Ghost-Spotting Info Center
Here at WillardGhost.com, we want our visitors to have a great time searching for anything a little bit out of the ordinary. And we're doing our best to provide reasonable ghost hunting tools. In our efforts to improve the quality of the user-submitted captures, we're hoping to educate everyone on some of the issues related to the use of digital cameras to capture mysterious things. Read some of our information below and take that knowledge with you over to the GhostCams page!
Pareidolia (pronounced /p??a?'doli?/ or /pæra?'d??li?/), first used in 1994 by Steven Goldstein, describes a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being mistakenly perceived as recognizable. Common examples include images of animals or faces in clouds, seeing the man in the moon, and hearing messages on records played in reverse. The word from Greek para- amiss, faulty, wrong + eidolon, diminutive of eidos appearance, form.
Human beings are apparently "hard-wired" to identify the human face. One possible explanation for this is that unresponsive infants tended to be ignored or abandoned, as Carl Sagan speculated in The Demon-Haunted World.
Skeptics assert that sightings of religious or iconic figures in everyday objects, such as Marian apparitions, are examples of pareidolia, as are electronic voice phenomena. The Face on Mars is a phenomenon that succeeded the Martian canals, both eventually attributed to pareidolia, when the "seen" images disappeared in better and more numerous images. Many Canadians thought they saw the face of the Devil in the Queen's hair on a dollar bill in the 1954 series, adapted from a photograph (illustration, right). The bills were not withdrawn from circulation, but the image was altered in its next printing.
A similar phenomenon is the clustering illusion.
The Rorschach inkblot test uses pareidolia attempting to gain insight into a person's mental state. While this test is still widely employed, its scientific basis is disputed, and no studies have shown empirical confirmation of success.
Here is an article that was written by Grant Wilson of the Ghost Hunters show on Sci Fi channel. His explaination on Matrixing is put in simple easy to understand terms.
"Matrixing is a term to describe the human mind's natural tendency to find familiar shapes in complex shapes or colors. In other words finding a face in the shapes and shadows of a collection of objects.
Ever sit back on the grass as a child and watch the clouds roll through the sky, pointing out the shapes of rabbits or dragons? How about the man in the moon? There isn't really the face of a man on the moon. It is the complex pattern of craters and ravines that causes our mind to form a face. This is matrixing.
Matrixing can be deceiving but if it were not for this ability we wouldn't be able to recognize each other. In fact it is due to the effects of matrixing that we are able to recognize varying types of fonts. If our minds weren't able to distinguish the subtle nuances of each letter then, we would only be able to read one font. Unfortunately, it is also matrixing which causes people to see skulls and faces in tree branches, mirrors, shiny furniture, cluttered closets, etc.
So, Matrixing exists and is a big problem in the paranormal investigation field. What, then, can we do about it? Here are a few ways to identify it and eliminate it before someone else does, and ends up ruining your credibility.
- First, look at the type of photograph you are analyzing. Pictures of trees, fields, cluttered up closets, mirrors and glass are a few of the prime candidates for matrixing issues. They include very complex shapes and patterns and, therefore, a high potential for the mind to construct a face or body out of something that isn't there.
- Second, look at the potential face or figure. If it is truly paranormal then, the face or figure would be made up of its own material, not the material that is comprising the picture. Let me explain; if the picture is of a forest, and your mind tells you that there is a face in it. Look to see if the face is made up of the branches and leaves from the trees in the picture, or if the face is separated from them and a completely separate material from the trees.
- Third, once you have eliminated the top two issues, look at the face or figure as a real face or figure. Look at the proportions of the face. Are they "cartoony" and disproportionate or are they realistic?
Once you have taken the above steps, you may have something worth looking at. Now you just have to determine if the picture is of a real entity or if it was faked.
So, don't succumb to the rising trend of matrixing an entity out of every picture that is taken. Take the time to scrutinize your own evidence before someone else does and comes to the conclusion that you've just got an over-active imagination. Please, consider matrixing before you present evidence to the world and help us all gain more respect for the field of paranormal investigation."