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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The White Cat Ghost

This is Steven Petrick Posting:

For much of the first few years I worked with SVC, I sat in a chair nearby at a smaller desk, with a poster of a Tiger with a White Cat in front of it. This poster slowly, but surely, drove me insane. The reason for this is that every now and again I saw that white cat "move". It was always just out of the corner of my eye, i.e., at the edge of my peripheral vision, but I saw it. Every time I saw that movement my head would snap around and my eyes would focus on the white cat, but its position was unchanged. Yet, I SAW it MOVE. It was not possible. It was a flat picture, nothing more than a poster (captioned "The Difference is Power", being an advertisement for something long ago and juxtaposing the power of the Tiger against the power of a house cat). There was nothing special about it, but time and again out of the corner of my eye that white cat would move.

Turned out that what was moving was a cobweb that was entirely contained within the picture of the cat. Every now and again the flow of air would cause it to shift, i.e., move. The white cobweb moving on the picture of the white cat created the illusion that the cat had moved.

We still have that picture, and since the cobweb was discovered and eliminated, the cat has never moved, but part of my brain still looks at that cat, expecting it to do so.