Go Beyond Now
|What color is a ghost?|
|Welcome||Special Features||Tools & Techniques||Utilities & Links||Connections|
Energy Form X :
The image above was captured using an Olympus OM2 35 mm film camera.
The camera was mounted on a steady tripod.
A shutter release cable was used to eliminate camera shake during the 3 second exposure.
The picture was taken at night in a room that was completely dark.
No flash or auxiliary lighting of any kind was used. Again, the room was completely dark.
In other words, the image on that particular frame of film should have looked like this:
Completely blank -- which is exactly what every other frame on that roll of film did look like,
after being exposed under similar conditions of total darkness in other rooms of the same building.
The photographer (me) did not observe any visible light or unusual effects at the time the photo was taken.
Examination of the film negative
confirms that the image in question was indeed something that
was "seen" through the lens of the camera and that it was not a result of light leakage or processing error.
And even more significantly:
The camera lens had been fitted with a special UV Transmission Filter.
A UV transmission filter, also called a UV pass filter, blocks the wavelengths of visible light
while allowing the shorter wavelengths of ultraviolet light to pass through to the film.
Specifically, the filter used was a Schneider Optics B+W 403, aka a "black filter"
with a spectral transmission range illustrated in the following graph:
The wavelengths of visible light range from ~ 700 nm (above infrared) to ~ 400 nm (below ultraviolet).
The # 403 filter's transmission factor is essentially 0 within this rather narrow range of visibile light,
but it passes a high percentage of the ultraviolet. There is also a secondary pass window in the infrared range.
Standard photographic film is extremely sensitive to
ultraviolet light but is not affected by infrared.
Therefore, an image captured on standard film when using the # 403 filter provides strong indication of ultraviolet exposure -
either directly from a UV emitting source, or indirectly by reflections from such a source.
Longer wavelengths correspond to
lower frequencies, shorter wavelengths to the higher, "more energetic"
The wavelengths of light are expressed in nanometers (nm), corresponding to billionths of a meter.
For comparison, the wavelengths from an FM radio station's transmitter measure about 3 full meters.
Ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths are not visible
to normal human eyesight.
Like stations just beyond the range of a radio dial, they're out there, but you can't quite tune them in.
to go back to the top and reread Part 1 as many times as you like.
Otherwise, please continue . . .
The key point I'm asking you to recognize is this:
UNLIKE every other alleged "ghost" picture or so-called "orb" photo you may have seen before,
the photo above was taken under tightly controlled
conditions as part of a well planned and carefully executed
test of a specific hypothesis. This hypothesis proposed an exotic but scientifically credible explanation for
the occurrence of a certain type of photographic anomaly that sometimes appears in otherwise ordinary pictures.
hypothesis was basically this, a two-parter:
1) Certain "unknown energy forms" exist in our world but they are ordinarily invisible to humans.
2) These energy forms emit UV light and should therefore be detectable using simple photographic techniques.
This hypothesis was based on my examination of
numerous photographs showing peculiar streaks
and diffuse "fog" effects, usually white or bluish-white in color. Such effects have been obtained by many
people going back to the early days of photography. Could these mysterious effects, effects that people
who were present when the photos were taken did not see and could not account for afterwards,
possibly be the result of ultraviolet emissions produced by an unknown energy form?
Knowing that standard photographic film is very
sensitive to ultraviolet light,
that ultraviolet will appear as white in black & white, and bluish-white in color film photos,
and that UV light is invisible to humans, I knew that my Ultraviolet Hypothesis could serve to
explain an entire category of photographs that I was repeatedly coming across in my studies of the paranormal.
Furthermore, I knew that animals, including cats and
dogs, have a range of visual perception that goes beyond
that of humans, thus certain strange behavior occasionally observed in these animals and often attributed to
paranormal stimuli ("they're seeing a ghost") might also be explainable in light of my Ultraviolet Hypothesis.
In effect, our animal friends may sometimes be seeing things that are out of the ordinary but quite real,
something perfectly obvious to them, yet completely imperceptible to us, something potentially paranormal.
Along similar lines, there have been many
anecdotal reports of people witnessing a variety of mysterious
light phenomena, including accounts of floating and moving "balls of light" which are often said to be blue or
bluish-white in appearance. This type of phenomenon might well be related to the energy forms seen in the photos
presently under discussion. The rare visual sightings could be accounted for if the effective wavelength
exhibited by these phenomena is variable, sometimes dropping out of the UV and into the visible range.
Remember too, some individuals have a range of color vision that extends slightly higher or lower than the norm,
this "gift" allows them to see a bit beyond the rest of us and into those normally invisible fringes of the spectrum.
These hypothetical variations, either in the
phenomenon's wavelength or with an individual witness's vision,
could also offer an explanation for the sporadic and non-universal nature of being able to see a "ghost".
SO . . .
With these facts and speculations re a
possible UV-Paranormal correlation in mind,
I realized that my Ultraviolet Hypothesis could be put to an objective scientific test
using readily available and relatively inexpensive photography equipment.
After a few encouraging early attempts, and many
more discouraging ones that resulted in nothing but the
predictable rolls of blank film, I finally succeeded in capturing this remarkable photograph on November 14, 2003
at the Exchange Hotel and Civil War Museum in Gordonsville, Virginia -- a site where many strange encounters
and mysterious phenomena have been reported over the past 150 years or so.
Let's take another look at it:
At this point, please let me make it perfectly clear that I am not trying to claim this is the first "authentic"
photograph of a "ghost" or "paranormal energy form" that's ever been taken, however, to the best of my knowledge:
IT IS THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPH EVER TAKEN THAT
CANNOT BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN
A "PARANORMAL ENERGY FORM"
Let me repeat that:
THIS IS THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPH EVER TAKEN
THAT CANNOT BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN
A "PARANORMAL ENERGY FORM"
That might seem like a rather brash and sensational
just one more in a field where brash and sensational claims are so commonplace
it's hard to navigate your way around them without wearing very high boots.
I can make the statement above with a high degree
of confidence because I know that
it is a conclusion based on the principles prescribed by the time-honored scientific method.
Note: I'll have much more to say
about the scientific method elsewhere on this website, but to summarize,
the essential steps are: Observation > Hypothesis > Experiment > Conclusion.
The most critical and distinctive step in the scientific method is:
This is also the step that pseudo-scientists prefer to
The "pseudoscience method" tends to jumble observations (if any), hypotheses, and conclusions
all together in an untested -- perhaps even un-testable -- mix of speculation and fantasy.
Where's the experiment ?
In science, conclusions follow only from properly executed experiments that test the validity of a hypothesis.
With the experiment, hypotheses are validated or
rejected. Conclusions follow accordingly.
Without the experiment, an objective test of the hypothesis, there can be no scientifically valid conclusion.
The current "standard model" of paranormal research
completely overlooks, or simply fails to understand
the all-important step of testing a hypothesis through controlled experiments. Running around inside a building with
a truck load of expensive high-tech equipment does not in and of itself constitute a scientific experiment.
Yes, this could be considered as part of the observation phase of scientific research, but even that only as
a discovery process whereby preliminary observations and base-line parameters are established.
Unfortunately however, all too many paranormal researchers take what are really a set of
preliminary observations and make the giant leap directly to hypothesis=conclusion.
Where is the experiment ?
Let's take yet another look at this photo:
I'd like for you to understand this photograph
as an example of how
the scientific method can be applied to problems in paranormal research:
1) Preliminary observations, thought, and study led me to formulate
2) The hypothesis that an unknown and invisible energy
form capable of emitting UV light
could be the cause of certain effects that sometimes show up in otherwise ordinary photographs.
3) To test my hypothesis, I devised an experiment in
which I would try to obtain photographs
of the suspected energy forms by taking pictures in areas that were completely dark,
without the use of any flash or auxiliary lighting, and away from all possibilities for contamination
by ordinary light sources, or reflections, etc. My goal was to eliminate all the "normal" sources of light
that could conceivably cause effects similar to those being addressed by my "paranormal" hypothesis.
Furthermore, I applied an additional and very
significant level of light management
to my experiment with the use of the UV transmission filter as previously discussed.
The "control" aspect of my experiment was
conducted by obtaining a large number of
photographs in my own house and at other locations not reported as being "haunted" while
using the same conditions of darkness, same camera equipment, etc. I also took many photos
with the same camera equipment and UV transmission filter under variously lighted conditions in
order to gain an understanding of the normal results that could be expected with my set-up
for comparison to any suspected "paranormal" results that might be obtained in a "haunted" setting.
4) Subsequent observations of my recorded data (i.e.,
looking at the developed film and pictures)
confirmed one instance of a result that was not explainable by any known means, therefore my
original hypothesis re the existence of an unknown UV emitting energy form was scientifically validated.
Please note that although I've used the term "ghost"
earlier in this article, that was just a convenience.
Same for the term "paranormal energy form" since I'm still struggling to figure out what "paranormal" means.
I can't claim that I've "proven ghosts exist" or even that "the paranormal exists", but ...
I can be certain that I have obtained scientifically credible evidence for an unknown energy form
that emits radiation having characteristics consistent with ultraviolet light emissions.
Since there are no known emitters of UV light that should be flying around inside a building at night,
I have dubbed the phenomenon
Energy Form X
For those familiar with the famous "white crow" statement of Professor William James:
"To upset the conclusion that all crows are black ...
it is sufficient to produce one white crow; a single one is sufficient."
You will understand that
my one instance of a positive result for
Energy Form X
is sufficient to prove the case -- assuming of course that this one instance is indeed what it appears to be.
I am personally quite
confident that it is --
But you should not be !!!
Well, I do think you should
be excited about my experimental results, but at the same you should also
be prepared to question, challenge, and above all, attempt to replicate the results of my experiment.
In science, replication of
the results of an experiment is always sought in order to strengthen the
for the conclusions advanced, and to seek an ever better understanding of the phenomenon in question.
(Alternatively, attempts at replication can also serve to falsify or disprove an erroneous conclusion.)
After obtaining my
remarkable photograph at the Exchange Hotel in 2003, I was determined to try
reproduce the result. I took many more photographs with my UV camera equipment at various locations,
including an intense all-nighter return session at the Exchange. I devised a method for using inexpensive
Kodak "Hawkeye" cameras modified to accept UV transmission filters and loaned these out to
fellow researchers for further experimentation, but despite all these efforts, neither I nor my
associates were able to obtain any additional evidence for the existence of Energy Form X . . .
UNTIL . . .
Almost a year to the day
after the photo at the Exchange Hotel and Civil War Museum was taken,
this photo was obtained at another Civil War related location, the Andrew Johnston House in Pearisburg, VA,
also a site of various unexplained happenings:
For this picture, I was using black & white film of a
type that is especially sensitive to UV.
Although not as dramatic looking as the Exchange Hotel photo, it does appear to show the same
phenomenon, but this time Energy Form X was apparently located several feet farther away from the camera.
Otherwise, the characteristics of the photographed
phenomena are quite similar, both show a
tightly focused "core" of moving energy and a more nebulous or misty area swirling around it.
You should also be aware that in both pictures, the
display of UV light must have been quite intense and
highly concentrated since the glass lens of my camera, in conjunction with the UV transmission filter,
would actually allow only a relatively small fraction of the available ultraviolet light to reach the film.
As before, the second photo was taken at night inside a
dark building using a 35 mm camera and UV pass filter.
My fellow investigator and I had gone outside but we remained nearby to monitor the building while a
30 minute exposure was being made with the tripod-mounted camera in "bulb" mode.
Here are both photos again, side-by-side for comparison:
Energy Form X
To be continued . . .
This section is under
It will be a repository for additional background commentary, technical discussion, and question answering.
Please check back from time to time.
What do dogs see? A review of "Vision in dogs"
"Vision in dogs", was written by Paul E. Miller, DVM and Christopher J. Murphy, DVM, and published in the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA, vol. 207, no. 12, pp. 1623-1634, Dec. 15, 1995).
A number of studies have been done to investigate the color vision of dogs, and the results have been conflicting. However, more recent, better controlled studies indicate that dogs do possess and use color vision, but not to the same degree that humans do. The photoreceptor used for color vision is the cone, and there are cones present in the canine retina. However, they are present in low numbers, comprising less than 10% of the total photoreceptor population in the central area of the retina, as opposed to the human retina which consists of nearly 100% cones in the fovea. Two distinct type of cones appear to be present in the canine retina. One type is maximally sensitive to light in the wavelength that appears violet to people, and the other type is maximally sensitive to light in the wavelength that appears yellow-green to people. Thus, it appears that the visual spectrum of color in dogs is divided into two hues; one in the violet and blue-violet range, probably appearing as blue, and the other in the greenish-yellow, yellow, and red range, which is probably seen as yellow. Light that appears blue-green to people probably appears as white or shades of gray to dogs. Dogs are unable to differentiate colors that appear as green, yellow-green, orange or red to people, and are unable to differentiate greenish-blue from gray. This is similar to people who are red-green color blind. However, one study indicates that dogs are better able to differentiate between subtle shades of gray than people, which would be advantageous in increasing visual discrimination in low light conditions, where insufficient light is available to stimulate cones.
The authors conclude by stating that although the canine visual system may be considered inferior to the human visual system in such aspects as degree of binocular overlap, color perception, accommodative range, and visual acuity, the canine visual system is superior to the human visual system in other aspects, such as functional ability in low light conditions, retinal response rate to another image (flicker fusion), field of view, ability to differentiate shades of gray, and possibly the ability to detect motion. The canine visual system is optimized to exploit a different environmental niche than our own, and hopefully by better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the canine visual system we will be better able to understand our hunting companion's capabilities. Let me conclude by encouraging those of you interested in this issue to read the complete article, which includes 68 references to other works.
[The preceding excerpt was
author of this review of the original work (which is credited above) is unknown at this time. JH]
AND NOW, CAT VISION:
Cats responded to the colors purple, blue, green and
Red, orange and brown colors appear to fall outside cats color range and are most likely seen as dark to mid shades of gray.
Cats appear to see less saturation in colors than do humans, meaning cats do not see colors as intensely or vibrantly.
Purple, blue & green appear to be the strongest colors perceived by cats.
[Still looking for something to
confirm whether or not dogs & cats can actually see into the UV range, but for
now it's clear
that both do have good color vision in the violet and blue-violet range. Note that although it's said these animals don't perceive
some colors, that doesn't mean they don't see anything at those wavelengths, only that it appears as shades of gray to them. JH]
The material on this website (except where otherwise indicated) has
been prepared by J. Hale.
All original content is copyright protected and all publication rights are reserved. Effective September 1, 2006, and beyond.