- Religion and Philosophy
Photos of Ghosts and Paranormal Activity
Since its creation in 1839, the camera has been capturing moments in peoples’ lives around the world. Some of the most coveted subjects of photography have always been pictures of UFOs, critters like Bigfoot and the ever illusive ghost. Although there are examples out there of the real thing, mistaken phenomena or purposely adulterated images are far more common.
There are a number of ways to look for hoaxes in photography. Although a professional would be able to spot more subtle signs of frauds, the rest of us can identify clues if we examine the picture closely enough.
Take a look at the rest of the picture, and then observe the mysterious element. Do the edges blend well with the background? Are they consistent with the other subjects in the foreground? Look at any shadows cast by the subjects and at how the light plays off of everything in the scene. In the cases of UFOs and strange creatures, these elements should match with the rest of the picture.
It’s relatively easy to stage many different types of paranormal phenomenon. For example, to fake a photo of a ghost, the photographer would set the shutter speed to a slower setting and have one of the subjects run out of the shot while the shutter is open. This will produce a blurred, ghostly image.
- Double Exposure
In the realm of faking ghostly photos, it’s simple to overlay a picture of an individual over a picture of a group, for example. This would result in a ghostly figure amongst the more solid looking subjects. Before the advent of computerized photo manipulation, this was one of the most common ways of altering images.
Not Really Orbs
Some natural phenomena can appear to be paranormal in photography as well.
In some surfaces, like marbled glass, picture frames or screens in front of windows, reflections can look like faces. Small, reflective things in the background can be overlooked at the time the picture was taken. When the flash goes off, it’s reflected off of the object and appears as a mysterious light. An examination of the surroundings and attempts to reproduce the phenomena can validate this theory.
- Smoke, dust and insects
Particulate matter in the air can cause what can be mistaken for spectral figures or orbs. Always keep in mind what the air was like when the photo was taken and if there happened to be someone smoking, mosquitos attacking or a campfire going at the time.
Small rain droplets can have the same effect as dust and insects. If the water happens to get on the lens of the camera, it can cause distortions which may appear to be figures in the picture. In the case of UFO phenomena, there are certain cloud formations which are often mistaken for an unidentified flying object.
Possible Paranormal Action
Same Area - No Figure
The Real Thing
If all mundane causes have been dismissed, you’re most likely looking at the real thing. There are a few good ways to identify just what you’re looking at.
In the cases of orbs and some spectral figures, the subject will emit its own light. Sometimes, this light is strong enough to generate its own shadows.
- Multiple Photos
Check to see if the picture in question came from a series of photos. If so, it will usually only appear in one picture, but not the ones before or after it. In the case of UFOs, a series of photos is a good way to track movement and offer perspective on size and speed.
If possible, talk to other people who were around when the picture was taken. They may have caught something similar on film or had experiences to back up what was captured in your photo.
There is no question that there are many things in the world that our rational minds can explain, but blind belief can be just as damaging as a rigid mind. To have physical evidence of something paranormal, the mundane causes must first be eliminated as alternative reasons. In the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”