Anyone who is a bit of a skeptic knows the saying "I'll believe it when I see it with my own two eyes"... But we need to realize that that's not
And this is the purpose of this thread. To show how and why your eyes deceive you. When we're investigating the paranormal we need to realize that we
cannot trust our eyes only for confirmation of fact.
My apologies to people with slow Internet connections about the amount of graphics. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.
The failure of our eyes to see the actual picture lands us in trouble when investigating the paranormal, and in the process many people are labeled as
nuts - Not because they are tin-hat wearing nuts, but because they see what they want to see. And it's not a conscious choice either.
And this brings us threads such as...
Little alien standing in the snow
I can make an endless list of these kinds of pictures, but I'm sure you get the ...err, picture. (And this is not to debate the pictures in the
above-mentioned threads. This is only to serve as example.)
I will now for further illustration give a couple more examples of how your eyes deceive you.
1. This is one of my all time favorites. It's a dragon that uses the "reversed 3D" illusion effect. You can make one of these yourself, and amaze
your friends... (From www.grand-illusions.com)
Download Dragon Illusion
illustrates the illusion.
The point is that you know for a fact that the dragon is not really 3D - yet your eyes (and brain deceives you and the little dragon's eyes follow
you around as you move. If we move around when viewing a solid object, our brain knows how the object we are looking at should behave. However the
dragon gives us the wrong clues, because we misinterpret what its shape is. We assume that the nose of the dragon is pointing out towards us, but in
fact the dragon's head is concave.
2. Another favorite of mine is this one:
What do you see? A bunch of black and white dots? A Dalmatian? Yes, you should be seeing a Dalmatian. This is in fact the reverse of an optical
illusion. The side that makes your eyes and brain so wonderful. Your brain has the ability to "complete the picture". It’s this gift that causes
3. Another illusion all of us know is the "water on the road" illusion. In this case, however, it is the reflection of the light that leads us to
believe that the road far away is wet, on a hot day. Also known as a mirage.
4. This picture shows two planes that seem to be a couple of inches away from each other.
It's a Lufthansa 747-400 and a United Airlines 757-200 that were on simultaneous approaches to runways 28L and 28R at San Francisco (SFO). The
separation requirement for flying parallel and simultaneous approaches is 225 meters (738 feet). These two aircraft are at a safe distance for the
approaches they are each flying. Due to the Lufthansa 747 being three times larger than the 757 and being slightly behind, gives us this illusion.
5. Another "error of the eye" is this one - fortunately it doesn't affect all of us:
You don't see 57? Your eyes are deceiving you because you're colorblind.
I can go on and on like this. It's really a fascinating subject, but you're getting to lazy to read so I'll move along...
Why do our eyes deceive us? Actually it's not really our eyes, but our brains that interpret the light that comes in through our eyes. Our
(subconscious) brains creates a picture and another part of the brain tells us what it is we're seeing, AKA perception. The problem is that we have
little control over how our brain perceives "first impressions".
Let's say your friend shows you a picture of something. You don't immediately recognize the object in the picture, but then realize that it is a UFO
or ET spacecraft. This was your "first impression". There is a short list of reasons why you came to that conclusion. Because your friend wears
tinfoil hats and visit Area 51 once a month to spot some aliens. You believe in aliens yourself. The object in the picture resembles a UFO because of
the reference points in the picture. But as soon as your friend tells you that it is a seagull, you take a second look at the picture and the seagull
"jumps out" at you, and you realize that it's an optical illusion. Amazing. Why? Because with the first impression your brain interpreted the
picture with the available information "in mind". The second time round you had more information and your brain were able to correctly interpret
what you see.
BUT, you may still be unable to "see" the seagull because you don't have a proper reference (memory of seagull "angles"). Your references (past
experiences, memories, education, background, etc.) play a big part in your perception. That's why different people see different objects when they
look at clouds. A little girl may see a bunny rabbit, while you may see a hamburger. The girl likes bunny rabbits and the cloud resembles previous
rabbits she saw. You may be hungry. Another time you might have seen Cindy Crawford, for other reasons.
That's also the reason why psychiatrists use the "what do you see in the blob"-test. To "see" inside your mind. How you perceive the world. This
is obviously open to interpretation, but that's not the point here.
It often happens when you walk down the street and in the corner of your eye you see George Bush eating an ice cream. (First impression, not enough
information). So you look again in amazement. (The need for more information because... You can't believe your eyes what you just saw!) And, no...
It's some other guy with the same hairstyle... Yep. Your eyes deceived you.
It all comes down to Perception.
In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information.
So, in the end, we cannot believe what our eyes see. This is a huge problem for us as Paranormal "investigators". There is a barrage of photographs
thrown at us claiming to be extra-ordinary events and objects. But I'm afraid that pictures are futile in the field of paranormal science. Expect if
the picture shows us a clear, detailed and focused picture of Bigfoot eating some berries... We have 5 senses (and some people are fortunate enough to
have six...), and in my opinion sight is the one that can be trusted the least. It can be tricked to easily. We need to learn to use all of our senses
our brains. Did you smell the skunk-ape? Did you run your fingers through the werewolf's hair? Did you lick the alien and tasted his
sweat? Did you hear the alien complain about you licking him?
This is unfortunately not always possible when presenting us with evidence on the Internet. (That's why a video is better... Because there's sight
So when can we trust a picture? When can we say with absolute certainty that it contains the absolute truth? These are some requirements
think a picture should meet before it can qualify as a paranormal anomaly
1. A trusted source.
2. More than one pictures. Two pictures of the same object or event from slightly different angles or that show movement.
3. Good quality. When a picture is out of focus or has bad lightning, then your brain needs to "complete" the picture, and is thus left to
4. Concurrence. If one person says he/she sees something and a next person sees something else, then again it's up to perception and cannot be used
as absolute fact.
5. Information, information, information. Giving me a picture and telling me to make something out of it will not cut it. We need information, like
the location of where the picture was taken, time of day, background information, etc. And the information must be confirmable.
6. One of a kind. (Now this can be debated.) The same anomaly cannot be explained away with "laboratory pictures".
If I missed something on the list, please expand it!
Now, with all that in mind... Can you be absolutely sure of what you see in this picture?
The second photo of reference...
Never rely on your eyes only for the truth.
[edit on 4-4-2006 by Gemwolf]