Friday, 10 October 2014

New technology to photograph ghosts?

VigilI believe it is possible to photograph ghosts (see here). The thing is, despite having examined several thousand ghost photos personally, I've yet to see one I find convincing. But I still live in hope. One of the problems is that the vast majority of ghost photos occur when the photographer sees nothing odd at the time of exposure. The anomaly is only noticed later when the photo is examined. This, inevitably, means that most apparent ghost photos are, in fact, photographic artefacts.

Ghost sightings are very rare, so it's not surprising that there are few ghost photos around. But when CCTV became widespread, there was a buzz among ghost researchers. Given all those millions of hours of video recordings, someone was bound to catch the odd ghost or two. Unfortunately, it didn't quite turn out that way. We discovered that spiders and insects seem to take a delight in wandering over CCTV camera lenses and appearing like shadowy transparent 'figures'. There were also the usual photographic artefacts familiar from conventional cameras. What we really wanted was someone to see a ghost and photograph it at same the time. Then we could get some idea of what the witness actually saw.

So when mobile phones with cameras became widespread, there was, once again, optimism among ghost researchers. With all those people wandering around with a camera (including video) in their pocket, someone was bound to see and photograph a ghost sooner or later. Sadly, we are still waiting for a reasonable example. The problem is that when people see a ghost, they tend not to think about taking a photo. Or they don't even realise they are seeing a ghost until it has gone because most apparitions look like perfectly normal human figures (see ghosts).

Have we now, finally, got the technology all ghost researchers been waiting for? I'm talking about lifelogging. Though still a rarity, it is possible that it will become a popular thing in the near future. Lifeloggers wear a camera that works automatically. Some models take photos at regular frequent intervals, for instance. Others record video continuously allowing you to keep and review the last few minutes when something significant has happened - like seeing a ghost! Some models use sensors to decide when there is something worth taking photos of - like a ghost, hopefully!

Whatever method these devices use, they offer the opportunity to take photos when the wearer is otherwise engaged or maybe not aware they are seeing a ghost. Will it prove another false dawn in the long trail towards the goal of a good photo of a ghost? I do hope not.

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