Here it is.
My thoughts on this subject have been prompted by the appearance online (or should I say; my sudden awareness of this article online) of the following brief piece of what I would very loosely call journalism:
Here IT is
As a story it's really rather unimportant, but as the illustration of a principle, I think it has more weight.
First, the so - called evidence. It's plainly rubbish. I looked at the image for a minute or two and was unable to make out the alleged figure of a gray lady (now there's an original name for a ghost). Ten minutes later I came back to the picture (because I was posting it on my facebook page with what I feel was a suitably disparaging comment) and that time my brain did its thing and through the wonders of pareidolia (click it to read about it), and because I knew what I was supposed to be seeing, there was the fuzzy, cloud of dust/smoke/photographic anomaly/manufactured anomaly/old ripped sheet resembling a figure moving right to left into a doorway. As far as 'evidence' goes, it's about as tenuous as it comes, and to my mind, utterly unconvincing.
Secondly; the individual 'witness', for whom this single photograph has allegedly been a mind-changing experience. If that is truly the case; if this photo has turned her into a 'believer' in the paranormal, then I can't help thinking that either she has a very tiny mind - one that can be changed with very little effort - or that she was already on the cusp (what a lovely word: 'cusp') of accepting the idea of paranormal activity, OR that she is a liar. The probability for all three is just about equal, according to my long and hideously complex computations on the matter (I'd love to share them with you but...um..well...I'm sure they'd be too complex...oh dear I just accidentally shredded them, what a shame)...but hopefully you see what I'm driving at. If this is convincing evidence for the paranormal for this lady, I have a car that I'd like to sell to her - 20 years old, 304,000km on the clock and with a full service history - I have one service receipt to show to her, but surely that would be proof enough of a lifetime of good care.
There are of course more holes to shoot in this story, but the point isn't this single story - it's about how willing we are to believe in rubbish.
Historians will regale us (given half the chance or a TV mini-series; you know how they can get - OH! Those historians!) with evidence of a huge variety of religious beliefs that have come and gone over thousands of years - and those are just the ones we know about because they were on a large scale. The historical evidence seems to suggest that as a species, we surely do love to have something mystical to believe in. Some of the things people used to believe in are considered by the majority to be a little silly these days - sun worship, for instance, or perhaps the idea that the world came out of a giant's penis (thank you, Egyptians). It didn't, however, stop people believing those things at one time or another. I doubt very much that people are very much more intelligent than our Egyptian or Roman or Celtic cousins of centuries gone by; but we are more educated about the world and the universe, and so such ancient beliefs can seem child-like and naïve. We no longer, for example, throw murdered sacrificial victims into peat bogs as offerings to the earth gods. I hope...
However, billions of people believe in an invisible being who controls everything (to varying degrees, apparently depending on how big the natural disaster was) and will reward or punish us depending upon our levels of worship and servility. Hundreds of millions more - if not billions - believe in a huge multitude of gods, some of them with multiple arms, elephant's heads, two faces who control individual aspects of our earthly lives - and then there are the authors of crappy books who claim that it's all down to space aliens.
What this means is that we tend to be prepared to believe all kinds of utter, undiluted nonsense if we suspend credulity and rational thinking for the shortest time. Believing in nonsense is an intensely private thing; we do it inside our own head, and once we have made that commitment, it's hard to think outside of that particular box. We OWN our beliefs, and so we like them, we love them, we cherish and protect them, often to the detriment of our health and even at times to death. We love to believe in something unverifiable - there's almost an emotional snobbery about making that claim. So be it; believe what you wish but don't expect me to believe it too, and don't try to convince vulnerable, impressionable people to share your illusions.
This is why I object to stories such as this being given any credence; it's plainly nonsense, and to suggest that this is incontrovertible evidence of anything is deceptive and unethical. What we have here is a photographic anomaly, either manufactured or accidental. We don't know what it is, but to make the enormous leap of (and I suggest; around) logic and state that this image is of the spiritual essence of a dead human is to say the least, laughable. Except I find it hard to laugh at a lie.
Do ghosts exist? I don't know for sure, but I am 99% certain that they don't, and that they are aberrations of our visual processes and our imaginations. I have never seen a piece of footage that is even close to being persuasive on the subject. Given the number of idiots, well-meaning idiots, interested scientists and dyed-in-the-wool charlatans out there searching for evidence for so long now, wouldn't you have expected something concrete to show up, after all?
Maybe I'm wrong and there is a whole world of spooks and ghouls and what-have-you out there - and it would fascinating if there were; think of the possibilities it would infer! Sadly, the evidence simply hasn't been gathered yet, and I for one am definitely not ready to join the list of believers based on....well...nothing, so far.