Photographic Evidence of… ?

And now for something a little different…

A few months ago, my wife, sister, and I attended a memorial service for my grandma. It was truly a celebration of her life, and so I am not bothered to say that I had a great time there with my family.

I also took a lot of photographs — “a lot” being as many as my super cool 3.2 megapixel Sony Cybershot with bottomless 16 megabyte Memory Stick can handle. Embarrassing gadgetry aside, I was able to take some great pictures, pictures which you can check out, if you want.

Now, while you’re checking those pictures out, note two things: They are numbered in the order I took them, and that it should be fairly obvious that I have not done any retouching. The pictures appear just as they came off the camera — no levels adjustments, no resizing, no cropping, no anything.

That said, pay especially close to the pictures DSC01350.JPG and DSC01351.JPG toward the end.

Here they are for ease of reference; unfortunately, I had to resize them to fit here, but if you click them, you’ll get the full picture.

attendees of my grandmother's memorial service

attendees of my grandmother's memorial service

I linked those to the pictures as they appear in the album context; if you would rather view the files directly, here are the links: DSC01350.JPG & DSC01351.JPG

Did you see it?

In each picture, there is a circle of … well, a circle of an unidentified something. I’ve spent a little time trying to figure out exactly what caused that to appear in the pictures, and this is a summary of what I know:

  • 31 seconds elapsed between DSC01349.JPG and the first image above.
  • 17 seconds elapsed between the two above images.
  • 20 seconds elapsed between the second image above and DSC01352.JPG.
  • Times and other details about the pictures can be verified by checking out the images’ Exif information.
  • The two images in question above were taken at the same table.
  • In the first image, the primary sources of lighting were dim, yellow ceiling lights and windows to the left.
  • In the second image, I had turned away from the windows; the primary lighting would only be the windows.
  • Other photographs in the album were taken from the same general area in the same lighting but do not exhibit anything at all like the circles in question above. (Compare images which contain the same computer desk or painting of a woman wearing a dress in the background.)
  • It is highly unlikely that the circle was on the lens or any part of the camera itself. It is in a different location relative to the edges in each image.
  • In the second image, the circle has the illusion of being nearer to the camera because it appears in front of a closer subject and the circle itself has a slightly larger diameter.
  • Fiddling with the brightness and contrast of the images, the circle appears to have a concentric circle (or perhaps spiral) design in the first image which is not present in the second.

So what are the circles? The only thing that seems at all plausible is that it is some sort of lens flare; however, that seems very unlikely due to the different angles the pictures were taken from and the fact that other pictures were taken in the same general area without any noticeable light anomalies. For it to happen twice in a row like that seems very improbable, though certainly not impossible.

If you’re waiting for me to bring up some sort of “ghost theory,” I won’t disappoint you, and will conclude with thoughts concerning it:

  • I believe that our world is far from merely physical and that an unimaginable supernatural world overlays ours, and that this supernatural world is populated by a variety of creatures — angels, cherubim, demons, Satan, and so on — which generally go unseen.
  • I believe that these unseen creatures can and do “intersect” with the physical world, and that quite often we interact with some of these creatures without ever having realized it. Paul referred quite plainly to “entertaining angels unawares” in Hebrews.
  • I do not believe that the immaterial part of humans lingers on Earth for any length of time after passing. I believe at death the immaterial portion of man is either taken to Heaven or Hell based solely upon that person’s relationship to Christ.
  • I believe it is possible — though quite unlikely — that technology may be able to randomly catch a glimpse into this unseen world whereas our human senses would be blind to them.
  • While it would be quite cool indeed if that is what appears in the images above, I’d be happy with any sort of natural explanation that takes into account all of the known factors listed above.

If you have any ideas in addition to what I’ve said already, feel free to share them.

7 thoughts on “Photographic Evidence of… ?”

  1. I wonder if the origin of the spot might be the artwork in the background of the first pic above. You have a close up of it in pic #1339. Those pics were taken at just the right time and angle for the sun to be catching that art work at just the correct angle…

  2. Not as creepy as a malicious spirit, perhaps, but that stained glass work certainly had a creepy side to it!

    It’s possible for that to be the case, but in the second picture, it looks as though I’ve turned too far away from that particular work for it to have an effect — especially one so similar to when the art was well within the camera’s view.

  3. Yes, but optics is funny stuff. I bet if we could be back there on the same day of the year with the sun and the art in the same spot…..

  4. Rick, if I’m not mistaken you have a Sony camera? I have 2 Sony’s which both have a AF Illuminator. I often get the same kind of spots on my pictures from this.

  5. Wow, you’re memory is good! Yeah, it’s a Sony Cyber-shot — not exactly state-of-the-art, but it works fine for my needs, I suppose.

    I don’t use the AF Illuminator, though; I turned it off long ago because it seemed to annoy anyone I was taking a picture of — didn’t seem like the best way to get a smile out of people.

  6. Good memory but still no explanation…..
    On a totally different subject….
    How did you and Alicia like Sweeney Todd the play? Rob and I went last night and both really liked it (great seats btw 3rd row orch). Although, I will say it is not very close to the top of my list (Wicked) it is also very far from the bottom (Urinetown).

  7. Well, having seen Johnny Depp’s movie version, I had a good idea of what the plot of Sweeney Todd was; had I note seen it, I probably would have been just a tiny bit lost watching this particular play rendition. It was very well done, but the way that the same set and props were used for the entire thing seems like it would be a bit confusing to someone unfamiliar with the story.

    Plus it seemed a bit weird how they had different characters interacting at various points in the play — talking to each other but not being anywhere near each other or even looking at each other, for instance.

    Had I been blindfolded and was just listening to it, I’d have no complaints. :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

the Rick Beckman archive
Scroll to Top