Night ghost

From the person who sent it in:

This was taken by a friend of mine whilst the three of us were on a ghost hunt at St Albans Cathedral. Whilst we took many during the evening that showed mist and ‘orbs’ this one was the most usual and I still haven’t been able to think of a decent explanation as to what may have caused the light effect you can clearly see (supernatural or not!). This was one of the first pictures taken during the evening and I have one taken of the same area (for our own post-analysis) that shows no artificial light.


What do you think?  Comment and vote now!

71 Responses to “Night ghost”

  1. tuell Says:

    I’ve got one very similar to this from down a mine shaft. Shot in “night mode” or with an SLR camera using a long exposure and flash. The flash freezes the faces of the people but the shuuter stays open and any small light source creates a “trail” as the camera is lowered from the person’s face. Cigarette or cigarette lighter perhaps?

    • jon Says:

      I totally agree…this happens a lot in photography and friends of mine have experimented with this sort of effect where the people are in clear focus yet light move around and leaves trails!

      • Dominic Hopkirk Says:

        I’ve got a pic on my laptop where People are sitting around in a club in low light and an incredible amount of weird lights, all a lot bigger than this and leaving trails whizzing around all over the place. When I took the picture I didn’t see them, of course, and I’m no photography expert, but when I transferred the pic to my computer I knew straight away it was the lighting that caused it. I didn’t immediately think, oh my god, ghosts. What a stupid picture to post on this website. Complete waste of time.

    • Monica Says:

      Falso. Simples efeito.

  2. i cant see Says:

    this is fired thin dropped with up. and yhis is bad fotocamera.

  3. Vicci Says:

    If the effect is caused when the camera is lowered are you proposing it’s a cigarette being smoked by a giant hiding in the trees behind the subjects?

    ghosts *and* giants, cool!

  4. Anise76 Says:

    If you look behind the light source, there is clearly a face being lit up by whatever the light is. Natural explanation, not a fake.

    Near-identical effect in this pic:

  5. Vicci Says:

    ah, I see what you mean now! The light would appear to streak up as the camera was lowered. *rolls eyes, girls and science, hey.

    So there can be that much movement (if you see it goes down before it goes up) without blurring the subjects?

    • Anise76 Says:

      Yes, there can be that much movement without affecting the faces. I’ve seen it, but not been able to recreate it personally to such a degree. Damn my current camera being good enough to corredct for motion blur!

  6. Vicci Says:

    funny comment “there is clearly a face being lit up by whatever the light is.” Sent shivers down my spine – we were the only three there …or at least we thought…

  7. Vicci Says:

    hmmm, ok. Maybe but still doesn’t explain where the light came from though.

  8. Jonathan H. Says:

    Sorry, it’s just a camera effect. Seen so, so many times in dark pic’s. I’vetaken them myself, where the ligt source isn’t even in direct view of the lens – something off to the side will do it as well

  9. MG Says:

    The light is a street lamp the reason that it is alternating light and dark is the alternating curent lighting it up so it’s actually on and off 50 times per second (or so). As previously stated it’s a combiantion of a flash and long exposure – after the flash goes off the camera is moved down quickly and the shutter is till open for a fraction of a second allowing enough time for the bright trail to form.

  10. Vicci Says:

    how do you know such a fact about street lights MG? That’s ace. Is it true facts because I don’t want to look silly when I quote you.

    seems like all of you peeps who are going with the light/exposure theory are conveniently ignoring the last sentence of the overview.

  11. Damo Says:

    Hi Vicci – I’ve got one similar to yours but with more light, more apparent movement, other objects in focus and the cool ropey effect to the trail. I thought shaky hand/over exposure/night vision (I didn’t take it but I saw it on the camera at the time) but we all stumble at the same points as you…. there were no lights where it was taken so where did it come from?

    That’s always been the “Ah but…” element to it because there surely has to be a source before the light can trail surely? I’m not sure about “supercharged energy” but I think the whole point of the website is to share the stuff anyway so good on ya.

    I know cameras may be more sensitive than my eyes (in fact they will be cos mine are old and knackered) but I think we’d know if there was something that bright floating or zipping about.

    If you know there was no light, cigarette, glowstick, moth-on-fire or drunken tinkerbell then then stick to your guns.

    If nothing else we’ve got cool photo’s :oD

  12. Ketakee Says:

    I dont think this is a ghost..hav seen this effect sooo many times in photographs in night mode..maybe small particle of light..lighted because of the flash!

  13. MG Says:

    I’ve seen the effect loads of times so that’s why I’m familiar with it and as to the there was no light – they say that they took one of the same area they don’t say when they took it and even a small movement away will not show the light, alternatively if they took it at teh same time it would be quite easy for the girl in the picture to obscure the light. Have a look at this picture to see the same effect with the light closer to the camera. Picture chsoen at random from a google search for street light night slow shutter.

  14. Vicci Says:

    ok, so we are agreed that the example you’ve chosen has a similar effect but just for arguments sake…

    based on your experience of seeing this “loads of times” I’m interested to hear where you believe the street light to be? In the distance or immediately above the girl’s head? How close to the camera would it have to be to cause this effect?

  15. MG Says:

    Without knowing the focal length of the lens can’t say for definite but it is a distance away it’s not necessary for it to be close to get the effect. With it being in the distance as well it makes it harder to spot when you’re not specifically looking for it – an example of photographer blindness when you’re looking at the photograph in the viewfinder but not actually seeing what’s there – not being able to see the wood for the trees.

  16. manigen Says:

    Vicky, if you’ve taken other shots of the same place in daylight, it would be really helpful to see them. Otherwise we won’t know enough about the surrounding to guess what the lights source was.

    And MG is absolutely right; lamps like street lamps have quite a low flicker rate that can be seen in some photos or even with the naked eye if you pay enough attention.

  17. Vicci Says:

    Damo, I enjoyed your post so much, thank you for sharing your thoughts. The image of a drunken tinkerbell made me smile. Would you be prepared to send me your photograph if I give you my email address?

    MG – that’s a bit disappointing. If it helps the camera is a Nikon Cool Pix 5600. As for wood for the trees – this could be used just as much for your argument than anything else 🙂

    Manigen – sorry no photographs during the day I’m afraid – although this is what it needs. The street lamp theory has intrigued me enough to look at other examples on the web. Disappointed to see all seem to produce multiple trials of light rather than a singular one. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    • Damo Says:

      I think Tink smokes a little more than she drinks… hence all the flying :oD Bearing mind a lot of weirdos will be looking at ghost pics (as well as the brained lot with the answers…) you can email me at Not sure which group I’m in though I’m sure there are opinions…

      My pic “Woman in White” is on Page 1 or 2 in “older posts” I think… feel free to comment and vote (and don’t feel obliged to be nice – if you wanna slate me it’s pretty… actually, no. Just keep it shut in that case)

      Tee Hee ;o) x

  18. Vicci Says:

    PS *trawling through Flickr for a picture of this side in the day….

  19. MG Says:

    As for wood for the trees – I wasn’t meaning this about any argument / point of view I meant at the time of taking the picture concentrating on the people so miss the other things that are there.

  20. Dave Says:

    I agree with the other postings about how this is simply achieved photographically. Often the new digital cameras will auto flash in the dark and thus freezing the faces and if there was camera movement then thr red light in the background would trail. Not even close to paranormal.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    That’s fair enough MG. Just to reiterate we were ghost hunting – taking two shots of each scene one after the other, taking stock of the area (inc. lights) and weather conditions. I’m still keen to hear your thoughts on how close a street light would have to be (or not) to cause this effect so I can have this in mind when reviewing other photographs. Also, did you have any thoughts on the singular/multiple trials of light?

    Nice one Damo, I’ll be in touch.

  22. Jobless Col Says:

    Either im see’ing things…or…. but when i zoomed in maximum 400% i think i can see a pale face in the bush, to the left of the brick wall about half way down,

    but it may just be a trick of the light??? hhmmm

  23. tiago costa Says:

    oooo come onnnnnnn! bad camera!

  24. PAULO Says:

    No espiritismo estudamos que todas as almas ( espíritos encarnados ) estão ligados ao corpo pelo perispírito. Uma espécie de cordão umbilical que nao permite a alma se dispersar do corpo. Um fluido semi-material. Quando a alma desencarna ( momento exato da morte ) , esse cordão se rompe, permitindo ao espírito ( desencarnado ) retornar ao mundo superior espiritual, da mesma forma que o corpo volta ao mundo superior material ( a terra ). Essa foto me parece um legitimo espírito recem desencarnado. O perispírito as vezes é captado por lentes extra-sensíveis, porém é muito raro fotografá-lo pois necessita ser fotografado poucos instantes após o espirito desencarnar. Então, sinceramente, nao duvido que aquela luz na foto seja o perispírito daquela moça da foto. Abraço.
    Thanks for atenction.

  25. Viviane Says:

    But… where is the ghost?!!!!! O_o

  26. Bruno Says:

    Oh my god! Super man smokes! 😀 It’s a cigarret for sure, I did exactally this with my old pentax me super 10 years ago 😀 (sorry, my english is not perfect)

  27. geiser Says:

    é um simples fio de cabelo por que semprte acontece comigo,o fio de cabelo no contato com o flash resulta no brilho na frente da camera

  28. Amauri Nehn Says:

    On the eyes of the girls seem marijuana.rsrsrsr they smoked …
    But the light, it is normal

  29. Ale Says:

    By the way …. pra mim é muito Fake, pois a foto é puta mal tirada, só da cabeça das minas … ou seja pra mim premeditado que fosse fotografado algo não comum …

  30. MP Says:

    Outra Fake!
    MP – RJ – Brasil

  31. Scary Face Says:

    It seems that there is a ghost in front of the picture, with a girl with brighten eyes and… oh, nevermind, it is just an scary face…

  32. JoANNa Says:

    gente isso é um terremotttooooooooooooo kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk isso não é fantasma de maneira nenhuma kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  33. davi Says:

    ta mais pra OVNI que pra fantasma ¬¬

  34. Sabrina - Rio de Janeiro - Says:

    As duas sao um fantasma!!!

  35. yuzuki Says:

    Simplesmente o fotografo devia ser fumante…..ou o espectador ao lado do fotografo era isso é efeito causado por alguma fagulha

  36. Topics about Plants » Archive » Night ghost « Ghostly photographs from Hauntings Says:

    […] Richard Wiseman placed an observative post today on Night ghost « Ghostly photographs from HauntingsHere’s a quick excerptMG – that’s a bit disappointing. If it helps the camera is a Nikon Cool Pix 5600. As for wood for the trees – this could be used just as much for your argument than anything else :-). Manigen – sorry no photographs during the day I’m … […]

  37. stevemac Says:

    FAKE – rope burning dangled from a branch or something.

  38. Ambalon Says:

    for gods sake, firefly + long exposure = this photo

  39. Clemente Says:

    Como Yuzuki disse, o fotógrafo deve ser fumante. Mas por que as pessoas fumam? Porque tem um encosto na vida delas. Por isso, esse efeito na foto é fantasmagórico.

  40. Nika Says:

    Yes…thats false…i have 100 s photoes like that…even more interesting …;) definitely exposure trick…

  41. André Vieira Says:

    Conheci este blog pelo google e me encantei…
    Devo dizer sobre a foto,pois acredito ser um simples efeito criado
    pelo computador…

  42. Shaiene Says:

    PAULO Says:

    March 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    “No espiritismo estudamos que todas as almas ( espíritos encarnados ) estão ligados ao corpo pelo perispírito. Uma espécie de cordão umbilical que nao permite a alma se dispersar do corpo. Um fluido semi-material. Quando a alma desencarna ( momento exato da morte ) , esse cordão se rompe, permitindo ao espírito ( desencarnado ) retornar ao mundo superior espiritual, da mesma forma que o corpo volta ao mundo superior material ( a terra ). Essa foto me parece um legitimo espírito recem desencarnado. (…)”

    Para PAULO e Qualquer outro Leitor, o que aconteeu, foi simplismente um efeito da camera fotográfica, há várias cameras que possuem uma “feramenta” especial para o escuro, quando há algum ponto de luz por perto, e se a camera for movimentada, este ponto de luz aparece “em movimento”, eu mesma tenho várias destas fotos com amigas.


  43. Anonymous Says:

    I guess… a spectrum of an giant-alien-ghost just dropped his cigar, when they took the picture.
    Think about it.. the monster was there, just chilling, relaxing, smoking his cigarrete… then some frickin’ invaders start taking pictures from the surroundings… Gooosshh… they scared the hell out of him, so he let the cigar fall.. just as simple as that!

  44. Cintia Says:

    fake….no doubt

  45. mark_valley Says:

    flash + low shutter speed

  46. marina Says:

    you can do that esily in the nigh mode of your digital camera… ¬¬
    such a joke

  47. guo baodong Says:

    it’s only a flash, faked!

  48. Darren - GRI Says:

    Most modern cameras undertake a balancing act to automatically get acceptable shots in many conditions – however most fall down in low light situations.
    Although the image contains no EXIF data I suspect the camera has automatically given an excessive exposure time.
    After the flash fired (typically 1/1000th second) the shutter remained opened for a short time, shooting in the dark. Even slight camera movement would force any points of light to trail. It is common for the photographer to move the camera downward after the flash, thinking the shot is over, with most exposures ranging from 1/2 – 4 seconds.
    A tripod would prevent the camera moving, if this is not feasible increase the camera’s ISO setting – this will force a reduction in the shutter speed.

    Also see: for other photos showing the effect.

  49. Tim Says:

    I have seen similar evidence myself and have disproved this type of evidence.

    Even though the picture is clear, this was caused by prolonged camera exposure due to the low lights. A lot of time you when there is very bright light in the picture the picture will still be clear, but you will see the light still leave a trail. This is very re-createable.

    Also, 90% of the time that you see these streaks they are going up, because people lower the camera after taking the picture causing the prolonged camera exposure to show the streaks moving upwards.

  50. jonny Says:

    i wud neva have thought that ropes wud have trouble travelling between worlds after they died but i am proven wrong once again

  51. Bubba Says:


  52. Snark Says:

    Either fake or luminescent insect.

  53. Chuzzy Says:

    Post analysis! u look scared out of ur wits. Hope u’ve got it back about u now though.

  54. Cly Says:

    Not hard to reproduce.

  55. Shayalon Says:

    I can’t see why people don’t come to the obvious conclusion here. Someone threw a cigarette. I suspect the blonde girl, and we have an extended exposure and low light conditions, add flash, which will cement the flashed portion of the photo and tada! Could be done on accident or with great skill. heheh

  56. BRIAN Says:

    rope light simple

  57. Palhoca Says:

    The light is almost exactly as the same as the photo from Machu Pichu (sorry about the spelling). Right down to the ‘tail’ which was described as being like a double helix by the other photographer.

  58. ellie Says:

    This is a trick created by the “night mode” on a camera, it shows a streetlight or other light. the ‘tail’ is caused by long exposure (i or something like that) and camera shake. (If you don’t believe me go and try it)

  59. Nex Says:

    looks like flexible led strip lights hanging from a tree to me, as the girl on the left is clearly looking directly at the end.

    Go down to a local government building at xmas at night and take one of theeir lights off the tree and take a pic, ul get the same as the one above 😛

  60. pjero Says:


  61. aditya Says:

    what the hell maaaaaaan! this is nothing but your bloody ass

  62. LuS-K Says:

    your friend is way too much terrorific! look that expression!

  63. Anonymous Says:

    the picture is caused by a cigarette being thrown, i only know this bc i played the star wars game where you throw a cigarette at someone and someone took a picture of it looks exactly like that

  64. Anonymous Says:

    I have scratched my pictures before n that’s the color the scratch turn into

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