Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ghost Photography

The following rant is from my recent newscast on the Grand Dark Conspiracy Podcast:

In a recent blog on the paranormal news insider I spoke about ghost videos, mostly the faked variety, that are hurting the legitimacy of those who are making efforts to put evidence together to help find answers about the subject of ghosts. It seems that photographs have been the same problem for much longer. In fact, since cameras were only available to actual photographers in the late 1800s using plate film to the 35mm age and now in the digital age, there have always been those who have manipulated images to create ghostly photographs. The age of spiritualism brought the first public interest in ghosts and photographs soon followed as a way to manipulate those into believing or shelling out money for more proof. Ghost photographs in the modern era seem to be based on a competitive spirit, each person seems to be in search for the ultimate photograph that can be believed or thought to contain true proof that ghosts exist. This race comprises more than just those who merely misunderstand photographs, are attention seekers, but also include ghost groups who are looking to raise their status level amongst the ranks of their peers.

The scientific slant on ghost photographs is fairly concrete. It is believed by parapsychologists that ghosts are seen as a form of extra sensory perception and therefore is formed by mind-to-mind interaction. The ghostly figures that people see have no mass as they are not really occupying the space that they are seen in. Therefore photographing such evidence is impossible since cameras lack the ability to see through our brains and our eyes as they only see the physical area. This, of course, leads to arm chair theorem about infra red photography, strobe lighting and other methods, that are thought to be able to force a ghost out into the open for lack of a better description, but ignore the fact that ghosts are only perceptions of the environment and are not physical objects. It seems that the age of spiritualism continues as there is a portion of the public that believes anything that will attempt to convince the whole of the same.

Are there photographs that are paranormal? Yes, but it's doubtful that most of the supposed ghost or apparitional photographs that are seen are real. Many are either manipulation or an irrational jump to a paranormal conclusion based upon pareidolia.

What's pareidolia?

What do you see in the photograph to the right? To many you might immediately see the face of some long-haird guy with a mustache and beard. Some might see Jesus and some may actually see a baby with a hat on. Who's right? Well, the trick answer is everyone, but in reality it's just a baby with a hat on. People tend to pick out these visualizations and at times argue against the realistic point of view. Many investigators or hopeful ghost photograph owners jump to their own conclusions and at times lose the ability to see the picture for what it truly is. This also translates over into video as well and is not limited to the ghost crowd.

(payr.eye.DOH.lee.uh) n. The erroneous or fanciful perception of a pattern or meaning in something that is actually ambiguous or random.—pareidolic adj.

Questions, comments can be directed to Insider.

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