Tag Archives | Ghosts

The Intriguing History of Ghost Photography

“As camera tech has evolved, so too has the photography of puzzling ‘spirits’,” writes Howard Timberlake at BBC Future:

It’s February 2015 at Hampton Court Palace in London. Twelve-year-old Holly Hampsheir grabs her iPhone to take a photo of her cousin, Brook, as she walks alone through the majestic King’s Apartments. Snap.

It’s not until the following day that they discover Brook was not alone in the picture. A tall, grey, seemingly cloaked woman follows behind her. In a second photo, this strange anomaly is gone.

Was it a stunning image of a tortured apparition making a rare performance for the cameras, or something more… well… sensible?

The answer, as we’ll discover, says more about how smartphones take photos than anything supernatural. In fact, this grey ghoul is just the latest apparition in a fascinating history of ghost photography. Ever since the camera was invented, spooks have appeared in photos.

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Paranormal Ectoplasm

"Ectoplasmic ghosts by serial hoaxer Helen Duncan." Image Credit: Harvey Metcalfe via Unexplained Mysteries.

“Ectoplasmic ghosts by serial hoaxer Helen Duncan.” Image Credit: Harvey Metcalfe via Unexplained Mysteries.

While paranormal ectoplasm has no basis in fact, its popularity among scientists in the 1800s reflects “the science of its time.”

Daniel Engber at Popular Science:

Of course, these ectoplasms were a parlor trick. Mediums used sleights of hand to present gauze and animal parts as spiritual pheno­mena. As silly as this now seems, many intellectuals of the time found the shows convincing, including Richet, who won a Nobel Prize for his pioneering work on anaphylaxis. “Richet was no dummy,” says Robert Brain, a historian of science at the University of British Columbia. Yet Richet was dogged in his studies of paranormal ectoplasm. “What made ectoplasm seem plausible to otherwise rational, clear-headed scientists?” Brain asks. “There had to be an underlying logic to it.”

He’s right. By the mid-1800s, scientists had discovered a gelatinous substance or “plasm” inside plant and animal cells, which they believed to be the basis for all life on Earth.

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Can ‘Ghosts’ Cause Bad Air?

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

A team of Clarkson University researchers is studying the possible links between reported hauntings and indoor air quality.

Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Shane Rogers said human experiences reported in many hauntings are similar to mental or neurological symptoms reported by some individuals exposed to toxic molds. It is known that some fungi, such as rye ergot fungus, may cause severe psychosis in humans.

The links between exposure to toxic indoor molds and psychological effects in people are not well established, however, Rogers said. Notably, many hauntings are associated with structures that are prime environments to harbor molds or other indoor air quality problems.

“Hauntings are very widely reported phenomena that are not well-researched,” he said. “They are often reported in older-built structures that may also suffer poor air quality. Similarly, some people have reported depression, anxiety and other effects from exposure to biological pollutants in indoor air.

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Why ghosts haunt Britain at Christmas but steer clear of America

Disney’s 2009 animated version of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ with actor Jim Carrey voicing several of the characters including Scrooge and the three ghosts. WALT DISNEY PICTURE

Disney’s 2009 animated version of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ with actor Jim Carrey voicing several of the characters including Scrooge and the three ghosts.
WALT DISNEY PICTURE

via The State:

— A few years ago, the “Downton Abbey” Christmas special featured a ouija board that communicated a message from a dead character. American reviewers were extremely puzzled by this incursion of the supernatural, while British reviewers found it unexceptional. Indeed, few bothered even to mention it. Why?

The answer lies with the long tradition of Christmas ghost stories, the most famous of which is probably Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” (subtitled “Being a Ghost Story of Christmas”). Dickens was a strong supporter of the Christmas ghost story, reminiscing in his 1850 essay “A Christmas Tree” about childhood Christmases spent “telling Winter Stories – Ghost Stories, or more shame for us – round the Christmas fire.” Dickens also encouraged other writers to produce Christmas ghost stories for the annual festive editions of his magazines Household Words and All the Year Round.

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More People Believe in Aliens and Ghosts Than God

Alien01.svg

By Lionel Allorge (CC)

Are you surprised? From i100:

Today in unnerving statistics, a poll has found more Britons believe in aliens and ghosts than God.

The survey of 1,500 adults and 500 children, carried out online for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! by OnePoll, found more than half of adults believe that there is alien life, while only a quarter believe in God.

Of the children polled, 26 per cent believe aliens are disguised as humans while one in 20 thought they knew an alien – and of those, one in 20 suggested their mother as the likely culprit.

In the 2011 census 59.3 per cent of the population described themselves as Christian – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they were believers. A YouGov poll of 1,500 Anglican clergy this week found one in 50 priests believe God to be a human construct, while 16 per cent of priests say they are unclear on what they think about God.

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Man Fined for Pretending to be a Ghost in Cemetery

Classy.

Engraving from 1804, used in the article Hammersmith ghosts. The image comes from Kirby's Wonderful and Scientific Museum, volume II published in 1804 in London.

Engraving from 1804, used in the article Hammersmith ghosts. The image comes from Kirby’s Wonderful and Scientific Museum, volume II published in 1804 in London.

via The Scotsman:

A MAN has been fined after pretending to be a ghost in a Portsmouth cemetery.

 Anthony Stallard, 24, was seen kicking a football around with a friend in Kingston Cemetery after the pair had been drinking.

He was reported to police, who detained him and charged him with using threatening or abusive words, or behaviour likely to cause distress.

Tim Concannon, prosecuting at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, said: “While the football was going on they were shouting and this defendant was effectively singing loudly and being disrespectful in among the graves.

“He was throwing himself backwards, waving his arms about and going ‘wooooooo’. I’m assuming he was pretending to be a ghost.”

Stallard had accepted at an earlier hearing that his behaviour could have been seen to cause distress to grieving relatives, and had pleaded guilty.

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Sentient Sleep Paralysis Mist Caught on Tape?

From Examiner:

“I’m a rationalist and a very skeptical person with no previous interest in paranormal activity, but after doing some research it seemed like there was a possibility that this entity is real,” Pike said.

On one evening last week Pike decided to place a camera in his bedroom to document what he was experiencing on his sleepless nights. Pike set up a camera facing the bed and went to sleep with the lights on. The footage that he captured was shocking. In the video, around the 30-second mark, an eerie mist rises to the ceiling from Pike’s bed.

“I have watched the footage over and over trying to figure out some logical explanation for what could have caused the image of what seems to be a ghost, but I haven’t been able to come up with a solution,” Pike said about the video. “I am really starting to believe that I captured the entity I saw during my paralysis on video.… Read the rest

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Beliefs In Ghosts And Gods Might Be Based In Early Evolution Of Brain

Caveman_8

PIC: PD

The Nature Spirits told me to share this with you.

Notions of gods arise in all human societies, from all powerful and all-knowing deities to simple forest spirits. A recent method of examining religious thought and behaviour links their ubiquity and the similarity of our beliefs to the ways in which human mental processes were adapted for survival in prehistoric times. It rests on a couple of observations about human psychology. First, when an event happens, we tend to assume that a living thing caused it. In other words, we assume agency behind that event. If you think of the sorts of events that might have happened in prehistoric times, it’s easy to see why a bias towards agency would be useful. A rustling of a bush or the snapping of a twig could be due to wind. But far better to assume it’s a lion and run away.

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For Sale: Poveglia, The Haunted Italian Island With A Chilling History

PovegliaI would not accept a free vacation at the luxury hotel the Italy hopes will be built on this spot. Via the Telegraph:

Dubbed one of the most haunted places in the world, Poveglia, which was sealed off after it was hit by the plague, is to be auctioned off to raise money for Italy.

The 17-acre island became a quarantine station for ships arriving at Venice in the 18th century. After a plague was discovered on two ships, the island was sealed off and used to host people with infectious diseases, leading to legends of terminally ill Venetians waiting to die before their ghosts returned to haunt the island.

A hospital for the elderly which opened in 1922 and operated until 1968 is rumoured to have hosted experiments on the mentally ill, including crude lobotomies, carried out by a director who was driven mad by ghosts before throwing himself from the hospital’s tower.

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Woman In China Hospitalized After Ghost Radar App Causes Her To See Spirits Everywhere

spirits in the crowdThe dangers of using smartphone apps to tap into the spirit realm, via The Star Online from Malaysia:

A 23-year-old woman is in hospital after she allegedly saw spirits while trying out a so-called ghost-hunting application on her smartphone, Kwong Wah Yit Poh reported.

The woman, known only as Wu, from Hubei, China, claimed to have seen spirits around her when she first tried the app.

When she went to the cemetery with her parents during the Qing Ming festival, she tried the application again. This time it allegedly showed three spirits by her side, leading her to have sleepless nights for three days. She had to seek medical treatment in a local hospital.

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