Ghostly photos may be motion blur, with meaning

A sad story about a family grieving the loss of their child and finding comfort in a strange photo.

Moore Family Sees ‘Guardian Angel’ In Photo.

A Moore tornado family is finding comfort in a picture. Their son died in Plaza Towers when the storm hit, but they believe they’ve seen him since his death and they are not alone.

It looked like a regular picture of a little girl with a sparkler, but Scott McCabe saw the real firework immediately.

“Nicolas loved the Fourth of July and he loved firecrackers,” McCabe explained.

This past July 4th, Nicolas’ cousin, Madison, had to play alone – at least that was what the family thought until a cell phone picture.

McCabe said he sees two distinct figures in the photo with different skin tones and different facial features. He believes it is Nicolas behind Madison.

McCabe said he has numerous skeptics and several people have doubted what he sees, explaining that the picture is just a blurry image of a girl or too much motion for a cell phone to handle. He said none of that matters.

“They can say what they want. I believe. I believe he’s watching over us,” McCabe said.

You see what you want to see. They’re grieving their son. It’s understandable these people want to believe he is still with them in some way.

But I have to side with the skeptics on this one. The cell phone camera wasn’t able to properly process the image of a moving figure. Hence the blurry quality. This type of image is common with a slow shutter speed as happened in this dark setting.

Photo credit: Scott McCabe

Photo credit: Scott McCabe – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

  4 comments for “Ghostly photos may be motion blur, with meaning

  1. November 25, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    The ‘cell phone pic problem’ hypothesis is easy enough to test, just do the same things with the same camera under the same lighting conditions. But I can imagine another double-image of a child would be taken as a confirmation that one of the faces is of the deceased child, rather than a refutation of that idea.

    Making a small change to the lyrics of “The Boxer,” “Still a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” Apparently, Paul Simon is a scientist and a keen observer of human nature.

  2. November 25, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    It’s a exposure done with the cell’s night mode with flash – what happens is that the camera starts taking a picture using the available yellowish light and finishes with a white flash – the camera was being moved up during the exposure – both the face and the hand show this. It’s just possible that since the reporter is working for a TV station, she’s not aware that this is what happened, but as a journalist she should have shown this to just about any photographer who’d explain it to her. The metadata on the jpg file should tell her that too and it’s odd that there is no metadata on the photo posted to the web page.

  3. John Nowak
    November 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Motion blur, absolutely.

  4. E Brown
    November 27, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    If they believe that’s a ghost watching over the girl, why aren’t they more worried by the fact that the girl resembles something out of “The Evil Dead”?

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