The term pareidolia describes a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus(often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Commonexamples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse. The word comes from the Greek para- —"beside", "with" or "alongside"- meaning, in this context, something faulty or wrong (as in paraphasia, disordered speech)—and eidolon—"image" (the diminutive of eidos—"image", "form", "shape"). Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.
Photographic Analysis: Matrixing
I love receiving tons of pictures of potential paranormal evidence every day in my email. The willingness of everyone to share what they have found is astonishing, and I am honored that they trust TAPS to offer an honest, objective analysis of their evidence.
In analyzing the evidence that is presented to us, we scrutinize every possibility before calling it possible evidence. In so doing, I have found that there is one major mistake made by both amateur and experienced paranormal investigators alike. I receive multiple promises of demonic faces, full apparitions, faces galore, only to open the email attachment and find a serious case of matrixing.
Matrixing is a term we use here at TAPS to describe the human mind's natural tendency to find familiar shapes in complex shapes or colors. In other words finding a face in the shapes and shadows of a collection of objects.
Ever sit back on the grass as a child and watch the clouds roll through the sky, pointing out the shapes of rabbits or dragons? How about the man in the moon? There isn't really the face of a man on the moon. It is the complex pattern of craters and ravines that causes our mind to form a face. This is matrixing.
Matrixing can be deceiving but if it were not for this ability we wouldn't be able to recognize each other. In fact it is due to the effects of matrixing that we are able to recognize varying types of fonts. If our minds weren't able to distinguish the subtle nuances of each letter then, we would only be able to read one font. Unfortunately, it is also matrixing which causes people to see skulls and faces in tree branches, mirrors, shiny furniture, cluttered closets, etc.
So, Matrixing exists and is a big problem in the paranormal investigation field. What, then, can we do about it? Here are a few ways to identify it and eliminate it before someone else does, and ends up ruining your credibility.
- First, look at the type of photograph you are analyzing. Pictures of trees, fields, cluttered up closets, mirrors and glass are a few of the prime candidates for matrixing issues. They include very complex shapes and patterns and, therefore, a high potential for the mind to construct a face or body out of something that isn't there.
- Second, look at the potential face or figure. If it is truly paranormal then, the face or figure would be made up of its own material, not the material that is comprising the picture. Let me explain; if the picture is of a forest, and your mind tells you that there is a face in it. Look to see if the face is made up of the branches and leaves from the trees in the picture, or if the face is separated from them and a completely separate material from the trees.
- Third, once you have eliminated the top two issues, look at the face or figure as a real face or figure. Look at the proportions of the face. Are they "cartoony" and disproportionate or are they realistic? I have art training and can easily determine if a face has realistic proportions or not. If you do not have this training, you can go to any art supply store and pick up a book that explains these proportions.
Once you have taken the above steps, you may have something worth looking at. Now you just have to determine if the picture is of a real entity or if it was faked. But that is another article that will be coming up later.
So, don't succumb to the rising trend of matrixing an entity out of every picture that is taken. Take the time to scrutinize your own evidence before someone else does and comes to the conclusion that you've just got an over-active imagination. Please, consider matrixing before you present evidence to the world and help us all gain more respect for the field of paranormal investigation.
*The image should be that of a woman and a man with a child on his lap. Some see what appears to be the profile of Jesus here. Did you?
Sometimes our eyes lie to us. This is why photographs can be the worst type of paranormal evidence. You only have a single reference to the environment and those variables taken have no timeline and can be infinitely random.