Ghost in the window photo busted

A ghost photo from the U.K. is going viral this week but in this case psychology—not the paranormal—provides the best explanation.

Anomaly called a "ghost" is in the upper center back window area.

Anomaly called a “ghost” is in the upper center back window area.

Ben Radford takes a closer peek at a “ghost” photo that was taken five years ago but got new attention this past week. As with any ghost photo, it’s terrible evidence. It’s even WORSE when it’s not even the evidence you suggest it is.

British Viral ‘Ghost Photo’ Explained : Discovery News

It’s curious that there are only two, nearly identical photographs provided by Oliver, taken two minutes apart (at 21:20 and 21:22). If, as she claimed, the group immediately noticed that an odd figure seemed to be in the window behind them and a few friends were dispatched to investigate, it seems odd that there aren’t there more photos of it from a closer point of view.

In fact the additional photographic evidence provided by Oliver casts doubt on her explanation; because the photos are time-stamped, and because she uploaded dozens of photographs from that June 18 event to Facebook, there is a photographic record of what the group did after the “ghost photos” were taken.

If often doesn’t take too much to poke holes in extraordinary stories. What the photos show is an “alcohol-fueled footballer party”, not a ghost discovery. Oliver’s story does not hold up. Either she was misquoted or misremembered. While the former is common, the latter is more probable since a good ghost story gains one some social status and attention. It’s also fun to tell. As Radford notes, we’ll likely never know the true explanation for this photo since we can’t attempt to recreate it. But a paranormal explanation is the least likely cause to employ.

Ben Radford is one of the world’s foremost paranormal investigators. Check out his book on how to do it right in our Paranormal Book Recommendations section.