About That Disneyland Ghost Video

inverted_disneylandThis 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.

About Alison Hudson

Alison is a writer and educator living near Ann Arbor, MI. She blogs regularly about skepticism, games, and the transgender experience.
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7 Responses to About That Disneyland Ghost Video

  1. peter goose mcallister says:

    Any supernatural claim definantly falls under extraordinery claims require extraordinary evidence and any video especially a anonymous one like this has no value there are many talented amatuers out there who can and do fake the most amazing looking stuff, often just for sheer laughs . I mean look at crop circles, anyone who buys this stuff probably has trouble walking and breathing at the same time due to brain overload. The only real supernatural creature is the Scottish haggis and a foul tempered Beastie it is.

  2. Kai says:

    Thanks, Skeptoid, this was going big again in the Disney fan communities I’m part of and I made a post saying basically these same things.

    One interesting thing to add is that I remember that when this video first came out, Disney fans were speculating that it was viral marketing by Disney itself. Which I guess it could be, but most Disney viral marketing I’ve seen has some hint that it was Disney-created somewhere in it, which this video doesn’t.

  3. Vere Nekoninda says:

    While I don’t disagree with the thesis, “no one knows what we are seeing in this video”, that is true of most video and photographs, for which we don’t have provenance, and can’t duplicate the conditions. Sometimes, interesting information and contradictions can be observed, and Alison mentions a few, such as the camera person shooting images of video monitors, and knowing when to switch screens.

    This video is part of the minority of putative ghost videos, in which the ghost moves in a naturalistic human manner, strolling comfortably across the landscape. When I see a video like this, I wonder 1) Why is a member of the spirit world walking like a fleshly creature, and 2) How can a spirit, who can move through walls and gates, generate sufficient friction in the material world to move from place to place via walking? Perhaps the spirit is just used to the walking habit developed during life.

  4. i thought the bagpipes were also of supernatural origin, to let us see that Design need not be Intelligent, The Irish pipes, powered by arm pumping instead of by lung power, must have been an improvement that could only have come from Space Aliens. Is there a recipe for Nessie haggis?

  5. I am astounded by some of the ignorance in these responses. There can be no recipe for “nessie haggis” unicorndaniel, unless you are implying that Nessie is in fact a haggis, which is unlikely since no aquatic version has ever been found. The haggis’s natural habitat is the Highlands of Scotland and its entire life cycle is spent walking clockwise in ever ascending circles around these peaks. This, as any haggis hunter will tell you, is because the Haggis has three legs on one side of its body that are longer than the two on the other side, a feature reflected in the design of the bagpipes themselves, of which more later. Although the creature is savage in the extreme, skilful hunters using a pole called a “cromach” are able to tip them over, thus causing them to roll uncontrollably down the slope of the mountain to where Gillies (servants) swiftly despatch them with a club known as a “mashie”. The entire carcass is cooked whole and eaten, with the exception of the legs which, being Scottish, are hollow and are reserved for use in the aforementioned pipes.

    One little known feature of this process is the fact that the terrified Haggis loses control of its bladder during its rapid descent and the resulting ‘dew’ is collected, distilled and served as both an aperitif and a sauce at the unfortunate creature’s final appearance as a savoury and steaming example of the “great chieftain o’ the pudding race”.

  6. Do people not know how to run this video through a post-editing software, or Mathematica to analyze the video for obvious errors.

    Like the fact that the pixels of the “ghost” are a different size from those of the rest of the image?

  7. Nilrac says:

    I personally think it’s a viral advertising video for the parks. Disney has a massive special effects team and there’s no reason not to believe this is a gig to generate excitement for visiting the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland.

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