The Controversy of Digital Photographic Evidence – A Blessing and a Curse

When researching the Internet for photographic evidence of paranormal phenomena, it’s amazing how many websites I’ll encounter from all over the world reporting to have undeniable evidence for everything from ghosts to spirits, angels to demons, aliens to time travelers, on film or video. This evidence, upon closer examination, often reveals a lame attempt to hide tampering, or has in fact been fabricated. More often than not, orbs are presented as the only source of irrefutable evidence.

This is precisely why I classify myself as a skeptical believer. Let me clarify that statement: before I accept my own photographs as evidence (much less anyone else’s) I put them under the microscope of logic and scrutiny, trying to determine whether I’m seeing an apparition or an anomaly, but I do it objectively. If I can find no logical explanation, I then ask paranormal colleagues whose judgment and insight I trust and whose opinion I value, to examine the same data. Then and only then, should it remain unexplained, will I deem it either “paranormally significant” or “paranormally compelling.” As far as calling it a ghost or a spirit, demon or angel, alien or time traveler, who can say for sure what it is? If it defies a logical or scientific explanation, it is simply paranormal.

You may argue that in order to know for sure, you have to become an expert in digital photography. Not so! You just need to be informed. That is the purpose for this article. I am not trying to answer the question of whether orbs are anomalies or apparitions, I’m trying to find an explanation: What exactly did I capture in the photograph?

There is not a camera made today that can always answer this question. However, cameras and methods do exist by which the number of anomalies you get in a photograph by contamination can be greatly reduced. Contaminants include those ever present objects we find in countless thousands of photographs, taken day or at night, with or without a flash, called orbs.

This oddity appears to be more prominent with the advent of digital cameras, as digital photography has opened up a whole new can of worms, although there are more blessings than problems.