5 Tips to Identify Real Ghosts Caught on Camera

Updated July 7, 2021
Shadow of photographer and tripod

In the world of ghost hunting and paranormal investigations, one of the most difficult pieces of solid evidence to obtain is an image of real ghosts caught on camera. There are a lot of fake ghost videos that look real, and it's up to you to use your critical thinking skills to separate the wheat from the chaff.

How to Recognize a Real Ghost Image

It's important to understand no one knows for sure that any ghost video captured ever is real because to date, none have been authenticated by experts as real ghosts. However, some have more of an air of authenticity than others and are more likely real. There are several items to keep a close eye on when you are sifting through online videos or photos that claim to be authentic evidence of ghost activity.

Pay Attention to How Objects Move

When an object moves, does it move toward the camera? This is usually a sign that a string is connected to the object near the floor, out of sight of the camera.

Watch Facial Expressions and Reactions

If there are (living) people in the video, do they appear to be acting? In some camera footage, if you watch the facial expressions of the people in the video, they will appear as though they are waiting for something to happen. Why? Because they already know something is planned. Likewise, notice if they seem to be having an over-the-top or cued reaction.

Ghosts of women

Inspect the Image for Other Explanations

Some of the most common ghost images are blurry images caught on windows or mirrors and presented as a ghost. These videos or photos are most often a case of pareidolia, a psychological term that refers to the tendency of the human mind to observe something and try to find meaningful patterns in them. Cracks or deformities in a mirror become a ghost standing in the stairwell. Clouds reflecting in darkened windows become spirits peering outside.

Silhouette Man On Broken Mirror

Check the Source

Is the video or photo source legitimate? If a paranormal society or ghost hunting team with a reputation for using careful technical standards during investigations captures video of an object moving on its own, or a vague image of an apparition moving in an empty room, the odds are very good that they've captured authentic ghost phenomenon on camera.

Rate the Drama Factor

Is the video overly dramatic? If lights are flickering and several objects are moving all at once, the odds are the evidence is fake. Seasoned ghost hunting groups overwhelmingly report that ghost phenomenon appears to draw a great deal of energy from the surrounding environment, so physical manifestations are usually singular, subtle, and very brief.

A ghostly blurred woman in a dress

Photography Techniques

Some still ghost images have been "captured" by photographers using long exposures as they take photographs of things in motion, dust motes, or other objects. And, aside from that, many people know how to manipulate photos to make them look like whatever they want. In these cases, you'll have to closely examine the image. Look at the ghost, but also look at the rest of the photograph.

Is the area around the ghost the same general texture as the rest of the photo, or does it change? Things like background noise, color tones, and continuity of the image of the surroundings should be the same both where the ghost is and in the rest of the photo. If not, that's a sign that the image has been doctored.

Soul Coming Out Of Dead Woman Lying On Bed

Ghost Photography Phone Apps

There are apps available for nearly any smart phone that make it look as if the person captured an image of a ghost. In these apps, the "ghosts" are usually stock photos or historical photos that are overlaid and set to different transparencies. Doing a Google image search can often reveal whether the ghost image is just a transparency of an existing photo.

Are There Examples of Authentic Ghosts on Camera?

There is plenty of non-fraudulent evidence of spirit or ghost activity caught on camera. If you understand what to look for, potentially authentic photographs and videos exist in great volume. Being a bit skeptical isn't a bad thing; there are plenty of fraudulent ghost photos and images out there. That only makes it even more exciting when it's revealed that one is likely authentic.

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5 Tips to Identify Real Ghosts Caught on Camera