Category: Mass Communications

Camera Obscura: Ontology and Media — Lens and Frame

The allusion made by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is roughly the same made in the collected works of Symbolic Interactionists (such as Goffman’s Frame Analysis or Cooley’s theory of the  “looking-glass self“). That which we may collectively call “the real” is mainly shadows, echos, reflections and images framed so that they may fit the viewer’s expectations.

A more modern version of Plato’s cave is the camera obscura. Imagine living inside a camera, the real world being projected upside down from a lens (the only source of light). The truth inherent in this metaphor relates to any and all media; though it illuminates all you see, the reality is inverted.

To include still more metaphor into a highly metaphorical conversation, the Jungian “shadow” comes to mind. The dark side; of a person, a society, or of life itself, is true but largely ignored. To stand in front of the the pinhole lens of the camera obscura, to cover some aspect of the inverted reality with an obstruction in one’s own image, is to cancel one’s self (bias) from the inverted image.

Now, with every new media outlet there is a new lens producing light and inverting the image in its own manner. This is almost too obvious to require a metaphor, right? The FoxNews Channell, for example, largely frames the world one way, MSNBC frames things another way. I tend to agree with one frame and disagree with another. My shadow obscures me from my bias.

What happens when we consider that, rather than one or two pinhole lenses (cameras obscura) we remember that there are many. Some we see and some we don’t see. Every medium works differently, some so powerful that they can drive the right eye or ear to see or hear the world to an extreme. Many light sources create the illusion that there is not a camera obscura but, rather, a reality; one that can be “seen” and “known.” Should all of my light sources be from behind me, my shadow allows me to see only light; truth; reality. I can see the light from those other sources as well, but I can see their source! They are a fraud! They are not real! Who can fall for that camera obscura?

I am lucky, I surmise, that I may see what is real while others believe the parallax view of an obscured inversion of truth! I am awake!

Or so it would seem.

I am only falling for my own parallax view. If I can view the scene from above, removing my shadow from the equation, now I realize my folly.

What is media?

Any symbol, image, code, or referent. A look, a gesture, a word; these are all as much a medium as cinema, television, radio, or theater. The editorial power of a raised eyebrow, in the proper context, can change history.

Now, more than ever, we each add to the noisy image that is the media camera obscura. Every post, tweet snap, etc. is media.

Media is politics.

Media is paradigm reinforcement and shift and conflict.

Media is meaning making, something we are always doing all the time.

The illusion laid bare, all perception is conjecture and every “truth” now housed in fresh quotation marks. Even certainty of knowledge is lost in brackets. What, now, are we to believe?

Know the illusion. Know now that there is truth in the awareness of obscured view. That everyone omits there shadow, save the few that seek it out (and even then they only neglect to forget it). Such is the case when hoping to know, that awareness of what is unknown is often the closest thing to knowledge at the time that may be had.

via Camera Obscura: Ontology and Media — Lens and Frame

Originally Posted on December 8, 2014


The Mandela Effect: The Trouble with False Memory.


Remember the last time you said something you knew full-well to be absolutely correct, only to be told that you were wrong?

Worse yet, when you asked for proof it was provided you in glaring detail?

Well, you are not alone!

Before we go down this collective rabbit-hole together, let me state this: I am always remembering things badly. I am going to go on record as saying that, I am human, and humans are fallible in our memories and in our judgement. I also tend to be very certain of something, until the moment I am proven wrong. I was sure Berenstein Bears were among my favorite children’s books, not Berenstains!

So, what comes up when this happens to you? Do you think you were mistaken and then recall back to someone else, for instance, discussing “the Berenstein Bears books”? Perhaps, a passive listening experience convinced you of the spelling via pronunciation and you never thought to question it.

Or, it’s a glitch in the matrix.

A glimpse into an alternative reality, one we were never meant to see.

The Mandela Effect is the brainchild of Fiona Broome, author, ghost hunter, and self-described researcher of all things paranormal. Around 2010, Broome launched to promote her theory. According to Broome, via her website, The Mandela Effect “is what happens when someone has a clear memory of something that never happened in this reality.” By “this reality” Broome means to say that there are more realities and, further, that those people who report experiences such as those featured on her website are “sliding” between realities.

The term stems from a conversation Broome had with another person, referred to as Shadow, where they both recounted their vivid recollection of Nelson Mandela’s dying while still in a South African prison. This, if you were unaware, did not happen.

From there, Broome started her website and began collecting memories, apparently proof that many had experienced The Mandela Effect and, often, recounting the same discrepancies between this reality and ‘the other(s)’.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 m.e. amazon
And, yes, Fiona Broome has Mandela Effect merch!

Here’s where a brief interjection of logic comes in. I know, boring, factual logic. The psychological phenomenon here is called confabulation and is caused by many documented memory disorders, such as Korsakoff’s Syndrome. Confabulation, by other names, has been shown to be common among the general public: psychology student Jim Coan showed that intentionally suggesting a false memory to a third-party was both easy and undetectable. His ‘Lost in the Mall‘ technique was an example of memory implantation.

It is also important to note that memory implantation and confabulation have a psychological phenomenon closely related called False Memory Syndrome (FMS). FMS occurs when personal relationships and/or identity is altered by memories which are false but which are nonetheless strongly believed.

False Memory Expert Elizabeth Loftus explains her work during her Ted Talk.

If we are talking memory, we are talking about the brain. How memory is formed, formatted, altered and recalled in the brain is not outside of the realm of human understanding, it has been studied for years. The brain has shown that memory is fallible, even questionable, especially when considering communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. If a memory were to be altered, or reinterpreted in the case of a person whose belief system had undergone a drastic change, it is likely that the person whose memory it was would only be able to perceive the current version of that memory; or else, envision the previous version as some strange fantasy (or in the case of Fiona Broome, an alternative ‘timestream’). The memory implantation in Coan’s ‘Lost in the Mall’ experiments were done intentionally to study cognitive psychology and always followed by a debriefing of the test subjects to prevent long-term effects, however, the ease to which such memory implantation was demonstrated strongly suggests that it may happen more often and even unintentionally.

One such flap of unintentional memory implantation occurred in the 1980s and 1990s during the so-called ‘Satanic Panic’. Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) was believed to be occurring throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, due to rumors and legends sensationalized and legitimized by mass media and reinforced by Fundamentalist Christians, law enforcement and mental health professionals. After rigorous investigation by Anthropologists and Sociologists, no actual evidence of any SRA was uncovered. Though law enforcement sought convictions for the accused, there is no record of any forensic evidence used in the pursuit of said convictions. That did not stop the memories of various children who reported SRA, however, nor did it hasten the overturning of convictions of those most commonly convicted of satanic abuse; daycare attendants, teacher, or the children’s parents themselves.

SRA is one extreme example of False Memory Syndrome spreading into a sort of massive social contagion of memory implantation. The rapid spread of false memories in this case would not have been possible before the advent of mass media and, as such, the implication of Television (talk shows and televangelists) in spreading the SRA fervor is justified. Before mass media (TV, Radio, etc.), it was still possible to have been spread through books (technically, a form of mass media). So it is with the internet and the spread of such unfounded and demonstrably false claims as those encapsulated within The Mandela Effect.

The following are some alternative memories, quoted from Fiona Broome’s website:

  • There were 51 or 52 States (not counting territories or the District of Columbia).
  • Berenstain or Berenstein Bears?
  • Billy Graham’s Funeral on TV.
  • Challenger Shuttle Explosion Date? 1984, 1985, or 1986?
  • Lindbergh Baby Never Found.
  • Betty White dead.
  • Brian Dennehy dead.
  • 9/11 happened on 9/10
  • Hurricane Katrina happened in April, 2005 or August of another year.
  • Alaska’s Coastline Changed.
  • Africa’s Coastline Changed.
  • Japan moved.
  • North Korea moved.
  • ‘Arctica’ did not always exist


Around this point, you may be wondering how geography came into question. The general consensus among those who entertain the idea of The Mandela Effect is that geography has changed quite a bit from their memory; another supposed change is the location, size and shape of Sri Lanka (using Ptolemy’s cartography to suggest that Ceylon/Sri Lanka was once off the Western Coast of India). Arctica seems to be an unintentional typo referring to Antarctica; still, it apparently just recently ‘appeared’.


The discussion on the alternative geography includes the a humorous clip from the West Wing (above), showing how different maps have distorted the perceptions of even highly educated people regarding the locations, shapes, and sizes of the world’s various land-masses.

“These guys find Brigadoon on that map, you’ll call me, right?”

“Probably not.”

It is fitting that I make the allusion to this scene to disprove the point that Fiona Broome attempts to make with it. The Mandela Effect is confabulation writ large and aided by the mass media saturation and the hubris that comes with the commons of the internet. Everyone seems to pose as an expert, constantly announcing and pronouncing, regularly excommunicating and chiding those ‘sheeple’ that disagree.

Here is some more ‘proof’. One devout Christian vlogger, going by the YouTube handle Photohelix, reviews his bible to see that changes in wording do no mesh with his recollection. He cites the CERN particle physics lab, often suggested as being a satanic endeavor to bring demons onto the earth, as a potential source of all the ‘unexplained’ changes.


Another Christian vlogger, Nephtali, has a different suggestion as to the origin of The Mandela Effect, that the claims of such an effect are, themselves, a satanic deception perpetrated by ‘occultist’ Fiona Broome.



Here is a third YouTube video from regular conspiracy vloggers, Bonnie and John, who were also featured on Conspiracy Theory Digest in 2014 due to their theory regarding Sigil Magick on Digital Television. Bonnie and John also heavily promote their belief in a Flat Earth as well as the standard Illuminati cover-ups.



Every one of these vloggers is convinced that they are ‘awake’ and you are ‘asleep’ and in need of waking up.

The map is not the territory. Memory is not fact. This, to believers in the Mandela Effect, go counter their worldview. They see themselves as those ‘in the know’ and their memories are proof of their knowledge. The general insignificance of the majority of these ‘shift’ claims (celebrity gossip and mistaken medieval cartography) shows the general mismatch these peoples’ claims with their overall state of alarm.

It is actually obviously more likely that I have incorrectly remembered an event or piece of datum when it is shown that I am wrong, yet I know that I will likely still want to believe the original version of the event or interpretation of said datum regardless of the facts. If I were still, as I once was, inclined to paranormal, mystical and/or occult beliefs I may have perhaps adopted a belief in The Mandela Effect … but, perhaps not.

Why is it that we cannot accept that our memories, from the genuinely arbitrary to the profoundly physical reality, can be completely incorrect?

I refer, again, to the West Wing clip. When C.J. Cregg is shown how the map of the world if oriented upside-down, she insists “but you can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s freaking me out.”


See Also: Christian Biblical Literalists consider The Mandela Effect with regard to a ‘changing’ King James’ Bible.

Victim of Mandela Effect not sure if Columbine shooting occurred in 1999 or 1996.

What is Predictive Programming?

One of the most important concepts in support of belief in the Illuminati, that controls and manipulates major world events, is the concept of predictive programming. Predictive programming is “psychological conditioning via media to acquaint the population to planned societal changes” (definition quoted from bibliotechapleyades). The concept of predictive programming may have been originally suggested by popular conspiracy theorists Alex Jones, Michael Hoffman, and/or David Icke, at least that’s what the Wikipedia page says. In one of Alex Jones’ Infowars podcasts he describes how actor Dean Haglund (who had a recurring role as Richard “Ringo” Langley on X-Files and The Lone Gunmen) came to him and described how the CIA told television producers what to put in their scripts. The script in question aired on March 4, 2001 and predicted the World Trade Center attack that occurred on September 11th of that same year (this fact is even part of the television series’ IMDB page). Coincidence? If you believe that 9/11 was an inside job, then this was no mere coincidence: this was predictive programming!

Before we all grab our pitchforks and storm the GW Ranch in Tyler, TX we may need to dig a little deeper into the subject. Think back to 1993, the World Trade Center was the subject of so innumerable bomb threats: a total of 396 bomb threats levied within the week after the February 26th, 1993 WTC Bombing. Back then, the World Trade Center was Target #1 and everyone who lived and worked around the complex knew it, with normal weeks averaging 5 to 7 security threats or suspicious package reports the WTC complex was the subject of intense security interest. Attempts to take down the Twin Towers were nothing less than guaranteed. The fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed funded the 1993 WTC Bombing and was later implicated in the Bojinka Plot, which included a proposed hijacking to crash a plane into CIA headquarters, meant that the idea that a plane may be hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center was a topic of regular speculation. By the time The Lone Gunmen aired in March, 2001 the subject of the Towers being hit were covered several times in popular culture but, as Alex Jones would likely contend, all of this would be predictive programming.


So, now that we know what predictive programming is, we can now discuss what it used for. Not in the sense that it is used by some secret Illuminati overlords, but in the sense that it is used as a strategy for legitimizing beliefs. The image above was posted on Facebook and insinuates that Ebola is not real, the proof is that the Simpsons made a joke about Ebola in 1997 (ignoring Ebola was identified as early as 1976). This is a very weak example of a predictive programming claim being used to legitimize a belief.

A similar mental process exists in which an extant belief in a conspiratorial cabal, coupled with a belief in predictive programming, makes pop culture products the subject of suspicion and speculation. Here, Christian conspiracy theorists and their fear and suspicion of the CERN supercollider, which they often suggest will open up Hell and allow fallen angels to roam the earth, are legitimized through, yet again, a Simpsons episode.

Homer Simpson, of course, did not predict the mass of the Higgs-Boson particle. The mass of the Higgs-Boson was theorized, and then later confirmed. The book titled The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets makes the claim that Homer makes the prediction in the 1998 episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” but even though the book’s author claims that the equation is accurate, actual mathematicians disagree (link).

Predictive programming supposedly is part of Illuminati ritual practice. Theoretically, the Illuminati must hide what they intend to do “in plain sight” in order to complete their nefarious deeds. This gives their actions “power” (somehow) and only those who are “in the know” or “awake” will know the truth. All the idea of predictive programming does is give a false legitimation to preconceived notions that, ultimately, promote a paranoid and fatalistic worldview.

For a bit more info on predictive programming, a great blog on the subject is linked here.

The Digital Anunnaki

I have, in the past, subscribed to (believed in) quite a few conspiracy theories.

In the past, even those that include somewhat far-fetched “extra-scientific” theories were not entirely beyond belief to me; but I tended towards anything that implicated higher level government agencies or wealthy power-brokers (and I am sure the psychology students out there can give me a pretty good psych profile based on that alone).

The one theory that never seemed to sound even remotely feasible to me was the shape-shifting reptile Anunnaki popularly theorized as the true rulers of all humanity by David Icke.

Though the belief in a race of reptiles that morph into human form (who, in fact, rule over us all) may seem far-fetched out of context (okay, and in context as well), it is really only a matter of meeting the necessary required benchmarks.

I. Might you find it possible that some government agencies in the U.S. are corrupt and/or conspiratorial?

II. Might the recent international trends toward globalization seem to breed odd alliances between once warring countries?

III. Might all this global consolidation of governance (European Union, United Nations), trade (NAFTA, the proposed TPP trade agreement), economic organizations (WTO, IMF) and military cooperation (United Nations, NATO) seem suspect to anyone who has been taught to distrust foreign governments and have a certain amount of national pride or want their country to succeed (as was the case with so many Americans, especially after 9/11)?

IV. Could I, II, and III all be connected? Could there be a malevolent group (i.e. The Illuminati) behind it all?  Might they have a master plan?

V. Could that malevolent group be something other than human?

If you agreed with questions I, II, and III, then you surpassed the first benchmark and are likely to not find IV all that far-fetched. If you agree with IV (the second benchmark), and you don’t have any specific belief that would prevent V from being feasible (the third benchmark), you will most likely find V somewhat feasible. Most people that I have met agree with at least 2 out of the first 3. Based on my experience the population who believe in IV are few, but not entirely rare. Also, based on my experience, those who believe in V are rare, but vocal.

Vocal isn’t the proper word.

Ubiquitous is more like it. The internet grew up alongside those that see the Anunnaki as our true leaders. As Web 1.0 gave way to Web 2.0, search engines were already awash in conspiracy theories involving alien overlords. From there, search algorithms continued to favor an increasing number of stories, theories, speculative articles and websites devoted to stories about the Illuminati, the Anunnaki, UFO abduction stories, and ‘spooky pasta’ about human-alien hybrids.

Today, self-proclaimed online news forums (such as provide content for Facebook posts on the subject and discussion group fodder. YouTube has become a hotbed of ‘proof’ of shape-shifters caught on video.

The hyperlink examples of ‘proof’ in quotation marks are, as you may notice; generally video footage of television screens, generally focus in on the eyes, and generally play the same footage over in slow motion to ‘prove’ their findings. The argument that is given is that shape-shifters (the name is misleading based on this argument) use cloaking devices that sometimes malfunction.

The videos that ‘prove,’ for instance, that George W. Bush is a shape-shifter are laughable to the non-believer, but still deserve to be rationally debunked for the sake of reason and so that future societies can be aware that we did not all believe in the Anunnaki Illuminati.

Technically speaking…

There are various causes for the visual distortions of the eyes in these videos. I, personally, do not think that the people who record or post these videos are manufacturing intentional hoaxes but are, rather, fooling themselves with their eyes (and their own biases).

First off, their are too many things that can distort a digital image to list them all in a blog that is not entirely devoted to the subject (if I find one, I will add it). The digital image distortions due to motion are numerous as well, but the ones that have to do with the eyes are going to be my primary focus.

Digital video formats, such as H.264 have an amazing capacity to reproduce visual images through balancing color input with frame rate; allowing images expected to remain a certain color to stay that color and allocating memory elsewhere. When sudden movements occur, a brief color echo can occur.

This effect is exaggerated when taking video of video; as in the case of taking a digital video of your television. For all those who do not believe me, please, consider using VHS instead to ‘prove’ that this is not the case.

Another issue that causes some to believe that they have just ‘witnessed’ a shape shift event is that the people making these videos often watch the television screen through the camcorder’s video display and not with their own eyes or through a viewfinder. Their initial reaction will only be confirmed upon playback.

This issue is compounded when the camera is operated handheld. To prove this to yourself, film yourself talking, moving, blinking, etc. then play it back and film that! If you do you will likely see distortions upon playback of the second video (and you know that you aren’t a shape-shifter, right?).

So, why are so many of these videos of footage recorded from news shows? I think some of the reasons that people think they are seeing shape-shifters on news shows is the lighting, especially a little known studio tool called the “ring light.” Florescent light gives every talking head it shoots that glint in the eyes television producers desire, but for special guests or news anchors who speak and look into the camera a ring of light gives spark and sparkle to that most expressive area of the face; the eyes.  The most well known video of a ‘shape-shifter,’ former U.S. President George H. W. Bush was likely a victim of bad lighting including the unfortunate use of a ring light.

Pretty sure he ran things, pretty sure he is not a lizard.
Pretty sure he ran things, pretty sure he is not a lizard.

If you, or someone you know, has spent countless hours in a cold sweat for fear that your ‘knowledge’ of the ‘reptillian overlords’ may make you a target, I hope this post helps you. There is no doubt that some people believe that these things are true (and no blog or evidence will disprove what they saw with their own eyes!!!) but I hope that this post will help others who just need enough evidence to dissuade them from crossing that third benchmark or those who have already crossed thresholds and are ready to come back.