A Smashing Ghost Video?
by Mike Weaver
March 25, 2014
A New Hampshire business recently posted a video showing a supposed ghost breaking the lid to a glass cake display to their Facebook page. Various news outlets have picked up the story and ran with it. Let's take a look at the video and see if we finally have proof of the paranormal.
I first saw this story on a local New Hampshire TV station' web site; WMUR. The report is your standard fare, news anchors joking about ghosts, interviews with people at the store reporting about how freaky it was, how old the building is, and how there's a history of ghostly experiences in the building. WMUR, surprisingly, offered the unedited footage from the surveillance camera for viewing here. The video's original source is the Facebook page for the business, posted along with the message "Haunted much?"
The video is actually of reasonable quality for a surveillance camera. It's in color with decent resolution. There is no audio, unhappily. The camera is one which takes a frame every few moments, so the movement is a bit jerky. If you're watching the raw footage, the interesting things start around 0:35, with the actual movement and fall at around 0:49 or so. Go take a look. the entire video is 4:28 in length.
Here's a long shot of the counter. The lid is at the arrow point.
Here is a shot of the lid, as good as I can get it.
Here's the lid called out with highlighting that I added.
I advanced a few frames until it just starts to fall and took this shot.
This is the very start of its movement. Note the angle and position change at the arrow marks.
A moment later...
It's moving more, from the left arrow towards the right one.
Less than a second later, it moves quite far (indicating it was moving quickly).
Within the same second...
Three things of note in this image. First, the lid has moved quite a distance in less than a second. It's moving quickly. Second, note the object that was under the lid, pointed out by the left arrow. Third, the lid has moved a fair distance along the counter toward the register where it now teeters on the edge.
Perhaps as much as a second later, it falls to the floor.
Resulting in several large pieces.
The rest of the video shows the employee clearly upset about the event. What I didn't get to see, as the video ends before it occurs, is the pieces getting cleaned up, though the employee was clearly about to do that.
My very first impression was that a breeze blew it over. After looking back through it a few more times, I ruled that out. Nothing else moves in the scene. None of the papers or products on the counter along with the lid shift in a manner consistent with a strong breeze.
My second impression was of a hoax, perhaps some monofilament fishing line tied to the lid and pulled from the back/side. The movement is, perhaps, consistent with this, but I eventually ruled this out as well. The lid flips along its axis during the fall, that would perhaps interfere with the fall and leave some telltale evidence on the video. As a hunch, I don't think this is a hoax, rather a legitimate accident.
My final answer is: the lid was balanced on a book or papers and simply fell off. The movement is exactly consistent with it tipping toward the back of the counter, rolling along its edge, then falling to the floor. In the video, there's some bright lights that shine into the store seconds before the lid falls. It, perhaps, is likely that either a vehicle pulled up, causing the building to vibrate, or a door was opened to the outside, also causing vibrations. The lid simply slipped off of its precarious perch and smashed on the floor.
What do you think happened?
by Mike Weaver
@Skeptoid Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit