Mysterious photograph from Georgia is examined by expert in New Zealand. It’s likely no ghost, but has a very human and tech-based explanation. This explanation is further supported by a U.S. specialist in ghost photos.
A team of Wellington ghost-hunters have been left stumped after being asked to investigate an international mystery.
James Gilberd, leader and co-founder of Strange Occurrences – a Wellington-based paranormal unit that investigates haunted homes, historic buildings and photos – was sent a photo by a woman in the United States who believed she had captured the ghost of a soldier on camera.
Petra Brooks, from Georgia, took a photo of her granddaughter while waiting for July 4 fireworks to start. While deleting some photos, she found a picture of what she believed was a ghostly soldier figure.
Brooks passed the photo to Gilberd who is a photographer as well as paranormal investigator. Check out Gilberd’s blog post on the subject.
He ruled out PhotoShop but thought perhaps it was a real person walking past and a case of “selective attention” – where the person taking the photo doesn’t notice other things.
Doubtful News contacted researcher and paranormal photographic evidence specialist, Kenneth Biddle who agrees that this is not paranormal but notes many indications of a long exposure:
The photographer quoted in the article is on the right track. This is a slightly long exposure, most likely taken with a smartphone. If you take note of the child with the blue shirt to the immediate left of the man in the chair, he doesn’t have arms or a right shoulder – this is due to motion blur. The kid was walking towards the pole, swinging his arms. His arms are blurred out because the camera took too long taking the picture to freeze this motion. His shirt also has a “double exposure” look to it, which was caused by his body moving up and down as he walked. These same issues apply to the very alive man walking across the scene. His body is blurred more so because he was moving across the image, occupying different spaces as he moved. The boy was moving away from the camera, but basically occupying the same space in the image, which is why he isn’t so distorted.
The girl on the left of the image also has a distorted face, her right wrist is transparent, and her left forearm is blurred out.
There is a little silhouette effect going on as well, with the setting sun in the background, by which the man (our “ghost”) is surrounded, darkening his already blurred features.
Kenny also added that though the eyewitness testimony is that she does not remember anyone, it doesn’t change what other data the image tells us. She simply didn’t notice because she was focused on the kids. Gilberd conversed with the woman who contacted another person that was there who was also adamant that there was no man around, she states she would have noticed. Well, they don’t call it selective attention for nothing. We all miss things, it’s how our brains work. That is more likely the explanation than a ghost captured on camera.
This story is a great example of how we are left not knowing FOR SURE what happened, leaving that glimmer of hope for ghost believers. As such, photos can not be persuasive scientific evidence for ghosts.
Many, many so-called ghost photos are the result of people not really noticing what is in the frame at the time of the exposure and misinterpreting the resulting scene. And, accidental long exposures leave unexpected anomalies and artifacts in the image. If you don’t see this stuff every day and know how mistakes can happen, you may conclude your image is mysterious.