On my way home today, I got caught to an unusual traffic jam. The kind you get when there is a heavy storm, an accident or a very smart cop trying to override traffic lights! But as soon as I turned off from the Nawala junction towards, Nugegoda it was evident none of those were the cause. For some weird reason, traffic was just moving slow as far as the eye could see.
Then without thinking much about it, I joked to myself, if this was caused by "yet another Buddha statue" emitting rays and people flocking to see. All day, I've been hearing people musing about how this phenomena was happening in multiple locations and how it had caused traffic jams and even few accidents. But I was too busy at work to think much of it. I didn't really think there could be anything other than a Sri Lankan cricket match that was capable of such things.
After getting home, I got to know that my mom, my girl friend's two sisters and a few other relatives have also witnessed this phenomena. Dinner was spent debating the different theories ranging from that of a conspiracy theory to misdirect attention, to possible chemical agents that might have reacted, to glow in the dark phosphorous to.. well the list goes on. Things got more bazaar when I learned that my gandmother and aunt had seen this in their own living room!
Ladies and gentleman, we have just witnessed Mass Hysteria, induced possibly by an optical illusion caused by a memory effect in the retina due to over exposure. Shocking isn't it?
Mass hyteria can do some horrific things to people as in the case of War of the world's, radio broadcast.
"The War of the Worlds, a radio adaptation by Orson Welles based upon H. G. Wells' classic novel, was performed by Mercury Theatre on the Air as a Halloween special on October 30, 1938. The live broadcast reportedly frightened many listeners into believing that an actual Martian invasion was in progress." - wikipedia
Though I personally didn't get much excited to stop the car and witness this myself, the following demo might illustrate what people think they are seeing.
Concentrate on where the red meets yellow for some time and you should begin to see a light-green glow that changes in width and intensity. Many people have supposedly reported green as the color of the rays. But this theory requires the statue to be of two colors. Anyway these are not my findings but some that I heard on ITN from some viewers that have done some field research.
The final decision by the experts are yet to be announced. Fingers crossed for I hope they don't say that its real :)
What you see is not always what you get. Check out these optical illusions.