by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
One night I was sitting in my living room looking out the windows as I talked to Jim on the telephone (he was at work). Our house sits atop a hill overlooking the valley, and the front of our house is an entire wall of windows.
As I talked to Jim, something streaked across the sky from one window to the next, traveling the length of the house. It was a bright glowing green orb that appeared to be about the size of a basketball with a sparkling tail of blue and green that blazed behind it all along the length of the windows. It, most certainly, not a firework.
“What the Hell was that?” I shouted to Jim.
“What was what?” he asked. One doesn’t necessarily have a very good view of the sky when surrounded by the concrete and steel of a power plant.
I described what I’d seen, and we worked our way through explanations.
Luckily, we live in the information age, and within moments I had my answer. It was a meteorite. It was also very cool.
I flipped on the television to a local news station. People were already beginning to call in their stories about the meteorite. What I found so interesting was how different the descriptions were of what people claimed to have seen. One person saw just flashing lights in the sky – like a strobe light. Another saw a burning red softball. Yet another saw a white line appear in the sky, only to disappear quickly. With each description, the colors were different, as were the sizes and shapes. And surprisingly, not a single person called in and described what I had seen – the green sparkly basketball with the really long blue and green tail streaking behind it. From the descriptions, no one had seen the same thing, and yet we all had seen something at the same time in the same location.
So it goes with perception. We each filter what we observe and remember it in different ways. Perhaps we are viewing it from different angles and viewpoints. Perhaps the language filters that we have in place cause us to explain things differently. Perhaps we have preferences and beliefs that predispose us to seeing things in a way that is unique to us.
Perception is one of many wild cards in all types of paranormal investigation. From UFOs to cryptids to ghost hunting, when dealing with eyewitness accounts, it seems that no two experiences are ever the same – even if the two people describing them have had the exact same experience.
I’ve had this happen a number of times. I see/hear/feel one thing, and someone else who is with me sees/hears/feels something completely different. Even evidence from investigations – like photographs or EVPs are seen and experienced differently by different people.
I’ve got to admit, that makes it tough to figure out what’s really going on. There are a number of times where I’ve believed my eyes/ears/feelings even though they didn’t match up to what other people who were with me saw/heard/felt. At the same time, they probably believed their eyes/ears/feelings instead of believing mine.
There’s something going on. The problem lies in knowing exactly what that is, because it is exceedingly difficult to remove the wild card, which is human perception.
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