Looking for things when they may not be there...

I along with too many stand up comedians, have always mused when people looking for something, once they find it say, "It was in the last place I would have looked!" One hopes that after one finds something, they would stop looking therefore everything being sought must therefore be in that mythical "last place"... unless the person keeps looking...

Which, it seems, can be the case for some of the folks in paranormal research. If a photo or videos appears to yield nothing, they will look... and look... and look until... Well, you get the picture.

Problem is, humans are 'hard wired' (so to speak) to find familiar shapes and objects. It's in our nature and our makeup to come to a frame of reference. How many times have you said about one thing or another, "The looks JUST LIKE [fill in the blank here]!" It's not weird at all... I liken it to being children and looking into the clouds to see shapes. You know, looking skyward on warm days and watching clouds go by that "look like" a bunny or cow. We all, to a lesser degree, did this... I think.

Problem is, it seems to carry over.

Now, take that kid and turn them into an older and wiser person. The same person that feels that "X" looks 'just like' "Y" item... A person like you or I except, this person has an orb or mist photo. They see the orb or mist and are enamored with it. They study it hard and WHAMMO! It hit's them! They see two eyes, a nose and a mouth and *shock* their image has a definite face! Trouble is, initially, they are the only one's who see it. Granted, after painstakingly pointing out these three dots within the image, they do get other people seeing that face... like one kid showing the cloud that they think looks like a dog to another kid. After a time and some serious explanation, the other kid will either become exasperated or will indeed start seeing the dog.

This is called "Three Dot Syndrome" and none of us are truly immune to it. We see something that resembles "something else" and, if we feel it's truly unexplained, our minds make that fantastic leap into seeing the "face" or figure that might really not be there. It's important to note that these people that see the face in the mist or the profile of the person within the orb are not hoaxers nor are they crazy... What it amounts to is that hard wiring in the human brain to see familiar or known shapes to make sense out of something that might otherwise need to be filed as "unrecognizable". The only time it even gets to myself, your humble author, is when people vehemently keep trying to make others see this marvelous proof of a "ghost" or some such other thing by pointing out the feature... over and over again.

To the right is a case in point... Here's what to consider when looking at the image...

It was taken at a reportedly haunted location.

The reports DO include apparitions.

It was taken with a digital camera (low resolution).

At the time it was taken, NO ONE (and there was about fourteen people very nearby the stairwell) noticed anything odd or amiss. No ghost sightings that day.

Now, look hard... do you see the orb? Ignore it, I'm afraid... it's a reflection off the polish on the staircase. See the figure near the stairs... almost half way on it???

Is it a ghost???

Nope, it's poor resolution and not at all "paranormal" in nature. This photo is not proof. If you do see a figure, ask yourself... How hard did I look for it? Did I ignore the fact that there really wasn't anything to see here in favour of my own belief?

Maybe you did and maybe you didn't BUT, it is important to be VERY aware that it is human nature to truly try and see 'familiar' shapes and figures in things that otherwise might not be explainable.

Now, the image on the left here... See the orb? Ignore it... it's the flash reflecting... That I can promise as I was the photographer in both images.

BUT, do you see the ominous figure behind the flash orb...

Oh, I assure you it's there! Look at it!

It's me...

That's a mirror in the same "reported haunted" location and the mirror reflected my own image back into the camera.

Is this "Three Dot Syndrome"? To a degree... When I showed this image to some of the folks in my office, I had people telling me they saw a woman in a fancy ball gown and another saw a man in a red jacket smoking a cigar. They stuck to these stories hard and one of them, even after I told them "who" the figure was then told me that the person THEY saw was behind me.

There are PLENTY of excellent 'ghost photos' out there for people to look at and most don't require a fancy monitor and high-end graphics programs to see an anomalous shape or a recognizable figure. Although I do believe there is merit to looking at a photo hard and scrutinizing, I ask those that have magnificent examples of orbs with faces... are you seeing a REAL face? Have you been able to show the image to several other people who were able to see it without too much prompting or does that cloud look just like a kitten to you?

I'm not trying to be mean but I've often said... In paranormal investigations, if you look hard enough, you'll find something... even if it really isn't there.

For an excellent resource on "Three Dot Syndrome" please click here.