What is the ghostly image in my picture?
Updated: Aug 25
A few strange things happened while living in a haunted house ten years ago and I got quite a shock when I looked at one of the pictures I took at the time.
Each morning or so I am told, my flatmate Sarah would see pictures in the living room at an angle and would adjust them. These skewed pictures continued on a regular basis without me knowing about it and each day Sarah would return from work without remembering to chastise me for moving the pictures.
While I am a bit of a messer, I don’t see the humour in moving pictures on a daily basis and didn’t appreciate that this was going on in the house at the same time that there were other supernatural events happening.
Things that go bump in the night that was certainly keeping me awake till morning.
Apart from the pictures in the living room, there was a mirror that continued to fall off the wall and this is all discussed in a previous article
One thing that I left out of the previous article that Sarah reminded me of when she read The Ghost in Number 4, was that we were in a room when a picture came flying into the room that we were in.
It flew in from my bedroom and it was a picture of myself but by that stage we were no longer freaked out by poltergeist activity and had already had just about enough and had decided to move out.
When we did decide to move out, my picture fell down one last time and I took out my camera to photograph the downed canvas picture on the ground.
Just like, any good ghost hunter, I wondered if my camera would have captured anything supernatural at the time.
Fast forward several years and my girlfriend asked me what was in the image when I showed her the picture and told her the story.
The image showed a ghostly white form in the top left corner of the picture and it was the same in a subsequent picture. I must have dismissed it as strong sunlight but it clearly was something else.
Anna asked me what it was and I couldn’t explain it and Anna pointed out, “You're the photographer, what did you capture?”
WHAT HAD I CAPTURED?
Embarrassed that I didn’t have an answer, I was determined to find out what it was and was prepared to publish the pictures online to look for some answers.
I explained to Anna that it was not a flash as I would have used my Canon 40D which is a reliable semi-professional camera costing about €1,800 at the time, including the lens.
Despite owning two flash-guns, I rarely use flash in my photography and normally don’t use it during the day unless I am afraid that someone’s face would be too dark without flash.
I took my photos and put them into photoshop where I darkened the images and the ghostly white image remained. Adjusting the original photos didn’t explain anything but the metadata did.
I had planned to post the pictures online and add as much detail as possible including the make and model of camera and the type of lens used and even the time of day.
When I said I had been living in a haunted house with strange poltergeist activity, I meant it. Something had been knocking mirrors off a wall and adjusting pictures every morning. I never saw the pictures moved in the morning but my own canvas picture was knocked off the wall more than once.
Just because a picture falls off a wall doesn't mean a ghost did it but this was a house, I later learned where a man had been hanged under my bedroom but it is not clear if it was a suicide or execution. I also heard rumour that there used to be cells where the mirror kept falling off the downstairs wall.
I will have to do a lot of research on this haunted house and I still have so many questions about the building. Prison cells and hangings don't sound like a normal house and those details should be clearly recorded in history.
I call it a haunted house because of all the activity but that doesn't mean that I didn't look for logical explanations at each stage and it was only after a local shopkeeper told me about the hanging and ghost associated with the building that I could finally explain all the unusual activity in number 4.
Years later, I was shocked to have captured something and determined to find a logical explanation for the ghostly blur that I had photographed while hoping to capture something that had been knocking mirrors and pictures off the wall.
Beyond my capabilities, I decided I would post the images with the make of camera and lens used. I planned to include the metadata embedded on the file and try to be as transparent as possible with the image.
I knew that I had used a high-quality camera with a dependable lens and that I rarely used flash with that camera. Again the metadata would show, the time of day and other details, I should be able to see aperture and ISO setting for example and while the metadata could be off if I had entered the wrong date when I first bought the camera, the data would at least be available.
I took the images and put them into Photoshop and darkened the photographs to see how it affected the bright blur on the images. The blur was pure white but as I looked at the metadata information, I realised that I had not used a professional camera but a compact camera. A Canon A430 compact camera with a small flash in the left corner of the camera where the bright blur was coming from. Had my finger half covered the flash and affected all the pictures that I took?
Of course it had, what else could it be?