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Common mis-spellings for ghosts and angels: angl, gost, gohst, anegl, angal, pic, pikture. Other languages: gast, geister, geist, engel, revenant, ange, fantasma, angelo, grabado, aparicion.
Pictures: bild, bilder, accettazione, dipinto, figure, image, imagen, ingreso. Apy
Matrixing & Ghosts
Learn about an audio or photographic effect you may come across when ghost hunting.
Matrixing is a word being used quite a bit by ghost investigators in modern times. So, what is matrixing? And,
what do the closely related terms matrixing, pareidolia, apophenia and anthropomorphism mean with relation to
paranormal or ghost investigation?
Pattern Recognition Behavior
Being social creatures by nature, we human beings tend to attempt
to identify with the world outside of us. We subconsciously do this
by attempting to find things we recognize, especially human
attributes, within the things we see and hear.
One of the first skills we learn as infants is pattern recognition.
The recognition of patterns is a fundamental skill needed by
animals to spot predators and is, therefore, associated with
survival. This natural response to the physical environment and its
stimuli is known as pareidolia - a psychological phenomenon
through which a random, vague image or sound is perceived as
being significant. We are naturally seeking communication.
Common examples of pareidolia include seeing people or religious symbols
in clouds, or maybe hearing hidden messages on audio recordings played
in reverse. This is not to say these images and sounds are not there, but
one must consider, "What is their significance?" "Is there some
significance to this intriguing thing I see or hear?"
Similarly, the term anthropomorphizing is when we attribute human form or
personality to things non-human. Seeing a ghost hand in space, as in the
photo at right, is an example of this trait. Both anthropomorphism and
pareidolia can be defined as being forms of apophenia. Apophenia is the
experience of seeing patterns or "connections" in random or meaningless
data, or the perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated
Matrixing & Ghost Hunters
The term matrixing is used probably the most when it comes to paranormal
investigating, and many use this coined-by-ghost-hunters word
synonymously with the word pareidolia. In fact, SyFy's Ghost Hunters claim
to have created the word to explain pareidolia, describing matrixing as
"...the human mind's natural tendency to find familiar shapes in complex
shapes or colors. In other words, finding a face in the shapes and shadows
of a collection of objects." (See matrixing photo example, left)
However, Tony Kay Anderson of Paranormal Sight sees a difference
between the two terms:
"I have thought about how some people enlarge a picture so much that it distorts the image to a point that all
the picture contains is matrixing. One cannot give an opinion on something that contains matrixing. I thought I
would give my interpretation of the meanings of pareidolia and matrixing for those who do not know what they
To try and determine the authenticity of evidence collected while ghost investigating, re-examine photographic, video and audio files by
revisiting locations to try and determine if something non-paranormal appeared paranormal, or see if you can make sense of strange
sounds previously recorded that may have a logical explanation. Perhaps the furnace kicking on makes an other-worldly noise that
resembles a human scream, or a tree branch viewed at the perfect angle appears to look like a hand.
Ghosts in photographs should, more often than not, be made up of their own material and color, and not the combination of various
shapes and colors from background objects. However, this can be difficult to judge at times, as objects that are transparent, such as an
apparition, will have the background colors visible within it, as well.
Most cases of matrixing are caused by enlarging a picture until you see objects that look familiar. It is our
mind’s natural tendency to see things we know. In pictures I have seen with matrixing, as of lately, they have
contained faces that do not look like a human but more look like cartoon figures, at best. These are not
paranormal images as a few people seem to believe. It is their imagination at work. When enlarged, pictures of
forests, fields, mirrors, glass, and even a closet filled with items may seem like they have paranormal activity
happening. In these types of pictures, we will perceive them to contain faces, skulls, demons, and other things
that are not really there. In a forest, there may be a collection of different things such as shadows, sun, tree
limbs, leaves or even a bird in a tree that mesh together and create an image. Do not let anyone tell you that a
picture contains paranormal activity when the picture has been so distorted by enlarging (or the quality has
decreased due to reduction in file size).
When I look at a picture, I feel there is a difference between pareidolia and matrixing, although others do not. Pareidolia for me is not the
changing of a picture but is what we see when we look at the lunar surface and see the man in the moon. Pareidolia is clouds that take on
shapes which we know, such as, animals, faces, and other things that are familiar. Pareidolia may be found in an untouched picture you
take, and if you see an object that you think may be paranormal, you should go back to where you took the picture, and make your own
judgment. I looked at a picture once from Gettysburg where you would swear there was an apparition of a man; but the man who took the
picture explained that it was only a part of a large rock and a tree stump. The picture was untouched, not enlarged, but it sure looked like a
man just standing alone. That is an example of pareidolia."
More on Matrixing & Ghost Hunting
When considering matrixing, we should note how the effects of apophenia, (as well as
anthropomorphism and pareidolia) can become magnified when one is stressed, fearful,
under poor lighting or unfamiliar surroundings, as well as increased use of peripheral vision.
As paranormal investigators, we cannot stop our natural tendency to recognize patterns from
happening; but we can certainly be aware of it and look to expect it. By closely examining
what we believe we see and hear, we can then, attempt to possibly get closer to the truth.
Tony mentioned that enlarging photos, or looking at photos with decreased file size produces
more pixellation which causes our minds to shift stronger into pattern recognition mode.
(Above) A mist outdoors has an animal shape. Is it a
ghost or an example of pattern recognition?
Take time to understand how you perceive things, and how the world around us can appear differently to different
people. By doing so, you will sharpen your own paranormal investigation skills.
Many times, people see faces of people in nature after
taking photographs. Do you see a face in the branches?