Carroll County NH
Carroll County NH
MISPERCEIVED AS PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
People who watch some of the dozens of paranormal tv shows may see things occur on the shows that are perceived as paranormal activity. While a small fraction of what is seen on these shows truly is paranormal activity, there are situations that, due to their 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. We most often can 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; however, mostly, we have seen things that are often misperceived as paranormal activity. While the list of things that could be misperceived as paranormal activity is virtually endless, the more common causes are often overlooked on television shows.
The most common one is 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 has been shown by science to cause many physical symptoms, including hallucinations and anxiety. Most often, this can be caused by infrasound below 20hz.
Depending on where you live, your house may be more susceptible to being visited by small animals or other creatures. They can get into the attic, ductwork, basement, between floors, walls, chimneys, and other locations. This could cause some interesting sounds you aren’t familiar with that may be mistaken for paranormal activity. Cavities within our houses, like those mentioned where animals can hide out, can cause some interesting effects with sound waves by altering the harmonics and acting as an amplifier. In the end, you have a different noise than the animal initially produced. This is often misinterpreted as paranormal.
Pipes, water pumps, septic, and electrical systems can often make a noise you haven’t heard before, given the right circumstances. These occurrences are often misinterpreted as paranormal activity on paranormal television shows. Just as with the sounds coming from animals in the cavities within the house, the same sound changes can occur with the various apparatuses within your house.
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. Again the cavities in the house can alter this sound to sound something paranormal.
The list continues with many situations, effects, phenomena, and medical conditions.
Alice In Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS): This is a rare neurological disorder characterized by distorted visual perception, body image, and the experience of time. People may see things smaller than they are, feel their bodies alter in size, or experience numerous other symptoms of the syndrome.
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 seems related, and the person believes there must 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 that while investigating, you fixate on the point of light that seems to begin to move when it isn't and is misinterpreted as paranormal activity.
Availability Cascade: A self-reinforcing cycle that explains the development of certain collective beliefs. A novel idea or insight, usually one that seems to explain a complex process simply or straightforwardly, 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. On its face, it seems plausible. Someone could have a benign situation at home, and after talking with friends and family, it gets blown out of proportion, and the homeowner believes 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 appears more often. In layperson’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. You believe it is new when you first notice it; begin noticing it in more locations around the house. 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 accurate, such as character assessments or horoscopes, even when the information is so vague as to be worthless. Some people quickly believe things others tell them or their impulse thoughts. Something simple could happen, and someone could believe 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 enters and exits your blind spot, and such illusions can be misinterpreted as paranormal activity.
Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS): This is a disease in which visual hallucinations result from 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. Suppose you are in a cluttered room, especially one you are unfamiliar with. In that case, you could become claustrophobic and misinterpret it as feeling like you are being watched, which is known as scopaesthesia.
Chronostasis: A 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. When time seems to stand still.
Cryptomnesia: 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 who had a dream when they were 16 of a paranormal experience, and somehow it pops into their mind 20 years later. The person doesn't remember having the dream or where the memory comes from, so they are convinced 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 events 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 a sense of déjà vu. This can cause a very odd feeling which can be misperceived as paranormal activity. This is often caused due to a brief lapse in memory.
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 property door. 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 there. Often people report the feeling of paralyzation.
Hypnopompic Hallucinations: Hallucinations that occur as you wake up. When you experience these hallucinations, you see, hear, or feel things that aren't there.
Infrasound: Infrasound is the low-frequency sound that humans can not hear. Humans can generally hear audible frequencies between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz. Anything below 20 hertz is known as infrasound. These inaudible sound waves have been found to affect the human nervous system, including anxiety, sleeplessness, and pain, and can cause perceived paranormal activity.
Ionospheric Radio Wave Propagation: This phenomenon occurs when solar magnetic radiation 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 the signals can 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 with investigation equipment. 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 you have experienced many times before, such as walking into your house, and it feels new to you. Just like Déjà vu, this is a form of memory lapse.
Mandela Effect: This is a phenomenon in which a person or group has 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 often happens when investigators on a paranormal investigation share data with each other.
Matrixing: This is a term used in place of pareidolia, which 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 phenomena can cause perceived paranormal activity, including, but not limited to, Wind, rain, changes in barometric pressure, drafts, solar storms, Schumann resonances & 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 they did not.
Misophonia: A condition in which individuals experience intense anger and disgust when confronted with sounds made by other human beings.
Musical Ear Syndrome: This condition is where you hear music that isn't there.
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 as they are pretty unfamiliar to you.
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 influence the participants of an experiment subconsciously. Confirmation bias can lead to the experimenter misinterpreting results 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 paranormal activity and interprets any 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, 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, then closing your eyes and still seeing part of the image 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 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 arousal from sleep. If you have parasomnia, you might have abnormal movements, talk, express emotions or do unusual things, including scratching yourself. Often this is something that is misinterpreted as paranormal activity.
Pareidolia: This is also referred to as matrixing. Your mind attempts to find patterns in randomness. The fusiform, a part of the brain, recognizes faces and can see faces where there aren’t any in animate 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 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. 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.
Presque vu: This is a memory lapse where something is on the tip of your tongue, and you can’t recall what you are trying to express, or when you feel you are on the verge of an epiphany. When repetitive, some people incorrectly believe it is paranormal.
Peripheral Drift Illusion: This phenomenon refers to a motion illusion generated by the presentation of a sawtooth luminance grating in the visual periphery. It's an optical illusion that can occur when looking at specific patterns, whether it be something on television, on your computer or portable electronic device, in photos, etc. This illusion could be misperceived as a paranormal phenomenon.
Quantum Entanglement: A theory in science that people or animals can be connected at the quantum level (which is atomic down to subatomic.) An example of this phenomenon is a mother being aware of their child being in danger or injured even if they are far away. This phenomenon could be feasible between siblings, significant others, parents, pets, or any other close relationship 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, is a theorized phenomenon in which humans detect being stared at by extrasensory means. It is the feeling of being watched. In medical science, it often is a symptom of claustrophobia, a fear of enclosed places. This is very commonly misperceived to be paranormal.
Scrying: Also known by various names such as "seeing" or "peeping," it is the theoretical practice of looking into a suitable medium to detect important messages or visions. In the paranormal field, this is 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 would reject any evidence that suggests otherwise, no matter how convincing or factual.
Sleep Deprivation: It is essential to understand the effects of lack of sleep on the body, especially the human mind, and how it can cause perceived paranormal activity.
Sleep Paralysis: This phenomenon occurs when you wake up or fall asleep and are temporarily unable to speak or move, even if you attempt to or have brief difficulty breathing. People often misinterpret this 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 that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection are related to each other. Paranormal-related examples are when a client wakes up in the middle of the night because they believe that they hear an entity forging in the kitchen. They happen to go to the doctor’s office that day and the doctor asks them a bunch of questions to see if there is a possibility of the person having diabetes. They return home and find a cabinet open, and sugar sprinkled on the counter. These three events appear 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 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, can cause infrasound exposure symptoms.
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