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Your eyes can and will deceive you

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posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 05:03 AM
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 enough.

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...
$30,000 Seagull
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
Download Dragon Illusion
This movie 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 illusions.

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 including 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 and sound!)

So when can we trust a picture? When can we say with absolute certainty that it contains the absolute truth? These are some requirements I 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 perception.
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.
Enough said.

[Edit: Grammar]

[edit on 4-4-2006 by Gemwolf]

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 06:01 AM
I had to give you a Way Above. Love this topic!

It's kind of a family fun tradition. The husband has superior colour vision, and I, spacial perception and an eye for 'line'. Well, what a little artist that combination produced!

Spending alot of years on the road, and with a husband highly trained in secret comunication, road games of observation, with the tricks optical illusions play, explained, was a regular bordom killer. Also a receptive state of mind to have the 'training wash in'.

Australians may remember the old , turn of the last century, family fun books, "Coles Funny Picture Books", full of complicated old optical illusions, brain teazers and puzzles, well the now adult kids, still pull them out to liven up a dead room.

Though the best thing this education has taught them, is humility; they "understand" how people "don't see eye to eye", and rather than judge people or behviour, 'explain' it to others. They all have a knack for pacifying a heated situation.

These games also helped all of them excel at school, as they naturally TESTED every bit of information and squeezed all they could out of it, then spent the rest of the time helping classmates understand, building lifelong friends.

Yes, learning to REALLY LOOK, can only help everyone in everything they do.

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 07:16 AM

If you have ideas in expanding the topic
you might consider addressing the 'Marian apparitions', 'Angels',
or even those Jesus images on tacos, et al

those well-known visions would fall into your paranormal
>spiritual & religious


(after all, upwards of 70% of Americans, see the hand of The Creator
both in nature and in many affairs of men...)

optical illusion & the mind, can by extension, cause philosophies to be born

The song, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", has a phrase in it that
goes something like...believe 1/2 of what you see & none of what you hear...

[edit on 4-4-2006 by St Udio]

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 07:27 AM
There was a thread, I THINK early this year, about two planes over London that had a close call. They even had a picture showing it. The only thing was that it was looking up at the bottom of the two planes, so they were a lot farther apart than they appeared to be. But it had a lot of people freaking out over how close they had gotten and how dangerous it was.

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 07:40 AM
Before I say this, I don't know if there are ruins on Mars, but I still hold on to the possibility - even though it is not probable.

While it is true that your eyes can deceive you, it is important to note that sometimes logic can deceive you as well.

It is possible that thinking that your eyes are deceiving you could the real deception within itself.

Only sometimes.

Great post. I printed out the dragon to make with my kids.

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 07:50 AM

You have voted Gemwolf for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have two more votes this month.

Great Post! Interesting stuff, thanks!

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 08:33 AM
Yeah, people dont seem to understand the number of ways the same image can be interpreted by different people.

That seagull thread killed me, I swear. It's a seagull!! Everyone was yelling. No it's not! The rest yelled back. Whew!

Evidence either needs to be well defined, multiple shots from multiple angles with good lighting, or movies with the same criteria. Unfortunately, this NEVER, not EVER, seems to happen. Hmm???

Originally posted by 2manyquestions

What are the collective masses? Stupid?

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 11:33 AM
this is a brilliant thread - and yes i constructed the little dragon, its dead impressive.

has anyone seen the picture of a duck, but if viewed from a different angle its a rabbit. really good & really simple.
listen up teachers cos its a very good way of making people/students understand the other persons point of view is just as valid as theirs.

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 01:54 PM
Good thread!

As far as the face on Mars, i do beleive that second pic was touched up in order to end this topic by NASA.

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 02:02 PM
The dragon illusion is a really nice, almost kinetic illusion.
I think I ended up making about 10 of them last Christmas, for friends,
and the kids of friends..There is one sitting on my desk at work, and one on my TV...Watching all of my moves!

posted on Apr, 4 2006 @ 02:22 PM

You need to be watched!

They are neat.

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