Vanessa Bolano, a reporter for ABC-affiliate WGNO, has finally done what we have all asked for, delivered definitive proof of the existence of ghosts! She captured the spectral images while filming a piece for a report on the Myrtles Plantation in Saint Francisville, Louisiana. Let’s take a look after the break.
You can view the article by Michael Walsh in the NY Daily News here. There are a few good screen caps and a video segment in the article.
The “ghost” is the smudgy bit in the upper right quadrant of the frame. It moves from center up and to the right (from the camera’s perspective) during the shot, quite quickly. When seen in a still, the image appears to be nothing more than a smudge, not really a humaniod form, though, according to the article, some claim to see the profile of a face. I don’t see it, but pareidolia is like that.
I don’t know what the image is. I do not think it is a ghost, however. I don’t have a rich enough background in optics and video to properly identify lens flare, dust, or other sources of video artefact. It does strongly remind me of the “fire angel” video of which Captain Disillusion did a good deconstruction. I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar effect was the source of this ghost image. The camera is not panning or moving at all during the segment, but it is not unlikely that something was moving out of frame which refracted into the lens to create the effect. Alternately, a small insect (moth?) or bit of fluff drifted by very close to the lens (creating the illusion of speed and ensuring a very fuzzy image).
The reporter, and perhaps the viewer, is already well primed to see ghosts, given that the Myrtles Plantation proudly proclaims itself as “One of America’s Most Haunted Homes”. Further priming the paranormal pump, apparently the room in which the reporter is filming is held as the “most haunted room in the house”. Richard Wiseman, in his book Did You Spot The Gorilla, speaks of how one can “prime” or ready one’s mind to notice the unusual or find the missing. The book, by the way, is quite a good read for its insight into how we perceive things and I highly recommend it. If one is primed to see ghosts, it is no surprise that one will see ghosts. I point you to “Ghost Hunters” or any other show of its kind for more evidence.
Did they capture a ghost on video? I don’t think so. They recorded something, but it is very likely to have a far more boring cause than a specter.
Care to assist the skeptical cause? Take a look at Susan Gerbic’s Guerrilla Skepticism project. Her editors are working to inject some reason, science, and skepticism into Wikipedia. She and her team are doing good work, have a look, maybe help out or show them some love.