Friday, 14 November 2014

New ghost, familiar location

TreeIt was an extremely familiar location. I was looking for wildlife, as I often do. To someone not familiar with such a pastime, it might have appeared as if I was behaving oddly. So I was wary of being seen by passers-by. Luckily there was no one, it being a quiet time of day and not a busy road. But then a dark figure appeared in my peripheral vision. I tried to look 'normal', which turns out to be surprisingly difficult. I slowly turned round, as though I'd always intended to do so at that precise second. There was no one there!

I quickly realised that the 'figure' I'd seen was actually a tree. The 'dark' colour came from its brownish-grey trunk. So, not a real person but a ghost caused by misperception. Which was all very odd because the location was very familiar to me and that tree has been there for many years. So why had I seen it as a human figure (or ghost) for the first time ever in all those years?

I think it may be because I was feeling particularly uncomfortable about the idea of being seen by a passer-by. Sometimes, when looking for wildlife, I'm so caught up in what I'm doing, I don't even think about what other people might think. But on this occasion, for some reason, I did. I've noted before how potential embarrassment was probably an important factor in my experiencing a sense of presence (see here). However, of the ghosts I've seen, I do not recall any other instances of embarrassment during the sighting. A feeling of being watched, yes. Embarrassment, no. So clearly such a feeling is no prerequisite to seeing a ghost. However, it could be a contributing factor sometimes.

So what does it all mean? Firstly, I think we should definitely being trying to determine the state of mind of ghost witnesses just prior to their sighting. I think I've said this many times before. Secondly, the 'embarrassment' factor certainly fits into my observation that ghosts tend to appear when you least want them to. Thirdly, it might be that those who fear seeing a human figure are more likely to misperceive one than those who don't.

I know of no evidence that psychological factors can, on their own, make someone see a ghost. But they can, from the incidents I've been involved in, bias a witness towards misperceiving a ghost.

PS The photo is NOT the tree concerned here!

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