Thursday, 24 January 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

Ghost photography.
I'm not quite sure where i came across it, but the Daily Mail (purveyor of meaningless gibberish to the masses since 1896) has a short article on its website about a ghostly face appearing in somebody's photo. Surely this confirms, once and for all, that respectable journalism is not listed amongst the Mail's strengths. Surely they have fact-checking to make sure that there are, you know, facts in their articles? Well never fear, dear reader, for they have the answers!
The Ghost Research Society has been collecting so-called “hauntings” since 1977 and you can view hundreds of ghoulish photos on their website
I was impressed to see the words "so-called" in there. That at least suggests a bare minimum of scepticism. However, I was not pleased that I now found myself compelled to visit the website. It was almost as if psychic forces beyond my control compelled me to do it...

And suddenly I was searching ghost photography archives across the internet. I don't know how it happened your honour. All I do know is that there are too many people not sufficiently able to operate their cameras that they interpret any reflected, over-exposed or out-of-focus parts of their pictures as "ghostly". Such people often comment that they didn't notice anything odd while taking the photo but that once they got it developed or opened it on the computer they saw these anomalies. You know what? There was something odd happening while you took the photo. You gave your camera to a monkey! And if that wasn't the case, would you mind putting your brain back in when you "interpret" your images? Thank you so much.

Now, I believe that I am basically proficient with a camera. I can fiddle with the settings and I won't run away if you use words like ISO and aperture. If I point the camera thing (In my case a Nikon D50) at another thing and press the little button, and I remember to remove the little opaque circley thing form the front first, I tend to get an image that I would describe as "adequate." However, sometimes bits of the image are overexposed, or blurry, or perhaps the animal moved during the exposure. Maybe there's some flare from a particularly bright light, or maybe the photographer had a higher than normal blood alcohol level and the camera wasn't exactly on a firm footing. Whatever the anomaly is, I can usually guess what caused it in the final image.

These ghost hunter types, however, can't. The site linked to by the Daily Mail (I've reached my quota, if I say it again I have to hand my eternal soul to Satan and all his little wizards) is actually about the most sceptical one I've visited. Most of the rest are full of galleries of images taken by the terminally incredulous, or in some cases by people who were, presumably, undergoing a seizure of some kind at the time. The word ghost is applied willy-nilly (I have still to discover how exactly one performs an action in the style of willy-nilly) to all sorts of lens flares and shadows with all the credulous fervour of a Westboro Baptist watching an episode of Will and Grace.

[Which reminds me, somewhat parenthetically, of this post over on Pharyngula about Heath Ledger. Aaaargh!]

1 comment:

Jason said...


I was just checking out my fellow paranormal information websites and came across yours. I like the site, its very helpful. I was wondering if you want to do a link exchange. If yes, you can find my text link information below to add to your site. Send me your information as well so we can swap links.

Paranormal Knowledge

Happy Holidays.