Thursday, 2 January 2014

The man with two heads

OK, so you're walking past a well known haunted house one evening when you happen to notice there's something odd going on inside. Although there are no lights on in the building, you can see small lights moving around inside. Could it be the ghost? Intrigued, you approach a window that is adjacent to the street to look in. Inside you glimpse a group of people sitting in chairs in the dark. One person is walking around with a torch, so explaining the mysterious moving light. You realise, after studying the people for a while, that they are ghost hunters! The thought crosses your mind - what if I were to appear at the window briefly and then run away and hide? Naturally, you don't do it.

This is, of course, an imaginary scenario but one that could easily happen. Indeed, I know of very similar incidents which HAVE happened. And while you or I would never tease the ghost hunters, it is not hard to think of individuals who might!

Wet streetThe other day I saw a man with two heads. As well as the expected one, another was projecting from his chest. This story is completely true, by the way, not imaginary. Luckily, I passed close enough to the man to see what was going on in this decidedly odd scene which resembled something from a horror movie. It was raining and the man was holding the head of a mannequin close to his chest, presumably to stop it getting too wet. While, up close, the head was clearly that of a dummy, from a distance the scene would be difficult to comprehend.

What these two scenarios have in common is that they demonstrate how people do not always behave predictably. And yet, I am always reading paranormal reports where a possible natural explanation has been ruled out because it is so utterly unlikely! So, someone sees a figure at a window during a ghost vigil and quickly investigates. They discover there is no one outside and there was not time for a casual passer-by to have gone out of sight. But what if the figure was not a 'casual passer-by' but someone intent on playing a trick on the ghost hunters? Such a person might easily identify a suitable place to hide before performing their trick. Or they might just run fast, in a way no 'casual passer-by' would be likely to do.

The point is, most people behave predictably most of the time. But it is quite wrong to assume ALL people behave predictably ALL of the time. And yet, that is precisely the implicit assumption so often used to dismiss improbable, but not impossible, mundane explanations. If you asked me if I expected to see a man with a head apparently sprouting from his chest walking down the street, I'd probably laugh. Which wouldn't stop it happening.

PS: The photo is a wet street near the one where I saw the man with two heads. The light anomalies are caused by water on the camera lens (see here). I've come across these being reported as paranormal.

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