Pareidolia: The psychological phenomenon that causes some people to see or hear a vague or random image or sound as something significant is known as pareidolia.
The word is derived from the Greek words para, meaning something faulty, wrong, instead of, and the noun eidōlon, meaning image, form or shape.
There are a number of theories as believed to this phenomenon and over the years many studies have been conducted to suggest why we may do this.
Prime examples of Pareidolia is seeing faces in the clouds, items in a pattern etc…
Where does this come into ghost Pictures?
Well if a person has taken a photo in a haunted location, comes home and checks the photo and there is a shadowy figure with horns on the wall or a mist which seems to have a face in it, this could be us mapping out the picture in our heads….what one person may see in this picture another person may not.
So how can we rule it out…..
It’s quite hard to sometimes, but there are a few things you could try to do. So going back to my example, of the shadowy figure on the wall, you could go back to the location and actually see if anything is in the area or on the wall, Taking several pictures of the same area also helps around the room to see what may be casting shadows. Another tip is trying to not search for faces in pictures. Unless it is clearly visible to see and several people agree they can see the same thing, personally myself, I wouldn’t put it out there to be a ‘ghost picture’.
Studies on Pareidolia have shown results that those who have a interest in the paranormal and are more spiritually open are more likely to be more sensitive to pareidolia. In the study Agnostics and atheists seen fewer faces in objects then those who was more spiritually minded and some people seen nothing at all.
Take the buzzfeed pareidolia test on the link below to see how you score!