How real are chart patterns? Look at the triangle illusion below. The mind draws lines to connect the solid circles and perceives a triangle.
We see such lines everywhere. Evolution has sculpted us to see these lines. They connect up the world, making sense of fragments in our visual field. This is a useful trick to reveal predators in the bushes and probably kept our ancestors alive.
With price charts, the eye is drawn to perceive a line when 3 or more obvious turning points are in line. This forms the basis of many chart patterns (Since any 2 points form a line, we can dismiss those).
While chart patterns are often imbued with meaning, it should be recognized that a small change in the position of a turning point can convert one pattern into another, often with different meanings.
Figure 2 below shows the connection between 6 classic chart patterns. No pattern is more than 3 changes in turning point position away from any other, and this includes the somewhat stylized head & shoulders pattern whose neckline may already slope in the required direction for a wedge or descending channel.
Next time you look at a chart pattern, ask yourself would you change your mind about it if one of the points defining the pattern was in a slightly different position.