Monday, 16 September 2013

Ghosts going round in pairs

ASSAPIn the past fortnight I've visited two museum and I saw a pair ghosts in each! Museums are a lot more exciting these days than when I was a kid, it seems.

I ought to make it clear right now that I have reasons to believe they were not actual ghosts at all. Both pairs of figures were hanging around together in period costume. I'm not a historian but the costumes appeared appropriate to the ages of the two rather old buildings. You don't often see people in period costume so they always attract attention. My first reaction on seeing such figures is always to wonder if they might be ghosts. Years as a ghost researcher have their effect.

So, as is usual on such occasions, I studied the figures closely for a while. In one case, the pair starting taking photos of each other with a phone, which led me to write them off quite quickly as ghosts. The other pair I approached closely. Though I didn't speak to them, others did. It quickly became obvious that these were also non-ghosts, presumably there to add to the 'atmosphere' of their surroundings.

I've seen people in period costume at museums before but usually acting out some advertised reconstruction. I was once asked to answer a question by a 'teacher' in a 'Victorian schoolroom' populated largely by twentieth century adults seated uncomfortably on tiny chairs. I got the correct answer (spelling, I think), unlike some less fortunate 'pupils'.

The idea of having people just 'hanging around' in period costume at museums, unadvertised and unannounced, appears to be more modern. It could easily give rise to reports of ghosts. Although it is highly unlikely that anyone actually seeing one of these figures (or do they always go around in pairs?) closely would think they were a ghost, what about photos? If the photographer never noticed the costumed figure at the time they took the photo, seeing them in the photograph later could produce an interesting reaction.

One curious thing I've noticed is that, from the thousands of anomalous photos I've personally examined, few, if any, featured figures in period costume. I'm not sure why this should be. But I would not be surprised if we didn't start seeing a trickle of such photos in future, all taken in museums or at ancient monuments.

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