How We Analyze Photos
Some of you may be wondering how exactly do we analyze the photos to determine if they are real of fake. I`ll begin by saying that there is no professional way to determine if a spirit image is real, but there is a process to follow in which you can in most cases eliminate fraudulent photos or oddities about a picture.
When I receive photos from people, there are a number of things that I explore to see if there is a logical explanation.
Weather Conditions. Fog, sunlight, rain, etc.
Atmospheric conditions. Dust, smoke, etc.
Faulty film or processing errors.
Angle & circumstances in which photo was taken.
File Size -most photoshop files are quite large.
Sometimes a ray of sunlight or camera flash can cause reflections that will fool you. Dust and smoke can sometimes form images that may appear as a face or apparition. Although it may be considered in some aspects as an anomaly, it doesn`t always mean that you are looking at a spirit.
With cameras that use film, you can sometimes get a processing error when the film is developed that can make blotches, streaks of light, or even sometimes a double exposure. In this day and age that is a rare occurence, but it does happen. In some cases, the last picture on a roll of film has a tendency to produce image errors that many people mistake as an apparition or energy.
Digital cameras are notorious for producing orbs in photos. This usually is not an actual orb, but is caused by dust & insects. Many experiments have been conducted where the photographer will kick up some dust with his or her feet, then snap a picture with a digital camera, then a film camera a second or two later.
The digital photo will show orbs, but the film photo doesn`t. A true orb is when a spirit cannot absorb enough energy to produce a full or partial apparition, so it will sometimes appear as a spot. These spots vary in colors, but quite often are white. That`s why GhostHauntings.org isn`t interested in most orb photos, because many of them are in fact not a true paranormal event & can be explained.
We are always welcoming your orb photos for submission, but probably 95% of them are not of a paranormal nature.
Taken with a digital camera after kicking up dust. These are NOT true orbs, but dust is notorious for doing this with digital cameras. The picture on the right was taken a moment later with a film camera, these dust orbs are not present.
Example of Insects
Here is a classic non paranormal orb. This photo was sent by Candace Brown of what appears to be a party or family get together. To the very right on the photo is a round white orb.
Although Candace is not sure exactly what type of camera was used, I will venture to say that it was a digital camera, probably below 5 mega pixels.
What is this orb?
it`s either a dust particle reflecting off the flash, or it`s a low lighting error.
Digital cameras must take an analog image & convert it into digital format. Often in low light conditions, the camera will not properly translate the image & your end result is an orb like this one. Extensive research on this subject was conducted by Fuji Photolabs years ago & this has been scientifically proven.
Cameras above 5 mega pixels are less likely to produce such errors, but they are not fool proof either.
Supercharged energy orb in motion
The above two photos are also orbs, but are more likely more of a paranormal nature. True orbs of ghostly energy are always in motion. Whether you see it with a naked eye, or observe it in a photo or video, energy orbs will always be moving when observed. In these above photos, you can see that these orbs are in motion at the time the photo was snapped.
Skeptics might argue that this is a reflection from the window in the left photo. But in the right hand photo we see the same orb in the hallway where there is no window.
Could it be a moving insect like a firefly?
Given the circumstances in which these pictures were taken, in an abandoned psychiatric hospital & indoors, I`m going to say unlikely.
The above two photos are examples of ectoplasmic mist.
Ectoplasm is an element in the air that acts like a portal in which spirits can manifest. Ectoplasm is strongest in dark conditions & seems to disipate when a light is turned on or applied to the area.
These types of photos must be carefully investigated, because this effect can easily be reproduced with cigarette or match smoke & also breath in cold conditions.
That`s why it`s important to take note of the air temperature when the photo was taken. Photo taker`s must be careful not to smoke, nor exhale when snapping pictures. Usually if you`re seeing human breath, it will rise (as heat does) & will be near the top of the photo.
Camera straps will often fall between the lens & the subject, so it`s important to make sure you have your strap secure.
Different variations like this are possible, but camera straps are usually white (when flash is used) & you will almost always see serated edges similar to the teeth on a steak knife.
More non paranormal orbs
Oh, my God -- it's a demon! Oh, wait... no it isn't... it's a rock. The phenomenon of seeing a familiar shape or form in random combinations of shadows and light is known as pareidolia or matrixing, and the thing itself is called a simulacrum. It's very common to see what looks like a face in jagged rocks (like this photo), grass, dirt, water, clouds, flames, clouds of dust, visible gas -- even a pile of crumpled clothing on the couch.
The human brain seems to be wired to recognize faces. That's why it's so startling to sometimes see them in pictures like this. Although the rock formation is completely random in nature, gosh darn it that looks like a face! It must be a spirit! It's especially disconcerting to some people when the face, again like this one, resembles the traditional depiction of the Devil. It freaks them out.
In fact, look closely at all of the rock in this picture and you'll see several faces. So either we're just seeing things or this wall of rock is seriously haunted. Which do you think is more likely?
Here is a classic photo that has been doctored with photoshop like software.
Some photoshop images can be detected by examining the size of the file. Many photoshopped images are of large file size, but not always. It usually depends on the extent that the photo was doctored.
When I first received this photo I thought "Wow!" "This is eerie!"
See the doll like apparition in the upper right cormer?
But as I began to examine the photo & rule out all possibilities, it became apparent to me that this photo was doctored.
Below are the actual emails between myself & the submitter where you will see that I became suspicious of this image. The sender`s identity has been withheld.
could you possibly look at this photo for me,its one that was taken of my cousin and her friend out in a gazebo earlier this year,im a paranormal investigator and would like your opinion on this.
Reply from Blair
Hello ******* & thanks for contacting me.
I examined your photo & zoomed in & out repeatedly. My first impression at a glance was that this is a doll that was placed behind the white background of the gazebo. The white background appears to be of a thin or transparent fabric, possibly cotton.
Upon closer review I noticed just below the doll like image is a dark shaded area. The dark area would seem like a shadow to some people, but it isn`t consistent like a shadow, because there`s a sharp straight line separating the dark & white area. Looking at the dress, you can also see the bottom of the dress protrude into the dark area & it seems transparent over the red coat sleeve of the woman`s arm, but the dress is clearly blocking a portion of the wooden pillar.
If this were a doll placed behind the white fabric, then it wouldn`t be capable of blocking the wooden pillar, nor would the dress be transparent over the red coat sleeve.
A skeptical opinion might suggest that this doll like image was superimposed onto the photo. But assuming that this photo has not been doctored in any way, I would have to say that it may be a true partially transparent apparition. But these types of apparitions are rare due to the fact that it requires an enormous amount of energy for a spirit to form such a clear & detailed apparition.
An image like this is easy to fake with today`s technology & something about it does seem to be man made.
If it`s not a trick & this photo is on the up & up, then I`d have to say that this is one of the better apparitions caught on film.
Final reply from sender
hi again blair,
I`m just writing to you again about that photo i sent you of the two girls in the gazebo with what appears to be an apparition of a doll like figure.
Well my cousin has said that her little sister and the other one in the photo doctored it themselves because they knew how much she believed in ghosts, but didnt bank on it being giving to me,so they panicked when she told them i sent it off for analysis, they thought they would get in trouble for it and then told the truth.
so i was right about the cousin who sent it to me, she gave it to me in good faith, it was her little sister who let her down. Well we live and learn, anyway blair im sorry for the inconvenience that this might of caused and you have my apologies..
When you actually get a picture with an apparition or shadow image, it`s important to review it carefully & go down the list of possibilities. If you suspect that what you`re seeing may just be a reflection, study the picture carefully & try to rule out all possibilities. In many cases if you look closely, you will be able to determine if it is. If you see a face in a tv screen, you know that in order for it to be a reflection, a person must be extremely close to that T.V., usually no more than a foot or two. If you suspect that the T.V. was on at the time the picture was taken, you will usually see a sign that the T.V. is on by just looking closely & studying the photo.
You must study all angles of the photo & systematically rule out all possibilities. It just takes common sense & a good eye, & never rush yourself. If you`re unsure about a photo, take hours or even days to study it. Even if you get tired & have to put it down for a few hours & look again later, DON`T RUSH TO CONCLUSIONS!
If you`re really unsure, a professional photographer can often determine if it`s a double exposure or processing error, because they are trained in the field & know what to look for.
You can usually determine a real photo of a paranormal phenomenon by using reasoning & common sense, but no matter how thorough you may be, once in a while a photo may come along that can fool you & the rest of the world.
As it says on our main page "many of these photos have been examined by experts to confirm their authenticity", and that`s true, many of them have. From time to time there may be a photo that cannot be proven, nor disproved. For those photos we have no choice but to take them at face value until we can disprove them. There are times when even the trained eye of a photographic expert cannot even determine if an image is real or not.
Return to GhostHauntings.org Homepage