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» Hello » Urban Legends » History » Indians couldn't see Columbus' ships?

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I Saw Three Shipments

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I've heard this rumor from 2 sources, a cheesy pseudo-science movie called "What the Bleep to we know" and a Science Fiction book called "Manifold Space"

The idea is that the Indians could not see Christopher Columbus' ships as they approached. Apparently humans have some sort of mental deficiency that causes us to blank out and not be able to see things that are too strange and beyond our understanding.

I can't find any source that verifies this, and I don't believe it for one second. But I'd like to know where this ridiculous idea came from, what source are these guys using for this claim?

[ 05. March 2006, 08:45 PM:   snopes ]

Posts: 84 | From: Canada | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)

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Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria Chow

On the whole, consensus before was that the natives would have seen the ships, but not quite understood what it was they were seeing.

[ 05. March 2006, 08:47 PM:   snopes ]

Posts: 2064 | From: New Brunswick, Canada | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Page Three
Deck the Malls

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This page discusses some of the claims from "What the bleep do we know". They have a segment on the "blanking out" phenomenon as well.

But she is right about us not seeing things in front of our eyes if we're not looking for them. A classic experiment on visual processing involves asking people to watch a video of 6 people passing a basketball, and press a button every time a particular team has possession. Invariably only about half the people tested ever notice a woman in a gorilla suit walking across the middle of the screen during the game.
I remember coming across this sort of thing in linguistics classes at some point. All the examples I remember, though, involve "blanking out" occurences that are fairly short in duration. I'm pretty sure the arrival of three enormous ships is something that takes too long to easily ignore.
Posts: 315 | From: Berlin, Germany | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator

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