Have you ever been a witness to something truly bizarre, yet the person you are with is completely oblivious to this event, despite looking in the exact direction the occurrence took place? You're not alone, there are multiple cases of that very same thing. In some reports of phenomena (apparitions, UFOs etc...), despite numerous witnesses present, only a handful of people see the anomaly. Why is this? After pondering this strange quandary for some time I came across some interesting information.
Devin Powell (of newscience.com) gives an excellent example in relation to how our minds are constantly editing the information that we are being bombarded with on a daily basis. Devin writes, "As you read this sentence, your mind homes in on each word and blots out the rest of the page. This roving spot of attention tames the flood of visual information that - hundreds of thousands of nerves attached to the back of your eye's retina - stream into the brain." Basically, as humans we are designed to see everything, but our subconscious routes through the garbage and only conveys important information to our consciousness. So things like; billing dates, the next big video game or the new Stephany Meyer book would be more memorable than the color of your neighbor's pants, for instance. The questions that come to mind while pondering this is; what is the extent of this visual data deletion that our brain seems to be able to sift through and edit instantaneously? And how does this subconscious-process determine what is important and what isn't?
Is it possible that individuals who possess the ability to see such anomalies have grown up in a religious - or equivalent - household, thus developing an open mind to the supernormal and accessing the required direction of plasticity in early brain development to see such wonderments? And if so, do the individuals who lack such sight suffer from a type of visual data deletion by the brain, filtering out any information that is deemed not important enough to relay to the conscious mind? These individuals are probably those who have been indoctrinated into the culture of academia (college), reinforcing the belief that such phantasmagoria cannot exist. Thus creating a paranormal filter of sorts.
Unfortunately I have no conclusion to these questions, but rather even more questions by venturing down this avenue of research. I guess the important lesson to take away from researching the paranormal is that sometimes you never reach a conclusion, and that's okay. As a researcher, it is more important to suspend judgment than to force a conclusion - ergo belief - and a healthy dose of speculation to further the growth of contemplation and theory.
I will close with a very important quote from a fellow fortean mind.
Perhaps we should consider whether the greatest thinkers of our day, from Einstein to Oppenheimer, ever engaged in frequent, healthy doses of speculative thought. Does the imagination not serve to fuel the aspirations of the true scientist, and thus promote the growth of our technology?
- Micah Hanks; The UFO Singularity