Thursday, 11 September 2014

What UFOs and ghosts do NOT have in common!

UFOThe Rendlesham UFO case was the subject of last night's Seriously Strange London lecture. You can get an idea of speaker Ian Ridpath's investigation results at his website on the case here. Anyway, one of the points that emerged in the ensuing discussion was an idea about why there don't appear to be any 'big' new UFO cases, like Rendlesham, any more. This trend was a major topic of ASSAP's UFO conference in 2012.

The idea that emerged last night concerned modern technology. Most people now carry a video camera everywhere, in their mobile phones, so if they see a UFO they can record it easily. And then they can upload the video to the internet for others to view and comment on. And, in many cases, the objects will turn out to be readily identifiable as terrestrial objects. For example, see this video featuring orange UFOs in a triangular formation or this one showing a strange light in the sky.

Thus, modern technology can help to rapidly explain what might otherwise be puzzling UFO sightings. Before the internet and mobile phone, we generally only had eye witness accounts of UFO sightings to rely on. And as investigators know, witness accounts can be inaccurate due to things such as misperception and the peculiarities of human memory.

All of this appears a highly plausible explanation for the lack of contemporary 'big' UFO cases like Rendlesham. But what about ghosts? There seems no reason to think that people who see ghosts are any less likely to be carrying a mobile phone than UFO witnesses. But there are very few, if any, photos of ghosts showing exactly what a witness saw at the time. There are plenty of photos of apparent ghosts not seen at the time of exposure. I say 'apparent' because in the vast majority of such cases that I've examined, the 'ghost' was actually a photographic artefact. So the question remains, why the lack of photos showing ghosts as the witness saw them?

I think there are several possible explanations. Firstly, in many cases, the witness was not actually aware they were watching a ghost at the time they saw it. Secondly, many ghost sightings occur when people are not fully conscious, as in near sleep experiences. In both of these cases, it is highly unlikely the witness would have taken a photo at all. Thirdly, some people may actually take a photo of a ghost but later find there is 'nothing there' when they view the resulting picture. I say 'nothing there' because if the ghost sighting was a misperceived tree, for instance, it will be in the picture but there will be no human figure! The witness would probably conclude that either the ghost was a hallucination or that it could not be photographed.

I suspect all these factors, and maybe others, play a part in the absence of such ghost photos. If anyone knows of a photo, on the web, showing a ghost just as it appeared to the witness taking the photo, please let me know! I am still trying to do achieve this myself as my last post explains.

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