As I mentioned in last week’s episode, I’m going to be doing some shorter episodes from time to time bringing you some updates and/or new information. My work schedule is such that the full-length interviews can be maintained at every two weeks, but as the show grows and I start speaking with more people, I’m finding myself gaining additional information on discussions that I don’t really know where to fit within that schedule. Because I think these updates are pertinent to some of the discussions I’ve visited, I feel the need to keep you in the loop.
This week, I’m bringing you a brief update to my last conversation with Chris Wolford for a couple of reasons. First, he shared with me an excerpt out of a book he is reading that relates to the high strangeness in San Diego we discussed involving the company SAIC, and the level of technology being worked on there. The book states (quote):
This quote is very interesting given our conversation exploring what the photo I posted last week could have been. Which leads us to my next reason for providing today’s update.
I also wanted to follow up regarding that photo which you can find in last week’s show notes, where a figure is depicted in a hospital corridor. I posted this photo a few places publically in addition to having some people I know look at it. There’s definitely mixed feedback, and a wide array of opinions about how to debunk a photo, though few actually posted responses with data. While the feedback continues to roll in, I’m still going to play the good podcast host and provide you with the information, then allow you to draw your own conclusions.
Reddit user, PointandClick states: “Error analysis doesn't show tampering of the picture (and he provides a photo I’ll upload to the show notes). link.
Color analysis places the shape firmly inside the picture, as it is seemingly reflecting off the wall (another photo provided). link
What this means is that this picture is most likely not tampered with after the fact and came out of the camera this way, and what we're looking at was actually there. So this could be a double exposure or long exposure, which is unlikely or impossible due to it coming out a flip phone. Actual smoke can also not be ruled out. Superficially, it very clearly looks like what people describe as ghost. Depending on the backstory, people involved, etc. I have little trouble rating this high on the authenticity scale. Of course, a hundred percent is impossible, as everything is fakeable. But as OP described, coming straight out of an old flip phone with pictures before and after coming out clean: authentic, yes."
Terry Rowe on Facebook uploaded the photo to a digital forensics website and states “Id say it was altered by yellow and chrome in the center the meta data reads like this "Y Cb Cr Positioning Centered" Im not sure what the cb stands for but it may be a filter or app. Id say it needs more info to be real for me.” He goes on to say “Y Cb Cr values arbitrarily may lead to one or more of the RGB values that are out of gamut, Meaning this was a change that was centered in the picture and didnt match the rest of the photo. Real hoaxers can read this data and change the setting to match the data.”
Gail Sheldon from Facebook wanted to know where the photo was taken and who the photographer was. I explained that at this point, I just wanted analysis of the photo and to prevent bias, I would fill people in on that thread at a later time. She replies, “without a before and after photo or a decree by the photographer we can only rightly say it is a mist or added mist by photoshop. if we only have the photo to go by then it has to be debunked and thrown out as evidence.”
Unfortunately, I replied that I do not have any additional information to go on. All I have is the single photo with no access to the camera used to take it, along with no knowledge of the person who took it outside of where they work and what their job title is.
Reddit user Briarchild also chimed in to say “Using forensic analysis software this does not show any large tell-tale signs of digital manipulation, but that doesn't mean it can't be a copy of a copy that was digitally tampered. Another explanation could be a long exposure, though that is not generally a function on any flip phone I can think of. Keep in mind I am a professional analyst and researcher with a paranormal group, but I am not our lead photo/video analyst. If you'd like then I can always ask her for her opinion.”
Of course, I replied to say I would love any additional input, and then Reddit user Marrithegreat1 states “Well, I'm the lead analyst he mentioned. This image has been rendered several times. This has severely degraded the image and made it much harder for normal forensic analysis. The error rendering is all over the map. That alone is suspect. It isn't the original at all. The errors are strongest around the blob, a small area on the wall, and the reflection on the floor of the light. This is not proof, as this is possibly due to how degraded the image has become. The noise in the image is not uniform throughout and is nearly absent in the area of the blob as well as a small area of the wall to the left of the image, and in the reflection of the light, the same areas mentioned in the error. Again, this is possibly due to re-rendering. Such effects are typical around bright lights in mildly degraded images, however, the area of the wall and the blob are suspect. These are not 100% proof that it is fake, just that it isn't the original and leaves a lot of room for fakery to have taken place. To me, it looks most like a photoshopped area with the opacity turned way down, rendered, screen grabbed and re-rendered yet again. Potentially several times. This is simply my opinion based on what I'm seeing in the analysis. I can only prove it's not the original rendering. If it is genuine, it does it a disservice to degrade the quality so badly by rendering and re-rendering it. It makes it hard to take it at face value. There's too much room for a hoax and far too many happy hoaxers out there. I am sorry I can't give you a 100% in either direction. Based on what I see, I would be leaning more towards fake.”
Just for kicks, I’d like to pose an argument I regrettably engaged in on Reddit, but am open to your feedback if you’d like to chime in. I’m going to spare you the full comments and paraphrase, but one user attempts to make the argument multiple times that I can reproduce a similar appearance using photoshop. He then proceeds to post his own examples of a (quote) ghost to demonstrate that the original photo is fake.
In my original post, I asked if anyone could analyze the photo and point out any reasons to assume it is fake strictly by analyzing the photo. That said, I agree 100% that this photo could be faked by someone with novice photoshop skills, but I would not know how to analyze the photo myself to be able to determine this.
For this particular person, he believed that producing a similar effect (and I’ll mention it was not identical), that was enough proof for him that it was faked without pointing to any evidence in the original photo. When I went to argue the point that displaying a similar effect is not the same as pointing out an existing flaw in the original image posted, I took a lot of flack for that within the thread.
I made the point that just because we technically had the technology in the 1960’s to hoax the moon landing, isn’t necessarily proof alone that the moon landings were faked - I should note I’m not stating an opinion here, but attempting to correlate data and evidence to the strength of any argument.
Based on the feedback I’ve gone over with you today, do you think the photo is faked, or is there a possibility that it is authentic?
Important items mentioned in this episode:
- Paranormal Science Reddit Thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/ParanormalScience/comments/6prq3p/seeking_opinions_on_authenticity_of_phto/
- Ask Paranormal Reddit Thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/ASKParanormal/comments/6prgj8/seeking_opinions_on_authenticity_of_photo/