Monday, 14 April 2014

Another real life dolly zoom!

InsectsI've recently had a couple of experiences that felt even weirder than my usual stuff! And I'm not sure if they are likely to be widely experienced or, perhaps, confined to people like me!

Anyway, I was trying to photograph insects in flight, as you do. I found a cloud of midges but they kept moving about. Then, to my surprise, they appeared to stop still, as if all hovering, which is extremely unusual. I was about to photograph them when something really strange happened. The 'insects' suddenly all moved away from me until they were small white patches on the dark part in front of me! I was not looking at insects at all but those white patches on the ground. Somewhere along the line my brain had decided the patches were actually insects, flying around just in front of me! The real insects had departed unnoticed.

So what's going on here? The midges appeared, like the photo above, small and white and were difficult to focus on with the naked eye. I think they mixed up with the white patches on the dark path behind so that I saw them all as insects. I hadn't noticed the patches before that. My brain finally worked out what was going and put things right. The only way to do that, while making sense, was to 'move' the 'insects' away. It was like a dolly zoom! As far as I'm aware, such dolly zoom experiences don't happen in real life! Despite that, I've had such an experience before (see here).

The other experience was bizarrely different, yet similar. I was looking at a street scene at night. I thought I saw some discarded clear plastic boxes on the pavement. Suddenly, they became 'flat'! They were, in fact, poorly-seen water meter covers in the pavement! The 'clear plastic' was entirely in my perception. I can only blame the poor lighting for this particular strange misperception.

In both cases there was a misperception of the position of an object in space, probably due to a lack of useful visual cues. And when the misperception 'broke', it produced the odd dolly zoom effect. I'm not sure whether such spatial misperceptions are common (I'd be interested to hear from anyone with a similar experience to report). It is possible that only people who have mini-OBEs, like me, have such experiences. Anyone experiencing such a dolly zoom effect might certainly consider it as paranormal. It is strongly reminiscent of a puzzling experience that a paranormal researcher, that I once knew, had while conducting research. It had always baffled me until now.

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