Facebook from the Other Side: Paranormal Photobomb or Photoshop Fake?

Social media is a big part of our modern lives (well, some of us anyway). Everyone knows at least one person who photographs and posts EVERY aspect of their life on the network. Most people can strike a fair balance between what’s display worthy and what isn’t, but either way it means far more photographs are making the rounds online. And since photographic evidence is a big part of paranormal investigating (be it an unreliable one with the advent of image editors and clever hoaxers), it seems as though it should only be a matter of time before someone’s impromptu shot is photobombed by the other side.

And that may have been what happened in one woman’s Facebook photograph.

Daniel Tanner from New Hampshire was perusing a friend’s Facebook album (or maybe he was lurking, we really don’t know) when he came across a rather startling discovery. One seemingly innocuous image featured a woman and her dog posing happily for the camera while something else got into the shot.

Circumstance Surrounding the Facebook Ghost Photo

According to Tanner, his unnamed friend had been claiming that her home was haunted months prior to the creepy snapshot. She told him that no one else was in the house aside from her dog and her husband at the time. The anomaly was not identified when photo was taken. It wasn’t until Tanner happened to scrutinize the image that anyone noticed something strange had occurred.

Reddit user Ariandre analyzed the image by uploading it to FotoForensics, a site that offers detailed online analysis of photographs. Part of the process involves Error Level Analysis, which checks for significant variations in compression levels. If a significant difference is detected, there was most likely digital modification performed on the image (meaning it was doctored with Photoshop or some other image editor).

The analysis on the Facebook image turned up clean. There appears to be no tampering done (aside from the obvious black box that was intentionally added to protect the subject’s identity). The FotoForensics analysis results can be viewed here.

Ariandre also pointed out that the image at first looks like a reflection in the window, but appears to be standing in front of the door when viewing the inverted version. I have yet to find this aspect of the image, but I have been staring at a computer screen for far longer than I should have today.

A photo analyst with more than 15 years experience also took a look at the photo and could find no indication that it is a fake. They are quoted as stating:

In summary, I cannot find any tampering evident in this photograph. Whatever this is, I’m unable to disprove it. The only other thing I can possibly suggest might be going on in this picture is a very elaborate projection set up, but even that I don’t believe is the case because the lighting in the mud room is quite dim. I would expect a projection to cause light glare on the mirror and there is none. I guess I’m saying I believe this is paranormal[…]

Is the Facebook Ghost Photo the Real Thing?

Facebook Ghost Photo with woman and dog
Alleged Facebook ghost photo
The apparition is visible in the upper, right corner inside the glass door panel

Above is the alleged Facebook ghost photograph. To see the figure, look to the glass panel in the top half of the door to the right of the woman and dog. You will notice what looks like a very detailed face, head and shoulders that are possibly female. See the original photograph here.

I’ll admit, my first reaction was that it was a fake. I’m no photography or digital image expert, but that seemed like the most likely answer given the high number of hoaxes that circulate the web. The more I look into it, the more intriguing it has become. I imagine an authentic image of a ghost would be hard to believe. And trust me, I believe they are out there, but it’s very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff in the paranormal field.

Perhaps someone will shed more light on this in the coming days. It would be very exciting if it is genuine.  I would love to hear more about the family’s experiences and whether any research been done into the home’s past.

This leads to a second, broader question. With  so many people posting thousands of personal photographs on sites like Facebook, is there a chance that other paranormal phenomena may have already been uploaded or will be uploaded in the future that many of us have managed to miss? It’s a possibility.

So, the big question is, what do you think about the Facebook ghost photograph? Is it the real thing or a clever hoax?

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