Misperceived As Paranormal Activity Part 2

A month ago I posted a blog entry entitled “Misperceived As Paranormal Activity” which can be found here . I thought that it would be beneficial to expand on that post and discuss more situations where activity can be misperceived as paranormal when it is xenonormal. Xenonormal means it’s normal in nature, but unfamiliar.

In the previous blog entry I discussed electromagnetic radiation, infrasound and ultrasound which are sound frequencies below and above our hearing capabilities, pareidolia which is our mind’s attempt to find patterns in randomness, quantum entanglement which is a theory in science that people or animals can be connected to each other at the quantum level, palinopsia which is a phenomenon where you still see something even though you are no longer directly looking at it, sleep paralysis which is a phenomenon that occurs when you are waking up or falling asleep and is temporarily unable to speak or move or brief difficulty breathing, small animals and creatures in the walls, plumbing and HVAC sounds, house materials settling, claustrophobia, and déjà vu.

Now lets get into other things that can be misperceived as paranormal activity. You have heard me discuss some of these phenomena before in a blog post entitled Subjects For Investigators To Research which can be found here.

Some of the technical definitions came from dictionary.com, webmd.com, merriam-webster.com, or wikipedia.com .

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS) – This is a rare neurological disorder characterized by distortions of visual perception, the body image, and the experience of time. People may see things smaller than they are, feel their body alter in size or experience any of the syndrome’s numerous other symptoms.

Apophenia – The tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas.)

Autokinesis – A phenomenon of visual perception in which a stationary, small point of light in an otherwise dark or featureless environment appears to move. It presumably occurs because motion perception is always relative to some reference point. A paranormal example would be while investigating you fixate on a point of light and it seems to begin to move when it really isn’t, and it is misinterpreted as paranormal activity.

Availability Cascade – A self-reinforcing cycle that explains the development of certain kinds of collective beliefs. A novel idea or insight, usually one that seems to explain a complex process in a simple or straightforward manner, gains rapid currency in the popular discourse by its very simplicity and by its apparent insightfulness. Its rising popularity triggers a chain reaction within the social network: individuals adopt the new insight because other people within the network have adopted it, and on its face it seems plausible.

Barnum Effect – The tendency to accept certain information as true, such as character assessments or horoscopes, even when the information is so vague as to be worthless.

Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) – This is a disease in which visual hallucinations occur as a result of vision loss.

Chronostasis – A type of temporal illusion in which the first impression following the introduction of a new event or task-demand to the brain can appear to be extended in time. Basically when time seems to stand still.

Cryptomensia – This is an occurrence that describes when a forgotten memory returns without its being recognized as such by the subject, who believes it is something new and original. It is a memory bias whereby a person may falsely recall generating a thought, an idea, a tune, a name, or a joke, not deliberately engaging in plagiarism but rather experiencing a memory as if it were a new inspiration. An example would be someone had a dream when they were 16 of a paranormal experience, and somehow it pops into their mind 20 years later, and the person doesn’t remember having the dream or where the memory comes from so they are convinced that they went through a recent paranormal experience.

Hypnagogic Hallucinations – These are hallucinations that occur as you’re falling asleep. When you experience these hallucinations, you see, hear, or feel things that aren’t actually there.

Hypnopompic Hallucinations – These are hallucinations that occur as you’re waking up. When you experience these hallucinations, you see, hear, or feel things that aren’t actually there.

Ionospheric radio wave propagation: This phenomenon occurs when solar magnetic radiation emanating from sunspots, which are magnetic storms on the sun, electrically charges the Earth’s ionosphere. The ionosphere is a region of Earth’s atmosphere that ranges from 30 to 250 miles above the surface of the Earth. When solar electromagnetic radiation causes the ionosphere to become electrically charged it causes the ionosphere to act like a mirror for radio signals below 30MHz so it is possible for the signals to bounce off the charged ionosphere and end up hundreds or up to 10,000+ miles away on the other side of the world. This can cause all kinds of interference on investigation equipment and false positives. Faraday bags/cages can help minimize this when used with voice recorders which are the most susceptible to interference.

Mandela Effect – This is a phenomenon in which a person or a group of people have false or distorted memories. Some believe that the Mandela effect is proof of alternate realities, while others blame it on the fallibility of human memory. This effect often leads to cryptomensia.

Misophonia – This is a condition in which individuals experience intense anger and disgust when they are confronted with sounds made by other human beings.

New House Effect – When you move into a new location and aren’t familiar with all of the sounds, sights, and smells and perceive them to be paranormal.

Observer Expectancy Effect – This phenomenon is also called the experimenter-expectancy effect, expectancy bias, observer effect, or experimenter effect. It is a form of reactivity in which a researcher’s cognitive bias causes them to subconsciously influence the participants of an experiment. Confirmation bias can lead to the experimenter interpreting results incorrectly because of the tendency to look for information that conforms to their hypothesis, and overlook information that argues against it. In the paranormal field that means someone who goes into an investigation biased that a location has equipment and personal experience activity and interprets any type of activity to be paranormal because they want it to be so. They may also attempt to convince others that benign occurrences have to be paranormal activity.

Parasomnia – A sleep disorder that involves unusual and undesirable physical events or experiences that disrupt your sleep. A parasomnia event can occur before or during sleep or during arousal from sleep. If you have parasomnia, you might have abnormal movements, talk, express emotions or do unusual things. Often this is something that is misinterpreted as paranormal activity.

Pareidolia – In the last blog post regarding situations misperceived as paranormal activity we discussed visual pareidolia, but it can also be something that affects your hearing. Situations such as ear barotrauma (airplane ear), tinnitus (humming, clicking, ringing, or buzzing in the ear), and musical ear syndrome (hearing music that isn’t there) have also caused people to perceive paranormal activity that isn’t there.

Peripheral Drift Illusion – This phenomenon refers to a motion illusion generated by the presentation of a sawtooth luminance grating in the visual periphery. Basically it’s an optical illusion that can occur when looking at certain patterns, wether it be something on television, on your computer or portable electronic device, in photos, etc. This illusion could be misperceived as paranormal phenomenon.

Schumann Resonances – These are electromagnetic oscillations of the Earth-ionosphere cavity at frequencies of 7.8, 14, 20, 26, 33, 39, and 45Hz. Frequencies below 20hz are known as infrasound frequencies and aren’t detectable by the human ear (except for some cases where people can hear down to 18hz.) Infrasound is the barely audible, or not audible low-frequency sound that humans can’t hear. Both of these have been found to have an effect on the human nervous system and can cause perceived paranormal activity.

Scopaesthesia – Also known as the psychic staring effect, it is a theorized phenomenon in which humans detect being stared at by extrasensory means. Basically it is the feeling of being watched.

Semmelweis Reflex – In basic terms it means that you believe that your house has paranormal activity and that you would reject any evidence that suggests otherwise no matter how convincing or factual it is.

Sleep Deprivation – It is important to understand the effects of lack of sleep on the human body, especially the human mind and how it can cause perceived paranormal activity.

Synchronicity – This is the belief that a simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. Paranormal related examples of this are a client wakes up in the middle of the night because they hear an entity forging in the kitchen. They happen to go to the doctors office that day and the doctor asks them a bunch of questions to see if there is the possibility of the person having diabetes. They return home and find a cabinet open and find sugar sprinkled on the counter. These three events would appear to be related, but do not have a discernible causal connection.

Tachypsychia – This is a neurological condition that distorts the perception of time, usually induced by physical exertion, drug use, or a traumatic event.

The Misinformation Effect – This occurs when a person’s recall of episodic memories becomes less accurate because of post-event information. This can lead to someone believing they experienced a paranormal situation when they did not.

Vibroacoustic Phenomenon – This is vibration and sound combined that influences physiology. Specifically the Helmholtz Resonance which is wind passing over a narrow opening such as a slightly open window or door, a glass bottle top, etc. It can cause spooky sounds and if below 20 hertz and can cause symptoms of infrasound exposure.

For a detailed list of many things that are misperceived as paranormal activity please visit the applicable section of our homepage which can be found by clicking here.