-5-   The Fake Ghost Project

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    I was once asked, "Have you ever faked evidence?"
    To which I had to reply, "Yes I Did". And it was with the wizard's cooperation!

    Here is the evidence and the story behind it....

    This is a summary of a project done a few years ago. It served two purposes. First, it demonstrated the flaws in using so-called full spectrum cameras for investigation as well as a few of the issues that can crop up with Infrared photography in general.

    Secondly, I used this project as a baseline study of the degree of influence versus rational thought that goes into posts that many make to online forums and websites. The methods and results of each study are outlined below.

    Creating The Fake Ghost

    Let's be clear about this, the "ghost" in this picture is.... ME!    As I said this is a fake image that was done under a controlled situation. Here is how it was done.

    The Set Up.

    First a few things were done right. The camera was mounted on a tripod to prevent motion blur from camera instability, although motion blur plays a big part in this picture as we will see. Second, the camera was set in a manual mode to allow for control over settings. This allowed for a smaller aperture (F10) which improved the depth of field range even though light level was low. Of course this meant a longer exposure time. (10 seconds). Finally no flash was used. Instead wide field illumination was used with two infrared light sources positioned a few feet to each side of the camera.

    And a couple things were done wrong too. First the camera was modified to a full spectrum mode by removal of the IR filter. This created a problem as we will see. Second was the illumination itself. Two near Infrared lights were set up on each side of the camera. While this did prevent orbs and shadows it also made some objects in the scene unnaturally prominent and failed to illuminate others.

    Taking The Picture

    Prior to taking the shot normal lights were turned on. This allowed proper alignment and positioning of the scene. It also permitted the camera to be focused correctly. The corners of the wall and floor were sharp and clear at this point.

    Next I took my position in the frame and all lights were turned off. The IR illumination was turned on. The exposure was started and I just shifted around in this spot for 2 seconds. After two seconds I jumped to a different position and repeated the movements. Another 2 seconds and I jumped to the next location and repeated the motions again. After another two seconds I walked out of the frame and exposure was stopped after 10 seconds. The picture was done, and you see the results.


    Two factors become evident. First if you look at the corners of the room you can see they are somewhat out of focus. Under visible light they were clearly defined. What you see in the picture is the effect of the inability of the glass lens to properly focus IR light. This is due to the refraction index and the use of the wrong lens for this application. It illustrates why simply removing the filter does not make a regular camera suitable for Infrared use. This is the inherent flaw in a full spectrum camera. This would not be an issue if the proper IR camera with an infrared lens had been used.

    The second point demonstrates how different materials react under IR light. .I was wearing jeans and a tee shirt when I did this. However there were different material and dyes present in each. The jeans glowed a pale blue under IR; likely a reaction to the dyes used. The shirt and my skin did not react. Only the jeans can be seen, the rest of me is invisible. This alone results in a strange shape pattern as I jump from point to point. Only the jeans were visible.. As I walked away I did come closer to camera and a small amount of light was reflected resulting in the "trailing" mist moving across the frame to the right.

    Finally , the orange / blue color spot on the wall at the lower right is a direct reflection of one of the IR light sources on the glossy paint. This was verified by measurement based on camera location and illuminator and its respective position to the wall surface.

    As a side note, after this exposure was done, an associate took a picture using his security camera and its IR illumination which was located in a ring directly surrounding the lens. He got several orbs and a couple rods in his image. Clearly all of my jumping around raised some dust in the room!

The Interpretive Study - What Did People See In The Picture?

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    Once I had evaluated the results of the picture I began to notice how unusual it was. Then I asked, "What might others interpret this as?" I was aware of some of the far-fetched claims people make for images. People see things in what are otherwise just bad pictures. So I posted this image with no explanation or claims on several forums and social media sites just to see what feedback I got. I was not surprised at some of the claims!

    Motion blur was one claim made and rightly so. That is what caused the effect seen. But it didn't stop with that. People saw many things that simply were not a part of the image. Paraeidolia was rampant. Several "faces' were seen in the blur. And in a couple cases they were demonic! One person told me to not return to the house as I was in danger. I was supposed to go through some ritual to prevent the entity from attaching itself to me! (I would hope it was attached since it WAS me!)

    Another explanation was this was not paranormal at all. It was simply motion blur of a horse running across the frame. That one didn't explain what a horse was doing in a room in the house. Or how it managed to get in and back out of the house!

    Some more logical attempts were made to explain it. It was said to be water vapor from a humidifier by one individual. Another said someone was smoking in the room. And a number of "Great Capture!" claims without any explanation were received. Plus a few emojis ranging from "Like" to "Surprised" to "Disbelief".

    Perhaps the most "thought" was given in one long response I received. I was asked what protection I provided the homeowner after the investigation. This lady "read" the picture and determined I had opened a portal to hell. She could clearly see the passage on the wall. This demon had come through and was planning on staying! I was advised to sage the house and if I couldn't do that I should immediately get a professional cleanser in to do the job. What could I do? I thanked her for her response and provided the explanation of what it really was. For that I was chastised for posting hoaxes and otherwise defrauding the field of paranormal investigation.... Never mind that at no point did I ever make a claim this was paranormal, the people responding did that for me! I got booted out of that group too. (So much for free speech!)

    The point of this is to demonstrate how we are our own worst enemy sometimes. We fail to critique our own work, instead jumping right to some far-fetched paranormal explanation. One can look at any paranormal website and find numerous pictures that are obviously just bad pictures. Yet we assign paranormal explanations for orbs, lens flare, camera anomalies, motion blur, contamination, and a host of other problems. The solution is simple. We need to be more critical of what we claim. And if we have a blurred, underexposed, image don't waste time posting it. Just toss it out or hit "Delete".

    ©    May 2024 - J Brown