Mount Washington Valley SPIRIT Paranormal Investigators

Scientific Paranormal Investigation, Research, & Interpretation Team

Ghosthunters Conway, New Hampshire, USA Ghost Hunter

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From 2010 - 2020

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Paranormal Investigators from Mount Washington Valley SPIRIT conduct paranormal investigations around Conway, NH 

Misperceived  -  mount Washington valley spirit - scientific paranormal investigation, research, & interpretation team

MISPERCEIVED AS PARANORMAL ACTIVITY


People who watch the dozens of paranormal tv shows on television may see things occur on the shows that are perceived as paranormal activity. While some of what is seen on these shows truly is paranormal activity there are situations that, due to their own education, some viewers realize that there are potential scientific reasons for some of what had occurred which is not spoken of during the show. We have been contacted by potential clients over the years who explained situations of what they believe is paranormal activity and we are able to satisfy their concerns by asking a series of questions pertinent to their situation that in scientific terms explains what occurred that they misperceived as paranormal activity. During our careers we have seen our fair share of paranormal activity and we have seen things that were misperceived as paranormal activity. While the list of things that could be misperceived as paranormal activity is virtually endless, here are the more common causes .


The most common one would be electromagnetic radiation. Our nervous systems act as big antennas and can sense various forms of electromagnetic radiation. Being exposed to elevated levels of electromagnetic radiation over an extended period of time has been shown by science to cause a bunch of physical symptoms including hallucinations and anxiety.


Depending where you live your house may be more susceptible to being visited by small animals or other creatures. They can get into the attic, duct work, basement, between floors, in the walls, chimneys, and other locations. This could cause some interesting sounds that you aren’t familiar with that may be mistaken for paranormal activity.


Pipes, water pumps, septic, and electrical systems can often make a noise that you haven’t heard before given the right circumstances. These occurrences are often thought to be paranormal activity.


Houses are made of various materials, especially older houses. As the humidity, temperature levels, and barometric pressure fluctuate these inanimate objects can make spooky sounding noises or even if floor boards squeak in succession it could give you the impression that a paranormal entity is walking around.


The list continues with a bunch of situations, effects, phenomena, and medical conditions.


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.) A series of random situations could occur in someone’s house that seem related and the person believes that there has to be some intelligent paranormal entity behind it.


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. Someone could have a situation at home that is benign and after taking with friends and family it gets blown out of proportion and the homeowner believes that their place is haunted.


Baader–Meinhof Phenomenon: Frequency illusion, also known as the Baader–Meinhof phenomenon or frequency bias, is a cognitive bias in which, after noticing something for the first time, there is a tendency to notice it more often, leading someone to believe that it has a high frequency (a form of selection bias). It occurs when increased awareness of something creates the illusion that it is appearing more often. In layman’s terms it means something could have been happening at your house all along, such as certain sounds, or feelings in certain areas due to electromagnetic activity, and you believe it is new when you first notice it, begin noticing it in more locations around the house, and you believe that there is a paranormal cause to this new experience, when in reality it was there all along and you didn’t notice it before, and it is something not paranormal, but you have convinced yourself that it is.


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. Some people are quick to believe things others tell them or their own impulse thoughts. Something simple could happen and someone believes it is paranormal.


Blind Spots: This is the point of entry of the optic nerve on the retina, insensitive to light (creating a spot in your vision where you can't see.) Many optical illusions can occur when something is entering and exiting your blind spot, and such illusions can be misinterpreted as paranormal activity.


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


Claustrophobia: The feeling of being trapped. The arrangement of objects in your house could cause feelings that are misperceived as paranormal activity. Some people are more susceptible to claustrophobia. If you are in a cluttered room, especially one that you are not familiar with, you could become claustrophobic and misinterpret it as feeling like you are being watched.


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.


Déjà vu: This situation, translated from French means “already seen”, is a phenomenon where you believe that you have experienced an event or series of event before. It is more common in younger people, however there is a recognized medical disorder where someone has this feeling occur often. There is perceived déjà vu which we all refer to when mentioning the term. As we can’t readily recall every second of every day when a series of events occur exactly as they have before we may feel the sense of déjà vu. This can cause a very odd feeling which can be misperceived as paranormal activity.


Doorway Effect: This is a widely experienced phenomenon, wherein a person passing through a doorway may forget what they were doing or thinking about previously. An example would be being on a paranormal investigation, leaving the location to get an item from the car, and forgetting what the item was for once stepping back into the door of the property. This can also lead to the feeling of presque vu. This has in the past been misinterpreted as paranormal activity.


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: Hallucinations that occur as you're waking up. When you experience these hallucinations, you see, hear, or feel things that aren't actually there.


Infrasound: Infrasound is the barely audible, or not audible low-frequency sound that humans can hear whereas ultrasound. Both of these have been found to have an effect on the human nervous system and can cause perceived paranormal activity.


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.


Jamais Vu: This is the opposite of Déjà vu. This phenomenon is when you forget something that you have experienced many times before, such as walking into your house and it feels new to you.


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.


Matrixing: This is a term used in place of pareidolia, which is is the tendency for perception to impose a meaningful interpretation on a nebulous stimulus, usually visual, so that one sees an object, pattern, or meaning where there is none. This can happen when looking at clouds, looking at static, when in fog or a steamy room, in a room with a large amount of energy etc. It can also occur with sounds. See “Pareidolia” for more information.


Meteorological: Many weather related phenomenon can cause perceived paranormal activity including, but not limited to Wind, rain, changes in barometric pressure, drafts, solar storm, & static electricity. 


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 in fact they did not.


Misophonia: A condition in which individuals experience intense anger and disgust when they are confronted with sounds made by other human beings.


Musical Ear Syndrome: This is a condition where you are hearing music that isn't there.Quantum entanglement: a theory in science that people or animals can be connected to each other at the quantum level (which is atomic down to subatomic.) An example of this phenomena is a mother being aware of their child being in danger or has been injured even if they are at a great distance away. This phenomena could be feasible between siblings, significant others, parents, pets, or any other close relationship that you may have. This could be perceived as the feeling of being watched.


New House Effect: This phenomenon is 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.


Palinopsia: This is also known as after images or retina burn, is a phenomenon where you still see something even though you are no longer directly looking at it. Examples could be looking at something on your cell phone and then closing your eyes and still seeing part of the image that you were looking at. The same thing could happen when watching television, turning your head quickly in the dark, or the most common situation where someone believes they see a ghost is when they are looking at someone directly or their own reflection in a mirror, turn around quickly and still see a human face or form that isn’t really there and dissipates quickly.


Parasomnia: This is 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: This is also referred to as matrixing. It is your mind’s attempt to find patterns in randomness. The fusiform, which is a part of the brain, recognizes faces and can see faces where there aren’t any in inanimate objects. Examples of this would be staring at static on an old tv and seeing shapes or figures in the static, seeing figures in clouds or in ripples in water, or seeing figures in rock faces on the side of mountains. Pareidolia also comes into play with excessive electromagnetic energy and infrasound where our nervous system senses their presence and not understanding them causes us to perceive apparitions or other familiar forms. 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.


Quantum Entanglement: A theory in science that people or animals can be connected to each other at the quantum level (which is atomic down to subatomic.) An example of this phenomena is a mother being aware of their child being in danger or has been injured even if they are at a great distance away. This phenomena could be feasible between siblings, significant others, parents, pets, or any other close relationship that you may have. This could be perceived as the feeling of being watched.


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 20 hertz are known as infrasound frequencies and aren’t detectable by the human ear (except for some cases where people can hear down to 18 hertz.) 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.


Scrying: Also known by various names such as "seeing" or "peeping", is the practice of looking into a suitable medium in the hope of detecting significant messages or visions. In the paranormal field you will see this most often used with a mirror, however the practice isn't used by many paranormal investigators. Partaking in this can also cause optical illusions that could be perceived as paranormal activity.


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.


Sleep Paralysis: This is a phenomenon that occurs when you are waking up or falling asleep and is temporarily unable to speak or move, even if they attempt to, or brief difficulty breathing. This is often misinterpreted by people as being held down or choked (as they may gasp for air) by an invisible entity.


Synchronicity: 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: A neurological condition that distorts the perception of time, usually induced by physical exertion, drug use, or a traumatic event.


Tinnitus: This medical phenomenon is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, an ear injury or a problem with the circulatory system. It includes humming, clicking, ringing, or buzzing in the ear.


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.

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