Pareidolia, Matrixing, Simulacrum and the Paranormal

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posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 06:53 AM
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Pareidolia, Matrixing, Simulacrum and the Paranormal

 





Oh, my God -- it's a demon! Oh, wait... no it isn't... it's a rock. The phenomenon of seeing a familiar shape or form in random combinations of shadows and light is known as pareidolia or matrixing, and the thing itself is called a simulacrum. It's very common to see what looks like a face in jagged rocks (like this photo), grass, dirt, water, clouds, flames, clouds of dust, visible gas -- even a pile of crumpled clothing on the couch. (Haven't you put that away yet?)

The human brain seems to be wired to recognize faces. That's why it's so startling to sometimes see them in pictures like this. Although the rock formation is completely random in nature, gosh darn it that looks like a face! It must be a spirit! It's especially disconcerting to some people when the face, again like this one, resembles the traditional depiction of the Devil. It freaks them out.

In fact, look closely at all of the rock in this picture and you'll see several faces. So either we're just seeing things or this wall of rock is seriously haunted. Which do you think is more likely?
(Image and text Courtesy of About.com)

Like a lot of members here, particularly those whom post in this forum, I'm very much so a believer in the paranormal and in the afterlife and ghosts and so on. Admittedly, I'm only really a believer in this due to my own paranormal experiences (That's another thread for another day), otherwise, more than likely, I'd be as skeptical as the next guy. But this being so, I like to think that I sustain a certain level of skepticism when looking into cases, or when researching and coming across "ghostly pictures" etc. Well, It's what I try do do anyway..

This being so, I have to be honest, It's becoming quite tiresome coming onto threads, ones with promising titles of course, and finding that the content is something actually rather mundane and/or quite easily explainable. And as I have a keen interest in this topic, I'm not going to stop reading paranormal themed threads, instead, I thought I would at least try and start this thread (this is the paranormal studies forum after all) and highlight what I feel is a key mistake a lot of people make.

The mistake being that most seem to believe that they have captured something genuinely paranormal, when in a lot of instances (not all), It's something explainable with one simple word - Pareidolia.

First off, here's a nice explanation Into this "Phenomenon" and the ones like it for clarification into the need to make a thread such as this one.

Paradolia - What is it?

Pareidolia:


It's where something insignificant is perceived as significant. It typically is a vague, obscure image or sound that is interpreted as being something more. Examples include seeing images of Jesus Christ in burn markings on a piece of toast or seeing the man on the moon. In practice the Rorschach inkblot test uses pareidolia to gain insight into a person's mental state. The ink blots alone are designed to be insignificant images but the responses they illicit in people are representative of the significance that the person's perception places on the images.
(Source)

Matrixing:


Matrixing is the term the Ghost Hunters use to describe the misidentification of something ordinary as something unusual. It comes into play most often when people take photographs and spot something in the picture they are sure was not there when the photo was taken. Often, it is a face or figure and seems to be human.

Why Does Matrixing Happen?

One explanation is that recognizing other humans, and the faces of parents, is the first skill a baby learns. Pattern recognition of this sort is also a survival tool, giving the earliest humans a way to spot predators in hiding. The skill is so fundamental that, when presented with a random set of patterns the human brain attempts to make sense of what it sees. If it can possibly resolve that random pattern into a familiar object or image, it will.
(Source)

Simulacrum:


An image; a representation.

An insubstantial, superficial, or vague likeness or semblance.
(Source)

Let me also quickly state that I'm not and won't ever try to get across that I believe every single picture, or anything of the sort, provided here on ATS has been caused from the result of Pareidolia and should be dismissed as nothing paranormal, because that would be stupidity. I just strongly believe the vast majority are caused by this going from what I've seen in the past.

That's why I feel the need to at the very least try and explain it in a thread of It's own. And as well as being a strong believer in the topic of the paranormal, I'm also a strong believer that genuine evidence can and will be posted here. But...:

To understand what something can be, we must first decipher what It can't be.



Pareidolia - How does it work?

Ok, let me state once more that Pareidolia (A.K.A. Matrixing) is Not a paranormal phenomenon. That's not to say paranormal phenomenon doesn't occur, or that all things that seem paranormal are explainable in this way as that, again, would be false and just plain stupid. But Pareidolia does seem to be an explanation for a lot of what people would consider odd, strange or just "paranormal" in general. Particularly images that are fitting into the description of odd and/or paranormal, IMO.

You see Paradolia is quite a normal thing. It's the sole reason why people can see facial or familiar looking features in every day objects (please see the video below), It's the reason why we can sometimes hear familiar sounds in white noise and EVP's, It's the reason why we can see shapes in clouds and so on..

As a small experiment, just take a look at this Tv Advert. Notice how you see a face in almost every image provided? This being so, notice how not a single human face is shown. Yeah, that's Pareidolia and how It works in action..



Pareidolia scientifically is a type of apophenia, which is in itself the art of seeing meaningful patterns or strange connections in random and/or meaningless data, involving the finding of images or sounds in random stimuli.

The most popular kind of this is seeing faces in every day objects (again, see the above video). The Brain has seemingly learnt how to recognize faces from birth and thus be able to memorize and recall the faces of hundreds or thousands of different individuals. The Brain is pretty much one big facial recognition, storage, and recall machine.

The downside to this though is again, the fact that we also see faces in most things that are obviously not faces at all, particularly in the paranormal and even more particularly in images of Orbs where sometimes hundreds of faces can be seen in one single orb. Unfortunately It has nothing to do with spirits being present, instead the mind looking to fill in the blanks and make sense of what it's seeing.

To test out another experiment showing the simple ways in which Pareidolia can occur, take a look at the certain way we perceive nothing but 3 circles and a single line when positioned in a certain way. Notice how It's immediately perceived as a definite face when In fact, It's actually nothing of the sort:



This is how Pareidolia works. Things which aren't exactly facial features being perceived as just that. Again, the above image is just 3 round circles and a single line, not a face but that's what It looks like..

This is why we see faces. The Brain has simply learnt to recognize this familiar shape and If It can fill in the blanks, It certainly will.

Here are some more images as examples, specifically using one common theme I highlighted previously, an object used by those believing they have captured something truly paranormal when in most instances, they have not - the Orb.

Notice how a face, in some cases, hundreds can be seen in these small white lights...









Some of those image above used as "proof" of the paranormal but I have to ask also, in all seriousness, Is it just me who thinks It's actually rather silly to suggest that these small specks of light having something resembling a human face is enough reason to say they are proof for the paranormal?

I mean, It doesn't make a great deal of sense really when you think about it. Why would a human face appear here at all anyway? What about the rest of it perhaps? Why just a face? It doesn't make much sense, IMO, to suggest a face captured in these images is proof of anything at all. The only proof It can maybe claim to provide is the proof we are experiencing something common - Pareidolia.

Sorry, but It seems as though It can't be anything other than the phenomenon of Paradolia - It may not a popular idea but It's seemingly true. And at the end of the day, It's by far better to be rational rather than reckless in ones conclusions, isn't it?

Pareidolia - Can It explain away everything?

Ok, there's just no getting away from the fact that something like Pareidolia can explain away a great deal. But can It explain away everything? No, and let me be clear that with this thread I'm not attempting to ever suggest such a thing. This being something I want to be very clear about.

At the end of the day, like everyone else regularly visiting this website, I want nothing more than to find certain truths in the topics I take a keen interest in. And I believe that finding truth in this forum is more than a possible pursuit also. But I'm a strong believer that people are just too quick to jump to conclusions without taking a step back and actually looking for what is a plausible explanation to something.

All in all, I just think that people shouldn't get ahead of themselves, which is what they seem to do, and just because they can see something that resembles a face or hear a familiar sounding sound, that doesn't mean that's necessarily what it is.

And It doesn't necessarily mean It's a ghost or even anything paranormal-related in the slightest. Just look at the very first image from this thread after all, that's not anything paranormal and that resembles a face quite clearly - probably better than most here have managed to capture themselves in fact.

Please don't get me wrong here, I'm not ever asking that people stop looking for the truth in the paranormal. I'm not asking that people stop posting pictures or EVP's here, I just ask that people take at the very least try and take a step back, look for a plausible conclusion, and when you can rule everything out, including Paraidolia, It's probably a good time to post what you have. Although, that's just my opinion on the matter.

Anyway, thanks for reading this thread, I really hope people understand what I'm trying to say here, as this isn't a popular idea going from how people have reacted to It being brought up in the past on certain threads and posts, but I feel It's an important issue to highlight, particularly in this forum.

As I said, we all want to see the evidence after all, and that's not going to happen if people don't wish to accept when something isn't paranormal.

Thanks.
edit on 13-4-2011 by Rising Against because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 07:03 AM
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Another brilliant thread mate.

This is very helpfull in displaying the many different mistakes that is so easily made in indentifying seemingly "paranormal" images.

I hope people read this thread, and learn to not jump to conclusions concerning these images on their photos.

VVV
edit on 13-4-2011 by VreemdeVlieendeVoorwep because: tyo



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 07:09 AM
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Excellent Opening Post, RA


Pareidolia (et al) is a fascinating study and one which drives the artist in me to great lengths. I love to make just a little order out of chaos and leave the rest to the imagination of the viewers:



What others might 'see' is as much related to their own personal psychology as it is mine as the creator of the image. They are just like Rorschach tests



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 07:16 AM
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Great post! Whereas I don't believe all paranormal can be debunked by is, some indeed can be. I've noted some examples myself. One was of a picture that a friend took, of a -said to be-haunted farm house. Upon zooming in on the picture, you could see all kinds of floating, demonic like faces. They were on the house, around and other various places in the yard. The picture was grainy, yet yielded those faces. I determined it as Pareidolia. Another example was using a graphics program, when experimenting with it one composition displayed faces or close to that of faces.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 07:23 AM
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reply to post by VreemdeVlieendeVoorwep
 




I hope people read this thread, and learn to not jump to conclusions concerning these images on their photos.


Hey VVV,

Agreed and that's the main reason for making as thread such as this. After all, and like I mentioned in my OP, we all want to find the truth or the "un-debunkable evidence" at the end of the day otherwise I'd imagine we wouldn't be here posting in the first place.

And, IMO, to do that, you have to eliminate what something can't be (Cue the pareidolia explanation) before you figure out exactly what it can be.


That means taking a step back and looking for a rational conclusion before shouting paranormal. That's not to say I've never jumped to conclusions on things though, but I like to think I'm at least a little less prone to it now than I used to be.
edit on 13-4-2011 by Rising Against because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 07:40 AM
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reply to post by masqua
 




They are just like Rorschach tests


Agreed and when looking at the painting you provided, I can't help but make out various (and familiar) shapes and figures all over It too..

A great example of how Pareidolia seems to work. Thanks for posting it.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 08:20 AM
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reply to post by dreamingawake
 



One was of a picture that a friend took, of a -said to be-haunted farm house. Upon zooming in on the picture, you could see all kinds of floating, demonic like faces. They were on the house, around and other various places in the yard. The picture was grainy, yet yielded those faces. I determined it as Pareidolia.


Kudos for actually looking at something and coming to a rational conclusion. I know plenty of people myself who will fight to the death to believe an image of an orb they captured with even the slightest resemblance of a face In it is a genuine paranormal picture.


Out of curiosity though, what do you think about Orb images in general? I highlighted in my OP I think It's actually quite silly to suggest that the image of a face is a genuine spirit as, well, It just doesn't make sense as to why It would appear in this way.

But this is just my opinion, I'd love to hear other opinions on it also.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 08:39 AM
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Goat has just made another smashing thread.
Absolutely fantastic, bro.

Sometimes we do tend to be a little bit panicky...trying to make something out from nothing, it can even not only be applied to rocks and such but also to conspiracy theories itself.

Fascinating stuff



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 08:51 AM
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reply to post by Rising Against
 


Just because I have them in my pictures...

Sad clock...



Godzilla...



And although some might say this is just another case of pareidolia, I think we all know better...





Another good thread RA



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 08:57 AM
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Excellent thread. Thanks for this. Hopefully many will see it.

Oh, and don't forget Jesus Toast!




posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 09:31 AM
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reply to post by Juston
 
reply to post by LiveForever8
 


Yep, Pareidolia at It's finest.

edit on 13-4-2011 by Rising Against because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:36 AM
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Btw, here's some interesting quotes that I forgot to add:

Carl Sagan:


As soon as the infant can see, it recognizes faces, and we now know that this skill is hardwired in our brains. Those infants who a million years ago were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper. These days, nearly every infant is quick to identify a human face, and to respond with a goony grin (Sagan 1995: 45).
(Source)

David Hume:


There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object, those qualities, with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious. We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice or good- will to every thing, that hurts or pleases us. --David Hume*





posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:57 AM
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This is my favourite example of pareidolia... as it probably is for many other people.



IRM



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:38 AM
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The sad, but unsurprising, thing about this is there are lots of people who will still continue to believe the faces they see in their pictures are spirits making themselves known, no matter what evidence to the contrary you present to them. Human beings are very superstitious and impressionable, and it doesn't take much of anything deemed 'mysterious' for them to go reaching for supernatural/otherworldly explanations, even when 99% of the time the phenomena in question is explainable and not supernatural by any stretch of the imagination.

That's why there's still places in the world where they burn people (many times children) for being witches whenever the rain doesn't come for the crops, or someones baby dies, or an owl hoots at midnight. It must be black magic!

This sort of picture nonsense has been crapping up the paranormal field for a long time, but again it's not surprising. This field, along with UFOs, draws in all sorts of people that aren't capable of critical thinking or using any sort of real discernment in their conclusions about the unknown or mysterious, thus we end up with yet more silly pictures of trees from some new ager who swear they have captured their spirit guides peering at them from among the leaves.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by Balkan
The sad, but unsurprising, thing about this is there are lots of people who will still continue to believe the faces they see in their pictures are spirits making themselves known, no matter what evidence to the contrary you present to them. Human beings are very superstitious and impressionable, and it doesn't take much of anything deemed 'mysterious' for them to go reaching for supernatural/otherworldly explanations, even when 99% of the time the phenomena in question is explainable and not supernatural by any stretch of the imagination.


Indeed! Well stated Balkan!

In a civilisation borne of superstition... Irrationality, delusion and confirmation bias will trump critical thought nearly every time. If it weren't for the very rare occurrence of the visionaries that dragged the human race from the dark ages (less than .001% of the entire population that has ever lived) , we would all still be brandishing clubs and wearing bear skins. The greater populace has forever ridden on their coat-tails. Though we now live in a technological age, we live under the illusion that we have somehow progressed beyond the archaic, however evidence would suggest that not much has changed at all.

IRM



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 01:49 PM
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Ironically, the guy in the first pic has no face.

@ InfaRedMan

It took me a second, I didn't enjoy any of it but that made me giggle.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 02:07 PM
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reply to post by InfaRedMan
 


It's a wonder why most religious folk never use that particular image as an example of holy visitation as opposed to some others?





posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 02:53 PM
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reply to post by Rising Against
 


Interesting thread RA


So what we think we are seeing is not neccessarily what we are seeing at all.
Mmmmm, well nothing is real anyway !!




S&F baby !! xx



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 03:03 PM
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Excellent thread and great presentation as well!
S&F

Other examples on how our senses can be mistaken:

















posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 03:39 PM
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reply to post by uk today
 




Mmmmm, well nothing is real anyway !!



Eh, Yes it is.




xx



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