When I put together the previous post about Eugene Sims and his “ghost of Amelia Earhart” photo, I had no idea what I was stepping into, nor did Sims when he took the photo of the cell at the old Garapan prison on Saipan in 1973. While the figure Sims thought could have been Amelia’s ghost was apparently only a trick of the lighting within the cell, the rest of the photo has opened up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities, thanks to my friend Laurel Blyth Tague Ph.D.
After beholding what Laurel’s discerning eye had revealed, I was ready to title this post “Welcome to the Amelia Earhart Paranormal Society,” but then realized that might be a bit too far out on the “fringe,” where our critics like to keep us. Admittedly, this and the previous post are complete departures from our normal menu of serious discussion of the Earhart disappearance, but after more than 70 such posts since July 2012, I don’t think a brief journey into the paranormal will hurt the cause appreciably.
Laurel is the New York State director, host and managing producer for E.P.I.C. Voyagers Radio on the Inception Radio Network. I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of appearing twice with Laurel on her two-hour E.P.I.C. Voyagers weekly show, and she was the best-prepared, most intelligent and considerate radio host I’ve ever met. She’s also a trained observer of phantoms, or phantasms, or however these faces that appear in photos of allegedly haunted places can be described.
I’ve seen similar faces on a website or possibly a book, but can’t find them now. I suggested to Laurel that these wraith-like faces are to photography what electronic voice phenomena, commonly known as EVP, are to audio recording. She agreed, and isolated the individual faces she found in the photos, writing a brief description of each. Most I can recognize, but some are beyond me. Forthwith is the great presentation Laurel put together; I hope you like it half as much as I do.
Dr. Laurel Blyth Tague:
Definitely EVPs are the gold standard of paranormal research: recorded voices saying things that make sense relative to the location and its history that are not noticed or heard by people at the time these utterances are collected digitally or on cassette tape. Only after later analysis – very careful and concerted attention to the entire audio – are these utterances heard. The ones I have heard from researchers are startling, both in terms of clarity and topic.
My logic tells me that making a sound or noise or uttering words might require far less energy from “that other dimension” (for lack of a common expression) than moving anything in this 3D dimension. I see manifesting an image or a wispy, smoky haze as somewhere between these two ways to communicate in terms of difficulty.
guess I should throw in the insertion of smells and thoughts (often reported), especially when a close relative or friend passes. These I would place a little easier on the scale of ghostly talent than even creating audio evidence. In fact, I think that these four types of evidence are collected on a scale of frequency in the same order: thoughts and smells, sounds and words, images and hazes, moving or relocated objects.
What we present here for your consideration is simply meant as food for thought, at the very least entertainment. When I read Mike’s most recent blog Eugene C. Sims and the “Ghost of Amelia Earhart”, I stared and stared at the photo and thought Sims must have been pointing to the highly lit feature in the middle of the central doorway, consisting of two parallel vertical lines and topped by what could be horizontal shoulders and a skull. I thought, no, this is just too easy – that has to be the way the light is shining into the cell through the jungle foliage.
This tendency for humans to perceive scant visual stimuli and then attribute meaning to them has long been one very handy survival skill in our evolutionary toolkits. Granted, sometimes we may read too much into what we see. Nowadays the paranormal investigation community strongly warns fledgling researchers against matrixing.
Surprisingly to me, Wikipedia actually has an interesting page dedicated to pareidolia, a less common term than matrixing, but with a more dignified and relevant etymology: from the Greek para-, meaning, in this context, “something faulty or wrong” (for example, paraphasia: “disordered speech”) and eidolon (1828),“ a ghostly image or phantom.”
Pareidolia is the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features. Devotees of paranormal investigation have come to use the term matrixing to mean much the same when referring to the observation and interpretation of specifically visual information.
What is interesting to me is the implication inherent in this definition that whatever we think we are seeing is not really there: in other words, we are making it up by our interpretation, foisting upon the image qualities it does not truly have. There is almost the connotation that we are trying to fool others by stating what we see in the image, or at the very least we are demonstrating publicly that we are gullible fools.
Well, I can think of examples of certain individuals involved in researching Earhart’s final demise who might well be described in this way.
So I saved the [Eugene C. Sims] image and opened it in a couple different apps I use to enlarge images and study them in greater detail. Immediately I saw that what appeared to be long, skeletal legs are indeed bamboo stalks or some other kind of flora, and that skull is just a big leaf. I laughed to myself, remembering one of my favorite Peanuts strips ever, where Linus, Lucy, and Charlie Brown are looking at clouds and telling each other what they resemble.
I thought, before I closed my app, I would poke around and look a bit, just to see if I noticed anything resembling a face or person, especially those of a female. I noticed three female faces almost within mere seconds and managed to find three more after really scouring over the image. I prepared little guidelines next to each extracted image I found, explaining what I saw, hoping to help someone else see what I did.
After emailing these to Mike and a couple other close friends (“open-minded” friends, I might add), one of them came back with a seventh woman’s face! What we present here are these extracted images with additional pointers to help with locating them in the larger image.
At least some of these faces will stubbornly refuse to materialize for some of you. These details are best recognized at a certain resolution — too enlarged and it just looks like a gray mulch, too reduced and it looks like a more linear gray mulch. Viewers should play with zooming in and out by bits until the image pops out at them. The images here are at the best resolution for me.
I am fiercely intellectually curious and open-minded but I would not say gullible. There are many things in this world that are not yet resolved or explained fully, because all the facts are not on the table and in many cases adequate technology or methodology are lacking.
One reader here asked why Amelia would haunt a location so completely imbued with agony and grief for her, to which another reader answered perhaps she is merely making her mark on this image at this blog, a place where we continue to question and dig and discuss until her true fate has been demonstrated and accepted by the public. This sounds to me like a plausible answer, and I hope each of you finds these images and comments at the very least thought-provoking and entertaining.
Every now and then I see a photo and – if I can assume it’s legitimate and not doctored – it is probably even more stunning to me. I never expect/demand that the image matches a pose from a photograph of the person.
This seems ridiculously pedantic and artificial to me – what of all the people who died before photography and were later seen as ghosts? How does a dead person select the exact photo s/he wants to use as the calling card in these instances? Not to mention, doesn’t it make more sense that a ghostly image in a photo that does match an old photo of that person, stands a better chance to have been technologically superimposed on the newer photo?
So it does not bother me that I do not see Amelia’s face, as in press photos, in these. The one with what I see to be goggles on her head is impressive to me.
(By the way, do any of you know of research funding streams to send a number of amateur ghost hunters researchers to Saipan to conduct research at this location? Just curious.) (End of Laurel Blyth Tague’s analysis; sincere thanks to Laurel for a great job.)
Laurel sent the images to a well-known paranormal “expert” for his opinion, and he told her that this phenomenon is known as simulacrum, meaning “something looks like something it isn’t. Sort of the same thing as figures in clouds, etc.” He didn’t seem impressed, but since I’m not a paranormal expert, I’m free to reject the idea that these images can be attributed to pareidolia, matrixing or even this fancy “simulacrum“ term, which I consider to be a dodge.
If we’re seeing something “that doesn’t exist,” why are we seeing the same things in these photos? I think B+C looks a lot like Amelia, for example. And why do these faces appear almost exclusively in photos of notoriously haunted locations?
I think these faces might be those of discarnate or disembodied entities trapped between planes of existence, between heaven and earth, so to speak, who for whatever reason cannot move on into the light — or the darkness, if that’s their destiny. Or could these some kind of lower-level demonic entities, lingering in a location renowned for evil doings, seeking new hosts or victims to torment?
How do you explain this, readers? What do you think? Let us hear from you!