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Think back now to that "revealing" moment captured on camera and spread throughout social media of Brett Kavanaugh's staff member sitting with her arms folded behind the Supreme Court candidate during Congressional hearings. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people actually believe they saw a "white supremacist" gesture being made (by a woman of Jewish- Mexican heritage no less). And no one can convince them otherwise.

Any cognitive psychologist would recognize this immediately as "pareidolia".

Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct. For example, in the discolorations of a burnt slice of French toast where one "sees the face of Jesus".

The Rorschach test is an excellent example of how this phenomenon operates. An emotionally disturbed individual who is shown indeterminant images made by blobs of ink on paper will project their obsession onto the images revealing the inner workings of their mind. What is happening with the "white supremacist gesture" is that psychologically disturbed people are projecting their political obsession in the same way people who are religiously obsessed see the face of Jesus on French toast.

Closely associated with pareidolia is "apophenia". Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. The term was coined by 20th century German psychiatrist Klaus Conrad. Conrad focused on the irrational "discovery" of abnormal meaning or significance in random experiences by psychotic people.

This phenomenon often occurs during times of emotional distress such as an unexpected loss leading to grief. One of the most famous examples of this comes from the 20th century case of the distraught Episcopalian Bishop James A. Pike.

Soon after his son committed suicide, the Bishop began seeing meaningful messages in such things as a stopped clock and the acute angle formed by two postcards lying on the floor. He thought they were conveying the time his son had shot himself.

The most obvious contemporary example of this psychological illness is "Russiagate". Having experienced the unexpected loss of the 2016 election, distraught Hillary Clinton supporters began seeing meaningful connections between unrelated phenomena. The examples are well-known and on-going with no end in sight. Instead of a stopped clock or acute angles of postcards, the grieving ones see Russians. Literally millions of people suffer from this form of mass psychosis.

And when the November mid-terms elections arrive, you can be sure that many of these people will see Russians hiding - not underneath their beds - but inside the voting booths.