Thursday, 24 January 2013

Seeing your own ghost!

Yesterday I mentioned that I can sometimes get forewarned if the 'door ghost' is about to appear. But hang on a minute - the unconscious bit of the brain does not KNOW it is misperceiving. It thinks what it's seeing is real. So how can it 'expect' to misperceive a ghost, let alone tell the conscious bit in advance? It's clearly a bit more complicated than I considered yesterday!

I suspect I only became 'confident' that I'd see the door ghost because I see it regularly. I'm sure if it was a once-off observation there could not be any forewarning. Secondly, I usually only see the door ghost if I've forgotten about it. That presumably means the unconscious bit of my brain has forgotten about it too, which is why it is fooled all over again!

But what's happening when I get a feeling that I'll see it, and do? Clearly the unconscious part of my brain must think it is seeing something real or it wouldn't pass it on to the conscious bit. So how is that possible? Perhaps it requires that the unconscious bit is fooled in some way. We know it is easy to fool perception in the brain. We see it in optical illusions, which rely on certain perception mechanisms being 'fooled'. From my experience it appears that there IS a way to 'fool' the unconscious bit of the brain to misperceive while the conscious bit is expecting it. The question becomes, is there a simple way to do this?

You may ask, is there a point to this, beyond curiosity? Yes there is! If you are investigating a sighting you believe to be a misperception, it can be difficult to reproduce. Indeed, your best bet is to take along someone who knows nothing about the case (or even ghosts!), leave them in the relevant area and hope they see something odd! It would clearly be much more useful if one of the investigators themselves had a way of seeing the misperception and comparing it with the witness's original description. So a trick to induce misperception on demand would be very useful indeed!

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