Monday, April 11, 2011

Ghost Hunting 101: Matrixing

Today I thought I’d talk a little about a term used a lot in ghost hunting-matrixing. (Sorry guys, I’m not talking about the movie.) Matrixing is our brain’s way of finding familiar shapes and images in patterns or objects. Our minds are designed to look for shapes we recognize so we know what we’re looking at. It’s the same basic principle behind staring at clouds and finding shapes in them. Our minds see what they want to see. It’s also the basis for a lot of those holy figures in cheese sandwich stories that keep popping up in the news. People figure if it looks like a face it must mean something. Even if that’s not always the case.

It's easy to find shapes in clouds.

While this can be pretty cool, it can actually be a problem when you’re ghost hunting. You will be looking at a picture or a video and suddenly you notice something out of place. You stare to figure it out. Before long it takes on human characteristics and you have yourself a ghost. At least that’s what it looks like. The truth is, most of the time these ghostly figures are completely random. So when were investigating, we have to learn how to discern what is real and what our minds see.

One of the most common causes of these images are reflections in glass. Glass has this weird quality that causes reflections to take on all kinds of shapes. Any image that appears in windows or mirrors should be studied VERY carefully to make sure the image is actually paranormal. My team tries to take multiple shots of each photo so we can compare what can be seen in every shot. If something appears in one shot, then disappears in the next, it’s a little more interesting. This technique also helps us identify light sources and other possible explanations.

The 'faces' in this photo aren't ghosts-they're smudges.

If something in a photo looks out of place, you should try and determine if it’s part of the object(s) in the photo. Are there tree branches outside or patterns on a wall that form it? If so, it’s probably not paranormal. A true ghost is going to look separate from its surroundings.

The best way to avoid matrixing is to not jump to conclusions. Take time to study every video and picture in question. Once you understand what matrixing it, it becomes much easier to spot and understand.

So tell me, have you ever seen an image in a picture or video that you just couldn’t explain?  


  1. Is seeing Jesus on a piece of toast considered matrixing?

  2. Yep. Unless he happens to be hanging out on a piece of toast. Which is unlikely.

  3. This phenomenon is particularly easy with faces. I think human brains are trained to seek out facial features as ways of gleaning information on mood or intention so... yeah. We often find faces in things that don't have them.