Friday, 16 November 2012

Reflections on ghosts on a mountain!

ShadowI had my 'doppelganger' or 'door ghost' experience again recently but with a weird new twist - an OBE! Briefly, I frequently see a shadowy figure standing behind me, reflected in the frosted glass of an outside door (start here if you've not heard about this). It seems that every time I forget about the ghost, it reappears, typical of misperception. I have discovered, over time, that the ghostly figure is actually me, or at least my arm and hand!

On this latest occasion I had a distinct, and odd, feeling that the 'ghost' was quite separate from me. Even though I KNEW, while I was watching it, that it was my own hand! The 'ghost' seemed to be further away than my hand should be. It was where it might be if it was indeed another person. Or a shadow ghost! It felt like an out of the body experience, as if I was seeing myself (or a bit of me) from afar. I have had OBE-like experiences before, so I guess it's not totally surprising. It might explain why this bizarre misperception is so remarkably persistent, despite the fact that I know what is causing it!

I now do wonder if certain misperception experiences may involve scale or distance illusions like this one. My own mini-OBEs have occurred when looking at regularly patterned backgrounds where depth perception is minimal. In the case of the 'doppelganger', I think the fact that the image is a fuzzy reflection (caused by frosted glass) against a limited view of a fairly uniform background behind, may compromise distance perception.

So, there may be another important aspect to misperception that I had not previously considered - compromised distance (and hence scale) perception! It could certainly be an important factor at night or in fog when many visual cues to distance may be missing.

Many years ago I used to go winter mountaineering where I was, on several occasions, caught in a white-out. This is where a white overcast sky blends in with a completely snow-covered ground so that the horizon disappears. It is very disorientating! A rock pointing out of the snow might be a pebble. Or a boulder! Sometimes ALL you can see is white. And being on a mountain, you wonder whether your next step forward will be on solid snow. Or ice. Or the unseen edge of a precipice. Distance (and size) is almost impossible to judge in such circumstances and I can well imagine there will be many misperceptions in such circumstances. I seem to recall it made me feel weird and not just because of possible dangers. I don't recall an OBE, or any ghosts, but it was a long time ago!

While a white-out is an extreme example, there will be other circumstances, like my door ghost, where a sort of OBE may occur, leading to misperception. Paranormal investigators should always visit the scene of a reported incident. In some cases, the reported events will appear to conflict with the geography of the location. One reason might be some sort of distance misperception. It will be crucial to establish the lighting, and any other circumstances that may have compromised distance perception, during the original incident.

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