Photographic anomalies

Old Spirit Photo

An old spirit photo, showing a man with the ‘spirit’ of his deceased wife.

Photographs of allegedly paranormal phenomena have been in existence almost since the birth of photography. Now that the technology has become so familiar, most of the earliest examples look far from convincing. Many are clearly double-exposures, or the splicing together of different photographs.

Since the advent of digital photography, much has been made of the appearance of so-called ‘orbs’, ‘rods’ and luminous mists, which have been interpreted as the early stages of the manifestation of a ghost. If these appear unintentionally upon a photograph, they may cause someone unease or lead them to believe their house is ‘haunted’.

However, recent research by Steve Parsons of Para.Science has produced strong evidence that ‘orbs’ are produced by airborne particles picked up by the camera’s digital sensor. Natural explanations have also been advanced to explain ‘rods’ and ‘mists’.

Orb example

A typical ‘orb’ (the white blob, towards the bottom left).

Ghosts continue to evolve with technology. Since the spread of mobile devices, there has been a rash of ‘ghost’ photographs produced by custom mobile apps, such as ‘Ghost Capture’.

Not all anomalous photographs can be so easily explained, but with such widespread access to photographic manipulation software, genuinely challenging images form a tiny minority.

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