Thursday, 14 February 2013

When people just appear out of nowhere

ConcourseSomething odd happens whenever I'm on the concourse of a major railway station. No matter where I stand, and no matter how busy, or not, the station is at the time, I'm always in someone's way. It even happens when, as I usually do, I stand deliberately in a place where I don't think anybody wants to go. And yet still, within minutes, I'm likely to be knocked, barged into or have to move smartly away to avoid being knocked over.

I am quite a large person and, you would think, difficult to miss visually. And yet, people still walk into me as I stand there, perfectly stationary, while they approach with eyes wide open. And this 'concourse effect' predates the time when most people started to walk around while studying their mobile phone. It has been going on for as long as I can remember.

Here is my idea of how the 'effect' works, looked at from the point of view of the person doing the walking. I am at a station. I want to eat / catch a train / get a coffee / meet someone / whatever. What I want is at point B, whereas I am at point A, so I walk in a straight line from A to B. But what if there is someone standing at a point C, somewhere directly between A and B? Actually I don't consider that last bit. That's why I bang into the obstructing person, even if they are large. So why can't I see this obvious obstruction? This is where we enter the land of purest speculation. It is probably because I am totally focussed on achieving my goal of getting from A to B. So I go into a sort of mental autopilot mode which makes me less observant than usual. Well, that's my theory, anyway.

And what does this have to do with the paranormal? Sometimes witnesses report figures, or other things, appearing as if from nowhere. Like a ghost! It might be worth asking such a witness what they were doing at the time they suddenly saw the ghost and what they were thinking about. If they were in a hurry or preoccupied by a personal problem, they might well have been in the same state of mind as those people who bump into me on station concourses. This might explain how something large and obvious could 'appear' out of nowhere!

PS: Yes, the photo really is a concourse. I'm thinking of entering it in the 'dullest illustration' category of a photographic competition. I think I'm in with a genuine chance!

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