Our brains are wired to take in our environment and try to make something we can understand. That’s called matrixing. All of our lives, we train it to make ‘sense’ of a bunch of chaotic sensory elements. It keeps us sane for the most part.
But, it’s a hassle for ghost hunting. Here’s why.
What Is A Matrix?
When our brains matrix something, it puts a bunch of random images together to form something we can recognize and relate to. We trick ourselves into seeing something that really isn’t there. A good example is the Jesus in a piece of toast or the Virgin Mary in the underpass (below).
If you critically look at it, the Mary is really just water leaking through a crack and some water stains left behind. Our brains have a field day trying to give it context (matrixing it) and the media firestorm begins.
When you’re ghost hunting, you can read more into your photographic data than is there. Always start with the most logical reason. Ghosts and ghostly encounters are very, very rare. Don’t jump to the conclusion the face in incense smoke is a ghost. It’s more likely to be some swirling in the smoke. Rule out the obvious before making a ghostly judgment call. Have your ghost hunting group look at it and try to debunk it. Ask a skeptic to look at it, too. If the Doubting Thomases can’t explain it, you may really have some ghostly activity on hand.
Guidelines To Debunk A Ghost Pic As A Matrix
According to Grant Wilson, formerly of Ghost Hunters, use these guidelines to check if you have a matrix of a ghostly photo:
1. Does the photo contain mostly trees, fields, cluttered area or reflective surfaces? If there are may complex shapes and patterns, you could easily matrix in a shape or outline.
This happened to us at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery. If you review our pics, we mention an outline, when it was a bunch of random branches that tricked our minds.
2. Zero in on the face or figure. If it’s made of its own material, then you may have something. If it looks like its made of the surrounding rocks, tree bark, smoke, etc., it’s probably not something supernatural.
3. If you’re satisfied the 2 previous criteria have been met, examine the figure more closely. If it’s a face, is it proportionate? If it’s distorted, it’s more likely to be naturally occurring.
This even happens with audio. If you need filter your audio; turn it up a great deal; and, listen to it dozens of times, it’s not paranormal. Ghostly voices usually can be understood with only a little bit of augmentation.
Note: This article combines two posts and has some edits to make it comprehensive.
Jacob Rice began investigating and writing about the paranormal in 2007. He has published 3 books on ghost hunting, ghost stories and paranormal protection. His podcast, Ghostly Activities, dives into these topics even more. You can also watch his ghost hunts on the Ghostly Activities YouTube channel. He lives in Olympia, Washington.