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.
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.
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.
Some things belong to the Halloween night, and it is OK with me 😉
Have a fun and safe night!