In the past we’ve covered a few of the techniques used by paranormal investigators who are hoping to capture evidence of the paranormal long before they ever encounter the real thing. But there is far more to the techniques for fakery than could be covered in just one article. And as if there wasn’t enough to worry about in a dark hallway when your flashlight’s fading and you swear you can hear breathing coming from the darkness up ahead there are also some common errors ghost hunters make as well resulting in false positives rather than the real deal.
Of course we’ve covered double exposures and computer generated fakes in the past, but there are some even simpler techniques that have been employed to make some very convincing hoaxes. For instance, did you know you can make your camera strap actually appear to be a swirling ectoplasmic form rushing past you? And if you’re worried about the artifacts known as “orbs” chasing after you when you’re on a hunt, you should first familiarize yourself with the ways these orbs can appear in a more natural setting. And of course there are even the over-used and simplistic techniques that come from things such as cigarette smoke.
If you see an apparition in the photograph that seems to be transparent or translucent, but their form is less than stable and they don’t really seem to have any shape, ask yourself if the smoke is coming from directly beneath the camera or nearby the lens? Sometimes a forced perspective shot can cause a seemingly ordinary puff of smoke to look like a supernatural apparition if the smoke drifts in front of the camera. It will of course be more visible if a flash is on, but if it is not it will be more visible in areas emitting or reflecting light. And when it comes to remembering whether the photographer was smoking or not, witnesses are notorious for failing to remember or misrepresenting if this could be the case. Truly professional investigations rarely have this problem, but more recreational ones may.
So how is the easiest improvised fake ghost photograph made? Images faked using this method are sometimes real enough looking to fool even the experts. But the difference is ghost investigators are usually more in tune with this fakery than others and able to sniff it out. If the camera has a hand cable, simply stretch it in front of the lens and let it dangle there. Turn the flash on, and take the picture. Even a black nylon rope will reflect enough light to appear completely white for the photo – and it will look like a long tube-like entity whizzing past the investigator.
Hopefully by spreading information on how these hoaxes are perpetrated, the informed can judge for themselves between more reputable ghost hunting services and those that are intended either for fun or to deceive would-be believers. Keep your team-mates honest and happy hunting!