3D Phantoms & Nokia Ghosts: A Guide to Vintage Ghost Photos, Part II

Previously…
NOW…
The Ghost Girl

Origin: Allegedly, Indonesia circa 1993; others place it in Sarajevo, Ohio or Texas.

Bei längerem Betrachten dieses Bildes wurden bereits bei vielen Menschen auf der ganzen Welt psychische Störungen festgestellt.

 

Ova slika uslikana je na jednom od mjesta zlocina 1993 u Indoneziji.U ovom hodniku desio se zlocin.Ova slika trebala je da sluzi kao jedan od dokaza u sudnici.Medjutim nakon izrade ova se djevojcica pojavljuje na slikama!!!!!

 

La siguiente fotografía es original de Indonesia, en la época de los disturbios en contra del gobierno en 1993, y la foto fue tomada por un reportero que estaba documentando los acontecimientos en uno de los edificios donde había ocurrido una masacre masiva. El fotógrafo disparo el flash a la estancia, en el lugar exacto donde fue la matanza, para documentar el lugar de los hechos. Al revelar la película esto fue lo que apareció, este suceso ha dado la vuelta al mundo. ¿Nos lo creemos o no?

 

This picture was taken by a reporter in Indonesia, in 1993. The reporter wanted to take a photo of a room where a mass killing was done.When the photo was developed showed this!! It is said that people that were looking at this picture for long, had nervous breakdown problems afterwards.

Spreading at least as early as 2002, and likely earlier, this photo is as classic as it is easily explained.

The origins of the ghost girl are always placed in places of horror: unrest in Indonesia, massacres in Eastern Europe, Ohio. To even glimpse this phantom invokes a curse – those afflicted suffer breakdowns and mental illness.

Why a reporter’s camera would pick up red & green colors is never explained. Such an odd spirit, to distort the world to look exactly like an image meant for 3D glasses.

That’s what this photo clearly is. Frustratingly, my history with this supposed spirit is personal: I vividly remember seeing this image, or at least one like it, in a book in the mid-to-late 90s. It must have unnerved me, for me to remember; when I encountered this photo a few years later my entire reaction was “oh, it’s that photo from that book!”

Alas, the source of it has never been found, so I have no clue if it really was the origin or not. ALAS.


CELL PHONE GHOST

ORIGIN: Allegedly Manila, circa 2003, though earlier uploads may exist

This was taken last week, the girls are using Mobile phone that has a camera, I believe it is Nokia 7650, the girls are having fun, but when they look at the screen of the phone they saw a person next to the other girl and holding her hand. It was so scary.

 

Lo scatto in questione proviene da Eastwood City, Manila, è stata fatta con un Nokia 7250, un telefono cellulare con fotocamera. La storia dietro ad essa narra che due ragazze dopo una notte di divertimenti volessero farsi scattare una foto, così chiesero ad un passante di fotografarle, ma ciò che videro nello schermo del telefono scioccò loro. Un essere spettrale era accanto alla ragazza a destra e sembrava toccarle il braccio

 

This photo was taken at Eastwood City in Manila through a Nokia 7250, a phone with a camera. These two girls were out for the night and they wanted to have their picture taken. After asking somebody to take their picture, what they saw on the phone’s screen shocked them. A ghostly being was beside the girl in right and it appeared to be holding her arm. FREAKY!

A mainstay of ghost websites to this day, this photo is in the resplendent quality of early camera-phones.

Though an easy explanation is that someone moved out of frame as the photo was taken, claims of a double exposure are dismissed as impossible by most sources, and I don’t know enough about early cell phone cameras to confirm or deny. The ‘ghost’ resembles one in a ghost-photo-fakery app, but as we know this photo is really from 2003, it can’t be an app (more likely the app modeled their ghost on this photo, not the other way around). A Ghost Study reader helpfully says:

“I get a strong feeling that the ghost in that pic holding the girls arm was a close friend, or relation. The letter ‘K’ keeps appearing in my mind.

But he doesn’t claim to be a psychic. Just a weirdo online.

Reportedly the photographer & the subjects didn’t report anything unusual, and for once the unearthly appearance of the ghost rules out the possibility that it was, y’know, just a person walking by.

My best guess is “Photoshop, probably?” or “some camera glitch from motion”, but most debunkings gravitate towards “they faked a photo provably from 2003 with an app” and “double exposure, which is maybe impossible, I guess”, so we can at least class this one as Kinda Spooky.


AND NOW SOME FACES IN JUNK

Why did everyone in the 2000s see faces in everything

Na slici se nalazi prizor pozara jednog auta.Obicni pozar il nest malo vise,pogledajte tu vatru!?

Hier ist ein Foto von einem Autobrand… War es ein Unfall, oder eher das Werk eines Flammengeistes???

Und jetzt was Aktuelleres: Bilder vom 11. September von CNN.

A wild time where the Devil was just appearing in every fire and cloud but Jesus was in our toast so it’s all good, I guess

NEXT TIME: Smol aliens

British Goblins and Ted Danson: A Field Guide to Vintage Ghost Pictures, Part I

The Legless Woman

Origin: supposedly 1989; started spreading online in late 90s-early 00s

Eine Familie fotografiert ihre Kinder. Nach dem Entwickeln stellt sich heraus, dass eine Frau auf dem Bild erscheint und in die Kamera schaut, die während der Aufnahme NICHT DA STAND ? …und wo sind ihre Beine ?!?!?

 

Esta foto le fue tomada a la niña en Roma cuando la familia fue de vacaciones. Cuando revelaron la película apareció… ¡Esta mujer de sombrero de paja flotando en el aire

 

Majka je uslikala svoju djecu.Kada su izradili sliku pokazalo se da je na slici neka zena koja gleda pravo u kameru,ali koja za vrijeme snimanja slike nije bila tu!!!!!
uh,ja,a gdje su joj noge!!!!!!??????

 

A photograph taken by Mr Webb of his young daughter shows a woman dressed in black floating legless in the background. While it is possible that the woman’s legs are concealed behind a post, the angle at which she leans does create doubt that the lady is corporeal.

 

Of course, during the time the picture was taken, neither Mr. or Mrs. Webb saw anyone move into their way, ruining the moment they were capturing on film.

Though given multiple origins, the most consistent is that this photo hails from London – more specifically, Covent Garden (hence the more official name the “Covent Garden Ghost”). Sources dismiss the photo being an optical illusion; “If her legs were behind the post, she would tip over (in our estimation)”.

…but her legs are behind the post. Unlike the rest of the photo, she’s in motion – presumably fast, given the visible blurring and her lean forward. The photo caught her with one leg behind the post and the other moving, presumably behind her or behind the post.

As for why they didn’t see anyone, well, who remembers someone you don’t know passing by as you took a photo in 1989?


THREE MEN AND A BABY GHOST

Origin: mid-90s

Ein Studio-Foto von “Drei Männer und ein Baby”. Der Junge im Hintergrund wurde während der Aufnahme von keinem aus der Filmcrew gesehen, erkannt, oder wahrgenommen. Nach langen Ermittlungen stellt sich heraus, dass er vor ein paar Jahren in diesem Raum sein Leben gelassen hat.

 

Este es el famoso fotograma de la película
“Tres solteros y un biberón” en donde aparece una imagen que no debería de estar ahí.
La rumorología hollywoodiense cuenta que se trata del niño que resultó fatalmente muerto en ese apartamento mientras manipulaba un fusil.

 

Za vrijeme slikanja djecak u pozadini se nije vidio,ali otkud odjednom na slici????Nakon istrazivanja pokazalo se da je prije nekoliko godina ovdje umro taj mali djecak!!!!!!

The Three Men and a Baby ghost is well-trod ground by now, debunked by Snopes in 1997. It’s a standee of Ted Danson from a deleted scene, and the film wasn’t shot in a real house.

THE CAVE GOBLIN

Origin: 2001-2

Let’s close on the big one, the one image inescapble on Ye Olde Ghost Sites.

Das folgende Bild war ein Beweisfoto in einer polizeilichen Ermittlung. Ein Fotograf wollte in einer Höhle Bilder machen (Khaimah) obwohl Einheimische ihn nahezu anflehten, die Höhle nicht zu betreten. Gegen Mittag rief er die Polizei, weil er fürchterliche Schreie in der Höhle vernahm. Stunden später fand die Polizei den Mann, dessen Körper vollständig zerlegt war. Seine Kamera lag neben ihm. Als die Polizei im Zuge der Aufklärung den Film in der Kamera entwickelte, waren sie geschockt. Da kein weiterer Beweis für die Aufnahme gefunden werden konnte, gab man als Todesursache an, er sei von einem wilden Tier angefallen worden. Guck Dir das “Tier” mal an…

 

Ova slika bila je dokaz u jednoj policijskoj istrazi.Fotograf htio je u jednoj pecini da napravi nekoliko slika(Khaimah),iako su ga domordci molili da ne ulazi u pecinu.Negdje oko podne fotograf je nazvao policiju i rekao im da cuje uzasne zvukove unutar pecine.Nekoliko sati kasnije policija je nasla tijelo fotografa,cije je tijelo upoptunosti bilo izjedeno i istrgano.Njegova kamera nalazila se odmah do njega.Kada je policija izradila film imala je sta i vidjeti!!!Medjutim posto se nije moglo drugacije objasniti,policija je navela da je fotograf napadnut od strane nekih zivotinja.
Pa pogledaj malo te zivotinje!!!!1

“This is a true story in Ras el Khaimah, United Arab Emerites. This picture has been released as a police report evidence in the UAE. The story is that a young man went in the caves in Ras el Khaimah to take pictures in caves known to be deserted, with a friend. He had been warned not to go. The person who had been with him called the police saying he had seen his friend’s flash go off and then his friend screamed. He called his friend but never got an answer and got scared that he’d fallen so went to the police. A few hours later they found the man in the cave dead and the single picture found in his camera is this one

The photo looks real. It looks scary. It even has precisely the blown-out, harried quality that fits what it was always spun as – the last known photo of a man who went missing in a cave, usually said to be in the UAE.

Theories ranged from an alien, to a chupacabra, even to a decomposing body in a ravine (since when we die we become goblins, I guess).

But in reality, the source was quickly uncovered – the cave monster is really…

a statue in an English tourist trap.

Interestingly, it was debunked by the Fortean Times years before it became a hit online.

The creature is a fiberglass model in Crystal Quest, an attraction at Cheddar Grove. For proof, goblin-selfies flourished:

The spread of the story “irritated” tourism officials, though it’s since faded, though occasionally it gets repeated by…hollow Earth newsletters? Okay. Crystal Quest itself is gone, replaced by a new attraction called Dreamhunters.

Which means it’s loose now.

And it’s behind you.

The Alternate Earth Research Center

And here’s a little site I can’t believe is still online.

The Alternate Earths Research Center is a classic work of early web metafiction, presenting itself as the homepage of a group of interdimensional travelers. Supposedly, the AERC dates back to the 50s, founded by one Yeardley Dekader, who perhaps was not of our Earth. There’s technobabble about the IRTV, the vehicle used to traverse the multiverse, and the AERC’s cataloging system, which ranges from “A -drastically altered” (dinosaurs never went extinct) to the inconsequential D- and F- (the USFL merged with the NFL, New York remained New Amsterdam), and witty asides about a traveler who found six different reports of her own disappearance, and a universe where eggs are known as “pre-chickens”.

Alas, the actual fictional documents at the core of the AERC, the reports on the alternate Earths themselves, are paltry, with just three entries, all supported by gloriously rough early Photoshop. Real Tourist-Guy levels of sophistication here. One details a timeline where Lincoln survived; the travelers squee out over his autobiography, only to find that not much else changed after his term. Another goes deep on the USFL-NFL merger, with faked newspaper box scores and lore about how they merged.

The star of the AERC is the final timeline, one where reptiles – maybe aliens, maybe the descendants of dinosaurs – rule the Earth. The terrible scene is rendered with magnificent skill:

The Alternate Earths Research Center wisely doesn’t take itself terribly seriously, and doesn’t try to be anything more than an excuse for photoshopped lizardmen and puns about Lucky Charms. It’s the kind of weirdo project that proliferated in the era of the personal web (it dates back to at least 2003); I could imagine something more expansive, maybe a SCP-like collaborative project, today, but nothing this personal – except maybe in a timeline where the NBA collapsed or joined the ABA or something.

The delights of getting plagiarized by a bad UFO site

For years now, I’ve put the spotlight on dubious UFO websites whose content is largely stolen, often from each other (the fuzzier end of UFOlogy is only rivaled in plagiarism by Flat Earthers).

Think About It (Aliens) is a pretty standard Sketchy UFO Site – last updated in 2017, the front page is forever frozen with news about the supposed 4Chan alien selfie, Chinese moon bases and recaps of the Zanfretta aliens.

But there’s something else on this [Citation Needed]-y library.

Something familiar.

Somehow, my 2014 post about the Blue Planet Project ended up on a UFO site in 2015 – with its order jumbled up due to a hasty copy-paste job.

That the post mocks most of what it said, debunks Majestic 12, includes the primo photoshop you see to the right, includes Steve Guttenberg and ALF jokes, and indeed is not at all the source they probably though they were copying is of no concern. Neither is the writer, namely me, joking that she’s a reptilian. Which, obv, isss only a joke.

I’m not even mad. My content’s been jacked by a sketchy UFO site, and honestly, is that not the highest goal anyone could hope to achieve?

Sci-Fi Keeps Happening

In 2015, I dove into how a Sci-Fi Channel ad campaign created a video that, stripped of all context, continues to propagate in UFO and 9/11 truther circles to this day.

When discussing it, I lamented how the other ads in the campaign have gone down the memory hole, lost to the internet…

…until sometime last year, when they were uploaded to Youtube. While the “magnet” promo remains lost, two of the lesser known SciFi Happens promos are now preserved.

UPDATE: The magnet promo is not lost after all – it was uploaded to Vimeo by the campaign’s creator three years ago.

The Therian Temple or, how not to start a werewolf religion

I READ ON ANOTHER THERIAN* WEBSITE THAT YOUR TEMPLE IS AN EVIL CULT. IS THIS TRUE?

People are often afraid and, in turn, hateful of, things they do not Understand.
This often leads them to say uninformed or ignorant things about people who do not share their own viewpoint.
To some people, any group which deals with Magic or the Metaphysical is a “cult”.
To some people, anything unfamiliar is “evil”.
Decide for yourself.

In my post on the Elenari, I discussed how a community of self-proclaimed “space elves” fell down a deep hole of unverified personal gnosis, weaving a tower of memoryscapes that eventually collapsed under its own weight, leaving nothing like it outside certain insular communities.

Therianthropes, people who identify as existent animals in a spiritual or mental sense, never quite had to worry about that. You don’t really need to parse complicated “memories” of where you came from when you’re just an animal. You’re a wolf. You remember being a wolf. Doing wolf things.

But that hasn’t stopped individuals from trying to give therianthropy a more strict, even religious skew, and while the Therian Temple wasn’t the first, they may be the most infamous.

The origins of the Therian Temple are in message board posts trying to sway new members; alas, most of the contemporaneous reaction is lost to the internet’s ceaseless march of site death, though threads like this one capture the general hostility with which they were met (also, random Islamophobia and the r-slur, because 2006). What we can know is that the Therian Temple began in 2006 and was gone by 2010; therianthropy & Otherkin historian House of Chimeras says only a “handful” of members ever joined, if even that, and contemporary accounts confirm that. So why, then, was the Therian Temple controversial?

First of all, the attempt to impose religion, codes, and even a Bible on an individualistic community that already faced false accusations of being a cult or religion.

Said Bible was written by the Temple’s founder and “high priestess”.

Said Bible also cost $30.

More on that later.

The beliefs of the Temple drew notice for a very strange reason. The Temple’s website was redesigned between 2006 and 2007, and the later is more graphical – and more defensive about one of the group’s key tenets:

1. DO NOT PARTAKE IN CANNIBALISTIC ACTIVITY.
As part-Human and part-Animal, we are not to eat the flesh of either kin.
We must maintain a plant-based diet.

Amid guidelines to respect the Earth, avoid prison, and avoid “deadening” activities, the Therian Temple forbids its members from eating animal meat – on the basis of cannibalism.

To say this is controversial is an understatement. Any therian can be a vegan or vegetarian, but there’s something bizarre about urging people who identify as carnivorous animals to not eat other animals, not for environmental or ethical reasons, but for “cannibalism”. Is a wolf eating a deer a cannibal? In what sense do they share close kinship?

A member of GaiaOnline raises objections; elsewhere, one claims the Therian Bible was written “hundreds of years ago”

Obviously sensitive to criticism (or of potential loss of dues-paying members), the 2007 version of the Therian Temple tries to explain their reasoning:

WHY DO YOU FOLLOW A VEGAN DIET? WHAT IF MY ANIMAL SIDE IS CARNIVOROUS, SHOULDN’T I BE AS WELL?
Therians, having Human physiology, cannot digest raw meat as an Animal does,
so therefore there is no way to follow the diet of one’s Animal side, without facing serious health risks.
The plant based diet is one element to help attain the healthiest physical condition
of your Human body that is ideal for Ritual Magic.
In short, we believe the best physical condition
for the most effective ritual magic is attained by a plant based diet.
This does not mean that you may never eat meat, but that it is “most effective”
to abstain from it during times when one is practicing ritual magic.
No one is “excommunicated” from this Temple over diet issues.

This is obvious backpedaling, trying to find a reason that doesn’t also call a predator eating prey a cannibal. A similar tone is taken by the Temple’s FAQ, which keeps flailing at explaining how a group called a Temple is “not a religion”. But it does tie into another controversial element of the Therian Temple: magic.

While many therians are pagan, the two are not synonymous, and there’s no tradition of “therian magic”. But the Therian Temple melded the two, and “Therian Magic” is a centerpiece of the Therian Bible. The six-ranked membership structure required demonstration of “real-world application of therian magic” to reach the advanced ranks, and even more to be entitled to perform therian services, such as weddings, funerals, baptisms (?) and last rites (?), though the site helpfully says you can’t do a therian circumcision. All for a low, low cost of $150 for members and $350 for non-members.

That there’s no such thing as a therian version of any of those rituals goes without saying, though at least by 2007 the Therian Bible became a free download – though a $30 donation was still required for basic membership, and to earn that sweet wedding discount. A version of the Bible with two extra appendices was offered, in case anyone still wanted to give the Therian Temple even more money.

Another sore subject in the therianthrope community is p-shifting, the idea that some people can physically shift into their animal form. To say that this has never happened is a waste of words; while the Temple didn’t outright advance p-shifting as an actual thing, it did promote a more muted variant, where some people reportedly gained enhanced strength or senses without a full transformation.

Still impossible, though.

On the left: the theta-delta symbol for therianthropy.
On the right: the Therian Temple’s theriogram (buyable as a lapel pin, 2 for $1 deal for members!)

The Therian Temple stormed into a community claiming to have all the answers, if you pay a small fee; crafting its own symbols and traditions and foisting them on a hostile audience, all while acting like it was absurd to call a self-proclaimed Temple hawking a literal Bible a “religion”.

But what exactly was in their $30 Therian Bible? We can never know. Unless someone uploaded it online. And unless you can read it now. And unless I read it.

I read it.

Shout out to beginning your book by reminding people to read it from beginning to end, so as to stop people who read books sideways, or middle to front, as they do.

The first pages just repeat the “codes” & “truths” of the site, but with added commentary; the third therian truth, that therians are born, not made (don’t you hear how special you are, reader?) , gains a note that those who aren’t born therians (we know how special you are, you can trust us) can study therianthropy their whole life and die human (but you won’t, not if you give us your money, move up the ranks, and we’ll tell you the truth); it also calls out humans who “get scratched by a Wolf” to become a wolf, you know, as people so commonly do. Sadly, the Bible doesn’t try to defend its rule on cannibalism.

The exclusive bits, the guide to “therian magic”, starts with the extreme basics of basics. “Master” humanity by interacting with people; figure out what your theriotype is first, as if anyone who didn’t already identify with an animal dropped $30 on a Therian Bible. Those who don’t live in an area with abundant nature are commanded to move, lest they “face extinction”; therians are also advised to not tell humans about their nature, as “Humans cannot understand the Knowledge”.

The “mental shift”, a common occurrence in therian communities where people say they temporarily take on the instincts and mindset of their theriotype, the most commonly reported type of “shift” in therianthropy, is described as dangerous, high-level therian magic (only we can truly teach you, not them, $150 please for a therian baptism).

All therian magic so described is a basic part of therianthropy, turned into a ritual that amounts to little more than positive thinking. Call on your theriotype to take your problems away (wolves are famed for their CBT training); p-shifting is that, plus an extra step where you briefly pretend to run around like your theriotype to become them (that’s why four-year olds pretending to be cats are always turning into half-felines).

What the Therian Bible lacked was an editor; humans who try to be therians are “watsing their time”, we’re helpfully informed that “as therians, we ate still human in physical form”, and warned to be physically strong and not intoxicated before we “attemt the M-shift”. The book as a whole runs 24 pages, many of them cribbed word-for-word from the website; with little information on what exactly the book was, many ordered it out of blind curiosity – and got a booklet in the mail. A booklet whose tone verges on insulting.

Acknowledgements are given to Anton LaVey, vampires, and nature, and then this paltry tome  ends with a note that it’s all property of the authors, who now make music about nationalism using a Nazi symbol on the cover, so take that as you will.

As for the Therian Temple itself, it’s long since vanished, the occasional resurfacing of its Bible the only sign it ever existed. While it’s easy to dismiss them for their obvious ridiculousness, we’d be better off if we didn’t. Because everything was in place for the Therian Temple to bilk vulnerable people out of their money & evolve into a full cult, and the fact that they didn’t gain any followers is not a sign that it could never happen, but a happy fluke. Any tightly-bound subculture could birth a Therian Temple, and unfortunately they won’t all be so incompetent.