Oct 13 2013

Ghost in the Window?

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Back in August, I posed this question: “Do you think writers – or creative types, in general – are more open to the possibilities of the unknown, unexplained, the unseen, the supernatural?”

The catalyst for my pondering was the photo below — of something I couldn’t quite explain during a trip to Pennsylvania (Read the full post about the eerie face I saw staring back at me).

Don't see it? Click to enlarge. Then relax your eyes, tilt your head slightly to the right, and start at the very top of the “mass” in the window. You’ll see two eyes in the first rung of the blinds, a nose in the next rung, and full lips and a chin in the next. Do you also see the metal staff to the left? The sash across the chest?

My cousin, who accompanied me on this August trip to the Armstrong Historical Society – also a Melissa – isn’t a big believer in the supernatural. But when she saw the photo, she admitted to some head scratching. Her husband, like mine, was sure there was some “logical explanation.” So, she decided she’d go back for more photos – just to investigate, to see if anything popped up.

Something did.

But first – my original zoomed out photo (for comparison to hers, below):

My original image. Click to enlarge.

This is cousin Melissa’s photo, taken from about the same angle as mine, at about the same time of night. Do you see anything familiar? Click to enlarge.

I have to admit to a bit of disappointment when I saw that she nearly duplicated the photo. The same curved “staff” seen in mine, the same hovering white apparition, was duly noted in her image.

Writes Cousin Melissa: “I purposefully went to the area of the room where the kitchen door would reflect in the fourth pane. I could see the cupboard clearly in the window, and that was what was reflecting. It matches almost exactly to yours.”

Oh poo, poo, poo, I thought.

BUT… Cousin Melissa’s photo didn’t reveal the smaller figure in the “furry white mask with compelling eyes and horns” as described by one reader, Linda … And I can’t see the eyes at the top of her photo, either – the eyes of a warrior that sought mine in the first image. (Granted, we can’t zoom in as close without losing all image quality, but Melissa confirms her photo lacked these details).

So you be the judge. You probably have figured where I land on this issue (are all writers stubborn mules like me?). But then maybe it goes back to the other question in my first post about believing: do I want to “believe” so badly that I’m seeing what I want to see?

Which made me wonder, is there real power in believing? You know – “If you believe it, it will happen.” Or maybe it’s called something else entirely. Maybe it’s that five-letter word … faith?

For Readers, Writers, Everyone: Is wishful thinking ever harmful? Can faith, positive thinking – whatever you want to call it – help you achieve and meet goals? Or, again, is my propensity to reject “reason” – and others’ determination to accept it – simply the mind’s way of assigning answers where maybe we don’t need them? Ambiguity, after all, is what makes life (especially the writer’s) interesting.


22 Responses to “Ghost in the Window?”

  • avatar Julia Munroe Martin Says:

    The jury’s still out for me on the photo, as you say, I wish I could blow it up some more! But… as for positive thinking, I definitely think it can affect how you feel about things in life and can help you meet your goals. I don’t know if it can help with every possible specific outcome (for instance the lottery… or getting the perfect job), but I do believe that visualizing positive outcomes can drastically improve your (my) life experience, make us happier in the process, and at times even “make things happen” through our increased hard work and attitude when we interact with others.

    As for wishful thinking — I always think that’s good… for the creativity and to keep hope alive. And yes, makes life interesting, too!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Oh, if only positive thinking COULD help us win the lottery! Ha! I agree, too, about visualizing positive outcomes. Now I need to get into the habit of doing it regularly!

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  • avatar Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Melissa – I’m with Julia on this one, “the jury’s still out.”

    I’m a firm believer that “what we think about, we bring about.” That’s how I became an anchor writer for three magazines. And this morning I submitted a query to Ladies Home Journal. I’m think, Think, THINKING they’ll say “Yes!”

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I love that phrase: “what we think about, we bring about.” And I am even more impressed that you have tangible results to show for your positive attitude. My fingers are crossed for your Ladies Home Journal query!

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  • avatar Cynthia Robertson Says:

    I like the expression, “Thoughts are things.” If thoughts are a kind of energy, as physicists say they are, and we live in a field of energy, sort of like a web, where everything is connected and vibrates and exchanges energy, well…maybe there’s some truth to ‘faith’ helping to determine the outcome of things. I like to think so, anyway. 🙂

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Ooooh. I really, really like the “thoughts are things” concept, Cynthia. So much to think about.

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  • avatar Leah Says:

    It has been a Long time since I wanted something so much I could almost see it. But I think wishful thinking is helpful to see the goal and achieve it. Maybe we’d be better off if we let ourselves imagine more.

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Isn’t that the truth – being better off if we imagined more? That’s what I love about children: they don’t know their limitations and therefore dream big. We all need to adopt that attitude.

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  • avatar Jolina Petersheim Says:

    Oh, how disappointing! Well, it’s a nice follow-up, and we’ll always just imagine that the Native American chief is still there, guarding the home with his staff and sash.

    I will always believe that there is more to this life than meets the eye. It makes it more interesting to live, in my book!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I find my situation an interesting paradox. For years I wrote science articles (and still would be writing them if the publication hadn’t folded). So, on one hand, I get the purist-hard-science attitude. But on the other hand, I – like you – am open to the “more than meets the eye” theory. How boring life would be, otherwise!

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  • avatar Erika Marks Says:

    I’m with all our lovely friends here–as Julia said, the jury’s still out! And I like Leah’s point about wishful thinking–I am such a firm believer in “envisioning” that which we want or hope for ourselves. That said, the mind is an incredible thing–and a source of constant amazement to me, my friend!:)

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I don’t recall the statistic about the actual percentage of the brain we use, but I know it’s minuscule, really. Just think if we used all those parts, the things that could be possible. And maybe the “envisioning” part of the brain just needs to be exercised. In my case, I know it does! 😉

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  • avatar Annie Neugebauer Says:

    Yeah, I’m one of the party poopers. =)~ I’m that person who believes there’s a logical explanation for everything, but I don’t begrudge others a little bit of fun. I do think there’s power to be had in positive thinking, but I also think there’s danger in too much wishful thinking (not in this post, mind you; this seems harmless to me). It’s a huge philosophical question, actually. Either way, I think your cousin is super sweet for going back for you!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I’m so curious about what you had in mind when you said you think there can be danger in too much wishful thinking! Did you mean too much ‘wishing’ and not enough ‘doing’?

    And you – oh horror writer – continue to surprise me. I’d not have considered you to be a “logical explanation” kind of gal. But I love it. Shows just how diverse you are (poetry and tool-wielding too)!

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  • avatar Linda Anselmi Says:

    There is possibility and doubt in everything… A reflection of some sort is probable and, yet, I’m not ready to give up the horned warrior. He too seems very real.

    Love that you did a follow up pic and post!

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    If Melissa gets online here to comment, she may want to share another experience she had during the second round of photos, that may solidify your desire to hold on to that horned warrior :-).

    Such truth in your words, also. There IS possibility and doubt in everything. Truly. What a profoundly true statement.

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    Linda Anselmi Reply:

    Yay! This is like a serial mystery unfolding.

    “aw, shucks.” *blushs*

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  • avatar Diann Says:

    I’m probably a little more on the ‘logical explanation’ side, but could easily be convinced otherwise (with real documentation, etc.)

    As for the other: Love what Cynthia said: Thoughts are things. Definitely. Somehow I think of ‘wishful’ thinking as quite different than ‘positive thinking,’ and their effects quite different as well.

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    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I think you’re right — that wishful thinking IS different than positive thinking. But both draw upon positive energy, I think, more than negative. But yes, envisioning something positively (and taking the steps to make it happen) is quite different than sitting around and idly hoping and wishing.

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  • avatar Natalia Sylvester Says:

    Oh, what fun is logic and reason anyway? 😉 I like your original theory better!

    I’ve been taking a workshop on writing magical realism and I love how magical realism treats fantastical elements as nothing unusual, nothing worth raising eyebrows. It’s more about letting those elements play out naturally in our real world, and see what change they bring about.

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  • avatar Nina Says:

    I’m with Natalia! I like the original theory.

    I was thinking of Annie N during this post. She’d love it!

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  • avatar Katie Pickard Fawcett Says:

    I don’t think positive thinking can affect luck (ie winning the lottery), but I do think it has a great deal to do with personal accomplishment, reaching goals, persistence, and all other qualities related to success. Few things are ever achieved or invented that do not begin as dreams.

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