Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released soon. Got a question? Drop me a line.

New Zealand hosted a competition in which hundreds of pictures were submitted from all over the country to a panel of judges. The point of the competition was to find out what the most convincing image of the supernatural was. The majority of entries consisted of orbs (dust, moisture in the air) and light anomalies (camera strap in the picture).

There were some interesting photos that I saw that did not seem to be so easily debunked.

One of them being taken by the Westport volunteer firefighters in New Zealand. The first image shows what appears to be a disembodied head in a burning home.

fire1photos taken during a Westport Volunteer Fire Brigade exercise in 2006. They appear to show a ghostly head in the burning house. Image DailyMail UK

It’s easy to say that this is just pareidolia at work. Fire scenes are notorious for producing ghostly faces and/or images. It’s in our brains to seek out familiar patterns, like say that of a face, in random image displays or light arrays.

So to see a lighted face in a burning building is not that uncommon. Like in the picture above. But what about when that same face appears again in a different part of the burning house?

fire2photos taken during a Westport Volunteer Fire Brigade exercise in 2006. Image DailyMail UK

What do we make of this? well….nothing really.

Another picture what looks like a face in the fire. No big deal. Even if it’s of the same burning house from a different angle.

Now a better question, or case I should say, would be if we were to assume that these were really the faces of ghosts. What explanation can we have?

Well for me, I am a true believer that objects (inanimate or animate) can hold on to energy that is surrounding them. This is why the theory of residual hauntings is so popular. People are more willing to accept that a ghost can be just recorded images that are static as opposed to ghost having some form of intelligence and being able to outsmart or outthink you.

Continuing on that thought, we can easily accept or side with the notion that if a person was really attached to a home in real life, and their energy was really strong about it that even after death they stuck around for a bit, that when the home is being demolished, or burned to the ground, it would be a strong enough event to have that spirit which was attracted to that home to “pop up” and see what is going on to their dream or favorite place when they were alive.

This might sound ludicrous to many. The fact that we are so tied up to material things that even after death we continue to dwell on them. But that is not what I’m driving at. My point is that if there is a form of shared energy we have with these objects, then it should not be a far stretch to say that we can continue to have that bond even after death. That is, if you believe that after death we are still conscious and have free will. Just not a body.

Back to the “New Zealand ghost photograph contest”.

The other image that caught my attention was one where to teenagers posed in front of a camera to take a picture. What ends up being developed in the film is what appears to be a third, disembodied head in between them.

Two students pose for the camera at Linwood College in Christchurch – but whose is that apparently disembodied head that appears to be floating between them?

I don’t really have an explanation for this one. I see what appears to be a deformed face between them, but no body. I’m not saying it’s a ghost or anything. Just that when I look at this photograph it’s apparent that there is a face there. The nose, the lips are so well visible. I think this could just be a good pareidolia effect taking place. Her hair, a backpack or sweater…… possibilities are endless.

Just because we can’t really explain it, does not make it supernatural.

Take for example this next image which was in the New Zealand competition. It’s a photograph of a face in a laundry basket:


From the DailyMail:

“…The shot was taken by a woman of her ten-month-old grandson in 1996.

But her family was terrified after noticing a man’s head with a wicked glare in the eyes in a basket in the background…”

Creepy right? the image looks 3 dimensional, complete with shadows, relief and high contrast.
But things are not as they appear to be.

“…But their fears were allayed when, on closer inspection, they realised the head was just Jack Nicholson.

A photograph of the actor in his hit movie The Shining was on the cover of a magazine rolled up inside the basket….”

If it wasn’t for that last part, I would have thought this to be a pretty creepy image.

Overall, the majority of the “unexplainable” can be explained. You just need someone who is good a trivia games.

By the way, Happy Mother’s day!

  • Michka

    I can’t believe no one posted any comments on this one. The first two pics may have images that are residual from the camera, but was anyone from the parapsychological field ever called to debunk? Was there any investigation done to see if it happened again? As we all know there is always an explanation for everything that is captured on any recording device.

    Here’s a long shot, is it possible that the first pic is that of a fire demon glaring out the window laughing queitly to him/herself?

    the third pic looks like a double exposure and plainly that. The fourth looked to me like something you’d see of punk’d or amercia’s funniest videos.


  • emily

    The first two pictures seem very real but the other two after that are just a waste of time in my opinion. Im no expert but so many pictures are obviously fake even to someone that isnt an expert in the photographic field. I have a strong belief in the supernatural but have a fairly level head when it comes to idiots just trying to take people for a ride.



  • Henry

    I see both faces in the fire, but do not agree they are the same face. That is just projection on the part of one observer who then tells people it is the same so they see it that way as well.

    In the first photo I see a man’s face, deep set eyes, either bald or with a high sloped forehead and receded hairline and gray or light colored hair, with a well defined jawline. The second photo is of an older woman’s face, with a dark hair worn in a curled hairdo tight to the head, a bit jowly at the jaw, and you can clearly see she is wearing an earing. Looks like my grandmother all in all. But two completely different faces to me.

    The third photo, well that is just weird, but it happens, and there is no reason to assume ghostly apparition. As for Jack Nicholson, well, he is creepy enough to start with.