Wednesday, 6 July 2016

There is no such object here!

Ghostly tubeThere is no such object here! That was the unlikely thought that flashed through my mind as I suddenly noticed an object I didn't recognise about a metre away. It was a plastic tube pointing almost directly at me. It reminded me of an endoscope. It felt almost as if someone was spying on me from behind a pile of stuff!

This was an over-reaction, of course. I noted how easily I went from seeing an unexplained object to a narrative involving spying! I guess I watch too many spy dramas. There are probably many anomalous reports that involve the witness interpreting an unrecognized mundane object they see in terms of something paranormal. If you think that was an over-reaction, what happened next was worse! I spent an hour taking over a hundred photos of the object trying to get it just right, with the best one shown here (right).

What I see when I look at the photo is a plastic tube with its end pointed towards me and to the right. The tube curves behind downwards to the left. At least that's what I see sometimes! At other times I see it quite differently. And you may see something different too. That's because it is a rare example of a photographable misperception. I described another one that worked rather better sometime ago (here).

I had to take dozens of photos to get the misperception to work, even for me - the original witness. I had to vary the lighting, the angle of view, the background and, crucially, how much of the object was visible. Misperceptions are extremely sensitive to viewing conditions. In the end I got a version that works for me, some of the time. If you don't see a plastic tube at all that's normal - misperception varies a lot between people. It will also depend on what device you are using to view the picture.

I was right in my first thought - there WAS no plastic tube present! The object is actually a strip of thin white cardboard that has curled up at the end to form a cylindrical shape. When I first saw it I thought the uncurled bit of cardboard below was a continuation of the cylinder, leading to an overall impression of a plastic tube. I quickly realised what the object really was but the misperception still reappeared several times after that. Generally, though not always, misperceptions only work once. When you're brain sees the object correctly it does not usually misperceive it again. But this misperception was persistent which is why I tried to photograph it. My goal is, one day, to get a photographable misperception of a human figure!

No comments:

Post a Comment