preternatural' are used interchangeably. The 'preternatural phenomena are presumed to have rational explanations as yet unknown', if i understand correctly, implies that the explanations are unknown... which is the same for 'supernatural'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:37, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

That's not correct. The supernatural is an historically important theological/philosophical doctrine. The miracles of Jesus, saints and the apostles would be proper examples of what falls under the aegis of supernatural. In no event is it presumed to be natural (!) naturalistic explanations are out of the question, by definition… then again, it's not the sort of mystery that needs explaining.

Vansittart Smith, fixing his eyes upon the fellow's skin, was conscious of a sudden impression that there was something inhuman and preternatural about its appearance.

— Arthur Conan Doyle (1925), The Ring of Thoth
I don't know what “preternatural phenomena” you have in mind, but surely “paranormal phenomena” would have been be less awkward. Preternatural is much more easily annexed to a tabloid thesaurus of the paranormal. A good synonym is uncanny, so too interchangeably would be bogus.—Machine Elf 1735 19:53, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I've seen this used many times as "strange phenomena that science has yet to understand" rather than "imaginary things that don't exist" or "trickery". If I find the cite I will share it. Kortoso (talk)
Wiktionary entry: [1]
In modern secular use, refers to extraordinary but still natural phenomena, as in “preternatural talent”. In religious and occult usage, used similarly to supernatural, meaning “outside of nature”, but usually to a lower level than supernatural – it can be used synonymously (identical to supernatural), as a hyponym (a kind of supernatural), or a coordinate term (similar to supernatural, but a distinct category). For example, in Catholic theology, preternatural refers to properties of creatures like angels, while supernatural refers to properties of God alone.Kortoso (talk) 20:41, 26 April 2016 (UTC)


PREEtur vs PRETTERtur ? either? (talk) 22:49, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Are ALL Preternatual events always evil ?[edit]

Confused, more defination re: PRETERNATUAL events. It seems that all the so called interaction between Humans and suppossed eneties are always EVIL intended? Is this so? ThanksMinEdsonAndreJohnson (talk) 00:40, 24 May 2017 (UTC)