Classifying Paranormal Photographs
Over the past few years the people in the electronic voice phenomena field have been placing there recording into classifications based on the clarity and easiness to understand ranging from Class A to C. This system has worked well for them but I wonder why other aspects of the paranormal investigating field have not adopted a similar grading system. Recently I was preparing a presentation based on photographs and the paranormal which would show a series of pictures ranging from being a fake/made up picture to some being what I thought had a “ghost” in them. While preparing this presentation I wanted an easier why to explain and categorize the pictures for the attendees and why I thought they were ghost pictures or why I thought they were fake and misleading based on known natural-caused picture anomalies. I then developed a grading system not unlike what the people in the EVP field use putting the pictures in a class ranging from A to C. Upon making these classes up I thought why not use these on all future investigations and possible evidence pictures and offer it up to other investigators to possibly help document their photographs.
These pictures classifications were as follows.
Class C: Natural causes can immediately be contributed as the cause of the anomaly in the photograph. In other words, not a ghost picture.
- orbs in a picture that was taken in a dusty room or when raining
- Fogs, mists, and ectos in pictures when someone was smoking nearby or it is foggy outside
- Apparition in a window when someone was standing behind the window with a sheet over there head
Class B: Natural causes can not be ruled out as the cause of the anomaly in picture, but other documented paranormal activity was occurring at the time of the picture being taken.
- An orb that looks similar to dust orbs but its placement coincides with someone’s personal experience or high EMF reading and/or temperature variations
- Matrixing can not be ruled out as the cause of an apparition but someone else present during the picture being taken might have seen or experienced something
Class A: Naturally causes cannot be found as the cause of the anomaly in the photograph.
- A smoke or mist in the pictures when it is known that no one was smoking at the time of the picture and it was too warm for breath to show up
- Light streaks when shutter speed on camera was set to a fast speed or tripod was used
Now I also feel that it is possible to mix these using a + / – along with each classification (i.e. a B- rating).
These classifications can come in handy and work well when we as investigators start trying to present our pictures as evidence to other investigators or the public. Obviously we won’t be showing our class C pictures to neither the public nor other investigators as evidence. Class B might be something worth showing to other investigators as they will respect and understand the personal experience and events surrounding the pictures where the public may not understand. But maybe a good Class B+ picture could be presented to the public with good explanations. Obviously a Class A is what you want to show to the public and let the skeptics and nay-sayers try and pick apart. Offer it up knowing you can’t find a logical and reasonable explanation for the anomalies. Even if you do choose to use all the classes of pictures as presentable evidence, at least putting it into a class distinction for the public to see will help them better understand the picture and what they may be looking at.
Now just because we give the label of Class A to a picture doesn’t necessarily mean it is the final proof of the paranormal we need and are all looking for. I would only say that this may fall under being 70 to 90 % probability or documentation of a haunting. I surely wouldn’t say a house is haunted based on one Class A picture. This in mostly based on the fact that there is a lot of natural causes out there and environmental effects that sometimes even the most scientifically-controlled investigation can’t control or document.
I offer this up to the paranormal investigating and ghost hunting community as a future guideline to help present or document their photographs during investigations. I tried to keep it simple so that it can be adopted easily with out large explanations or hours of teaching, but obviously a good general knowledge of photography and cameras does help. If we start using this on our Web pages, and evidence reveals it might help the public and new investigators looking to our pictures as guidelines to base their future evidence on, we will better understand what is a really good ghost picture and what isn’t.