By now some of you may have learned that I am the group skeptic; I'm the one who believes in science above all. Now, before I go any further let me take a moment to define skepticism because that word seems to mean various things to different people; most automatically conclude that it is equal to a non-believer. Encyclopedia Britannica explains that it is “the attitude of doubting knowledge claims set forth in various areas.” See, so it is not that I'm a non-believer as much as I'm just a doubter... hmm that doesn't make me sound much better, does it?
Nonetheless, as the title of this post suggests I firmly accept that seeing is not always believing. How many of you have heard of apophenia; it was a term coined by a German neurologist name Klaus Conrad? Still doesn't ring any bells? How about patternicity; a term made popular by Michael Shermer to discuss the same phenomenon? Okay, that one at least gives a clearer idea of what we are talking about; “the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.” The form of patternicity that most often applies to the paranormal field would be pareidolia; perceiving faces in seemingly random places such as those often found in photographs. In his 1995 book entitled "The Demon-Haunted World – Science as a Candle in the Dark," Carl Sagan explained how the ability to recognize a face in poor visibility was a vital survival skill. However, this essential survival skill can play tricks on us and is a prime example of how seeing should not always be a case for believing. Pareidolia can also be applied to audio, but I will save that for a later date.