Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2008
You happily snap away at a family gathering, as millions of people do every day. But when you get the pictures developed there are strange whispy forms, mists. 'orbs' (raindrop like blobs) or, if you're lucky, something resembling a ghostly body or face. But can they really be ghosts?
ORBSParanormal expert Craig Hamilton-Parker thinks there's every chance they are. 'Over the years, there have been many experiments done using telepathy to project an image from the human mind on to a photographic plate,' says Craig. 'And using a process known as Kirlian Photography, which captures electromagnetic energy fields, we can photograph human auras. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that spirit energy could be captured on film too.'
35mm FILM CAMERAS
- FAKE ORBS AND GHOST PICTURES
Craig believes that in the days of 35mm film there was more chance of technical glitches being mistaken for (or deliberately passed off as) spirits. However, with the advent of digital cameras and camera phones, where images are captured electronically, it's harder to explain away orbs, weird streaks of light and transparent faces.
'It's intriguing that just as many people are capturing what looks like spirits on digital cameras,' Craig says. 'Years ago, it was all too easy for crystals in the developing solution to leave a mark on a picture that would look like an orb. But nowadays, with sophisticated automatic cameras, there's a lot less chance of flaws or double exposures cropping up.'
FAKES OR ORBS AS SPIRIT ENERGY?
Craig suspects that orbs, which are the most common example of possible paranormal evidence, could be the physical manifestation of spirit energy. 'People regularly capture orbs in haunted houses,' Craig says. 'And others say they can identify the face of a loved one. What's interesting is that faces usually appear in photos of birthdays or weddings.
It makes sense that spirits would want to take part in these special occasions. On another level, these "spirit extras" could be energy or vibrations contained within a building. This would possibly explain why spirits who are not known to a family would sneak into their snaps.
'All in all, it's an exciting area,' says Craig. 'But don't be taken in by everything that is said to be a spirit picture. There are many hoaxes in circulation.'
Craig agreed to give us access to his vast collection of paranormal photographs taken by the public. So are they true examples of spooks captured on camera? 'I've given my verdict on each, but you can make up your own mind,' Craig concludes.
How to spot a Fake:
With sophisticated computer software widely available, it's never been easier to fake realistic-looking spooky pictures. Here's what to look out for...
FAKE PHOTO MANIPULATION
Be aware of suspicious lighting. In a genuine photo the light should always come from the same direction in all areas of the picture. If the light around a face, for example, is coming from the left, but the light flooding into the room is from the right, then it's likely the two components were photographed in different locations then later superimposed together.
Look out for blury edges. If a computer has been used to superimpose something on to a scene the edges will look soft and smudgy, particularly the outside of a face or hair, for example.
Post info on how to analys a photo, how fakes are made etc
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