Weird Universe Archive

June 2021

June 15, 2021

Swindle’s Ghost

'Swindle's Ghost' is a term for an optical illusion that some psychologists have offered as a possible scientific explanation for ghost sightings. Actually, I doubt that many sightings are a result of this phenomenon, but I like the name.

Newsday Special Correspondent Paul Brock (May 15, 1967) offered this explanation:

One after-image, which psychologists believe has given rise to many reports of nocturnal apparitions, is called "Swindle's Ghost." It was first described by the American psychologist P.F. Swindle, about 45 years ago.

It can be summoned up by anybody. Using no more ectoplasm than a table lamp, friends can join you in this weird experiment, right in your own living room. Choose a dark moonless night and draw the drapes securely so that no stray light from street lamps or passing cars enters the room. Group the chairs near a table or floor lamp with one person directly alongside it to switch it on and off.

First, everyone must remain in the darkened room for at least 10 minutes before the experiment begins, so that the eyes can adjust completely to the darkness. Then, each ghosthunter must look steadily toward the lamp but not directly at it. They must keep perfectly still and keep the eyes from moving during the time the room will be illuminated and immediately afterward.

Now turn on the lamp for a full second. Turn it off. Shortly after you will see the whole scene loom up in the darkness with startling clarity, and the ghost impression will last for some time. Not only will everything appear exactly as it was when the light was on, but many precise details will be evident which could not possibly have been noted during the brief illumination...

The same optical illusion occurs when someone reports that he has seen a ghost in a graveyard at night. If a man is passing a graveyard at night and the moon breaks through the clouds just as he is opposite a white tombstone, in a few minutes he might see a vague white form loom up before him. The moon's illumination has created the 'ghost' which the man actually does see, but which is only an after-image— in the image of "Swindle's Ghost."

Some more info in the book Systems Theories and A Priori Aspects of Perception:

Swindle observed that if one experiences a very bright flash, one achieves a very powerful positive afterimage that may last over a period of hours. "Swindle's Ghost," as it is referred to occasionally, is a conscious image sustained purely by cortical activity; it is an image created by a stimulus that is not present during later observation. In spite of the absence of a distal stimulus, the image is very real. Observations by Gregory, Wallace, and Campbell (1959) and Davies (1973) attests to just how real it is; if a Swindle's Ghost image is a corridor, and one walks down it in total darkness, one seems to be walking, briefly, through his or her own afterimage.

You can find Swindle's original article here:

Swindle, P.F. (1916). Positive Afterimages of long duration. American Journal of Psychology, 27, 325-334.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 15, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Paranormal, Supernatural, Occult, Paranormal, Psychology, Eyes and Vision

Follies of the Madmen #509

Was this ever such a drastic problem, or one of those made-up Madison Avenue problems?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 15, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Hygiene, 1930s, Teeth

June 14, 2021

Staying awake at the wheel

Over the years, inventors have dreamed up a variety of ways to keep drivers awake while driving.

In 1936, Carl Brown got a patent on a chin-operated alarm device. If a driver started to nod off, and his head fell forward, this would depress a trigger, setting off an electric bell that would wake him up. (Patent No. 2,066,092)



In 1940, Raymond Young had the idea that whenever a driver was feeling drowsy he could press a button on the steering wheel and this would squirt an aromatic spray in his face, waking him up. (Patent No. 2,199,060)



And just last month, Hyundai was granted a patent for a system that shoots ultrasonic beams at a driver's eyes when it senses he's falling asleep. (Patent No. 11007932)

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 14, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, Sleep and Dreams, Cars

The Airphibian

Flying cars just had a recent moment in THE NEW YORK TIMES. But there have been many predecessors.

We are continuing our streak from yesterday's Amphicar: bi-modal transport!



The Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 14, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Kludges, Hacks and Duct-tape Repairs, Air Travel and Airlines, 1940s, Cars

June 13, 2021

Two-Handed Bowling

"the new young players are going into two-handed [bowling]."

What will those crazy youngsters think of next?



via Book of Joe

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jun 13, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Sports

The 1964 Amphicar

We've featured various amphibious vehicles on WU before. But my research seems to indicate we have not highlighted the most famous, seen in this video. Please note that inventor Hans Trippel was working on this concept thirty years previously, as seen in the clipping.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 13, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1930s, 1960s, Cars

June 12, 2021

Boar Mate

Miami Herald - Jun 08, 1979



It's available for purchase here.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jun 12, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, 1970s, Attractiveness, Sexiness, Allure and Personal Magnetism

Leader of the Laundromat



Their Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 12, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Hygiene, Music, 1960s, Parody

June 11, 2021

Pythagoron

Released in 1977, the album Pythagoron consisted of electronic sounds that supposedly stimulated certain brain waves, thereby allowing the listener to get high, without the use of drugs. The Hum blog offers more details:

While obscure, Pythagoron’s sole LP – a distillation of fine art, drug culture, high New Age thinking, and musical Minimalism, is a near perfect image of the outer reaches of its era. Privately issued in 1977 – sold via advertisements in High Times, the album’s origins are mysterious – thought to be a product of USCO (The Company Of Us), one of the earliest multimedia art collectives based in New York – pioneers in the field of immersive sound and light environments...

The album is intended to get the listener high – the aural mirror to Brion Gysin’s Dream Machines, and the step beyond La Monte Young. Capitalizing on the the tonal precision allowed by synthesizers – it attempts to harness the resonant interaction of sound and brainwave patterns to induce states of euphoria – the precursor of more recent efforts in binaural beats and neural oscillation.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 11, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Drugs, Psychedelic, Music, 1970s

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

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