Friday, 18 December 2015

Ghost scurries away!

ShadowThe door ghost (background here) is appearing very frequently at the moment. When the ghost has appeared recently I've deliberately moved my hand to make it go away - there are times to do ghost research and times when it is inconvenient! Even though I KNOW what the ghost is (my own hand), the misperception is so strong at present that I continue to see the figure even after I've remembered what it really is. Instead of turning into a hand, the ghost appears to scurry away! This is unusual, though not unknown, with misperception. So why is the door ghost misperception so powerful at present?

As I've previously discovered (here), the ghost appears when the lighting reduces visible detail in the background behind the figure. The best conditions to remove such details are an overcast sky. We've had a lot of overcast days recently here in the UK, no doubt linked to our unusually mild winter.

Oddly enough, I've NEVER seen the door ghost at night! I'm not sure why that is but I'm sure it is linked to lighting, which is crucial in all visual misperception. It may simply be that I cannot see my hand well enough in such low lighting conditions. However, I've also speculated in the past (here) that low light may actually raise the threshold for noticing misperception! In other words, we expect odd visual stuff at night so we don't pay it so much attention. This would mean that ghosts produced by misperception may actually be rarer at night, contrary to popular ideas about apparitions.

Perhaps, instead of seeing the ghost as a nuisance, at the moment, I should do some more experiments on it. It is, after all. unusual to get a persistent misperception. The problem is that if I think about the ghost just before I expect it to appear, it doesn't show up. Or maybe it will now.

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