Why so many apparent anomalous phenomena about?

Why so many apparent anomalous phenomena about?

Why are there so many xenonormal phenomena about? It has puzzled me for some time. The xenonormal is stuff that appears to be paranormal but has natural explanations. In my experience a lot of cases are resolved as xenonormal. But why is there apparently so much stuff out there that appears paranormal but isn't? It's odd!

I think misperception, a cause of many apparently paranormal reports, could be a key component here. Usually misperception happens when an object is difficult to see due to poor viewing conditions. In such cases our brains visually substitute the object in our field of view with a best guess from visual memory. If we can subsequently get a better view then the misperception ‘breaks’ and the real object is seen instead.  What happens is that the additional visual information gained allows for a better more accurate guess.  

But there is another cause of misperceptions – seeing an unfamiliar object.  In this case the object may be seen perfectly well.  It means that even if you get a better view the misperception may persist. You continue to see you brain’s best guess at what the object is.

Suppose you see an unfamiliar object in the sky at night. Beyond the moon and stars most people are not very familiar with other objects in the night sky, like planets, satellites, meteors not to mention terrestrial things like flares, aircraft, laser displays and so on.  So someone might see a persistent misperception of such an object.  And what form might that misperception take? Well, it could be something like a flying saucer. Why? Because it is a familiar night sky visual memory from science fiction movies.  So the witness might describe having seen an alien spacecraft even though the sighting had a mundane explanation. And the witness’s sighting would be perfectly real – to the witness.

I think this is where a lot of xenonormal phenomena may originate – people seeing things they are unfamiliar with and misperceiving them. But why misperceive the unfamiliar as anomalous phenomena? My guess is most people probably have mundane misperceptions that they don't report. It's the relatively small proportion who misperceive aircraft as alien space ships or trees as ghosts that we hear about.

When a witness to something anomalous says they know what they saw, I believe them. The real question is whether what they saw corresponded with what was actually physically present.

Author :© Maurice Townsend 2021

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