Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

 Ahhhhh!! [Insert angry fist waving here] Curse you technology…and iPhone apps!

One of my favorite things to do as a child while visiting my grandmother (other then building blanket forts and monster sock puppets) was talking about the strange, the bizarre and the unexplained.  My grandma was a true believer; we’ve even shared a paranormal experience once.  I still remember her telling me that when she died she would come back as a ghost and visit me.  Let me tell you, that’s a pretty scary thought for a child.  It wasn’t comforting! Grandma as a scary ghost! Holy crap!  And well…she did visit me, but that’s a topic for another time.

One of my much-loved memories with her was going through her copy of Reader’s Digest “Mysteries of the Unexplained”.  That big beautiful blue book is full of pages, and pages of interesting photos and stories of everything paranormal.  (FYI, you can still buy it on eBay…don’t think I just didn’t…only 5buck! Booyah!) And that is also where I saw my first ghostly photos.

1959 photo of mother hitching a ride home from the grave

Our conversation and detailed analysis of each photo and accompanying story would give me chills and make me all wiggly in my chair.  As a kid, sharing this book with Grandma was thrilling, chilling and spooky, but as an adult, I think it was a way for her to share her spiritual viewpoint without anyone thinking she was crazy.  As far as I was concerned, my Granny Gladys wasn’t nutty but waaayyyy cool!

She and I never talked about the possibility that these photos could be fakes.  Maybe she didn’t want to burst my fanta-bubble, or maybe she thought they were real.  I wish I knew, but I can tell you my 10-year old brain thought they were 100% genuine gold!  After all they were in a BOOK!  And if Reader’s Digest believes they are real, so do I.  Okay, it was in the 80’s, and I was a kid, so what did I know about faking photos.  The only thing I knew about film was fanning the print that immediately came out for our Polaroid camera.

Ghostly Monk

But now that I am older, and I’d like to think I’m a bit savvier when it comes to this kind of thing, I am not so sure they were authentic.  You see I’ve recently come across some studies on some of my favorite vintage photos from that book and they don’t seem to be holding up very well against the scrutiny.  These are famous spirit photos and I’m not going to give any of them away, because if you are anything like me, some things…treasured things (Hello! Easter Bunny, Santa Claus) are not to be tainted and destroyed but best left as precious memories at the very least.

Amityville ghost boy

Folks have been faking paranormal photographs for as long as they have been taking pictures.  And with today’s technology ANYONE can do it with just a simple smart phone app. A dear friend shared a photo with me that she received from her friend.  She was so excited to share what she thought was truly a ghost photographed.  Sadly it was a fake and she was a victim of that blasted iPhone trickery!!! Grrrr.

Phone app ghost

I’ll admit I saw the app once on a friends phone and it’s fun and it’s clever but it’s also annoying.  I enjoy scanning my favorite websites looking at spirit photos, I can do it all day (don’t tell my boss) but I am skeptical now at almost everything I see.  Is it real? Am I falling for someone’s stupid joke?  There is nothing worst then being made to feel like a fool about something you are so passionate about.  It’s frustrating because the truth is so much better then the fake crap.

It really upsets me that we can’t trust some people to show bona fide proof that spirits do exist.  It’s so hard to get people believe in the paranormal as it is, add falsification into the mix and well…it just makes our efforts a little more challenging.

Lord Combermere

It also worries me. What if I am one of the lucky few to capture a true sprit on film? Will I have others trying to prove it’s a fake, that I am a fraud?  How can you authenticate your own photo?  And I want to continue to enjoy looking at ghostly photos but since I don’t have much experience in this, are there techniques other then the obvious “it’s looks too good to be true” image in the photo that I can use to debunk these fakes?  Or do I just turn a blind eye and naively try to enjoy the images?  Yeah, my brain doesn’t really work that way, so that’s not going to work for me.

Wem Ghost Girl

One of my goals as a paranormal investigator is to be honest and to always present the best and truthful evidence.  I promise that anything I produce, photo, video or EVPs will be actual and true.  Oh I’ll still have fun with my iPhone apps, but I think my “words with friends” app is harmless to the study of the mysterious and unexplained.