Thursday, 14 November 2013

Photo of an invisible creature

Invisible creatureSo here it is, a photo (right) of an invisible unknown animal. Don't look too hard, I did say it was invisible! Now suppose someone saw a strange creature, that they couldn't identify, swimming in a lake, just like this one. And suppose they took its photo and this picture (right) was all they got. The very fact that the creature was not on the photo might be seen, by some, as evidence for its anomalous nature.

Of course, there are other interpretations of such an experience. The obvious one is a hallucination. There is also the possibility that the creature had simply moved out of shot before the photo was taken. You may notice a shiny wake going across the photo, suggesting just that! There is also the possibility that the whole circumstances of taking this photo had been misremembered by the witness.

So what's my point? It is simply this - a photo is seldom, if ever, definitive evidence of anything anomalous on its own. I often see reportedly anomalous photos showing scenes that do not appear strange in any way. The only oddity is that the witness insists that some obvious, solid, real-looking object clearly visible in the photo was not actually there at the time of exposure. Most frequently it is a human figure or animal. Or, more rarely, as in this case, that a very obvious object WAS visible at the time of the exposure, even though it is not in the photo. So, the only evidence that there is anything odd going on at all is the witness testimony. Maybe the witness DID see something anomalous. Maybe they didn't. But the photo, on its own, cannot help resolve that question.

In such situations all you can do is look into the case in the same way that you would with a non-photographic incident. You'd need to interview witnesses, visit the site and so on. The photo may contain some clues to what might be going on (like the wake in this photo) but it cannot tell you anything definitive.

Witnesses usually want a definite 'answer' as to whether a strange photo shows something anomalous or not. If it contains an obvious photographic anomaly then this is usually possible. But in some cases, like the one outlined here, only a fuller investigation will help. There is a general popular belief that cameras 'don't lie' which tends to support the idea that all you need is a good photo to resolve an anomalous case. Unfortunately, that is almost never true.

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