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Matrixing is a word being used quite a bit by ghost investigators these days.
But, what is matrixing? More specifically, what do the terms
matrixing, pareidolia, apophenia, and anthropomorphizing mean with respect to
Being social creatures by nature, we human beings tend to attempt to identify with the world outside of us. We subconsciously do this by trying to find things we recognize, especially human attributes, within 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 our outside environment and its stimuli is known as pareidolia, which is a psychological phenomenon through which a random, vague image or sound is perceived as being significant.
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 thing I see or hear?"
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, SciFi's Ghost Hunters claim to have created the word to explain pareidolia, describing matrixing as being:
"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 mean.
Most cases of matrixing is caused by enlarging a picture until you see objects that look familiar. It is our mindís 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 it 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 a 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."
matrixing, we should note how the effects
of apophenia, (anthropomorphizing, 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
occurring, but we can certainly be aware of it, and look to expect it. By
examining closer 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. 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.
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.