When you see something out of the corner of your eye

It is quite common especially during a paranormal investigation to see something out of the corner of your eye, but is it really paranormal? Here is all you need about blind spots and how once again, our eyes cannot be trusted.
Sarah Chumacero
27th February 2018.
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General, Stuff paranormal investigators need to know.
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When talking to people about paranormal experiences, there is often a common denominator. A presence was felt and then they saw something out of the corner of their eye. It happens to me a lot as well out in the field. Out of the corner of my eye it is like I see a mass darting across the room or out of the corner of my eye I can see something standing there. It even happens in my home which I am pretty sure is not haunted. When you turn around however, it is gone. Is what we are seeing out of the corner of your eye something paranormal, or are your eyes playing tricks on you?

What is a blind spot?

A blind spot is a gap in your vision. The easiest comparison to make is to think of your blind spot when you are driving. It is that spot that you can’t see in any of your mirrors and you will only see it if you physically turn your head. How frustrating is it when a car sits in your blind spot? You know they are there but you can't see them! Our eyes can obviously see a lot of things at the same time. While we focus on one main thing and other items may be a little blurry, we can still see them. It is for this reason you can also see things out of the corner of your eye. It is how you know that perhaps someone is walking in your direction or a ball is coming your way.

Here is a bit of a demonstration

You can either do this on screen on write down the letters on a blank piece of paper around 15cm apart. Close your left and focus on the letter A with your head around 50cm away from the image. Once you are properly focused on the letter A, start moving your head forward very slowly. As you do, the letter B will start to disappear. It is now in your blind spot but you can probably see it out of the corner of your eye.

Why do we have a blind spot?

When light enters your eye, it hits the back of your eyeballs where the nerves are. It picks up a signal and sends it to the brain. This is basically how we can see. The optic nerve at the very back of the eye is attached to the eyeball itself. At the spot where it is first attached, this is the area where the eye cannot detect light. This is your blind spot. It is something that we notice a lot more when we are only using one of our eyes, which the little exercise above points out.

So if we see something out the corner of eye is it paranormal?

Well this is a good question. Is anything we see paranormal? Just because there is an explanation for something doesn’t mean it isn’t possible that it is paranormal in the same way that just because we can’t explain something means that it is paranormal. It comes down to a case by case analysis. We know that the brain tries to make sense of things when it can't see properly. A quick scan of a room might mean you accidently think that a chest of draws is actually a person because you can't see it properly and much like pareidolia works, your brain tries to make sense of this fuzzy image probably in the dark. A blind spot would work in the same way. I must admit, I dismiss anything I see out of the corner of my eye because I know all too well the tricks that eyes and our brain can play on us. Am I being too harsh on myself? I also don’t think though that we shouldn’t think that every time we see something out of the corner of our eye we should jump to the paranormal conclusion either. Again we need to put our investigator hats on. What was happening at the time? Was there a temperature drop or any changes within the atmosphere to suggest a spirit may be trying to manifest itself? Was there activity happening in the room at the time? Do you feel like you were not alone? Scan the room, was there something that would have been in your blind spot that you may have been seeing? If not, then probably one of the most important ones in this case, did anyone else see it too?

With anything in the paranormal realm, we need to look at the whole picture and not just the one thing. It can help us debunk and determine what is going on. This is a really tricky one but important to understand. You are obviously never going to know for sure if what you saw was paranormal or not but when added to the bigger picture, it can help you get a gauge on what is really going on. Our eyes and our brains cannot be trusted it is simple fact. There is something however that can be said about that gut feeling we all have and sometimes we just trust our gut. Ask yourself honestly, do you really believe what you saw out of the corner of your eye was paranormal?

Here are some other articles I have written about how our vision may not be what it seems:

The psychology of the 'After Image' and how it can apply to paranormal investigating

Could peripheral drift illusion cause us to see 'shadow people'

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