Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for the 'Ghosts' Category

“Michael Jackson” ghost haunts Muhammad Ali?

Ghost? Michael Jackson?
Hi, I’m a boxing enthusiast. I was browsing youtube and found a video of the famous fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, “Rumble in the jungle”. Well, at a point in the video (5:45~46 to be exact) a bizarre figure appeared in the background. I was curious, it’s certainly some problem that appeared due to the dozens of edits the image must have passed through… the eyes are even shining… or is it indeed some sort of hoax? Does anyone have an explanation?”

Asked Luis Fernando. The face is indeed bizarre, and I found it interesting enough to post here. And I honestly and unfortunately don’t have a clear explanation for the image. It could be a hoax, a bizarre face added digitally and recently to the scene, as what we assume would be the black hair around the face is actually transparent.

On the other hand, the are some things that interact with the image – passing both in front and behind the “face” – which suggest that it was not such a bad editing job. And also suggest that perhaps it’s not a hoax, but pareidolia. Even if I have no idea of what could have looked like a face with glowing eyes. Certainly the height of that face is not right, it’s at the height of everyone else’s waists. Perhaps a bag? I don’t know.

I compiled an animated GIF with the relevant section after the jump, but have no further comments. Do you have an idea of what could this be? Or is this uninteresting? Do share your thoughts.

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“Elephant Man” Pareidolia


elephant-manpareidoliaI received this photo from Carlos Santos, from Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal. “I took this picture of a house near mine, I was just experimenting, but later found the face you can see when zooming in… and I can’t find a valid explanation”, Santos wrote me.

He sent the original file, and besides being a fascinating and slightly spooky image, it shows no evidence of tampering I could find. Perhaps it’s the expression, perhaps it’s because it’s in black and white, or because it does not show a complete face, but it looks eerily similar to Joseph Carey Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man as portrayed in the movies.

Keep reading for a suggested explanation (well, it’s in the title, but anyway).

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Attack of the stick-figure aliens

Whitley Strieber called attention to two videos of “identical and extremely bizarre living forms have emerged from two different countries. Both show odd ‘stick figures’ that look nothing like any ‘alien video’ ever made. One was taken in Fresno, California [above] and the other in Santa Rosa de Quives near Lima, Peru [below].”

To Strieber, “the extremely bizarre nature of the figures and the way they move are so strange, and so completely unlike anything that has ever been offered before as “alien video,” the suggestion is strong that these are real images of unknown bipedal creatures, whose body morphology is so radically different from what has evolved on earth that the conclusion is almost inescapable that they are aliens”.

He does suggest, however, that they could be digital hoaxes. Greg Bishop at UFOMystic also suggests so. Keep reading for our ordinary investigations, with more stick figure aliens and some evidence to solve at least some of them.

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Eerie footage of “ghost” captured by schoolboy?

The video above has been seen by hundreds of thousands of Netizens in the past few days, despite not being that scary nor interesting, and coming straight from The Sun, not your most credible news source.

Captured by 12-year-old Reece Pitman, the British tabloid informs us that:

“It came days after his nine-year-old sister complained that someone was mysteriously finishing her jigsaws at night. The lad showed the amazing footage — which must be seen to be believed — to mum Tonia, 38. She said: “Reece looked scared witless. In the clip a white shadow appears from my bedroom followed by the dark image of a man. It crosses the landing and disappears when it reaches the banisters.” Tonia, of Solihull, Birmingham, said she consulted a psychic who told her the ghost could be friendly. Sales assistant Tonia said: “I’ve had a tough time recently as my husband left me. I didn’t believe in ghosts — but I’m thinking of the spectre as my guardian angel.” Julian Banks of the British Paranormal Society said the film was “potentially the best image of a ghost in years”.
[The Sun: Ghostbanisters]

Actually, the video shows some artifacts that strongly hint it was crudely hoaxed.

The unfocused aspect of the ghost can be accomplished by placing anything immediately in front of he camera. And, the telltale sign, are a series of light reflections that seem to go along the apparition.

In the video below, we reproduced the ghost video by trying two different methods: first using a transparent sheet of plastic with a black figure glued to it; then simply hanging a black lace string in front of the camera:

Our reproduction is clearly far from being perfect, but it hopefully demonstrates the effects and ideas involved, especially the light reflections that show up when you place a transparent sheet in front of a camera without much care. The drawing fixed to the sheet should have been slimmer, perhaps even translucid, but I didn’t bother to try that.

A British chap seems to have achieved better results also with a transparent sheet. Pay attention to his electronically modified kid-voice.

Reproducing the original video (assuming you consider these as reproductions) doesn’t prove it was a hoax. It is, however, hopefully a healthy and informative exercise and context to evaluate the evidence.

After all, why should a real ghost show the same reflections that a transparent sheet of plastic would show up? Believe it… or not.

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UPDATE: Yeah, yeah, my reproduction is VERY far from being perfect. And Brian Parsons in the comments below suggested why the reflection of the lights was right, but the ghost not quite so:

“The trick is to use a clear reflective surface near the camera with enough space between it and the lens to have something reflect back between the plastic and the lens. It’s an easy trick and is responsible for numerous fake videos dating back several years (does anyone remember the Oklahoma junk yard video?).”

In fact, upon reviewing the video, I suspect the ghost may be indeed nothing more than a reflection in the clear reflective surface that was put near the camera… of the cell phone itself. That is, not solid piece of paper, no semi-transparent image fixed to the sheet of clear plastic or glass.


Was the ghost just the cell phone? Believe it.. or not.

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The second-best pareidolia… a hoax?

“Out of this World” did a good take on the Wem Town Hall “ghost” that we mentioned as an impressive example of pareidolia. They present videos of the actual fire, present the case and myth, and the latest information I had that analysis by Vernon Harrison on the negatives didn’t find any evidence of tampering. Thus, it seemed it was either a real ghost or a simulacrum.


But they went further and had the negative examined at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford. Keep reading to watch the second part and their surprising finds.

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