Saturday, September 24, 2011

Paranormal Photographs: An Analysis Nightmare

Spirit photography has a long history, and most of it is not very impressive. There have been thousands upon thousands of alleged photos of spirits, ghosts and other paranormal anomalies that have been proven fakes. Still, there are some that have withstood the test of time and have no scientific explanation and show no evidence of tampering or manipulation.

Photo on Left:
N.A.P.S. Team Leader Mike Chapman had a close friend send him this photo that was circulating earlier in 2011, and was alarmed that it might be real. It is fake. The "story" was that it was captured on a trail camera in the Baton Rouge area. It is simply a photograph that has been "photoshopped."

This is even tougher today in the digital photography age, with excellent software to edit photographs such as Photoshop and Mediasoft's Photoscape editor, and iphone aps with many demonic or ghostly add-ons to photos. In fact, paranormal investigators have coined a verb to use for such altered or manipulated photos by using these software editing programs: it is called "photoshopping."

N.A.P.S. periodically receives photographs that are sent to us by people, usually complete strangers, who ask us to take a look at their photos and see what we think. With absolutely no way to know the credibility of the person who is sending us the photo or any way to corroborate any of the circumstances surrounding the photo, it is impossible to render any opinion whatsoever. So, our standing policy is to tell them just that, that we cannot give them any opinion on the photo for those reasons.

Photo on Left:
This photo was sent to Mike Chapman of N.A.P.S. by a person in Australia who claimed this was genuine, and that it was a demon. In his opinion it is an obvious fake, and he told them so. It did not go over very well, and he received a response that was quite colorful. One can research this photo using search engines and find that the person has spread this all over the Internet, and some sites are even using it as a genuine demonic photo.

Usually, the only photos we will analyze, other  than our own of course, are photos that were taken by a client whose residence or structure we are investigating. This analysis is done in conjunction with the entire overall investigation, where we have access to the person who took the photo, the exact location, and can dig into the circumstances of the context of the photo. We also will analyze photos of historical sites we are investigating, but there again, it is not an entirely foreign or inaccessible situation.

Investigators should always keep in mind that there are those who will send us something that is faked just to see if we render a verdict that it is genuine. So, the wise approach is to be extremely guarded and cautious about analyzing photos sent to you by strangers who may seem and sound sincere, but whom you really do not know. Be forewarned: your credibility is at stake!

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