Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ghost objects

Green thingI noticed the mysterious reddish-brown object in my peripheral vision but I could not make out what it was. At the time I could not move my head. I was intrigued because I wasn't aware of any such reddish-brown object in that place. And yet it was there, in an area I knew well! I wondered if it might be a visiting animal of some kind. But when I was finally able to turn round, the object vanished!

As I got a better view I realised that the brown 'object' was not an object at all. It was a patch of sunlight falling on some vegetation, like the one in the photo (right). So it wasn't a single object at all but various bits of vegetation brightly lit by the sun. The overall shape of the 'object' was determined by the shaded areas surrounding it. Though the vegetation included some brown bits it was mostly green (like the photo). The brown bits appeared to be accentuated by the bright light.

I have noticed this phenomenon of 'ghost objects' before, while viewing things in peripheral vision. The visual boundaries of real objects are often determined more by how light and shadow falls than by the physical edges of things. Colour schemes are often also 'simplified' from a patchwork of different colours to just one dominant hue. I assume this phenomenon is a result of the lower resolution, and the tendency towards monochrome colour schemes, in peripheral vision when compared to central vision. If you turn to see these 'ghost objects' they will usually 'vanish'. That's because they visually revert to the collection of different objects they really are.

I have little doubt that such 'ghost objects' are regularly reported as anomalous phenomena, despite their xenonormal cause. Anything that apparently vanishes for no obvious reason is quite likely to be interpreted as paranormal.

PS: The photo (above right) has been altered, unlike almost all the others on this website, to enhance the sunlit patch effect. The contrast has been increased. It isn't the patch mentioned above but another one that caught my eye. I think it resembles a crocodile head, covered in green plants, with an eye visible just left of centre, but that's probably just me.

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