Saturday, 14 January 2012


Is that a ghostly face in the flames of a burning house? Or is it just  trick of the light?

You'd think it was just a mirage - except it appears twice, in two different photos.

The spooky images appeared in a New Zealand competition showcasing ghostly pictures from around the country.

Most of the photographs were just 'orbs' - ie, dust on a camera lens - or smoke, or odd reflections, website reported.

But some prompted a double take - like the above photos taken during a Westport Volunteer Fire Brigade exercise in 2006.

Both images appear to show a spectral head floating in the window of a burning house. While one could perhaps be explained away as a trick of the flames, the fact that the image was caught twice is harder to ignore.

Another photograph that caught judges' eyes was taken at Linwood College in Christchurch. It shows two students flashing the victory sign and wearing sunglasses - and what appears to be a third, disembodied head squashing in between them.

New Zealand Paranormal Investigation Society director Brad Scott told that most paranormal pictures were easily explained.

'There are 90 per cent logical explanations for everything that occurs, but it's that 10 per cent that we look for,' he said.

But it is a human tendency to search for faces in random patterns, a critic claimed.

Vicki Hyde, of the New Zealand Skeptics Society, said the photos could be easily explained.

'Shots involving fire, smoke and fog are notorious for producing ghost images,' she said.

'These indistinct environments produce the kind of patterns we try to resolve as meaningful, and the most meaningful pattern we know is the human form.

'Put two blobs above another one and we will automatically try to resolve it into a face.'

Two students pose for the camera at Linwood College in Christchurch - but whose is that apparently disembodied head that appears to be floating between them?
And Mr Scott warned: 'If someone is saying a photo is paranormal it has to be taken with a grain of salt.'

The proof was in one final image that caught the judges' eyes during the New Zealand contest.

The shot was taken by a woman of her ten-month-old grandson in 1996.

But her family was terrified after noticing a man's head with a wicked glare in the eyes in a basket in the background.

But their fears were allayed when, on closer inspection, they realised the head was just Jack Nicholson.

A photograph of the actor in his hit movie The Shining was on the cover of a magazine rolled up inside the basket.

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