This weekend was apparently a slow one in the news cycles, because a ghost video from 2009 has suddenly found its way onto websites such as the Daily Mirror and Redbook. Why is this 2009 video news in 2015? Because someone posted it to Reddit and it got over 800 comments. This alone speaks volumes about the state of journalism in 2015 (though if you need further evidence, see last week, when Don Lemon interviewed a llama).
I missed this video’s first round of fame back in 2009. Since the video is viral again, and since we’ve just gotten a primer on ghost photography from Blake Smith, we may as well take a look and see what’s going on here.
Here’s the original video, as posted on September 15, 2009 by YouTube account ghostdisneyland.
What are we seeing in this video? Honest answer: I don’t know and neither do you. But before we make the irrational leap to “ghost!”, let’s all start by recognizing the problems that stand between ourselves and the identification of the thing in the video.
First, the poster is anonymous. The username on YouTube is “ghostdisneyland”, implying that the account was created specifically for the purpose of uploading videos like this one, and the account has three videos, all claiming to be shots of Disneyland ghosts, all posted in the last half of September 2009. No name is attached to the account and as far as I have been able to find, the poster has not made any public comment about the video other than the brief comments beneath the video itself. It’s odd that the owner of a video that has been viewed more than 7 million times has remained so silent about it.
Second, because we have an anonymous poster who has remained silent, we have no information about the provenance of this video. When was it shot? With what sort of equipment? Who saw the ghost first? Whom did they report it to? Where’s the original video now? No answers exist to these vital questions.
Third, this is a single video of this phenomenon. There’s no follow-up video, no reported second sighting of this “ghost”. If such a specter were walking around Disneyland, surely this isn’t the only time security footage has captured him? One could argue that the two other ghostdisneyland videos also capture this ghost, but they’re in completely different locations (one isn’t even in Disneyland proper) and there’s nothing other than the ghostdisneyland account to tie them together.
Fourth, the quality is poor. The video (all three of ghostdisneyland’s videos, actually) is a video of another video — we’re watching a recording of the playing of a security video on a monitor through our monitors. And it’s not a livefeed, either. We can infer that it’s not a shot of a live feed because the videographer has the timings down; he or she knows where to point the camera and when, without searching. We can also infer this because the video appears to have “live audio” — there are incidental noises — yet the person isn’t uttering any words of shock or surprise as one would almost expect if one saw a ghost unexpectedly.
So, what is in this video? Given all the problems listed above, the answer is “unknown.” While I cannot know for sure — and again, neither can you — there’s nothing here to suggest this is really a video of anything even remotely supernatural. The likelihood of it being the result of video artifacts, tricks of light and shadow, and even deliberate hoaxing are far greater than of it being evidence for spirits wandering around Disneyland.