This is a short one, and it may ruffle a few feathers, but I’m going to address the dreaded red circle. I see so many pictures that people post of a grainy black room…with a circle or two placed where they see “faces” or “figures” or the “ghost of Marilyn Monroe” and it’s so hard to take them seriously.
Sure, maybe you do see the faces there! The human mind tries to make sense of what it sees. It wants to organize things into shapes and patterns. This is called pareidolia. The definition according to Webster’s Dictionary is “The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.” So, looking at clouds, inkblot tests…or staring at a grainy picture of a dark room often lead to pareidolia. There are also plenty of other explanations…reflections, dust, bugs, camera glitches etc. Not to say that there aren’t paranormal things caught on camera or film, but it’s alarming how many people jump straight to “IT’S A GHOST!!”
I remember growing up I was terrified of the paranormal happenings I experienced, but would also often scare myself. I’d lay in my bed and stare into the doorway and if I stared long and hard enough I could start to see shapes or figures in the darkness. Try it. Try turning off all the lights and staring into a corner or a doorway and you’ll see what I mean.
People using this as “evidence” always hurts a little, because people already don’t take the paranormal community seriously. Believe me, I understand that it’s so hard to prove that spirits exist. You know what you see and experience and you can’t always prove that to others…but the red circle really is not the way to go about proving that we’re not all a bunch of crazies.
Here are few examples of pareidolia I pulled from the internet.
At the end of the day, if you have to draw a circle around something in a photo, it’s probably not anything. Please, please stop sharing these photos as actual evidence. Always try and debunk things and find rational explanations. It’s so important for what we do, and for the answers that we are seeking.
Stay vigilant. Stay educated. Stay aware.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or points of discussion.