Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Strange blobs and mists

Red blobOne of the commonest types of anomalous photo I come across contains a hazy blob or transparent mist. People often say they can see faces or figures in these amorphous shapes and so wonder if they might be ghosts. Generally I can't see these faces or figures myself but I've no reason to doubt that others see them. There have been many instances where I've seen a face or figure in a blurred photo that no one else can apparently see! Whether and how we see such shapes, when they are not obvious to everyone, seems to vary significantly from person to person.

In the example here (right) there is an amorphous orange blob in the middle of the photo of vegetation. The blob appears to be floating in front of greenery and it is translucent, allowing us to see through it. There is a popular idea that ghosts are translucent though it appears to be confined largely to fiction. The vast majority of real life ghosts are reported by witnesses to look perfectly solid and you cannot see through them. Their apparent solidity does not stop them from vanishing sometimes!

Red berryThese photos are usually caused by some (non-paranormal) object in the foreground of the photo but so close to the camera that it is severely out of focus. Here is the same photo (right) but now focussed on the foreground object which is revealed to be a rosehip, or something very similar. It is interesting to note that there is a stalk clearly visible, to which the rosehip is attached. But this is too out of focus in the earlier photo to show up, giving the impression of a floating blob. Also, note that the vegetation background is now severely out of focus. You can just about make out the branches on the bottom right corner of the photo which correspond with those in the picture above.

Often, the photographer who took such a shot (above right) will not remember there being anything in the foreground. But, typically, such blobs or mists are only noticed well after the photo was taken so they are not in a position to check. And even if they notice the blob at the time, the object causing it may already have moved on. Unlike the obligingly stationary rosehip, such objects may include flying insects, floating seeds (like dandelion) or even something the photographer is carrying or wearing that is intruding into the photo. So, in many cases, it is not possible to say what the object was exactly.

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