Up Your Orb: Pareidolia or seeing faces
|A satellite photo of a mesa in Cydonia, often called the Face on Mars. Later imagery from other angles did not contain the illusion. source: Wikipedia|
Why do we have a tendency to see faces in the clouds? Why does the human brain and eye translate a collection of shadows and highlights into something recognizable that we can name, like a face?
"Pareidolia provides a psychological explanation for many delusions based upon sense perception. However, it tends to be used by skeptics as a catch-all explanation for everything from UFO sightings to Bigfoot to Elvis to EVPs.
Unless, however, you put it on eBay and auction it off to the highest bidder. Then you could, conceivably, make a lot of money.
*Source: Wikipedia for definitions and facts.
In the Paranormal realm, take the example of faces seen in orbs. First, orbs are not paranormal. However, many paranormal enthusiasts think they are. So, assuming they are for the sake of this discussion, the paranormal enthusiast will blow up the digital image, lighten or darken it, enlarge it out of all proportion and reality, and, wha-la!, a face. Then the real fantasy begins. Because they are seeing faces in orbs, the assumption is that orbs are manifestations of human spirits floating around our heads, and, hopefully, on their way to heaven. (why would they want to hang around a scummy old stream at Sach's bridge for eternity? Let's hope not.) Or, better yet, fairies inside orbs of light peeking out at us. Fairies? Or angels. Like the man in the moon, the faces in orbs are a sort of paranormal double whammy delusion. The moon is a heavenly body orbiting earth. There is no man, no face. It's a trick of the light and shadow falling on the hills and craters of the moon's surface. First, orbs are not paranormal.(see my blog on orbs). Second, the faces you are imagining are a trick of the light and shadow, your brain attempting to organize shadows into form and recognizable images.
Because I am an artist, the right side of my brain loves to do this. When I was a child I used to think that I was crazy. I saw faces in and on everything; wallpaper, floor tile, puddles, lint, blankets, surfaces of walls, patterns of dirt on the floor. I honestly thought I was a bit loony, so I told no one. When I went to graduate school, we were visiting our professor's studio. He was sitting on a stool talking to us about sources of inspiration. And he said this, which I will never forget, "I don't understand how any artist can not be inspired by everything around them. I get bombarded with inspiring images. I have to block them out or they will take all of my time." Then he pointed to the floor at his feet. "See? Look. This pattern of dust and ground-in dirt on the floor..I see a face, and a figure. I could do an entire painting from this one square inch of dirty spot on the floor. I could sit for hours just looking at this beautiful thing." I was mesmerized. Wow. I'm not crazy. All artists see this way..make patterns out of dirt, lint, mud, the play of light and shadow on a wall, the folds and drapes of a curtain.
Who knows? One day we will find out that the faces we see really are the shadows of people; people patterns, spirit prints, afterlife images on the surface of hard reality.
Until then, stop confusing your imagination, the pariedolia experience, with actual reality. I
have been on investigations with groups of inexperienced enthusiasts who see faces and figures in every trick of light and shadow and scream, "Oh! Look! An apparition! A face! A shadow person! A spirit is manifesting! I can feel it! It's all around me. This place is really haunted!"
Please, if there is the hope or ambition of becoming a good investigator, first learn to discern the difference between a highly active and creative imagination, and what you hope or want to see, and what is really there. Learn about the brain and how it works. Be able to tell the difference between the senses playing tricks and what might actually be there. There is a big difference. Learn to sense the real from the delusion. Get really good at it. Then allow the evidence to speak.