As more and more people attempt to document evidence of the paranormal. Many catch spirit images or lights with a camera and believe they have evidence of a haunting; only to learn later that what they have captured nothing more than dust or a camera strap. Evaluating a spirit photo for common camera or light anomalies will save you the embarrassment of claiming to have evidence of the paranormal and finding out that mysterious orb was merely a speck of dust.

First there are far too many “Investigators” Websites and television programs claiming proof of Paranormal Activity or “Ghosts” based on the presence of “orbs”.

Spirit Photography is a specialized skill and interpretation of the photos is beyond the skills of regular photographers as they do not have any knowledge base in order to make judgments of the validity of a photo-graph.

A base line of knowledge is important for an area that you’re investigating. It is obvious that anomalies that exist in the Coal Region or Pennsylvania are not the same as the sandy areas of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Another consideration is the camera, and possible anomalies that are common to the camera (i.e. light streaks due to slow shutter speeds). Get used to the camera and what the normal pictures the camera takes. You should experiment with the camera with dust, moisture, cold, heat etc. again this is a base line to know what is normal and what could be “Paranormal”.

Some important items to keep in mind when reviewing photos

The best way to review a photo is to split it into quadrants. Start at the left corner and move from section to section noting any questionable items. Pay attention to mirrors, windows, or any surface that may reflect images. While looking at mirrors etc. be very conscience of “Matrixing” (matrixing is the desire of the human mind to create an image out of lines or patterns in mirror, glass pictures etc.)

Do not assume that every bright orb is a spirit orb it maybe dust etc. that was just closer to the flash and lens.

When looking at potential shadow account for all members of the team, clients, pets etc.

Power ribbons can just be slow shutter speeds are sure to check for the settings of the camera. Most cameras will save the settings and can be revealed in the “properties” of the photo.

Does the room where pictures are taken have a good deal of dirt or moisture in the room?

When looking at “orbs” compare all of the pictures, if you continue to see the same “orbs” these are most likely NOT “Spirit Orbs”.

With mirrors, picture glass, glass tables and other reflective services. Matrixing occurs when the human mind attempts to construct meaningful images from complex images. This most often pertains to the human face, but may also relate to other shapes or forms. When a photo is taken of an object that has complex images or shapes--such as reflected glass, mirrors--our mind tries to construct familiar images from the shapes and colors. We often believe we can see ghost faces or shapes in the midst of the other images. Examine the face carefully: If it is made up of portions of the original object, like flaws in the mirror, then it is only an illusion due to matrixing. If the face consists of its own material, it may be paranormal.

Evaluate orbs by looking closely at their shape and size. A speck of dust will create an orb that is completely round, with no defined border. It will be a solid color. Moisture will create an orb that is that is usually angular and fades in intensity, with solid color in the middle and near-translucence around the edges. Raindrops will produce a small, solid orb. Reflections off other objects will often produce multiple orbs in a row that vary in size. True orbs of energy will emit their own light and will appear as white, blue or green. They are spherical and may have a trail of movement.

Examine photos of mist closely. These visual phenomena are most often caused by human breath in cold air. Keep in mind that a camera can catch mist from your breath that is too fine to see with the naked eye. If you shot the picture on a cold day, breath must be considered. Cigarette smoke must also be acknowledged. If anyone was smoking in the area, or even in the distance, you must consider the fact that smoke creates unusual trails when it drifts through the air.

Watch for signs of operator error. A finger too close to the lens may give off a pink or orange glow. A stray camera strap may produce a reflection, creating a bright white line of light (appearing to be a vortex). Examine that line closely: If the texture is the same throughout, it was probably caused by a lens strap. Stray hair in front of the camera will show up as white strands, and may lead you to conclude you have captured evidence of the paranormal (i.e. a vortex). Spider webs or strands can reflect from the flash and give off paranormal images.

Check your camera to rule out defects in the camera. If using film, double-check the condition of the film and the developing process. Light streaks that may appear red or orange may indicate exposure to light before or after the photo was taken. It may also indicate out of date or heat damaged film.

"Be a Skeptic" Just because you see a shiny orb in the woods through your night vision video camera, don't think you've caught a ghost. Try and think of what item it could be. Ask yourself questions like; "Is it moving or standing still?" "Does it show up in every photo I take?" "Is there ANYTHING that might have caused a reflection?” Ask these types of questions, so you debunk yourself before someone else does and ruins your reliability.

Work in pairs, two or more witnesses will always outweigh what one person claims to be the truth. If you can say "There were eight of us there and no one saw the figure in this image." chances are you will be believed.  Especially when they interview the other seven people and get the same story.

Once you have ruled out these common causes for seemingly paranormal images in photographs, the conclusion is up to you. You may not be able to prove that it's really the ghost of a long lost relative in your photographs, but you can present your evidence to the world without the risk of embarrassment for overlooking an obvious explanation.

EVP Analysis

The best way to help your analysis will start with how you record and prepare for the recording.  Here are some advanced ways of assist insuring that your EVP quality and analysis is the best it can be:

Turn on some kind of background noise. Keep the volume low. The best noise is white noise. It may sound counterproductive but the spirits have a hard time creating any sound that makes sense. Because it takes a lot of energy to do. The background noise allows them to piece together sounds from the static to more easily form words. Plus, the recorders are more sensitive than our ears. So, essentially, we are making it easier for them to talk.

At this point you can leave and have an ambient EVP session. That is one where you allow the spirits to speak at their discursion without questions or prompting. The other method is a question and answer session.  

When you're done with the recording, politely thank the spirit if you want to, once again this has no effect on the outcome of the recording. Then you can go home and listen to it.

When you first get to where you want to record, make every sound possible that could be mistaken for a spirit. Cough, breathe, scoot around, etc. Next, have someone go into all of the surrounding rooms and talk at various volumes. Also, have them bang on the walls etc. Announce that you are done with your comparative noises and begin your EVP. This will give a creditable baseline for comparison in debunking.

When you talk or ask questions speak loudly and clearly. Don't speak directly into the microphone because when you play back the recording you'll most likely have the volume cranked up so that you can hear every little sound.

Ask simple questions. Not questions like "How often did you think about going to your mother's house, and if it was often which days did you not do it?"

Get comfortable. The less noise YOU make the better.

EVP experimentation involves a lot of listening.  After an audio recording is made, the experimenter must then listen to the sound track very carefully for any hint of intelligent sound.  Since the recording is often made with a background sound source, the experimenter must learn to listen "around" that noise, or "into" it to distinguish noise from the message. This is very similar to learning a new language, in that you may need to "train" your mind to recognize words that are spoken with a different cadence, and often, at different frequencies, than normally spoken words.

Finally one must know when listening to an EVP recording is that the voices may sound distant, strange or seem to be singing. Sometimes they will have an unusual cadence or consonants and vowels will be compressed or elongated in an unusual way.  Good Luck!!!!   Now start listening.










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