Ghost hunting is a strange business. How can people hunt for something that, if it even exists, no one knows what it’s made of? Aren’t they just making up a characteristic that they think a ghost has and then looking for that characteristic? If they find what they are looking for, how can they say they found a ghost? They made up the characteristic to start with.
One of the standard ghost hunting techniques is to take photos at a haunted site, and when the photo is developed, look for images of the spirits. You quite often have to use your imagination (it helps if you squint), and sometimes even then you don’t even get a recognizable image, which is why you’ll see references to orbs, as though these are somehow ghostly spirits too.
I could never understand the theory behind all this. How is it that a camera can capture something that is there, but we can’t see with the naked eye? Surely the opposite is true? Cameras are inclined to show less than we see with the eye, as you will know if you ever took a photo indoors and the flash didn’t go off. Or if you took a picture in bright sunlight and found the shadows were too dark to see any detail at all. I once had an argument with a woman on a ghost hunters’ message board (I have no life), where I asked her to explain the magic property of a camera that allowed it to take pictures of something no one in the room could see. She told me to go and research it myself – it wasn’t her job to “do your homework for you” (see five apples, number 5). This person’s hobby was taking pictures of ghosts and posting them on a website, but she had no idea why the camera would be able to see a ghost that wasn’t visible with the naked eye, and had no curiosity to find out.
Most of the pictures that aren’t outright frauds, can be explained by distorted reflections or by plain bad photography. For example, the famous orbs are usually caused by small particles of dust, very close to the camera lens (and therefore out of focus), lit up by the flash. Many other plausible explanations have been offered. Do the ghost hunters want to hear this? Of course not. Take a look at this post by Paul, from his Aurora Walking Vacation blog; he seems to know a thing or two about how spirit photos are done:
The other day on a message board I was accused of ridiculing somebody for my reply to their post offering spirit photography lessons. I wrote a fairly long and detailed reply offering up my expertise on the subject right there on the board, without people having to resort to taking some kind of formal lessons. Apparently, I stepped on somebody's toes, because my post was taken down by the powers that be in short order.
Right there, the thinking of the closed-minded believer is laid out for all to see. Paul merely wanted to explain what was really going on, but the believers were too scared and closed-minded to allow his post even to stay up. And skeptics are accused of being closed minded.
Take a look at Paul’s photos. See if you can figure out how he did them. And if you can’t figure them out, that doesn’t mean they are pictures of ghosts.