Pareidolia is when we see images we recognize in random shapes that seemed to look familiar. For instance, we may see the image of faces or animals in clouds. We tend to make sense of random patterns when they fit something we recognize.
I reviewed a photograph I took over a decade ago (above). This was before I had a digital camera, and for this photo I used a film camera. The photo was taken at an old pub, and I thought the mural on the wall was interesting so I took a picture. There was nobody in this area at the time. When I later developed the film, this picture had a curious smoky image in it.
Studying the picture something became apparent to me; there was a face in the center of the vapor. In the photo above I drew an outline over where the features seem to be so it will be more visible. What struck me was that the face’s features were fairly symmetrical. The face even seemed to have an expression on it with its closed eyes, as if drifting in a slumber, half conscious between the world of life and death. Tendrils of smoke emerged for this central image with their own strange shapes.
Is this a photo of a real ghost or merely pareidolia at work? Certainly possible. Yet, pareidolia usually involves a caricature, something vaguely resembling what we imagine. When showed this photo to others, their reaction was either they couldn’t detect the face or OMG.
I would return to this pub hoping to get another picture of whatever possibly haunted the place. I never got another one, but I did get orbs, which don’t mean much either but are still interesting. Below is a photo of an orb that hovered…drifting. I wonder if it the orb could be the same smoky ghost except from a distance?