What’s Actually Going On With That Spooky Photo You Took

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
It's not easy having an interest in the paranormal while holding firm to the idea that seeing is believing. In theory, ghostly photographs — ones that feature silhouettes of the deceased or levitating orbs — should seal the deal for anyone who's on the fence about the spirit world's existence. Unfortunately, in a field of fakery, paranormal photographs are some of the most easily disproven pieces of evidence of the other side.
The thing is, most supernatural photos that turn out to be, well, natural are rarely taken with malicious intent. Most of the time, when an orb shows up in photo, it's due to dust, dirt, or even bugs that the would-be ghost hunter disturbed the moment they snapped their pic.
You may wonder how dust can make that much of impact on a photograph, but think about the types of places ghosts are believed to call home. More often than not, haunted places are old or abandoned buildings, if not actual graveyards. It'd be a little scary if these locations weren't on the dustier side.
Beyond the shabby upkeep of so-called haunted sites are the mind games they can play on people who already believe in ghosts. A 2014 study suggested that "ghost encounters" tend to occur when people already expect to see something supernatural. In other words, if you visit an abandoned hospital hoping to witness some paranormal activity, you're more likely to believe you saw (or, for our purposes here, photographed) something truly not-of-this-world.
None of this is to say that you should ignore that creepy feeling you get from your attic. If you want to believe in spirits but crave some kind of proof, there are other, more effective means of ghost detection than photography. Besides, even if you come away from a haunting without anything tangible to show for it, you'll still have a spine-tingling story to share.

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