Is it a Real Ghost Picture? 6 Questions to Ask

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Not sure if that creepy ghost picture is real? Here are six questions that can help you sort the real pics from the fakes and mistakes.

Does the Setting of the Picture Make Sense?
Many so-called ghost pictures are taken in empty rooms or darkened hallways. In other words, places most people have no interest photographing. This may be a red flag as many fake ghost photos feature boring backgrounds or unremarkable subjects. If you see an image with an oddly dull setting, read the caption or description to learn why the photographer snapped that particular photo. Did he or she hear odd noises? Get a weird feeling? Visit a site rumored to be haunted? Some ghost hunters take pictures of random objects in hopes of finding a ghost. Did a ghost hunter snap the picture or was it someone else? If there seems to be no plausible reason for the picture, it’s probably a fake.

fake ghost pic

Does the Photo Seem Too Good to be True?
Some ghost photos seem too good to be true, and they probably are. While there’s no rule that says ghost photos must be blurry or indistinct, terrifying images of floating specters or gliding apparitions are almost certainly fake.

ghost picture apparition

Has Someone Manipulated the Picture?  
Programs like Adobe Photoshop and quirky apps like iPhone’s Ghost Capture make it easy to manipulate photos and insert ghostly images. The Daily Mail published the picture below last August, but the Victorian-era spook clearly came from the popular ghost app. Spotting Ghost Capture fakes is simple if you know which spirits to look for, but outing Photo Shop frauds can be a bit more challenging. Sites like Foto Forensics can help.

ghost picture

Is the Photo Poor Quality?
A large amount of ghost photos are too blurry, too dark, or too out of focus to serve as evidence for the paranormal. It doesn’t help that many fraudsters rely on poor image quality to hide evidence of manipulation or other trickery.

ghost picture grainy

Is There a More Logical Explanation?
Many so-called ghost photos have a logical explanation that has nothing to do with ghosts. Deliberate hoaxes aside, a number of things can cause spooky effects in a photo, including dust, smoke, lens flare, camera straps, lighting issues, and long exposures. Eliminate all possibilities before proclaiming a photo paranormal.

ghost picture mistake

Is the Ghost an Illusion or Open to Interpretation?
We’ve all seen photos of ghostly faces, but are they really ghosts or merely a trick of shadow of light? Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon in which people interpret an image or sound as being significant, even when it’s not, and this often manifests in people seeing faces where none exist. Other ghost photos are open to interpretation, with some people spotting spooks in shadows and others seeing nothing at all.

ghost picture pareidolia

Have you seen a ghost picture that you are certain is real? Please send a link or send the pic to ghostsghoul@gmail.com!

2 thoughts on “Is it a Real Ghost Picture? 6 Questions to Ask

  1. On the issue of ‘does the setting make sense?’, you have to be careful with this one; I am currently reading ‘Paranormal Essex’, by David Scanlan and Paul Robins. They begin with advice on investigations, and at one point say, “When using your digital camera it is always worth taking random photographs and also asking for any ghosts that may be haunting the location to stand in front of the camera for you.” I think the practice accounts for a lot of this type of image – with a digital camera it costs nothing and you never know what might turn up, apart from orbs. But other than pictures from ghost hunters, yes it is suspicious.

    • Good point. I added it to the post to be more clear. I was mainly thinking of a random person, non-ghost hunter, taking a photo of a boring room for seemingly no reason. There are a lot of ghost videos with strange settings as well.

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