I heard a report on Radio 4 yesterday morning, which said that experimental psychologists had discovered that senior moments, such as entering a room and forgetting what you had gone in for, are caused by the way the brain files away memories. Apparently it regards a doorway as an ‘event boundary’ signalling the end of one memory episode and the start of the next. They reckon the brain tends to file away events and memories from one room as soon as it leaves and then enters another.
There is a another very similar sort of senior moment – or what a Canadian friend of ours calls a ‘brain fart’ – to this doorway scenario. Getting to the top of the stairs and wondering what on earth you’d gone up for!
I was thinking about this on and off all day. I’ve posted before about the liminal aspect of stairs, the creepy feelings and corner of the eye glimpses you can get at the top. And it struck me that the doorway is another one of those places.
According to folklore, if you want to see a ghost, the best way is to peer into a room with one eye lined up with the door edge and if you are troubled by one you can trap and remove it by slamming a door three times and catching it in the threshold. There are also all those reports of ghosts bothering folks by opening and closing doors and rattling handles!
So perhaps the connection between this psychological process of storing memories and the heightened ability to glimpse the otherworld at these liminal places in the home, is that while the left, rational brain is busy concentrating on sticking papers in the correct order in the mental filing cabinet, the right brain is free to look up catch glimpses through the veil.