Monday, March 21

The CDP Wayback Machine - Paranormal Activity Edition.


(Originally published March 16, 2009.)

Well, here it is. The Holy Grail that followers of the Paranormal have been waiting their entire lives for. The indisputable, ironclad photographic proof that yes, spiritual entities walk among us in reality. Gosh, I really should have tipped off the folks at Coast to Coast or TAPS beforehand; this could have been a real media frenzy had I marketed it correctly. In fact, until I saw the photos that I am about to present to you, I thought that correct marketing was all you really needed to make the Paranormal come to life; no real evidence required. Nonetheless, prepare to have your minds collectively blown across the room and spattered against the wall.

…Yeah…

It’s become a lot harder for me to believe in ghosts now that I’ve stopped believing in an Afterlife. After all, there’s not much space for the supernatural to roam if I’ve mentally closed the door on the idea that we go anywhere when we die. Still, I’m relatively pleased with my revelation, remain optimistic about the current (and theoretically, only) life I’m living, and still have no legit proof that spirits are real, despite 20 years of my own personal searching.

It’s a bummer, but I can’t pretend anymore. I’m not going to be like devoted followers of faith healers and mediums, convinced that these con artists have a gift from God, when what they’re really clinging to is the extreme hope that there’s somehow more to life than simply being mortal. It's comforting as all get out, but...you know, makes absolutely no sense in a logical reality.

For the record, I still hope that I’m 100% wrong about all of this, but I’m probably not. The beauty of believing or denying the Afterlife, however, is that you’ll likely never know if you were right or wrong. While it would certainly be nice to laugh in the face of those who insist on praying for my sinful, Agnostic soul, it sort of defeats the purpose of my beliefs to make it so. Proof in the Pudding, and soforth.

I used to be obsessed with the paranormal, and I have about 60 books and 30 videos on the matter to prove it. There used to be a particular book on ghosts that I would routinely check out of the elementary school library each week until I was told I could no longer read it (in fact, the photograph of the ‘Missus’ in my ‘First Time Here?’ essay is taken directly from it). And while I no longer peruse websites for nights at a time or seek further opinions on the truth of the paranormal, I still find the entire genre interesting on a completely different level than I did as a kid: a Social level.

To me, the question is no longer, “Are ghosts real?” Now, I care more about the question, “Why do people believe in ghosts?” Why do people believe in anything that lacks tangible proof, really? Is the terror of death so great that it inspires faith merely to counteract the thought of the inevitable?

Well...yeah. Totally. Death scares the shit out of me, no question about it.

Once my focus shifted from the non-tangible, theoretical level to the very real, humanist level, did my entire outlook change. Like most, I now know that I believed in ghosts because it’s comforting to know that it’s possible to somehow survive death in a non-human, non-living, spiritual form. Heck, who wouldn’t want to believe that this isn’t all that we have?

Be that as it may (and getting back on topic), we won’t be any closer to solving this little life riddle by examining these upcoming photos, even for several lifetimes in a row.

Here’s how this 'ghost photo' stuff all started. Several months ago, a co-worker approached me in the break room of our office:

“Hey, you’re into ghosts and stuff, right?”

“Well…no, not really. I mean, I was, but not anymore. You see, in January I had what you would call a Near-Death Experience, and instead of seeing Heaven, the thin veil of my own mortality fell like an iron curtain, and I was instantly disillusioned and surprisingly free of burden in the face of uncertainty, despair and terror. I saw an infinite nothingness that pretty much changed my entire-“

“Um…yeah. Anyway, I have some neat pictures that my brother sent me of a ghost.”

“Really? Send ‘em my way. I’d love to publicly out your brother as some sort of borderline-insane basket case that photographs rocking chairs for absolutely no reason other than to speculate what invisible things might be sitting in them.”

“…Wow, you’re kind of a jerk. Do you know that?”

“Someday you’ll thank me for my evolved wisdom.”

“I highly doubt that. You just dunked your necktie into your coffee mug.”

So, she sends me the photos, and I’m finally going to share them with you. But a stern word of warning: Don’t expect to see anything that even remotely resembles anything paranormal. I could easily send you a shoebox full of cat crap and tell you it was Whistler's Mother, and a reader can just as soon send me photographs of a television set and say that it’s a ghost. I’m only sharing them for two reasons. One, to show how quickly we jump at the prospect of the paranormal if it suits our belief in an afterlife. And two, because it’s endlessly entertaining stuff, hoax or not.

Onward!



Here we see Photograph #1. It had been titled, "The Mist Begins." Begins where?

Some quick, random observations. First off, there is no mist whatsoever, so let's just move right on from there. Secondly, the claim was that the guy took all of these pictures from his bedroom on a Polaroid camera, which leads me to ask, "What's a grown man doing with a ceramic horse-drawn carriage on his nightstand...on top of a doily?" To me, this is a mystery far more compelling than anything paranormal that was taking place that evening.

I mean, if I'm being nice, I'll admit to seeing some off-balance light emitting off of the top of the carriage, but it's extremely far from being referred to as 'mist.' Furthermore, it looks like the carriage is a plugged-in lamp of some sort, so it could just be actual light illuminating from the thing.

Also, if these photographs were taken with a Polaroid camera, why were they scanned and cropped to appear like rectangular, 'normal' photos? Doesn't make much sense to me, but let's move on, because we've just scratched the surface of stuff that makes no sense.



This is Photograph #2, and it was titled "Face Image." Indeed, it is an image of a face or possibly faces, bathing in a blue, white-noisy hue.

Now, this is a neat-looking photo; certainly the coolest one out of the four that were given to me. Problem is, I was told that these photos were taken in succession within minutes, and all of this was taking place around the bedroom. So remember all that natural light in the first photo? Well, now we're in complete darkness, and a hologram is apparently manifesting itself above the guy's bed.

Looks pretty two-dimensional, doesn't it? Looks like it lacks depth, right? Well, you'd be correct, because this is most likely a close-up photo of a television set. What is being viewed on said television is a mystery, but the pitch-dark, depth-less nature of this image makes it all but impossible to be something that took shape in the vast space between the six walls of a bedroom.

Cool picture, though.



This is Photo #3, and it was titled, "Who Is She?"

Okay. Here's where I begin to feel like my intelligence is being insulted. In an almost identical design as Photo #2, we have another photograph of a two-dimensional object that was claimed to be manifesting itself within a room. This is sort of true, in that it manifested itself onto a television set, when the television set was plugged in and turned to a station that manifested this image during a show.

Not that these photos need any more scrutiny, but do you notice the differences between the first picture and the next two? The first photo is a picture of something that exists in reality. Admittedly, a frilly reality that likes doilys and carousel horse lamps, but a reality nonetheless. The next two photos are of a flat surface, and we know this because our eyes can process depth, even by just viewing a photograph of it.

And again, for a photo that was taken on a 'Polaroid' camera, it's been bizarrely cropped again, this time as a portrait-sized image. Why would someone do that? If you thought you had some solid paranormal evidence on your hands, would you alter the photos at all?

Oh, and if this were a ghost, then it's the most detailed and well-manifested paranormal entity in the history of Mankind.

This is a long way past shenanigans, but we still have one more to go.



Fourth and finally, we have "A Clear Face Image!"

Indeed we do. Indeed we do. In fact, I find this image to be quite beautiful. What an amazing thing to have materialize above your bed one night. I also love how the Angel brought her own illuminated light to reflect off the top of her head, while somehow leaving the rest of the bedroom behind her pitch black. That had to have taken some divine interstellar intervention, not to mention a complete lack of basic physics. Sorry kids, it's another picture of a television. And hey, what happened to the blue glow? Did the guy change the channel from AMC to TCM?

The final verdict?



Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

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