Sunday, July 10, 2005

I saw the fish ... again

In January of 1990, I went on a Bnei Akiva shabbaton in NYC. On Saturday night, we went to some sort of mall on the ground level of the World Trade Center. There was some activity planned for all of us. We all spread around the area. At one point, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a giant red fish floating in the middle of the air. I turned around and it was gone. I thought I must have been seeing things, so I forgot about it, until it happened again. When that happened, I ran to tell one of the participants on the shabbaton. She thought I was crazy. By this point I realized that if I turned my head really quick, I could cause the images to appear. There were other images besides the fish - a basketball player, for example. Finally, after bothering both friends and people who on the shabbaton who had only known me for about a day, someone else saw the fish. And to the consternation of the counselors on the shabbaton (who wanted everyone to participate in the activity), eventually almost everyone saw the fish.

It turned out it was a borrowed exhibit from the amazing science museum in San Francisco, the Exploratorium. I haven't been able to find anything online explaining the exhibit, but what I recall was that you were meant to use mirrors, because then you'd see the floating images clearly. But you could see them briefly without the use of mirrors.

For a long time afterwards, every time I thought I knew or saw something that no one else could see, where they thought I was crazy but I knew I was right, I called "seeing the fish".

I hadn't thought about that incident for a long time until recently, when I started playing with Google Earth. One of the neat things about the program, is how you can find all sorts of things from above that no one would ever see on land. Through the supporting online forums, I've found shapes that people mowed in to fields, or placed in the middle of the desert. Pretty amazing stuff, when you think you can see it from a satellite.

Well, I thought I found my own version of one of these man-made shapes when I was looking around the satellite images of Israel. Just north of Beersheva, I saw this:

It's a pretty unusual shape, no?

So I called up a friend from Beersheva, to ask what she thought it was.

She had no idea.

She thought I was crazy.

Finally, I used a program online, where we could both see the same image, and I could "draw" on top of it.

I showed her this:

See it?

It's a fish!

I admit it's a strange fish.

With legs. And a lawn chair on it's back.

But it's still a fish.

And while I was trying to "prove" what I saw, I started laughing.

Because her husband was on that shabbaton!

Of course when I asked him if he saw the fish, he thought I was talking about that night 15 years ago.

And he still doesn't see the fish in the picture.

Do you?