Ghost Hunting at its Best!
by Dr. Dave Oester, Ph.D.
The digital camera is one of the most beneficial wonders to come out of our technological age. The ability to record and view photographs without the need for developing and printing is absolutely marvelous. I have been using the digital camera since 1997.
Since the IGHS started endorsing the use of digital cameras in field investigations, tens of thousands of digital photos have been taken by thousands of IGHS members using all kinds of brands of digital cameras. We started out endorsing the Sony Mativa FD-7 which has evolved into the FD-71 and now the FD-73. This was the basic 640x480 pixel resolution that provided excellent photos for posting to web sites. Today we have cameras that far exceed these beginning units.
Today we use a 14.1 megapixel digital camera. We recommend that our IGHS members experiment with various new cameras that are very effective at recording the spirits of the dead. Any brand of digital camera will function well in ghost photography.
In our early days of promoting the digital camera, critics would suggest that the orb anomaly was a result of defeats in the digital camera. However, Sony Technical Department has stated that the orbs and ectoplasm is NOT caused by a camera defect! Almost all orbs are a result of capturing airborne dust, pollen, or mositure orbs floating in front of the camera lens. Also, lens flare is still common when inexperience photographers point their camera toward the sun and snap photos, but this happens with film cameras and is not unique to the digital formats.
Critics claim that the resolution is too grainy, but today digital images are equal to film images. Unfortunately the critics are not updated on their digital technology. In most cases, digital images are better and more reliable than the chemical methods of film prints.
Today every major photography magazines include major articles on digital photography. The digital technology is her to stay and is being acknowledged and promoted by major photographic organizations and schools. There are even many places that offer online courses.
Digital format has some benefits over film format that skeptics refuses to acknowledge. First, the image can be viewed immediately so the location of the ghostly anomaly can be confirmed and focused on with other cameras and instruments. Second and most important, images are already in jpg format and suitable for uploading to the Internet. These images do not need to be scanned into the computer as film images require.
The CCD array on many Digital Cameras are Infrared (IR) Sensitive! This is why all of the Sony "Nightshot" Camcorders use these exact same CCD arrays. A film camera is not IR sensitive and was not designed to pull from the IR spectrum, so Digital is more designed for this research than film. This is also why people report more "orbs" with digital than film. Orbs are Infrared.
I recommend without reservation the use of digital cameras for conducting field investigations of haunted sites. The digital camera and the new digital camcorders are the wave of the future. Today's critics are tomorrow's supporters. The digital format is the future today. I love the digital camera and is so nice to be able to download the images immediately and view the results on the computer. The wave of the future is digital cameras, not the old fashion film and chemical methods.
Before hunting for the best SLR Digital Cameras online, learn the differences between all the digital cameras and its features.
We are now encouraging the used of digital camcorders for recording paranormal events. We have seen initial success with low lux camcorders using external light's record balls of light. We get e-mail from skeptics who claim that digital video is not possible for capturing paranormal events, yet we have personally captured dozens of flying orbs and ectoplasmic mist on Sony Night Vision camcorder that were not flying insects.
We have also captured a full body apparition at the Bend Pioneer Cemetery with this same camcorder. Our most famous video footage is the Gettysburg Ghost Lights where two balls of light traveled from right to left across seventy-four frames! These two lights passed in front and behind trees, one ball of light split into two balls of light and then merged together as one ball of light.
Some commonly asked questions about digital cameras that I receive at our headquarters are as follows:
Question: "It seems that the digital camera most often picks up the ghostly 'sphere' and I have begun to wonder if it is not simply a camera-related phenomenon."
Answer: No, Sony has said the anomalies are not camera related. It is not a simple camera-related phenomenon because we have documented the same kind of dust spheres with 35 mm cameras since 1996 that we have been posting photos to the Ghost Web.
Also we have the same dust spheres captured with half dozen different brand digital cameras, all revealing the same kinds of spheres. This same experiment has been done combining the above tools and the thermal scanner that displays changes in ambient temperature. Temperature drops between thirty degrees and sixty degrees have been recorded while digital and film cameras have document orbs hovering within the cold spot.
Question: "But so many web sites now post orb photos, can they all be just dust?"
Answer: Yes! All photos displayed on web site thae show hundred's of orbs in circular patterns are environmwentaL and not paranormal. I know for a certainty that these orbs consist of water droplets, dust particles or insects flying in front of the lens. It seems that most people are convined that all orbs are ghost related when in fact they are just ordinary airborne dust particles.
Sometimes well meaning cameramen and photographer comment on the digital format as being not valid for this kind of work. However, if you examine the background of these folks, you will find that they have no experience in digital photography and thus it is simply their opinion. These skeptics will claim that digital photos can be faked with photo editing programs. Well guess what? You can fake film prints just as easy. Any first year photography high school student can create manipulated prints. If someone wanted to fake a photo, they can use basic photographic techniques and create a good hoax. I have taught college level photography classes and have done extensive darkroom work. If someone wanted to fake a photo, the tools are available without having to resort to digital manipulation.
Let me suggest that these orb photos are not offering a new understanding to the spirits of the dead, but instead are just reconfirming to us that dust particles are everywhere. Remember, we have been taught according to the traditional knowledge that originated from the late 1800's. This past knowledge has never been questioned before by anyone. New ghost hunters automatically study and accept the previous understandings and explanation without questioning the validity of the knowledge. The IGHS does not follow this pattern because we question everything related to past established explanations. The IGHS is the first organization that focused on ghost photography and the only ghost hunting group to post over 9,000 ghost photos.
No maker of digital cameras has ever suggested that the orbs, ectoplasm or vortices were the result of camera defects. Sony has said that their digital camera does not create orbs shaped anomalies at night. The digital camera manufacturers have refuted the concocted tale that the digital camera is inferior. Don't fall for the Great Deception that all orbs are ghost related. Learn the Truth! Digital is the future, now.
In the past, the method of recording images on film was very crude when compared with today's photographic technology. In the past, traditional ghost investigators would devote months and years on a single case that terminated in very few photos to document the events. The IGHS teaches a different approach where an investigation can be completed in twenty minutes with amazing results.
I suspect one reason for this lack of evidence to surface from traditional investigators lies in their understanding of the spirits of the dead. When investigators begin an investigation believing that ghosts are nothing more than fragmented emotions after death or imprinted fragments, running like an endless film loop. This erroneous belief suggests that the ghost have no feelings, no emotions, no intelligence, no attitudes, but simply a mindless blob of ectoplasm that may be earth bound. What ghost in their right mind would want to be the subject of such an investigation? If you were a ghost, would you want to show yourself to investigators with this mind set? I think not.
Perhaps the reason the IGHS members have successfully captured so many spheres with film and digital cameras are because we teach a different approach to thinking and acting around places that ghosts may be found. We teach respect and reverence for another life form that there is life after life and that ghosts are evidence of this life after death. We need to treat the ghosts as we would treat someone in our peer group or family. We suggest talking to them before photographs are taken and from our own experience in the field, the ghosts do talk to investigators who are taking their photos.
Everyone is a skeptic until they have their day of awakening. We do not look down on skeptics because we know they lack the knowledge and experience to understand what is happening as evident by the ghost photos posted. If you conduct an investigation with your mind filled with doubt, you will not be successful. Your doubts act like a beacon sending out energy messages declaring you do not believe that they exist. The spirit seems to interface best when the mind is open and free of doubt. Doubt is like a wall that prevents the investigator from obtaining anomalous photos of spheres.
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