1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://video.about.com/paranormal/How-to-Tell-a-Real-Ghost-Picture-From-a-Fake.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Video:How to Tell a Real Ghost Picture From a Fake

with Richard Estep

How can you tell whether a ghost picture is real or fake? Watch this About.com video featuring a paranormal expert to help you decipher if a picture is a hoax or a ghostly apparition.See Transcript

Transcript:How to Tell a Real Ghost Picture From a Fake

Hello, I am Richard Estep, Director of the Boulder Paranormal Research Society located in Boulder, Colorado. I am here today for About.com to discuss how to tell a real ghost picture from a fake.

Ghost Pictures Contain an Unexplained Image

A ghost photograph, or a paranormal photograph is the definition of a photograph that contains an object, or an image, or a person, or a light anomaly in it that was usually not seen at the time, although this isn't always the case. But most of the time, nothing was usually seen by the photographer until the image was either developed on film, or either played back on their digital camera.

Ghost Photography Pre-Dates Digital Cameras

Most of the really impressive classic ghost photographs pre-date the digital age, so when there was no photoshop, there were no means of digitally manipulating images, pretty much the only way to fake a ghost photograph was to use a double exposure, smoke and mirrors as the Victorian spirit photographers did, and various tricks with the plate and the negatives itself.

Investigate the Negative of Ghost Photographs

The good news about that, as far as paranormal researchers are concerned, is that we have a physical negative that we can have examined by photographic experts, to determine whether it has been tampered with or manipulated with in any way.

Digital Photo Editing Fabricates Ghost Images

In the current age, we have so many software programs that will do this, and some that are even intended to fake ghost photographs. Perhaps the most common misconception out there is the orb.

People on the internet, you can troll websites, you will see thousands of people telling you the orbs, these small glowing circular objects are spirits of the dead. What orbs actually are the vast majority of the time is dust. And it's very telling that we really didn't see orbs in photographs until the advent of the digital camera; there are very few early orb ghost photographs back when photographers used film.

Metadata Reveals Photo Tampering

Well,  if a modern photographic expert in digital imagery were able to look at the metadata of this file, which is very easily done, they would in fact be able to tell that the underlying image has been modified today, and that something has been inserted, digitally inserted, which would be the face itself. But to the untrained eye, to the person on the internet who doesn't know any better, this could look somewhat convincing. 

Thanks so much for listening. For more paranormal news, visit us on the web at About.com.

About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.