The Evidence Submitted In September 2003 while visiting a woman named Jennie was visiting her uncle, in Calvert County, Maryland, a woman decided to take a break and visit Chesapeake Bay. Just before Jennie began her hike to a place called the Flag Ponds within the park, she snapped  off this series of photographs with her portable Canon 35mm film camera, using ASA 400 film. She commented that being by herself, she hadn’t noticed anything unusual. However, the further she walked into the forested area, the more uneasy she became, to the point of being quite frightened. At first she thought it was possibly due to the fact that she was in the woods alone. However the feeling only got worse and she began to panic, and headed back quickly. When she developed her film she noticed these anomalies and felt something paranormally significant had occured. Unfortunately, she did not have the negatives to submit, as they had been lost in a move, so the photographs were scanned and emailed to the Journal of Anomalous Sciences for our team to examine. Click on each of the photographs for a closer examination and jot down your first impressions before continuing on... The Analysis The photographs provided the Journal (scanned in from standard sized negatives prints), had not included the original negatives for our review for a proper forensic analysis. Since they were on film, we do not have the information that the camera would normally provide about its operation via the Exif data provided as a fingerprint from a digital camera. To the untrained eye, these photographs could be considered ‘paranormally compelling’ at first glance.  So in trying to explain what may be happening in the photographs, we’re going to make some educated assumptions (and not something normally done by investigators). Nor are we given a good description of the camera itself, other than that it’s a Canon 35 mm, but she did tell us what film type she’d been using. First our ‘educated’ assumptions here, based on what we’re seeing in the photographs, as well as taking into consideration the types of cameras that would usually yield this type of photographic anomaly. We believe the camera type and style from Canon being used, was actually one of the first companies to design and market what s called “Sure-Shot” or “Power-Shot,” technology. Simply, it basically reads a code imprinted on the film casing that determines the film being used, including ASA. When the button is pressed slightly to take a photograph, within a fraction of a second, the technology analyzes the proper aperture (f-stop lens opening), and shutter speed for the film being used (from a built in light source sensor close to the lens). From which it then calculates the auto-focus settings to ensure the best settings for a clear photograph every time. Several of us at the Journal had lived in Baltimore, and were familiar with the area in Maryland described. Being a state park, this type camera is perfect for hikers on short or long hikes, and the camera can be easily carried on by the wrist strap to be ready at a moments notice. These forested paths can become quite dark from the canopy of trees and foliage, causing the sun to block out the daylight, which can often create an eerie ambiance, especially around sunset. This area of Maryland can also become quite windy, and since the canopy of the trees is well above ones head, you’re pretty much shielded from the wind, however the tree branches above can move quite erratically with the wind, swaying rapidly overhead. The wisps of light that Jennie picked up on her photographs are caused by the small pinholes of sunlight that manage to penetrate the canopy overhead; that in effect bounce across the lens of the camera rather erratically, especially with the simple ‘box’ design of the Canon Sure-shot Series of 35mm cameras (film or digital). With the light from the canopy shielding the light source, the auto-focus speed calculated by the camera was not sufficiently fast enough (from the automatic setting) to totally eliminate the dancing sunlight slipping in through the canopy as it fell to the ground below, and dancing on your lens. If the wind had not been blowing, there would more than likely not have been an anomalies detected in these photographs. However, the blue wisps of light captured are what’s called ‘flares,’ a common occurrence when wind is blowing, and taking photographs in the shade of the trees. In this case the wind was blowing strong enough, and a bit more rapid, capturing these anomalies. It is easy to see how this effect on film can be misconstrued as a paranormal phenomena — an easy, and common mistake. A trick to avoid this type of anomaly is to cover your lens with a sun-shield, much like those used on the more expensive 35mm SLR, or DSLR (Single Lens Reflex of Digital SLR), cameras, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money either. A simple bathroom Dixie cup would work just as well by punching out the bottom of the cup carefully, and covering the outside of the cup with black electrical tape from the top of the cup to the bottom. Being sure to leave enough tape at the bottom to attach it around the lens on your camera. Being sure not to obstruct the mechanism for auto-focus...it really works! Analysis of Photographic Evidence Photographic Analysis of the Paranormal Ghost Hunting 101
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