In the Sichuan province, China, a hiker came across an optical illusion in nature that made it appear that there were "ghosts" on the mountaintop.
The hiker, who experienced this illusion earlir in May, believed they were seeing a ghost in the distance, appearing to see what looked like an image and outline of a "ghost" with beaming halos and rays of sunshine breaking through clouds. Looking at the shape, the hiker believed the figure was waving to him from a distance.
However, it did not take long for the hiker to understand that it was just his mind playing tricks on him. He was noticing his own shadow, through an illusion better known as a Brocken spectere.
What is a Brocken spectre?
This natural phenomenon was first recorded in Germany's Harz mountains in 1780, according to Brittanica. The name Brocken refers to a specific peak in this mountain range. It was first observed by a German pastor, Johann Silberschlag, who visited the mountains often.
This phenomenon has been discussed in world literature by authors like Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll, who believed that seeing it was an omen. This is also spotted on a regular basis throughout Europe.This occurs when sunlight shines through refracted light and moisture. The person observing may be surrounded by multicolored bands or rings. These are caused as the result of the diffraction of sunlight by water droplets in surrounding clouds, according to Brittanica.
Stories similar to that of the hiker have come to light throughout the years. In November 2022, a hiker in England spotted a "ghostly figure" next to him in the Lake District, using his camera to capture proof of what he had seen. A different hiker had reported seeing the same type of figure in the same district just a year prior. This hiker was convinced he had seen a ghost walking alongside him.
In 2018, a French hiker named Florian Clément reported seeing a figure on Europe's tallest sand dune, with every step followed.
He quickly acknowledged that what he experienced was likely a Brocken spectre.