by Tony Harrington
There is a rare phenomenon that gets little attention in the world of hauntings, but more and more people are coming forward with their experiences and adding to a growing collective of stories surrounding seeing ghosts from the corner of your eye.
Right off the bat, the idea seems ripe for easy dismissal based solely on the fact that the very concept is about seeing something out of the corner of your eye. How could it possibly be anything other than a natural object being misconstrued by falling outside of your direct line of site?
However, all one has to do is search the internet for phrases such as “Ghosts in the corner of my eye” to retrieve story after story of seemingly normal everyday folks recounting their experience with the phenomena,
So either there a lot of people who are seeing something otherworldly in their peripheral vision, or there is a logical explanation for what they are seeing.
The prevailing theory in the paranormal community is that ghosts operate in the valley between the physical and spiritual plain. They exist just behind a veil, and sometimes that veil is lifted momentarily, allowing us to see the figures that make things go bump in the night.
That valley is seldom perfectly aligned with our world. It’s like two similar images laid over each other but slightly off center, creating a double exposure effect. Our brains process the physical world logically. Solid object, three dimensions, and a broad color palette make up our perception. Additionally, our eyes have a distinct 120 degree range with 2 singular focal points directly in front of us, while the image degrades as it enters our periphery.
Within the peripheral we lose the ability to center objects, discern spatial distance, and focus. The theory, according to some paranormal enthusiasts, is that it is these qualities that allow us to detect the overlay/underlay mirror world where ghosts possibly dwell.
Sure, it sounds like a lot of conjecture and theorizing, but let’s face it, we are dealing with pseudoscience here and any theory is better than none when attempting to comprehend just what is happening.
“Kyle” shares his recent experience with me:
“I got to work super early to support a customer who was going live with a product implementation. I was the first one at the office and it would be three or more hours before anyone else showed up. I had the place all to myself. I was in the middle of firing up a conference bridge when I swear I saw someone approach me from the left and stand behind me. They were just out of my field of vision but I saw the movement plain as day and saw them pass behind me. I looked to my right and saw that they had not moved past me, and they were not to my left. Logically, they were behind me. I looked to both sides a few more times before just turning around to see who it was that came up behind me. There was no one there. I know what I saw and it was definitely a form or figure of a human, but I only saw them from the corner of my eye, then they were gone. It was…unnerving to say the least.”
People report seeing ghosts from the corner of their eyes in all sorts of environments. From darkest night to a well lit room in the middle of the day. For those who experience “peripheral ghosts” the experience can be upsetting and disorienting.
Science has a more grounded explanation for peripheral spectres. It could all boil down to light trails. Light trails are produced when light enters our eyes and contacts the photoreceptor cells. This act is not instantaneous; it can’t be turned on or off like an electrical circuit. When light of the proper wavelength (cone cells are color-specific; rod cells react to any visible light) contacts the photoreceptor, it starts a photochemical reaction something along the lines of exposing film, except that it’s reversible. That reaction triggers the cell to signal to the adjoining optic nerve cells, which then transfer the signal back to the brain, which processes the signal in the occipital lobe to determine the image being seen. Conversely, our peripheral vision is a chasm of delayed light, which leaves our brain to fill in the gaps.
Our brains are designed to make sense out of chaos. When things don’t look quite right, our brain rationalizes the situation and fills in the blanks with things that make sense to us: faces, humanoid shapes, or other things we recognize as normal. When all of this happens, it is not beyond the realm of the possible for us to conjure the image of a human shaped moving shadow or form. It is what we our brains naturally expect having been exposed to peripheral movement day in and day out. It just happens to be all the more terrifying when we are alone.
In the end, it all boils down to the eye of the beholder. Is it truly a ghost in the corner of your eye or something completely benign like light trails?