Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ghost Runners

My husband took some interesting photos a couple of years ago at cross country meets. Almost every image was a blur of motion. Some are actually quite beautiful. We never figured out exactly what he was doing wrong, because eventually, he got the hang of the thing and the blurry images stopped, but we still have quite a collection in iphoto.

This one has a ghostly image of a face left behind after the face itself was carried out of the frame of the shot.  This is not, of course, a ghost, but a runner, caught in the moment.  But, it leaves you wondering what photos of moving images people are mistaking as ghosts. I've seen pictures posted of ghosts, usually behind someone, with the same kind of streakiness that makes me wonder if a person didn't jump into the shot, unseen by the photographer and photographee and jump out again, leaving behind the blurry streaked hint of a face or a body.

I took this photo at a basketball game recently. It demonstrates how all or part of the body can seem to disappear when a person moves during a camera shot. Here, a couple of legs and one of the players are nearly transparent. Sometimes people say that they have caught evidence of a ghost because the image is "see-through." So are these guys, and they are as real as you or I.

I took this shot when a player tripped over his own foot and took a tumble practically at my feet. What you notice, of course, are the white swirls . . . not of energy, but areas of white in the shoes, socks and uniform, whose trail of movement has been recorded by the camera. How many people see something like this in an image and think they have caught an unseen entity swirling around a person, bits of energy or protoplasm? 

My images are highly blurry. I have other examples where the people are clearer, but I don't want to show anyone's face here. The same kinds of effects can be seen in photos where most of the people are in focus.

So, watch out for the people in the background that you didn't notice at the time, the floating hair that got caught in the flash, anything that might have been caused by some one or some thing moving. Don't let the ghost runners fool you. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Matrixing and Pareidolia

Your brain is accustomed to trying to make sense of what you see, but with low resolution digital photographs, your brain will start to fill in the missing parts and you may see things that aren't really there. In computer displays and printing, resolution is related to the number of pixels (dot-matrix) per inch used to create the image. When looking at a low resolution image, you may experience matrixing. Your brain will start filling in the image in the photo (matrixing) in an effort to make sense of what you are seeing. If there are dark spots in the right place for eyes, the brain may see a face. This is called pareidolia.

The better the photo, the higher the resolution, the fewer mistakes the mind will make, and the more likely someone will be able to see details in a photograph accurately. The lower the resolution, the more likely fuzzy images will be interpreted as things they are not.

Here's an example from the Ordsall Hall ghostcam.

The area under the stairs and on the balcony are prime ghost-spotting areas, but I'm betting all of these images are just examples of matrixing and pareidolia, big ugly pixels with our minds interpreting the spots as faces. Here's an old favorite of mine I call "Old women," because it looks like there's old granny in the stairwell and another face looking down from the balcony.

So, don't jump to conclusions, especially when looking at low-resolution ghost cams. Is that really a face, or just your mind playing tricks on you?

Peter Doyle explains this very well in this video:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Setting the record straight

There have been a lot of hits on this blog recently of people looking at comments I made about a year ago on The Paranormal Watchdogs. Someone made this comment on MySpace:

Let me just typ that comment all over again! lol! Spook Annie has separated herself from The Paranormal Watchdogs. That's all I can really say about that.


I appreciate that several people have come to the Spookannie blog as a result of some kind of brouhaha that has been brewing about those two. It's nice to have new readers! However, for the record, I have never had anything to do with The Paranormal Watchdogs, except to write a blog about their activities, and to be rated by them myself. I cannot separate myself from people I have never ever been close to. I knew who the chief watchdog was only because we were members of the same paranormal forum, but we were not chums. 

So, no falling out, folks. No nothing. That pair have their friends, but I don't run in that crowd. Things turned out for them pretty much the way I expected.  The Watchdogs somehow missed the fact that when you go around blithely handing out critiques to people who haven't asked for them, and rate them on mere superficialities, such as website design, that people are going to take offense.

Their website is down and appears to be gone. One wonders why. Perhaps, as one person has proposed, they do this bit for a while, disappear when things get too hot, and then reappear under a different name and different pseudonyms. Who knows? They seem to have a short attention span, which often lead to hasty judgment of websites, and they clearly favored websites owned by their friends, so I hope they are gone for good, since they weren't very good at what they did.

Here's a link to that original post about the Watchdogs,
Badd Apple Speaks.

The Camera of Truth

In case you've missed it, Patrick Doyle, a paranormal researcher, artist and author, is posting fantastic videos exposing all kinds of paranormal trickery, fake EVPs, fake movement of objects, etc.  (we've all seen them) and showing exactly how the faking is done. Studying the techniques used by hoaxers will make it easier for us to spot many of the simulations being put out there as genuine captures by creative video students and other tricksters at our expense. Patrick's videos are informative, entertaining and well done. He's my new paranormal hero. Kudos!

Visit Haunted Hoax to see more videos.

The talented Mr. Doyle is also the writer and illustrator of a delightful series of children's books:

Edgar Font's
Hunt for a
House to Haunt.

Read more HERE.