by Virginia Carraway Stark
Photographic evidence of the paranormal is sort of a holy grail of the paranormal world. If only I had my camera ready when I saw that- well, whatever it was you may or may not have seen. It’s become a bit of a joke, there’s a UFO landing and for whatever reason the only pictures of it are blurry beyond the point of recognition. Sasquatch, lochness monster, alien pictures by the score are blurred and poor quality it seems almost define pictures taken in the paranormal world. These poor quality pictures detract from proving the paranormal and contributes to the fringe nature of the paranormal.
One of the best things that you can do to help contribute to the use of photographic evidence in the paranormal is to learn how to take better pictures. Taking pictures has several parts to it. The first part is obviously: Your subject matter. If a cloud sort of looks like a face or you think you are seeing demons in flames you have to understand that this perception is not verifiable proof. Things look like other things to our minds. Humans are highly associative creatures and we look for patterns and for similarities. Clouds can look like elephants, angels, a laughing child or a demon from hell. This isn’t proof, it is an associative and creative mindset. If you want to prove something is paranormal then you are likely looking at capturing something like a Sasquatch or the lochness monster. These aren’t subjective to our brain’s interpretations of them, these are (in theory) animals that can be photographed the same way that your dog or cat can be photographed to prove that they exist.
Choose your subject matter wisely in order to lend credence to it. Streaks of light, bits of shadow, the fabled ‘orbs’ and many other so-called phenomenon result because of human error when using digital equipment or from bits of dust, debris and insects. These little bits of things reflect light or block light and so they come off as looking very different on camera than they do in real life. You might not have any idea that a fly photo-bombed the adorable picture of your nephew and all that the eye of the camera picks of is a blaze of light where the insect reflected the light. This is an interesting effect but the truth of that matter is that it isn’t guardian angel or a bit of aura or a force of evil, it’s a bug. If we say every bug we see is something out of the ordinary then we cease to be truthfully seeking proof of the extraordinary.
Our eyes may deceive us and a camera is merely a mechanical eye that can also be easily deceived. This is why it is so difficult to show people a picture and claim it as definitive proof. Special effects, apps and photo-shop all denigrate the integrity of photographs even further. Use integrity in you photos, never use apps or special effects to ‘augment’ your claims of the paranormal. Patience, integrity and diligence are the way to prove your claim.
The second most important part of a photograph is your equipment and your capabilities and understanding of the tools you are using. That is addressed in How to Hold a Camera and Other Tips for Taking Accurate Pictures of the Paranormal.