Friday, 10 January 2014

Mysterious flashes!

ReflectionsWhen I looked up and saw the flash I was puzzled. It appeared in a darkened room for no obvious reason. There was a little light coming from an adjacent room but no likely sources of a flash there either. I stared for a while at the wall but nothing further happened. As I did so, I 'replayed' the incident in my mind (though I have a terrible long term memory, I can recall very recent incidents with high accuracy by 'replaying' them in my mind). One thing that struck me was that the area covered by the flash was small. Light diverges from most light sources, except lasers, so the source would have to be very close but there there was nothing nearby.

It reminded me of the unexplained flashes that were commonly reported in ASSAP training ghost vigils back in the 1990s. I was never particularly impressed with such reports because, to me, there always seemed to be plenty of likely sources of flashes present. But, on this occasion, I could find none.

Intrigued, I started to play with the idea that I was source of the light in some way. I stood in precisely the same position I had originally and moved my head in the same way. On the third attempt I saw the light again - same size, same shape, same colour, same place! After several goes, I was able to reproduce the effect at will and realised what it was!

Like many people, I wear glasses. Sometimes stray reflections intrude in my visual field as a result. Being thoroughly familar, I rarely even notice them. But on this occasion I was standing in a position where a bright light source, above and behind me, was reflecting strongly on the inside of my glasses and appearing in my visual field. This meant that an image of the light source briefly flashed into view, appearing as if on the wall beyond, as I moved my head. Because it was an image of the light source, it appeared quite small, explaining that mystery. The fact that I was looking into the dark enhanced the impression that the light was in the room in front of me rather than coming from behind.

Paranormal investigators will, of course, always note whether witnesses were wearing glasses when they saw whatever they saw. Usually, it would not be a important factor since, like me, people who wear glasses know what sort of reflections they produce. However rarely, as this incident demonstrated to me that, unusual conditions may come together to produce some unexpected reflections. As always, reproducing the incident as closely as possible is invaluable in understanding such reports.

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