What happens on Halloween, stays on Halloween

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The event I want to share happened on the last day of October 1974. I was a 17 years old student sharing a room in the dorms with another two girls. There was no internet and knowledge was acquired by reading and listening. So, I heard from someone that if I sat between two mirrors in a dark room lit by a candle, I would see my future husband walking through the ‘infinity hallway’. We set up the mirrors, and there I was staring in the dark endless hallway created by two mirrors, curious as to what was going to happen next. After quite a long time (my roommates started getting impatient) I saw a dark tall shadow approaching. I glued my eyes to the part of the shadow that was supposed to be a face, but couldn’t recognize any features. There were just a few frames left between us when all of a sudden the shadow disappeared. I was about to stand up when an ugly face with yellowish/greenish rough skin and a bulging eye peered at me from behind my shoulder – something like in the picture below – and grinned.

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The air behind me instantly filled with fog and floating eyes… I screamed and pushed the mirror. My roommates rushed in and switched on the lights… That was it, no one else was interested in the future.

I have never looked in the ‘infinity hallway’ again, even in the day light.

Here is an abstract of an article written by Italian researcher Giovanni Battista Caputo in 2010. He admits that some things cannot be explained. At least, not yet:

 Frequent apparitions of strange faces of known or unknown people support the idea that the illusion involves a high-level mechanism that is specific to global face processing. On the other hand, the frequent apparition of fantastical and monstrous beings, and of animal faces cannot, in our opinion, be explained by any actual theory of face processing. Neither constructive approaches nor top/down accounts seem to provide adequate explanations.

The participants reported that apparition of new faces in the mirror caused sensations of otherness when the new face appeared to be that of another, unknown person or strange other looking at him/her from within or beyond the mirror. All fifty participants experienced some form of this dissociative identity effect, at least for some apparition of strange faces and often reported strong emotional responses in these instances. For example, some observers felt that the other’ watched them with an enigmatic expression situation that they found astonishing. Some participants saw a malignant expression on the other’s face and became anxious. Other participants felt that the other was smiling or cheerful, and experienced positive emotions in response. The apparition of deceased parents or of archetypal portraits produced feelings of silent query. Apparition of monstrous beings produced fear or disturbance. Dynamic deformations of new faces (like pulsations or shrinking, smiling or grinding) produced an overall sense of inquietude for things out of control.

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Some things belong to the Halloween night, and it is OK with me 😉

www.inesemjphotography Have a fun and safe night!

36 comments

  1. That is, in a very macabre way, a funny story. I very much like that you added a more scientific view, even though it also leaves some spooky questions to be asked 🙂 Growing up, my friends and I would play around with the Ouiji Board, and it is always good to get a little freaked out 🙂 Great post, and I hope you had a more quiet and relaxing Halloween this year 🙂 Take care and wish you well.

  2. What a frightening experience with the mirrors, Inese. I would have screamed too. Forget knowing the future. And how interesting that this is a thing that was studied, and that there’s no logical reason for the appearance of faces. Spooky!

    1. Yes indeed. I wouldn’t do this again. I am not afraid of supernatural, but there are limits. It was like playing with a fire – wrong! I do hope he is contained to the infinity hallway – it is why I avoid this sort of mirrors.

  3. I dug out an older example, from the start of empirical investigation. Beyond the mirror. Robert Boyle the chemist. Research was intended to transform philosophy and the natural sciences. Distant ancestor to the modern science paper.

    “In the account which Mr Daniel Morison parson in the Lewis gave me, There was one which tho it be heterogeneous from this subject, yet it may be worth you’re notice. It was of a young Women in this parish, who was mightily frightened by seeing her own image, still before her, always when she came into the open air. The back of the image being alwayes to her, so that it was not a Reflectione as in a mirror, but the species of such a bodie as her own, and in a verie like habit, which appeard to herselfe continually befor her. The parson keept her a long while with him, but had no Remedy of her Evil, which troubled her exceidingly, I was told afterwards that when she was four or five years elder, she saw it not.”

    Letter from Lord Tarbett to Robert Boyle, in Robert Kirk, The Secret Commonwealth or A Treatise Displaying The Chief Curiosities of Scotland As They Are In Use To This Day, 1692

    1. Thank you, Jeb! What a torture! I don’t have any explanation to think about – it is impossible for a person to see themselves from behind.

  4. When I was seventeen my friends and I were playing with a Ouija board one night and the face of one of my father’s distant relatives appeared over the board. He was a child molester and not a very nice person. The next day I found out he’d died. Spoked me!

    1. What a cool experience! Why did he showed himself to you I wonder. Had probably been in denial, floating around, checking on everyone he knew.

    1. True story, Bruce. I didn’t dare to paint the real face though. It wasn’t a human face. I remember it in details. I like the Italian guy who admits that science doesn’t explain everything. And speaking of Italians – this lady: https://www.youtube.com/user/gnomiDiCaverna
      is doing a very profound research on dragons. You see, they actually existed.
      Hope you had a fun Halloween evening. Sending love to both of you.

  5. There is this theory made popular by the particular stream of fiction and even cinema that mirrors can’t reflect apparitions. I guess there are suitable counter themed fiction, and perhaps perceptions too. Your experience is a chilling slice of paranormal elements.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Uma. The monster looked very real. If the apparitions are material – which I am sure they are – then it is possible to see their reflection. Possible, but sure there are conditions 😉 Some say that our own reflection becomes distorted if we look at it longer than 10 minutes. Others say that we have to focus on something else in the mirror ( in my case, the ‘hallway’) to get our own reflection distorted. But I saw myself clearly. The other one was a separate being. Scared me for the rest of my life:)

  6. My dear, so long as this wasn’t a husband , we are all good! What a fascinating post though because you have also looked at the theories for this, the things that’s be explained.

    1. Thank you so much, Shehanne! And speaking of supernatural – I decided to have a look at my junk folder, and what did I found there? 27 comments, mostly yours and Jean Lee’s! I should have answered them, but I was so stunned that simply pressed ‘not a junk’ and they disappeared in a blink of an eye. My apologies!
      Hope your Halloween was fun and delightful xx

    1. Trev, I was terrified! I actually fell in the arms of my friends. Thankfully, the monster never returned. He was the infinity hallway monster, and I made sure to never stand between two mirrors again.

      1. We were in high school and it was my 2 older sisters and a friend. The glass moved on its own and I didn’t believe it but everyone swore that no one had moved it and I did believe us all…just quite spooky. We were trying to summons our dead relatives!

  7. I certainly have some memories from a bit circular mirror, specially at twilight. Happy Halloween, Inese, it is a fascinating event and very scary, proper for the season : )

  8. Wonderful post! Not come across this subject before.

    Although in terms of the science, historically, strong Gaelic dimension. One late 17th-century example, springs to mind, no mirror but the same dissociative identity effect/ late 17th-century optical theory (mediaeval Arabic in origin).

    Fascinating, a great introduction to the science! Really pleasing to read and learn something new.

    1. Thank you! Reading that article was cathartic I have never read anything like that before. I have lived with those scary memories most of my life, couldn’t even share.

    1. Oh how I agree with you! When I saw the monster – and it was a monster, nothing like in my picture – I thought that it was the end of me. I truly believed he was standing behind my back, between me and the exit… Thankfully he wasn’t in a right mood, and let me escape.

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