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Visual Tracers: Optical Anomalies and Ghostly Phenomena Through the Ages

Visual Tracers: Optical Anomalies and Ghostly Phenomena Through the Ages

“No ghost was every seen by two pairs of eyes.” At least, such were the words of Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher and historian, though perhaps modern science lends some credence to this notion.

With this in mind, there is an obscure, and certainly unusual optical condition that was recently brought to my attention, through a correspondence with a woman who had been a longtime experiencer of the ailment in question. Known as palinopsia, it is a condition that typically results in unusual, recurring visual “tracers”, which may appear regardless of any preceding stimuli.

Although it is not a diagnosis unto itself, palinopsia is subdivided into at least two groupings: those which are termed illusory palinopsia, and those which are hallucinatory in nature. Causes underlying these may include migraine headaches, various prescription medications, or even head trauma, to name a few.

“What makes my…

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