Friday, 29 August 2014

Figure on a stone pillar!

Crows in a treeI knew straight away that what I was seeing was deeply weird. It appeared to be a small human figure crouched on the top of a stone pillar. I guessed straight away that it was probably a misperception. And, of course, it was.

I looked carefully at the scene, without moving, to try to understand how I had misperceived it. The object on the top of the stone pillar was actually a large stone cone covered in green moss. However, it was partially obscured by a tree branch. In addition, nearby trees were throwing a pattern of alternating well-lit and shaded areas onto the cone. With the combination of these objects I could just about see how I might have seen it, if only momentarily, as a crouched figure.

Most misperceptions I see look fairly normal. Typically, I might see a figure standing on a path or at a window, for instance. These are places where you would easily expect to see a real human figure. But this latest experience shows that, in the right circumstances, it is possible to misperceive things in very unlikely positions. Of course, it's not impossible that someone would crouch on top of a stone pillar. So maybe it is still down to expectation, just stretched to include the bizarrely unlikely.

Overall, the point is that, misperception is not simply limited to seeing mundane objects that don't happen to be physically present. It may also show witnesses bizarre and unlikely things. It means that it could explain some of the more deeply strange anomalous sightings reported.

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