Mysterious Photo From Black Creek Pioneer Village

Guests on our Halloween tours at Black Creek Pioneer Village continue to experience an unprecedented level of unusual activity. One of the most active buildings on the property is the Half Way House. Richard Ong recently sent us this intriguing photo he took inside the building in October 2010.

Richard wrote that:

This is no trick. This image appeared many years ago on my first zoom camera. It only appeared in one shot. When I first saw this ten minutes later, I went back to the Halfway House building and took as many shots as I could at the same spot. It was never reproduced. When I was examining the shape of the ghostly image, I converted a copy of the original file into a negative so that you can clearly see that the ghostly tendrils went over and also underneath one of the plates on the table.

Could there be a commonplace explanation for this?

Could it be smoke? It certainly looks like it, but the photographer did not report anyone smoking in the area at that time or any candles burning. Also, Black Pioneer Village does not allow smoking in the historic buildings or even around them. The fireplace does not appear to be in use. There is a kitchen in the building but it seems unlikely to be the cause of such intricate smoke. Occasionally, there are other planned fires at spots on the property, but would the smoke be this thick and visible from a fire some distance away?

Could it be condensation? The phenomena does seem to hang in the air between the photographer and the table. Many reported ghost photos can often be explained by the flash bouncing off condensation in the air. More often than not, this is caused by the breath of the photographer on a cool night. Typically, the temperature needs to be below 7 degrees Celsius for our breath to become visible. On the night this photo was taken, the low was 9 degrees Celsius. It doesn’t rule out condensation, but it seems unlikely.

Could it be a reflection? Camera flashes bouncing off reflective surfaces are often responsible for strange looking photos. There are a number of reflective surfaces in the shot (lamps, dishes, silverware, glass bottles). However, reflections usually cause bright streaks of light. In this case, the smoky pattern is fairly well-defined.

Could it be a hoax? After communicating with the photographer and carefully examining the photo, we have no reason to believe it was photoshopped or intentionally altered.

Of the three, some unseen smoke seems like the best explanation. However, given the evidence, that explanation is less than satisfying.

Our conclusion: UNEXPLAINED.

What do you think?

Our Haunted Walk Experience at Black Creek runs right through to the first weekend of November!