This is a short one, but after mentioning this morning how woo-meisters constantly invoke
fractals to justify their gibberish, I was reading an article at the 2% company
about Allison DuBois, the supposed psychic who the TV show “Medium” is based on. And that
led me to a perfect example of how supposed fractals are used to justify some of the
most ridiculous woo you can imagine.
So, I was reading the article about Ms. DeBois. And since there’s nothing more fun than a good smackdown of woo promoted by some slime-drenched
liar, so I wound up reading their full series on Ms. DuBois, and found links to an even siller kind of woo than your basic cold-reading pseudo-psychic: EVP, aka electronic voice phenomena. EVP is where you record sound in an ambient-noise filled environment, and then
listen to it using various filters, speed alterations, etc., and imagine that you hear the
voices of spirits.
Silly stuff. Turns out, naturally, that there’s an entire organization dedicated to
“studying” this phenomenon called the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena, with an extensive website.
One of the things on their website is what they call “Video ITC” (Instrumental TransCommunication). In Video ITC, you aim a video camera at a TV, and then wire it up
so that the TV is displaying the output from the video camera. Then you stare at the pictures frame by frame exercising your best pareidolia abilities to find things supposedly inserted into the image by spirits. Things like the image at the top of this page, which they claim is an image of an alien; or the two images below which are allegedly images of bearded men.
In the course of describing the various things they found using this method, they actually
admit that “we are finding face features in just about every possible arrangement of optical noise”. You might, naively, think that this would be a *problem*, that finding
things in every random collection of pixels drawn from their “experiments” would indicate that they’re just imposing their expectations onto random patterns.
But if they did that, they wouldn’t be woo-meisters, now would they? No, you see, the truth is, that’s *proof* that there’s something mysterious going on: because the images are
embedded in a *fractal* way! And that means that it *must* be deliberate!
I can’t possibly say it better than they did:
>This is another ‘Elfish” feature. We will not further address the question of the Little
>People here, but we would like to point out a most fascinating aspect of the features we
>are collecting. The feature at the left appears to be that of a man who is looking to your
>right. He is wearing a tall hat and has a rather elongated chin. You can see his right eye
>rather well and most of his left. Focus your eyes until you can see this. Now refocus you
>eyes so that you can see a man looking straight at you. Most of his face is illuminated by
>the spot of light at the center of the image. He is wearing the same hat. The left eye of
>this second man is the same as the right eye of the first.
>Now take a good look at the man’s (men’s) hat. Do you see the face feature there?
>This is typical of the way face features are appearing in our ITC sessions. This is an
>example of an inserted feature being composed of numerous holographic or fractal features.
>As is shown below, we are finding face features in just about every possible arrangement
>of optical noise.
There you go. Elves, ghosts, and communication with spirits, all justified with fractals.
pathetic, isn’t it?