What was that?

April 15, 2014 on 6:39 pm | In Article | No Comments

pareidolia_faceYou are walking in the dark and suddenly you see what looks like a face in the shadows.  Of course you are frightened. What was that?  Many of us have had this happen.  Seeing a face where there should not be one is very disturbing.

What if we just thought it was a face?  What if it really wasn’t?  What is it then?  There is a term for seeing faces in inanimate things.  According to Ask.com and Wikipedia, it is called “PAREIDOLIA”.

Pareidolia (/pærɨˈdliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant, a form of apophenia. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.

The word comes from the Greek words para (παρά, “beside, alongside, instead”) in this context meaning something faulty, wrong, instead of; and the noun eidōlon (εἴδωλον “image, form, shape”) the diminutive of eidos. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, seeing patterns in random data.

As you see, it may also include sounds and patterns.  Does this mean what we have seen is not something paranormal?  The answer is maybe.  Like many things we deal with, there are two sides to the story.  It is believed that a good portion of what we think we see is actually not paranormal, but pareidolia.  We think we see a face when it is just clothes handing in the closet (in a very interesting or scary way).

I for one, have seem things both pareidolia and paranormal.  There are times I really am not sure which is which.  Here is where our intuition and our senses come into play. I am not a true expert, but I feel our intuition tells us much.  I know that if you see something unexplained, your body will sometimes give you “goose-bumps” or you feel a chill.  It is a natural reaction to the unknown and our bodies are preparing for fright. I also know that when a ghost is close by, the body will react the same way. This is where the intuition helps. Most times we have a sixth sense if the “thing” is paranormal or not. I say trust your senses and listen to that little voice inside.

I too, have heard things that I thought were voices that were not. A voice was heard and seemed to be in the room where I was sitting. It happened twice. After some time and a diligent search, it turned out to be my dog sleeping and snoring.  I had a good laugh at that.  Also electric appliances may cause noises that seem questionable.  If you hear noises, be aware of what is in the area.  Take a good look and listen closely.

This doesn’t however, prove all things are debunked. We have captured many EVP’s (electronic voice phenomenon) while in the library. Our goal is to always try to debunk what we may find, but many times it just isn’t possible.  We assume it is our friends from the beyond.  The recordings are saved and analyzed as best we can. It does seem the spirits do have things to say if we just listen.

Bottom line, it is many times our perception of what we are encountering.  I know there are many things unexplained.  I also know many objects and shadows can take on the image of something else.

What is your take on this?

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