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Spooky Things

2005-01-11

Category: philosophies

Our good friend David over at Bugbear is having a little trouble with the supernatural. He?s not prone to believing in spooks but something has him unnerved. Everyone should go over and give him advice and moral support.

However, when you visit you should not be cruel to him. Do not suggest that someone once died in his home. Also, do not suggest that it is the wandering spirits of those killed in the tsunami. Do not suggest that his life of sin has opened the gates of Hell and he and his family are now in danger.

It would be better if you were supportive. Tell him about your own experiences with unexplained phenomena. Tell about that morning you woke up to see your favorite relative standing at the foot of your bed only to fade away a few minutes before someone tells you that the relative has died. Tell him how often you think of a song and then turn on the radio and the song starts to play. Explain to him that it is common for you to think of an old friend just before the phone rings with that friend on the other end. Elaborate on the frequency with which your dog sneezes out rings made of gold.

Science has been very good to me and it tends to explain most occurrences. When something new happens, I turn to my old friend science and expect an answer. Still, there are still things that science still can?t explain to me. It usually has less to do with the limits of science and more to do with the limits of my understanding.

As a former optician, I can usually provide a reasonable explanation for seeing the quick apparition in the corner of the eye. Like most animals, humans notice change. Visually that means that we notice motion. Any little motion will draw our attention. The brain tries to interpret that motion into something we know or expect. A common occurrence is that something moves past a window on one side and we catch an assortment of reflections of the other side. The brain interprets the moving reflections as best it can and we get an apparition.

Another possible explanation for the corner of the eye type of thing has to do with neural signals from the eye or in the visual processing centers of the brain. Many people are unfamiliar with the optical migraine. In this type of migraine there isn?t necessarily any pain but there are just blank areas in the vision. That shows how little neural problems can affect the vision. For more examples of non-visual things affecting your vision, close your eyes and then rub them a bit. You get to see pretty purple spots.

That covers the visual apparitions that David has been seeing. As for the creepy feeling that he gets on the stairs, I can only assume his house is haunted by the spirit of a criminal who died near his house and is now going from place to place until it can eat his soul.


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