Strange image captured in time-lapse frame

Here’s an interesting mystery.

Is that a ghost that was caught on time-lapse? | Offbeat | Portland, Oregon.

A strange, spooky image was captured in a time-lapse photo sequence. Nathan Ziegler set up a camera at the Old Pioneer Cemetery in Milton-Freewater, OR to obtain a time-lapse of the sunset. An anomaly that some people think looks like a person appears only in one frame. Here is the video and Ziegler explaining.

When I saw this, I was reminded of this Sesame Street animation.

I don’t know what this is but “ghost” would not be near the top of my list. In fact, it wouldn’t be on my list at all because the best you can say is “I don’t know”. Since we can’t define a “ghost”, you can’t ever say it is one.

There are lots of possibilities here.

Photo: Nathan Ziegler

Photo: Nathan Ziegler

Mystery image appears in Milton-Freewater’s Old Pioneer Cemetery | Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.

[...]people who commented on the sequence after he posted it on his Facebook page. They offered a slew of possibilities — a tree limb fell, a bug on the lens, a human visitor to the graveyard.

But no limb was on the ground when Ziegler and his brother-in-law returned to the cemetery July 24, he said. The shape of the small camera’s lens makes it highly unlikely a bug could be the mysterious image, and the frame was shot as darkness neared. “It’s not likely a family member visiting a grave, as they would be dead by now also.”

The two men then checked on whether a person could have walked across the distance in the exposed frame in 30 seconds or less. A person could if he were considerably closer in the foreground, in front of the tree. But the mystery image appears behind the tree in the only frame it is seen in.

Check out  Ziegler’s website as he investigates.

Tip: Todd Stonewall

  16 comments for “Strange image captured in time-lapse frame

  1. August 3, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    “It’s not likely a family member visiting a grave, as they would be dead by now also.”

    Anyone know what he means by this?

  2. Lisa Barth
    August 3, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Because the graves are so old

  3. Alex
    August 3, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I don’t believe in ghosts; but I still like to investigate “hauntings”. So far, nothing has come to fruition. If I see a ghost it will radically reshape my perception of death and the afterlife. I want to find out either way, as I want to know everything that exists in this realm and possibly a spiritual one. But I doubt it.

  4. August 3, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    It’s a hoax. Photographer had someone already behind the tree. It actually looks like they did a hand stand out from behind the tree and then landed back again behind the tree. Or he has very short legs.

    • August 3, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      I see no evidence to suggest that it’s a hoax. In fact, the extent to which he is trying to test it suggests otherwise.

  5. Nathaniel Ketcham
    August 3, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    It took only around 28 seconds to walk from the far right to the position that the figure is seen. It follows that it would take only a few seconds to walk into the photo from the left, turn around, and leave the frame from the direction one came.

  6. Lisa Barth
    August 3, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Some one hoaxing the photographer? Too much of a stretch?

    • August 3, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      I take “hoax” to mean that the person is being deliberately deceptive. A hoax on him is something else. But I doubt that is the case even here. The most likely is that it’s just something captured accidentally.

  7. August 3, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    “The shape of the small camera’s lens makes it highly unlikely a bug could be the mysterious image” – I don’t see any bug screen on this camera’s lens! The go pro 3 has a fixed ultrawide angle lens – this means it has a very deep ‘depth of field’ – everything that isn’t very close to the camera is going to be in focus – note that the object is out of focus while the tree is in focus – the photographer did a comparison the next night with his brother-in-law next to the tree – he is in focus –×611.jpg – so my guess would be a bug or something like a leaf falling close to the lens – also, digital cameras, particularly in low light , ‘scan’ the image – they don’t take it all at once – if the object is moving it will be distorted.

  8. Pete Attkins
    August 3, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Time-lapse means that the sampling rate of the real world was far too low to derive any useful meaning from it in situations such as this. Had the final video been produced from a down-sampled or sub-sampled original recorded at 5 FPS or higher then the original recording might be worthy of further evaluation and investigation. Without such an original the sensible thing to have done would’ve been to delete this anomalous frame, just as one would when a moth or bat flies in front of the camera while the shutter is open.

    The video strongly indicates to me that many other frames in the time-lapse sequence were either deleted or not recorded so why not this one.

  9. Kiljoy616
    August 4, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Can’t anyone go to the bathroom in privacy?

  10. Kiljoy616
    August 4, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    Alex wrote:
    “I don’t believe in ghosts; but I still like to investigate “hauntings”. So far, nothing has come to fruition.”

    For me I’ve been waiting for 40 years for the following. Nude ghost, alien probing, demon possession, and a good Succubus encounter (ex-wife not included). But to no avail, no matter how much welcome signs I put up nothing seems to happen. Why oh why will the supernatural not come I am after all a willing precipitant. :-P

  11. celticmoon
    August 4, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    Hey, he found Waldo!

  12. August 4, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    I’m not sure, given that there’s a thirty second lapse between each frame, that a ‘person’ appearing in just one frame is that remarkable. I certainly wouldn’t leap to ‘ghost’ conclusion.

    He states on his blog that his brother took 28 seconds to walk across the frame, from roughly the right hand edge of the image to the left, and did it in about 28 seconds. This, and any analysis of it, is all very rough, but it seems to me that the time to walk all the way across the frame and out the other side isn’t necessarily relevant; the person would only need to walk as far as the tree, when the shutter fired – which would seem, given the figures, to be achievable within thirty seconds. They would then, of course, have plenty of time within the next 30 seconds, to carry on past the tree and out of the frame.

  13. Pete Attkins
    August 4, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    @ Rich: Very good points. A large cat jumping into or out of the tree was my first impression of the anomalous frame, quickly followed by: it could’ve been almost anything with a rational explanation. I assumed that the low light demanded a slow shutter speed, furthermore, I’m not aware of the type of shutter used.

  14. Brewhogg
    August 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Instead of something falling out of the tree how about something leaving the ground like a bird or bat taking flight? The shadow looks unusual, but given the blur that occurs with movement in poor lighting it might be a possibility.

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