Gallipoli ‘ghost’ solved: A lesson in non-paranormal persistence

Here is a great lesson for paranormalists: Make sure you exhaust all the avenues of “normal” before you conclude “paranormal”. In almost all cases, you CAN get to a sound explanation.

Gallipoli ‘ghost’ an open and shutter case.

Fairfax photographer Joe Armao spent an entire night studying the strange, hair-raising blur on one of his pictures before reaching the conclusion it was the result of a highly unusual combination of the Gallipoli dusk, a tiny movement of his camera, the 2.5-second exposure period and a weird dark space on the frame created by a gravestone flower in the close foreground.

Armao was astounded when one frame of a series of pictures he took Tuesday evening at Beach Cemetery beneath the old Anzac battlefields revealed what appeared to be the shape of a figure in a broad-brimmed hat lurking in the gloom.

He had never seen something like this, there was no one standing there at the time but the place had a rich history. Was this a ghost? Or two?

The key here is that the photographer was no believer. He wasn’t going to take a cheap paranormal cop-out explanation for something that could be interesting and important to him. He was able to find out that the technology could be glitchy. The camera DID lie. It created an image where there was none – an image of nothingness. It’s counterintuitive and much harder to get to the real answer, isn’t it?

Notice figures in the background. Photo: Joe Armao

Notice figures in the background. Photo: Joe Armao

I found this fascinating and a lesson that paranormalist FAIL TO HEED ALL THE TIME. When their half-baked sham investigations come across an anomaly in audio, photos or video, they immediately jump to a conclusion that this is evidence of the paranormal. Nope, it’s almost certainly evidence of ignorance in what is happening. They just won’t ferret out the most sound answer. Even experts can be stumped. For a little while.

I am thrilled that this was properly investigated and just hope it doesn’t continue to circulate instead as evidence of a ghost soldier in the cemetery.

  5 comments for “Gallipoli ‘ghost’ solved: A lesson in non-paranormal persistence

  1. Mark Richards
    April 23, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    That makes a nice change; a photographer who does know how cameras work.

  2. April 23, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    I found the debunking there rather unsatisfying. Most people will be looking at the wrong shadow when reading the debunk, and the photographer’s explanation is needlessly convoluted – as the other flowers DO have the exact same shadows. More here:

  3. Karin
    April 23, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Sharon, I think the second half of your opening sentence may be facing the wrong way, so to speak!

  4. April 23, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    D’OH! Fixed.

  5. Indrid Cole
    April 26, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    My wife has a friend who started noticing weird images in pictures she takes with her phone. It only happens after dark, only in her backyard and only if she’s the one taking the picture. She has dozens of pictures with multiple orbs, one with a wispy spirit looking thing rising out of a freshly dug hole for an inground pool, and one with what looks like a miniature tornado she called a vortex. It apparently all started when they moved into their present house, which according to the neighbors has some sort of bizarre history behind it. I know it sounds like BS, but when you look at those pictures it really makes you wonder.

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