Tuesday, 27 June 2017

More real than actual reality!

Sun behind treeI am often struck by how witnesses are completely convinced they've experienced something paranormal even when there is a compelling xenonormal explanation for their experience. Having experienced many misperceptions I can understand this. Such misperceptions are drawn from visual memory so they are look absolutely real. You don't see something resembling a human figure, you see a real person!

Now I've come across an experience that feels even more real than reality! That is what my acquaintance (MA) who gets microsleep with REM (MWR) told me about a recent experience. MA was witnessing a dramatic 'incident' in a room when suddenly it vanished. Instead, MA was suddenly sitting on a moving train with nothing remotely unusual occurring. Baffled. MA thought it must be an unwelcome MWR. However, the train scene persisted and MA realised that it was the train that was real, not the 'incident'!

This is the first time that MA has ever been confused about what is reality and what a MWR. While MWRs feel real at the time, it is always obvious they were a dream straight afterwards (to MA who is used to MWRs). But not in this case, at least not for a few seconds. The dramatic incident felt more real than actual reality! So why was this?

It seems that the dramatic MWR was much more emotionally engaging than the humdrum reality of the train journey. Indeed, MA longed to return to the MWR to see how the incident unfolded but it was not possible. MWRs cannot be artificially induced. Or can they - a fertile area for future research perhaps? Anyone who experiences MWRs and does not realise what they are could easily think they were experiencing something paranormal and very real.

So what does tell us about apparent anomalous incidents actually caused by MWRs, or indeed misperception? I would speculate that it is the emotional engagement in the MWR/misperception that makes it feel profoundly real. MA said that the MWR felt like suddenly seeing a previously unseen scene from a favorite TV drama. It was immediately engrossing and felt profoundly authentic.

This may well explain how xenonormal experiences can feel utterly real. Many witnesses continue to believe the paranormal explanation for such an experience even though they can see how the xenonormal explanation fits well. It may be that the witness's emotional engagment in the dramatic content of the experience is more important even than that what they believe about the paranormal.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Pale figure at a window

Sun behind treeWalking along a suburban street the other day something caught my eye. There was a very pale human figure in an upper floor window of a house ahead of me. I couldn't help but think 'ghost'. This was despite the fact that ghosts are usually reported to look like perfectly normal people (see here). The pale or white ghost appears to be largely a convention of movies rather than real apparition cases.

So, I was intrigued by this unusually pale figure. I watched it continuously as I walked closer to the house. The 'figure' changed shape as I moved, getting larger and losing all resemblance to a person. I realised the pale shape was the reflection of a nearby tree. It looked pale due to the lighting conditions and because it was a reflection.

It was yet another example of a coincidence causing an anomalous observation. If I'd noticed the shape just before or after the moment when I did it would never have resembled a ghostly figure at all. And if the lighting conditions had been different it would never have looked so strangely pale.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Is that my voice?

Sun behind treeMy acquaintance (MA) who gets microsleep with REM (MWR) has had possibly the weirdest experience yet! MA was just talking when there came the unmistakable feeling of coming out of what was clearly a MWR. A witness was present and could confirm that MA had, in fact, said nothing and looked asleep. MA was, however, aware of the real surroundings exactly as they were and felt there was nothing wrong until 'waking up'.

Usually in MWRs, MA is a passive observer, or listener, to what is going on. But on this occasion clearly MA was speaking out loud though the witness heard nothing. This, then shows that MWRs are not always passive experiences. This would appear to border on lucid dreaming. However, MA experienced it as listening to a voice which was clearly MA's own but was not consciously aware of speaking voluntarily. I've had a feeling like this myself in everyday life when doing public speaking! It is certainly a strange aspect of MWRs that could explain yet more apparently anomalous experiences.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

White flying object

White flying objectSo, here's a UFO picture I took recently (right). I suppose, technically, it's not a UFO because I knew what it was when I took the photo. However, when I looked at the picture later I was struck by how it resembled a classic flying saucer. It is pure white with a shiny metallic look to it.

People routinely discover human figures (or objects resembling them) in photos that they did not notice at the time of exposure. They are often interpreted as ghosts. I have also come across this phenomenon with UFOs. People will notice an object in the sky in a photo when they saw nothing there at the time of exposure. If it is recognisable as a plane, balloon, cloud or some other mundane object, that is the end of it. But if it is not obviously recognisable, it may get reported as a UFO.

The very fact that a figure is only seen in a photo, but not at the time of exposure, is enough for people to think it might be a ghost. This relies on the commonly held belief that there are invisible ghosts. I'm not convinced that such invisible ghosts exist, as I discussed previously here. But I can see how something appearing in a photo, but not noticed at the time of exposure, might be considered paranormal. I guess a similar argument could be made for UFOs. If it really was an alien craft then some kind of invisibility would probably be an easy thing to do compared with interstellar space travel.

However, as always in such cases, it is entirely possible that the photographer simply missed what was plainly visible at the time. They may have been paying attention to the subject of the photo, not some object in the background. Another possible explanation for such pictures is a photographic artefact. In other words, the object in the photo is not what it appears at first sight to be. And that is the explanation here.

White flying object detailThe white flying object is actually a bird. Here (left) is a zoomed version of the object cropped from the same photo. The apparent 'saucer' shape is caused by the way the bird is holding its wings at the precise moment the photo is taken. Had the picture been taken at a slightly different time it would never have looked like a saucer. Had the photo been of lower resolution it would not have been possible to zoom in and get the extra detail required to show the true nature of the object. It might, then, have remained a mystery. This is, then, yet another example of a coincidence causing an apparent anomalous incident.