Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Anniversary ghosts and an unexpected return!

ShadowIt's back! I was at 'that door' recently (see here for background) and suddenly realised there was a dark, somewhat menacing, figure standing just behind me. Sure enough, it was the door ghost, a misperception with the same cause as in the past. It was a big surprise as I haven't thought about the ghost in months.

I reported the long term disappearance of the door ghost back in May (here). This is the first sighting since February, some 7 months ago. I suggested then that the ghost had vanished because I approach 'the door' from a different angle these days. So, have I changed back to my old approach direction? No, I haven't? So why has the ghost reappeared?

If the ghost has reappeared despite the new route, something else must have changed. One crucial element with misperception is lighting. I've noted that similar misperceptions often recur at the same time each day for a few days each year (provided the weather is also similar). This is because the sun follows a slightly different track across the sky every day through the year. So, at any given location, the sun will be at the same position in the sky at the same time on the same day each year. Thus, the lighting will be the same for that time and date each year, subject to weather conditions. Given how sensitive misperception is to lighting conditions, the same (misperception) ghost may be seen at the same location at the same date and time every year. It is possible that the door ghost now requires such specific lighting to appear on my my new route to the door. In the past, using a different route, the lighting was not so crucial.

This got me thinking. There are said to be some ghosts that appear regularly on a particular date each year - anniversary ghosts. Could misperception explain at least some of these reports? It seems possible, if the ghost is seen outside in daylight. The same factors would not apply at night for a couple of reasons. Firstly, much outdoor lighting at night is provided by fixed street lights. Secondly, the moon does not appear in the same position in the sky at the same time on the same date each year.

Even if it turns out that the reappearance of the door ghost has nothing to do with lighting on a specific day, the idea that misperception could explain at least some anniversary ghosts remains valid. Having missed the door ghost I'm glad it's back, even if it's only a fleeting visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment