Digital Ghost

The Case of the Ghost that Appeared in Photos

A good friend of mine, we’ll call him LG, is known as the lucky one in our friend group who often came in contact with the supernatural, and it is common knowledge among all of us that his family is a big believer of ghosts. When I asked if I could have a discussion with him on the topic of ‘cyberghosts’ he was ecstatic to share his story about how one time a ghostly looking figure kept appearing in his selfies (a picture of yourself). More specifically, LG is an avid user of Snapchat, which is a social media platform in which users can take and send photos that get deleted after being opened by the recipient.

LG claims that the night of Halloween of last year, he wanted to take a selfie of his costume (as a pirate) and send it to his friends in his snapchat. Right at the instant when he took the photo, he immediately saw something out of the ordinary. He says that there was some sort of “wispy, transparent figure” in the background, which at first sight made him run out of the room out panicking. I asked LG to give more context to better understand the situation, and he stated that “it was a dimly lit room with just my lamp on and I was alone because my roommate was already out partying. I remember sitting in my desk chair posing for the selfie and I swear I saw nothing odd before I took the picture. But the second I actually push the button to take the picture, I see this tall shapeless figure behind me and next to my drawer.” When I asked him to describe in further detail what he saw that night, he seemed to get a bit nervous, as if he didn’t get a good look.  The figure that LG saw on that Halloween night was a “smoky apparition or something that didn’t look at all human”, and he asserted that he didn’t stick around to get a better look because he was already running out of the room when he saw what had appeared on his cell phone.

Unfortunately, LG wasn’t in the room long enough to take multiple photos to make sure the appearance of this figure wasn’t a mere fluke. When I questioned the veracity of this “ghost” that happened appeared on his phone, LG assured me that there was not enough light in the room to create a figure out of light-blur, nor was he moving the camera when he took the photo. Conseuqnetly, I took his word and for now, I believe that this ghost only made an appearance when LG took a photo on his Snapchat camera and stayed invisible to the human eye. I am intrigued at how this ‘cyberghost’ functions, as it presented itself when it was captured by a camera. It really makes me wonder if there are invisible apparitions that we can only detect with certain forms of technology. This idea reminds me of the spiritualism movement in the 19th century, which is a time period in which individuals would use technological advancements such as photographs to verify the existence of ghosts (an effort to explain the phenomenon of ghosts and spirits through science).

When I asked if I could attach a picture of his selfie with the ghost at the end of this collection piece, LG became hesitant and declined my request, claiming that he was personally against letting a picture of himself go public.

Needless to say, LG didn’t sleep in his room that night, or the next night.