By now everyone has seen a certain photo taken at an accident scene that has been making its rounds.
I thought I would throw my own analysis into the mix.
My own method of breaking down a “ghost picture” involves a rather amateurish process of looking at what makes up the “ghost”, identifying known elements, and then deciding if the “ghost” exists without those identifiable elements.
I am NOT a professional photographer. I just like looking at details. I also have the advantage of having a 55-inch high-resolution television screen that I use as a computer monitor when I look at stuff.
A while back I sort of got sucked into a conversation on Twitter about a piece of evidence in particular, but about skepticism in a broader context.
Let me see if I can set this up without boring you. My friend, Jim Malliard of the Malliard Report was working on a project where he would post “paranormal standards”. Of course the format of Twitter doesn’t leave a lot of room to elaborate on what is the idea and reasoning behind the standard.
One particular post said something to the effect that one still picture isn’t evidence. I took it to mean that because a single picture is a moment in time with no supporting data to reflect the conditions and environment present that it will always going to be an unreliable and easily dismissed data point.
Someone decided to argue the point by posting a picture that they had taken (presumably on a cell phone) that in his or her opinion obviously contained a shadowy demon-looking pig-man thing of some sort.
Pareidolia: Misperception in which vague or random images or sounds are misinterpreted as meaningful patterns.
Early in 2014 on a Friday Night Paranormal I-Con episode, I had a spirited, but civil, discussion about a piece of evidence that a guest had centered a lot of time and analysis around and presented on his web site.
My thesis was NOT that there was nothing to be found in the photograph in question. I even offered that I found one feature of the photograph very interesting and probably would have placed it on my own website for further examination and discussion had it been mine. My point was that if we spend enough time (several days according to the guest) looking a picture, pareidolia (or matrixing if you prefer the pop-culture term) was likely to take over, and our minds are programmed to find any number of patterns that we might interpret as recognizable images that we will then feel obligated to circle in red.