Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Faking a Ghost Photo EZ as an iphone app

Adding a ghost to a photo used to mean learning how to use a program like Photoshop on your PC, but now all you need is a smart phone like the iphone and a smart app.

The photo on the right was supposedly taken by a builder and passed off as the ghost of a schoolboy watching his old school be demolished . . . yeah, yeah, soppy story, truthful witness . . . all fabricated, but it was published in a couple of newspapers, who admittedly, are very lax these days about checking sources or verifying, well, anything, before publishing.

One example, of a little girl in a plaid dress in the stairwell of a railway station, was submitted to Aussie Ghosts in April 2010, and the poster honestly believed that it couldn't have been edited because his friend took it with his iphone. It turns out that in January 2010, just a few months earlier, an iphone app called Ghost Capture was introduced, leading to a rash of little girl in a plaid dress sightings. The app currently has 20 images that can be inserted, moved around, faded in, etc. to create a convincing effect with which to scare your mom or amaze your more gullible friends.
The photo on the left of a little girl on a ship was submitted to the Aussie Ghosts forum to show that the one on the right of a little girl in a train station was a fake created with the iphone app called Ghost Capture. SOURCE

To download the Ghost Capture app, go to this link or download it directly from itunes. There are other similar apps and I'm sure there will be more as fast as enterprising entrepreneurs can create them.

You can view the top 10 submissions of "ghost photos" created with this app at Top 10 photos

Have fun, but don't be fooled.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thanks for Reading

Just a quick thank you to everyone who has stopped by my blog and read my posts. It's been a rough and stressful year for me with my energies being focussed on other demanding enterprises, and I haven't had much time for blogging, but summer is here, which means a much needed break for teacher me. I have also taken action to simplify some aspects of my life, so I hope to be able to bring my blogs up to date in the next few weeks and have more time to spend on them in the next months. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Vampires Walk Among Us

This Easter there are those who will rise early to greet the sun or celebrate Christ's resurrection in church wearing new clothes, perhaps even a traditional Easter bonnet. People, whether Christian or not, will have hidden eggs for their children to find, and saved a chocolate bunny for themselves. This year there have been and will be a trickle of zombie Jesus jokes on Twitter. I write about vampires.

I was tempted by the zombie comparison (the dead rise and walk among us), but as usual, it is the fascination that some people have for vampires that fascinates me.

I recently got an e-mail from Amazon, quickly deleted, letting me know the fourth installment of the Twilight series is out or about to be out, whatever. I didn't read that far. I've done my annual pondering of the idiocy of those who watch the TV shows and spend good money on the books and movies, demonstrating fervent devotion to the concept that vampires are sexy, and to be desired, even though the whole concept is about Bloody Marys, literally.

This year I have compiled a list of the non-fiction vampires among us we really need to worry about.

The Westboro Baptist Church. Those blood-suckers protest at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. They give Christians and Baptists, with whom they are NOT associated, a bad name.

The ministers of the Christian Right. They are loud, they are on TV, they have mega-churches and rock bands, and lots of pretty families following them, but thankfully, they are still in the minority, at least outside of the South. Why do I think they are vampires? Because they are self-righteous, patriarchal, sexist, narrow-minded, Old-Testament despisers of the rest of us Christians who would suck the freedom to think, reason, and choose right out of our life and our country if we let them. It is their way of life, their interpretation of the Bible, their version of marriage, or you go to Hell. Homosexuals are evil. Science is bad. Evolution is a fairy tale. They're going to fly up into the clouds like pure white doves, and Jesus is going to come down with a bloody sword and show us the rest of us what's what. They are Puritans in living color who flock to the XXX porn shops along the Interstate, and get their jollies watching sexy vampire movies.

The Tea Party movement, or Teabaggers. They get their unfair and unbalanced news from Fox, and are typically white and xenophobic. I used a big word, xenophobic, because most of them, if they read this, will have to look it up to find out what it means. They remember something, something about the Boston Tea Party and the Declaration of Independence, and the rest of their opinions are spoon-fed to them by real vampires like Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Brunette Barbie Sarah Palin, and the vampire rulers who hide in the dark pulling their strings. Teabaggers don't handle paragraphs or logical sequential reasoning well, so if you just pepper your discourse with words like FREEDOM, SOCIALISM, SOCCER MOM, TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY, and RELOAD, they will rise up, poorly-spelled signs in hand, and follow you anywhere. So, not zombies, not quite vampires, but starring in a supporting role.

The previous two Easters, I wrote about the vampires in your personal life you need to avoid, the passive-aggressives in the home and the workplace, but this year, I'm feeling political. I take it personally when idiots try to suck the freedom out of our country in the name of freedom. The distinction between real news and propaganda have become blurred in the media. Smart people need to learn the difference. I don't know that there's much we can do about the dumb people. Like the poor Jesus told us about, they will always be with us.

So, this Easter be a smart people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Dork Anthem

The joker with the guitar used to be a student in my Spanish class back in the day, and it's nice to see him having so much fun and providing so much delightful wackiness for everyone else. Enjoy the video and if you like it, please share the YouTube link with your friends. Spread the word. It's okay to be a dork in high school. Later on, the jocks will work for you!

You can see more videos of Dave and Brian HERE or visit their website HERE.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Night Noises

We all know that houses can produce unexplained noises in the night, and we've learned to dismiss most of them and go back to sleep. I remember a year ago when I was sure there was someone in the house with us, because I thought I heard a door close upstairs, but later I was able to rationalize that our windows were open and I probably just heard the next-door neighbors opening their front door.

There have been a couple of incidents I am hard put to explain. The first happened several years ago and involved a pile of ashes on our dining room table. We were preparing for a Christmas Eve dinner with guests, and I had put a new white tablecloth on the table. We left the house and went to the commissary (grocery store for you who are not military-connected) to pick up a few last minute things, and when we returned an hour later, found a pile of ashes, about a tablespoon's worth, on the table, on top of that pristine tablecloth, an incongruously neat little pile of ashes where ashes could not possibly be. We were never able to solve the mystery of how they got there. No fireplace, no light fixture above the table, no signs of forced entry, no reason for the ashes to be there. The former resident of the house, who had died in the middle bedroom of cancer, had been a smoker. Had he dropped in for a visit, or for a smoke? We'll never know.

A few months ago we moved to another house. Last night I was sound asleep when I woke a few minutes after 3 a.m. to a loud crash in the kitchen, just down the hall from our bedroom. I stumbled out of bed, and accompanied by my two dogs who mistakenly thought it was morning and they were going to get something to eat, felt my way to the kitchen.

I was groggy and did not even think to feel for the light switch in the hall. Since the light switch in the kitchen was on the far side of the room, I stood peering into the darkness until I spotted something round and dark lying in the middle of the floor. When I picked it up, I found that it was a small frying pan. But how had it ended up more than 3 feet from the drying spot on top of the dishwasher where I had set it after washing it the night before?

My husband's reasoning: it must have fallen off the counter and rolled there. Possible? Certainly, but it doesn't fit my memory of where I set the pan, which was not near the edge, the lack of earthquakes in our vicinity, and my memory of the sound I heard, which sounded like something had fallen flat on the floor, not rolled or scooted or bounced. So, natural event or ghost cat or ghost chicken (poultry-geist)? No way to know for sure.

Well, the pan was unharmed, so no point worrying about it. . . unless it happens again! Cue spooky music.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Increased Traffic

With understated wit, cartoonist Mark Anderson has taken a humorous look at one possible consequence of the public's increased interest in the paranormal.

The desire to contact spirits and a new sport called ghost hunting, which used to be of interest to only small segments of society, have attained popularity and become mainstream. Could this possibly lead to decreased bandwidth in the spirit world? Probably not, but it's a very funny cartoon.

Do you ever wonder what the ghosts who haunt sites visited regularly by ghost tours think about the increased traffic? Do the spirits there gossip and joke about the wide-eyed tourists who parade through their homes with flashing cameras after the crowds have gone home? I hope so. Somehow, I feel it's only fair to complete the circle. What goes around comes around, you know.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Debunking the Poltergeist Fakers

Here's another great debunking video from Patrick Doyle. I love the way he studies the fakes and then reproduces them. It's hard to argue with the results. Most intelligent people can figure out by the way people "sell" their videos, often with their outrageous claims of proof or elaborate set-ups with spooky music in which they tell us things like "this is the most haunted house in the most haunted city of [fill_in_the_blank], but most of us don't have the time or know-how to actually figure out how they did it and call them out.

Most of what is on YouTube or other sites, whether video or photographic evidence, either has a perfectly natural explanation or is being manufactured as a practical joke on you. Seriously, don't be gullible. Question everything. I especially like one quote Patrick used in this video: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Don't just take someone's word for it.

Watch more Haunted Hoax episodes HERE.