Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pearl Harbor's Ghost Photo

Way back in September of 2011, the internet was abuzz with a new 'ghost' photograph taken at Pearl Harbor's USS Arizona Memorial. The popular image was even picked up by CNN...but what WAS it?

When an Australian family visited Hawaii in 2001, one of their stops was the USS Arizona Memorial. Located in Pearl Harbor, the memorial, which was built in 1962 and sees over 1 million visitors a year, straddles the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona. The USS Arizona was the victim of the Japanese attack of December 7, 1941...the attack that plunged the United States into World War II. 1177 sailors and marines were killed during that attack, and 1102 of them, for various reasons, claim the wreckage as their final resting place.

Susan De Vanny was with her family visiting the memorial when she snapped a photo of the wreckage that can be seen below the water. It wasn't until she got home, however, that she began looking through her vacation photos and came across this startling image! The combination of the ripples of the water and the sun shining through the leaking oil created a near-perfect image of a young man's face! The face, which many think represents one of the fallen sailors from the attack, is said to appear as if it is crying or even screaming. Susan states, "It just looked sad, really sad and young."

One of the most obvious explanations for the ghostly appearance of the photo is the phenomena of pareidolia.  Pareidolia, also known as matrixing, describes how our brains take random stimuli and patterns and try to make sense out of them.  Our brains are hard-wired to see faces in random objects and while this sounds like as good an explanation as have to admit this is still a pretty striking image!

Info from The Stir

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