Ghostly image or diplopia?

2nd September 2019. Reading Time: 5 minutes General, Stuff paranormal investigators need to know. 1095 page views. 0 comments.

Are you suddenly seeing what you feel are 'apparitions or ghostly images' more frequently? While there could be something happening, it could be a case of diplopia aka double vision!

Our physical eyes are what we see the world with. Some people have wonderful vision, and others not so much. A person can be short sighted, far sighted or maybe a bit of both and have problems with their vision. We now know from a previous article that there is a condition called Charles Bonnet Syndrome where a person who is suffering from a form of vision loss can suddenly start seeing figures that are not there. When you lose your peripheral vision, much in the same way pareidolia works, your brain tries to fill in the blanks and makes you see things that are not there.

Our eyes are complex. We are looking at the world with two eyes which produce for us a single image. When you close one eye and keep the other open, you will notice that you see the image you are looking at from a slightly different perspective. When both eyes are open they should correctly focus which will allow you to see just the one image. When the eyes focus on the same object differently, you get a case of double vision which is otherwise known as diplopia. It may surprise you to know that a lot of eye doctors report that people come to see them thinking they are seeing ghosts as their vision seems otherwise fine apart from these seemingly random episodes of blurry ghostly figures. As a person with no other eye condition, it makes them wonder if the blurry figure they are seeing is actually a ghost!

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What is Diplopia?

Diplopia very simply means double vision. It happens because your eyes are focusing on the one image differently and instead of seeing the one image, you are seeing what each eye is seeing overlapping one another. There are 3 different types of diplopia

  • Horizontal diplopia: Double vision where the two images are separated horizontally
  • Vertical diplopia: Double vision where one image is higher than the other.
  • Monocular diplopia: Double vision that persists in one eye when the other eye is closed.

The less dominate image (which is usually more transparent) is what is ironically also called a 'ghostly image'. It has the same characteristics as stories tell us a ghost looks like, blurry, out of focus with some transparent areas.

While a lot of people suffer from vision disturbances when they don't wear their glasses, anyone is capable of experiencing a random episode of double vision. Drinking too much alcohol is a common one (I think we have all been there at least once and seen 2 or 3 of the same image when we have had too many 'spirits') and tiredness being another one. These casual episodes are common, however if it is something that happens frequently, see your eye doctor to elimate anything more serious (I am not an eye doctor nor giving medical advice so if you are seeing something out of the ordinary, best to be safe than sorry and get your eyes tested as it could be something more serious).

What does this mean for 'ghostly sightings'?

I like to use the word 'context' a lot. I certainly am not saying that every sighting of an apparition is just a case of someone having a random double vision episode as I think that would be naive. I do think though that this is information that needs to be taken into consideration. We are staying out late at night, investigating in the dark and we rely on our eyes to guide us through our investigation. If we see something, because we are looking for the paranormal, it is quite easy to connect the dots and think that we are seeing a ghost. Realistically at night we are tired, the light can cause havoc for how our brain inteprets things, so we need to at least entertain the idea that all is not in fact what it seems.,

One of the biggest misconceptions with double vision is that people feel it can only happen to someone with some sort of eye condition or with someone that wears glasses. Being tired out on an investigation is more than enough to trigger an episide of double vision. I know myself (and yes I wear glasses for being loing sighted), while the world is not blurry to me without my glasses, if I am tired, I have had episodes of double vision. This is why I know to wear my glasses during a paranormal investigation. This kind of thing can happen however to anyone. We push our bodies to the limit sometimes investigating all night. Some people like to be tired because they believe that in some ways it can open them up more to a paranormal experience. It is important to understand that being tired also means your body will respond in different ways, double vision being one of the many possibilities.

Keep a log of everything that is happening around you. Did anyone else see this blurry figure or was it just you? Was there video? Perhaps if it is on video and it is clear, it is able to show you that what you were seeing was a case of double vision. Write down the time you saw this. Were you tired? Was your body starting to log off for the night or were you wide awake? Were you on any sort of medication? This may seem like a little bit of overkill to some people, but again not everything we experience is paranormal.

In order to move forward, we have to acknowledge and eliminate these things, especially if we want people to take any sort of experience or 'evidence' seriously. When something happens, the first thing we usually do is try to recreate or debunk it. This falls under that category. We often will try to recreate our surroundings, but fail to look at how our body could be contributing in the same way.

At the end of the day you know your body better than anyone else. Ask yourself what it is that you really saw! You don't necessarily need to see with your eyes to know if you have 'seen' something. Once you can elimiate diplopia, what we are left we is really quite intriguing!!

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