Almost everyone has had an occasion when something unexplained has shown up in a photograph. Some photo manifestations are in full form showing up as specter images of people and animals. On other occasions strange smoke-like streams or light filled orbs invade the canvas. The annals of specter photography have several famous photographs of these ghostly images. Some of the other photo images become hard to prove one way or the other because of the lack of photo technology during the era the photos were taken. Contemporary paranormal experts have more technology available to them to detect fraud or to simply discern the differences between real specters and accidental or explainable image invasion. The following photo gallery includes several different examples of real spirit photography and others that have been explained as having common cause interference.

This is an old portrait of the then recently widowed Mary Todd Lincoln taken by well known psychic photographer William Mumler of Boston in late 1865. It has been reported that Mrs. Lincoln visited Mumler “incognito” for personal reasons. It shows a very recognizable image of President Lincoln standing behind her with his hands on her shoulders. In his lifetime, there were attempts to discredit Mumler but all investigations failed to prove any fraud.

This is one of the famous Cottingley Fairy photos with Elsie Wright and a supposed gnome. The famous photos were taken with a Midg quarter plate camera. Photographic experts who examined the photos and the negatives could find no evidence of fraud at the time.

Photographs of Elsie Wright and her cousin Frances Griffiths who captured the fairies on film in July - August 1917 and again in 1920. In a BBC-TV interview in 1971 neither Elsie nor Frances would admit fabrication preferring to leave the matter “open” but in 1982 they both admitted the first four photos were fakes.

In this photo taken of Willowood Sanctuary in September of 2006 a strange diamond shaped anomaly appeared outside of the second story window. The photo was tested and discerned by paranormal expert John Holbrook of Holbrook PSI who used a technique called “solarize” which is a filtering process that allows one to see more depth in a photograph and helps in disqualifying particles on a camera lens (water or dust etc.) and any other situations that are connected to reflective surfaces such as window glass. He concluded that the diamond shape was a true anomaly. Further investigation is pending.

At a party for this young lady a smoke-like coil appeared in two consecutive frames. Upon scrutiny and further paranormal testing and polarization courtesy of Holbrook PSI, the strange coil was identified as a random hair in the developing solution used by the photo lab. The hair follicle structure was also identified by an experienced hairdresser.

Orbs are a common manifestation that occur in or around paranormal events. An orb is not considered hard evidence of a haunting but is useful in the building of a case study. The large circled object on the left is a true orb but the small circled object on the right is a light reflection. Photo courtesy of Holbrook PSI.

They’re here! Several orbs appeared on the TV in the top photo and the question was whether they were light reflections on the screen or something more substantial. PSI lab techniques including find edge filtering, solarization and hue saturation adjustment showed that the orbs were inside of the screen and not an outside reflection.