Saturday, January 14, 2012

Debunking Photographic Evidence

Let's talk more about photographic evidence when it comes to haunted locations. The advent of the digital camera was a blessing for some, a curse for others. It allowed us to see and print photos on our own and even preview them and delete them on the camera, but it also meant that we didn't get around to making hard copies for our photo albums quite so much.

The other unexpected curse is the placement of a flash right in front of a lens, creating the ability to have that light shine on every particle that goes by the lens. You walk through a room to investigate and take photos, and every step you take is making the dust on shelves and pollen in clothing and hair, and particles in the carpet stir up. Sure enough most of your indoor dust photos are taken after walking int a room and taking a shot. Photographic evidence is very hard to come by. Nearly everything taken at night can be explained by the flash on glass ceiling light domes, photographs on the wall in glass picture frames, window reflections... Let's look at some explainables and I suggest you take these sorts of pics with your own camera to see how they come out. I have a friend with an Olympus and her camera's orbs are pentagon shaped.

Above we have a classic dust orb shot taken as I walked into the room, stopped and started taking pics.

This shot above shows hairs. Hairs often come across as translucent tubes with what sometimes looks like little round balls inside of them and they are very often a pale version of one's own hair color.

This shot above shows what happens with a slow shutter speed, or moving the camera where there are lights.

This next shot above is cold breath on a chilly night.

So, what the heck is this ball-shaped object above? A reflection on window glass as the shot was taken of the outside from inside.

This is a dust shot, but notice the moth at the center top of the pic?

This next one above is a classic--camera strap which often times is braided. It will come off the bottom of the shot more often than not as the person is holding the camera. I simply removed mine from my cameras--one less thing to fret over.

See what happens above, taking a shot in a cemetery when the sprinklers are on?

This one above shows what happens if while shooting, your finger moves in front of the lens. Looks mystical, huh?

Ectoplasm? Nope, just cold breath again.

Upon occasion you get one that baffles you. This one bothered me the first couple years of ghost hunting because the orb looks to be behind a fencing that is 12 feet away. Later, on other shots, I realized that when the dust particle is picked up by the flash, it can be far enough away from the lens that it appears quite translucent. When it is this translucent, you do not see the part that goes in front of the object very well. It takes some zooming and contrast to realize that it is in front of the fencing, not behind.


  1. We kept making jokes over the New Year's weekend about all the orbs in our pictures from the snow.

  2. The snow ones are oh so cute. I can't tell you how many people swear it's their dead Uncle Ned. You know, if they want it to be Uncle Ned giving them a sign, then it's Uncle Ned giving them a sign. The standards for serious research and investigation and evidence gathering is vastly different than that of the regular joe blow who simply wants to see these things. I'll let them have that call, just don't bring it to an evidence meeting. Hee hee

  3. I love it when people look for answers before jumping to the paranormal as an explanation.

    The paranormal isn't an answer to a question, but the beginning to new questions.

  4. Brilliant insight, Barry. And, those who are investigators must keep a level head, but someone at home who is not a researcher and wants to believe something, there is no harm.