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Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Please Stop That. You’re Freaking Me Out

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | Add A CommentBy admin | September 22, 2010

A recent small study found interesting results when the subjects were asked to stare in a mirror for a length of time. Have you ever done this?

Mirrors seem to hold a strange fascination for people. As adults, most of us probably take them for granted, and just use them as a grooming tool. But as a kid, you may have invested a lot more imagination in them, imagining another world beyond them, or using two mirrors to create infinite reflections. That was one of my personal favorites. Throughout history, mirrors were believed to hold magical powers, and have always had many superstitions attached to them, including the belief that you can divine things with them through intuitive arts like Catoptromancy. They also have been featured extensively in literature and film. They’re a common horror cliche (clip also below), and the movie Candyman is pretty directly based on a scary “game” called Bloody Mary. In literature, they’ve been a central element in stories like Snow White, Through the Looking-Glass, and numerous works called Through a Glass Darkly. So given a history so rich with magical imaginings and fraught with otherworldly projections from the unconscious mind, I was surprised at some people’s reaction to a recent study in which subjects were asked to stare into a mirror for a period of time, and then report what they saw. Many people make remarks like “no way, this is way too creepy” or “I’ve tried this before and it’s exactly why I won’t again“. I find these reactions odd, because this is something I did a lot at certain points in my life, not out of vanity – I actually detest my own face – but as personal meditative or perceptual experiments both with and without the influence of drugs. So it had never occurred to me that not everyone would engage in this kind of peculiar pursuit, and after randomly surveying a few friends, I realized there were two distinct crowds, those who had, and those who hadn’t. And then I noticed a distinct difference in the psychological makeup of the two groups, something subtle about their apparent depth of perception in general. A completely subjective and biased observation on my part, I know. But what about you? Have you ever stared in a mirror so long that your face dissolved and the spooks came out?

Who hasn’t done this while tripping on acid at a party, right?

Mirrors Are A Pervasive Horror Cliche…