Friday, 24 April 2015

Ghost leg

Shadow"All I saw was a leg. It was black. It moved away from me with a sort of dragging motion." This is a real, if brief, description of a ghost sighting. If I'd read it in a book I would have pictured the scene in my imagination. I would have seen a disembodied leg, probably of a shadow ghost, still somehow managing to walk. But the experience wasn't from a ghost book. It happened to me. Recently.

There is an expression in computing, WYSIWYG, which means 'what you see is what you get'. I think there should be a similar expression in anomaly research. It would be WYIMNBWTS, meaning 'what you imagine may not be what they saw'. It's a horrible acronym (initialism?) but I think it may turn out to be useful.

I remember, on an investigation of a well-known haunted building, I was told what phenomena to expect in certain locations. And I duly experienced some of the very phenomena described in those exact places. However, two unexpected things struck me. Firstly, though what I experienced fitted the descriptions I'd been given exactly, it was not what I'd imagined on first hearing them. Secondly, I could see fairly obvious natural explanations for the phenomena which were clearly not paranormal. However, if the phenomena HAD been as I'd imagined them, they would have been a lot harder to explain and probably paranormal.

This is where WYIMNBWTS comes in. I think that, in many cases, when we hear a witness's account of a strange experience we have a vision of the experience in our minds that often looks inexplicable. But it may not be what actually happened. I can illustrate this with the 'ghost leg' experience described above.

It was the latest appearance of my regular door ghost (see here). As in recent experiences, it was a bright sunny day and I saw just the dark appendage of a ghost. However, instead of feet walking away from me (see here), I saw a whole leg this time, as described above. But it was not a disembodied leg, as someone reading the description might imagine. Instead, I could not see any more of the 'figure' than the leg because my view was blocked by my own body. The ghost was behind me and I had only a highly restricted view, reflected in glass. So the sighting COULD potentially have been caused by an entire human figure, whether a ghost or an ordinary person. Obviously, a truly disembodied leg would be difficult to explain but one partially obscured by an object much less so.

It can be difficult to escape from that first vision you get of a scene described to you. That's why it's vital, as an anomaly investigator, to visit the site of an experience to correct any wrong ideas you have about it. I've certainly been surprised many times by how different places look to the way I'd imagined when I only had someone else's description of them. It is also important to stand exactly where the original witness stood, doing whatever it was they did at the time. Often, in such circumstances, new likely explanations for a reported experience become obvious, particularly misperception.

It's not catchy. It's impossible to pronounce. But it is still an important concept for anomaly investigators to consider - WYIMNBWTS - 'what you imagine may not be what they saw'.

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