Thursday, 23 July 2015

Ghost of a future event?

ClockI was out shopping recently in an area very familiar to me. Taking a short cut through an arcade, I happened to notice the main shopping street along a branch arcade. I could see a red and white stall there. A few times a year they hold a market there. I was interested to see what the theme of this particular market was so I diverted towards it. When I looked up again, there was no red stall, only a large red and white umbrella over a table outside a cafe. Being in the same position as the 'stall', it became obvious I had misperceived the umbrella as a market stall. I walked into the main street but there wasn't a stall in sight.

Misperception isn't just about seeing human figures that aren't there. You can misperceive all sorts of things, even market stalls. But that isn't the most interesting bit.

I happened to return to the same area the next day. To my astonishment there was a market there. Even more amazing, there was a red and white stall just next to umbrella. And, as I discovered, it was actually visible from the same place I'd first noticed a 'stall' the previous day! So, was this a case of precognition?

It is difficult to distinguish precognition from coincidence. So what are the odds against this event being mere chance? It is impossible to say but there are two important factors to consider. Firstly, I had no idea there would be a market there on that day. Secondly, there were many stalls present, in various different colours, so it was amazing that a red and white one should appear in almost the precise position I thought I'd seen one the previous day. But even if the odds are heavily against an event occurring by chance, that doesn't stop it being a coincidence, albeit a massive one. If there is ANY chance of a coincidence occuring, however remote, then it can still happen by pure chance, once in a long while.

If this incident WAS precognition, it is interesting that it involved a misperception. It had never occurred to me before that a precognition might appear as a misperception but I guess there's no reason why not. My own conclusion is that there is no way to show that this event was anything other than a coincidence.

But what might someone else, without my experience of investigating the paranormal, have made of this incident if they had experienced it? Had they not realized the role of the umbrella, they might have thought the original stall had vanished and was, thus, a ghost or a vision. Then, on seeing an extremely similar stall in (almost) the same place the next day, the ghostly nature of the original sighting would have contributed to the idea that it had been precognition. Certainly, a ghostly stall being seen soon before the 'real one' arrives sounds paranormal! In fact, it sounds like a ghost of a future event.

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