Indecipherable Image Sweeps across Internet
An image seemingly designed to be indecipherable is sweeping across the internet, causing confusion among thousands of viewers.
The image, which ostensibly began circulating on Twitter earlier this week, can be traced back to an anonymous and sourceless “creepy images” post to 4chan’s paranormal board on January 28th, 2019; although the image could be even older.
The image has been shared dozens of times on 4chan since then, most often touted as “cursed” or possessing of some supernatural quality.
However, its recent spread across more mainstream channels has lead to a different array of explanations as to its origin.
Perhaps the most popular is that the image is “designed to give the viewer the simulated experience of having a stroke (particularly in the occipital lobe of the cerebral cortex, where visual perception occurs.) Everything looks hauntingly familiar but you just can’t quite recognize anything.”
Various iterations of a meme making this claim have appeared on sites like Reddit and 9gag.
The Singular Fortean Society has been unable to trace the meme to earlier than the image’s recent popularity, and the source of its claim regarding the image’s purpose remains a mystery.
Reactions to the baffling image range from the esoteric:
This photo knows the gate, this photo is the gate, this photo is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, and future, all are one in this photo— Figgy (@FigEnabler) April 23, 2019
To the humorous:
But the most common reaction by far is frustrated befuddlement:
it makes me imagine hell, and i cant picture anything but this— valeri (@aspartametears) April 23, 2019
Perhaps most interesting to paranormal investigators is the parallel between reactions to the image and the difficulty many witnesses have describing their brushes with the impossible. It’s not unusual for witnesses to struggle when trying to explain their experiences, and this image could give investigators valuable insight into the difficulty endemic to the task.
“Oftentimes witnesses will struggle to describe a paranormal encounter; be it a monster sighting, abduction experience, or similar,” Singular Fortean Society head writer Tobias Wayland said. “I think this image illustrates just how difficult it can be for the human mind to make sense of something outside of its ability to comprehend.”
“Based on people’s reactions to the image, I think the variations we see in otherwise similar reports begin to make a lot of sense,” he continued. “I haven’t seen two people describe this image in the same way twice so far.”
“I think the paranormal interacts with us on the same level of strange familiarity, and witnesses are left to try and describe it using an inadequate vocabulary because the words they really need don’t even exist.”
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