Could peripheral drift illusion cause us to see 'shadow people'
What is a shadow person? I have heard many theories from demonic entities through to time travellers from another dimension. The fact of the matter is like everything in the paranormal, we don't actually know for sure. What we do know is that it is a common phenomenon reported amongst paranormal investigators. I myself have witnessed this on several occasions. I have seen what has appeared to be a shadow figure in the shape of what looks to be a human man moving. On one occasion, it even seemed the figure ran towards me in a hallway. I did the only thing I could and I ran into another room! Ever since I have tried to find some answers. I always try to look for the rational because it is just how I work. What I want to make clear is just because there is a rational explanation, it doesn’t mean that it is the answer. I myself have experienced things that others would be able to debunk. I don't even know if this debunks the shadow figures I have seen. It is however a possibility that I must acknowledge. I believe by educating ourselves with these things, when they happen we can look at it them and there and not as an afterthought. It may help us to possibly debunk something and if we can't debunk it, well it makes it all the more interesting!
What is peripheral drift illusion?
The best and easiest way for me to explain this to you, is to show you some pictures and you will know exactly what I am talking about.
You basically have a static image, and using black white and grey lines (in this case colour) you are able to create an illusion that makes you believe that the image is moving when it is not. It is very simply, an optical illusion.
How could this be related to shadow people?
One of the general themes with shadow people particularly in my sightings have been that they have always been in very low light - sometimes in complete darkness. It makes sense because we as investigators, we investigate in the dark. Generally, I tend to see them in doorways and you often hear of people saying they can see figures moving in doorways. A doorway always tends to be a bit darker as well. Because we are in the dark, you are obviously looking at blackness. A bit of light coming through may cause some white and grey areas. When you are focusing on the doorway for a certain amount of time, small changes in light or our eyes could be playing tricks on us. It certainly would be possible that the figure we are seeing moving in the doorway could in fact be a trick of our eye. We now know about peripheral drift vision and we know about pareidolia. Mix these two together and is it the perfect combination to create a shadow person? In fact this concept is used widely in virtual reality experiences to help track movement and give a more authentic experience.
As I said, I am not saying shadow people do not exist or trying to discount any sort of experience that you have had. Does this explain shadow people? Maybe in some cases it does and maybe it doesnt? Looking back there are a few occasions where I think that this was probably the case but there are also a couple of times where I would not be so sure. It is hard to look back at something in retrospect so next time you are out on an investigation and you witness a shadow person, take the above into account. Is it something you are physically seeing or is it an eye trick? We know our brains can play trick on us. It could even be a bit of this mixed with pareidolia. We cannot trust our brains. What we as investigators do rely on though is our gut. It is finding a good balance between the two that is the hard part!
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