Seeing Numbers And Letters On Your Skin In The Mirror

Red Steel

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
50
Likes
69
Points
19
#1
This is most likely a case of the brain making sense out of a pattern.

I had a fall from a ladder while cutting branches from a tree in my back garden. After getting up and assessing damage i had a huge swelling on my left elbow. After ensuring there were no broken bones (the ladder wasn't so lucky) I continued pruning and then mowed the front and back gardens.

Later I went into the house to clean up. My wife looked at the injury and panicked, she was sure it was broken and I explained I had full range of motion.

After showering I looked at the injury in the mirror. On the bruised tissue there seemed to be squiggly marks, similar to Arabic writing. Additionally, there appeared to be Arabic numbers, "8251." The markings were not visible to the naked eye, but only in the mirror.

I asked my wife to look at it. She couldn't see anything besides the bruising, cuts and scrapes until she looked at it reflected in the mirror. The writing appears to be oriented correctly in the reflection which would mean it would be "printed" in reverse in the bruising.

Again, I write it off as the brain making sense out of patterns.

I'm off to climb up again to paint the gables of my house. I'll follow up if there's any more "messages."
 

Red Steel

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
50
Likes
69
Points
19
#3
Can you take a picture of your elbow's reflection in the mirror?
I took a few with my phone. One turned out alright. I'll see if I can get it over to my computer and post it later.

I wish I had thought to try to take a picture with my laptop's camera.
 

Ermintruder

Existential pixelfixer
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
4,594
Likes
5,403
Points
209
#5
Intriguing.

A popular medium for miraculous Arabic messages spontaneously-appearing upon is vegetable (as opposed to elbows). Aubergines seem to be particularly-fruitful in this respect (see http://www.plant-lore.com/plantofthemonth/miraculous-aubergines/ and the sub-cited Fortean Times 55: 5, back in1990)

A couple of relevant observations: as you correctly-imply, our western numbers are actually Arabic (as opposed to, for example, Roman numerals). Ironically, I've never seen or heard of a miraculous Islamic religiogram that includes 'arabic' numbers (I fully-appreciate that you're not ascribing miraculous status to your apparent imprinting).

I also began wondering whether a metallic cast or molded British Standards compliance numbering plate could somehow have 'left its mark' on your arm (as a relevant aside, the standards for ladders appears to have been BS1129 and BS 2037 prior to Euronorm absorption into BS EN131).

By reversing that logic (appropriately-enough) I wondered if you could've perhaps been 'stamped' by some other compliance label. And: well, well....I wonder.....?

BS EN ISO 8251:2011 - Anodizing of aluminium and its alloys.

So might you have been unmiraculously-but-remarkably-marked with this metal manufacturers' mark?

(Parting thought....if you were falling down, bodily, across a risen set of alphabetical letters on a maker's plate, I could imagine that the stretched/distorted enprinted result might look a bit like pseudo-Arabuc or Urdu....if you follow my reasoning)
 

Red Steel

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
50
Likes
69
Points
19
#7
This is the best I could get... The "numbers are under the red mark. I don't know how teens take such clear pictures in bathroom mirrors. Bruise with Number.jpg
 

Attachments

Ermintruder

Existential pixelfixer
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
4,594
Likes
5,403
Points
209
#8
I considered that so I checked the ladder. It's smooth fiberglass
Damn...I'm now depressed that my expressed impression regarding your impression was less-impressive than I'd expected it to be.

I don't know how teens take such clear pictures in bathroom mirrors.
Megapixel cameras & hormones. Oh, and moody bone-structures...whatever.
 

blessmycottonsocks

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
2,239
Likes
2,843
Points
154
Location
Wessex and Mercia
#10
"our western numbers are actually Arabic "

That's a fallacy, Ermintruder. They are Indian / Hindu numbers, which themselves were developed from the ancient Brahmi numerals.
They found their way to Europe via contact with Arabs, but the credit for their invention and development is definitely Indian.
 

Red Steel

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
50
Likes
69
Points
19
#11
Perhaps your wife could assist?

maximus otter
I hadn't thought of that; but the "numbers" are faded. In the photo can you see the four "marks" under the elbow? That's where they were. They weren't visible to the eye but you could see them in a mirror.
 

catseye

For the greater good
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
534
Likes
1,096
Points
139
Location
York
#12
This is making me laugh so much - trying to take a selfie of your elbow in a bathroom mirror!

Why would something be not visible to the naked eye and yet visible in a mirror? Is there any optical reason for that?
 

blessmycottonsocks

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
2,239
Likes
2,843
Points
154
Location
Wessex and Mercia
#20
I only meant 'arabic' in terms of accepted numerological nomenclature within the current western world, not necessarily in terms of their absolute origins.

Is there any substantive move to relabel them, then, as 'Indian'?
If not, then there ought to be, as it would be consistent with renaming things to endow them with more authentically ethnic origins. Hence Ayers Rock has become Uluru, Rhodesia has become Zimbabwe and Cat Stevens became a t*at!
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
8,761
Likes
8,170
Points
294
Location
Out of Bounds
#21
I only meant 'arabic' in terms of accepted numerological nomenclature within the current western world, not necessarily in terms of their absolute origins.

Is there any substantive move to relabel them, then, as 'Indian'?
The numerals used in the West are also referred to as 'Hindu-Arabic' or 'Indo-Arabic' in some circles.

The historical situation is even more complicated than the simplistic 'Arabic numerals' allusion would suggest.

The numerals we refer to in the West as 'Arabic' aren't the numerals from the eastern Arabic regions where the Hindu / Indian numbering system was first adopted. Instead, the numerals we know today were adopted from the western Arabic regions' later versions of the marks / numerals / glyphs used to denote the ten basic value-elements.

In other words, the concept of our current numeral system traces back to India, but the set of particular glyphs / symbols we use for the numerals traces back to the western Arabic / Arabic-influenced regions.
 

Ibis

Life is like a box of paints.
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
133
Likes
207
Points
44
Location
The USA, for the moment.
#22
Oh! how complicated and unreliable nomenclature is!

A few years ago, Saudi students of mine told me that we call "Arabic" numerals they call "Indian" numerals.
Perhaps we got the names messed up when we tossed Roman numerals and replaced them with "Arabic" numerals, which include zero. It's tempting to blame it on mathematicians and engineers, who would have found the decimal system and a zero easier to work with than a bunch of Is, Vs Xs and Ds, not to mention Cs and Ms.

For what it's worth, here's an image of Arabic numbers as used in Arabic speaking countries (from 0 to 9, going from L to R):
Arabic numerals.jpg

To make things even more complicated, Arabic is written from R to L, but the numbers are always (to my knowledge) written from L to R.
 

Ibis

Life is like a box of paints.
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
133
Likes
207
Points
44
Location
The USA, for the moment.
#23
To return to one aspect of the original post: years ago when I worked in an office, one of my co-workers, a very beautiful young woman with a lovely personality, was distressed at how she looked in the mirror one day. There was a nasty looking crease next to her eyebrow, which made her look mean and tired. It didn't show to look directly at her, but all she could see was her reflection. It was a visual lie that made her feel rather bad. This taught me that ladies' room mirrors can be evil objects that undermine women's self esteem by providing a reflection that appears unhealthy and unpleasant. Perhaps. Red Steel, your mirror was made in the same factory, and is infused with malevolent intentions to undermine your self-esteem.

A more Fortean approach would be to investigate why/how mirrors emphasize such irregularities of light without making the whole image seem distorted.
Or maybe there is some life sapping interaction between fluorescent lights and reflective surfaces?)
 

blessmycottonsocks

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
2,239
Likes
2,843
Points
154
Location
Wessex and Mercia
#24
Oh! how complicated and unreliable nomenclature is!

A few years ago, Saudi students of mine told me that we call "Arabic" numerals they call "Indian" numerals.
Perhaps we got the names messed up when we tossed Roman numerals and replaced them with "Arabic" numerals, which include zero. It's tempting to blame it on mathematicians and engineers, who would have found the decimal system and a zero easier to work with than a bunch of Is, Vs Xs and Ds, not to mention Cs and Ms.

For what it's worth, here's an image of Arabic numbers as used in Arabic speaking countries (from 0 to 9, going from L to R):
View attachment 10701

To make things even more complicated, Arabic is written from R to L, but the numbers are always (to my knowledge) written from L to R.
The earliest known written example of the zero is in the Indian Bakhshali manuscript (dated to as early as AD 224). The large round dot, known as shunya (empty) gives us a plausible explanation for how zero evolved to be depicted as a circle.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakhshali_manuscript
 

Red Steel

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
50
Likes
69
Points
19
#30
Since late Tuesday all that's visible are huge, deep purple bruises. I assume the ladder is still broken. I can't verify because I put it out with the trash.

It was my favorite ladder, too :-(
 
Top