August 19, 2013 13 Comments
I must confess I’ve been remiss in not blogging about this particular topic earlier. Investigating anomalous photos has always been a skeptic mainstay – for over a century and a half in fact. Ghost photos of one type or another have existed practically since the invention of photography. Those have been subsequently joined by photos of cryptids, UFOs and other alleged anomalous phenomena.
Now that practically everyone has a camera in their pocket all the time (in the form of a mobile phone) photos of this type pop up constantly – along with opportunities to investigate them. And so we need as many skeptics as possible to have some skills in investigating the latest local ghost or UFO photo. There are just too many of them to send them all to Joe Nickell or Richard Wiseman.
Because photos are ubiquitous, and doctoring photos using software is so incredibly easy, tools for detecting photo manipulation (like FourMatch and Tungstene) are becoming more common. But software like that can be quite expensive – out of the range of the average skeptic.
But today I’m writing about something far, far simpler. In fact, it’s an incredibly easy way to detect obvious hoaxes based on stolen or misrepresented photos. It should be in every skeptic’s toolkit, along with a trick for using it that I’ve never seen suggested before.