December 2, 2003

En route to debunking my fright of last night (how Seussian of me), I discovered that there is a lot more to this whole ghostly apparition thing than the casual observer could possibly imagine. What I learned bears divulging. Knowledge, as they say, is the first line of defense. I made that up. Not unlike the wicked wizards of digital mayhem who created the email haunt story of yesterday. (Note that you may contact Lori if you "need help with a haunting". Thus leaving me wondering if she'll help you exorcise or create a haunting.) Really though, in ghostly terms, what you don't know might scare you. I'm here to help.

My term: Weird spots of light on the film.
Proper term: Orbs.
Orbs are weird spots of light on film that appear as such when developed. However unlike bad photography, orbs are paranormal. Orbs are not related to light angles and sunspots, they are ethereal glowing phenomena apparently only visible to a camera lens. Generally they contain faces. I'm frightened by this just because it immediately reminds me of Jennifer Tilly in the abysmal Haunted Mansion.

My term: Another person.
Proper term: Shadow being.
Shadow beings are exactly that - creatures comprised of shadow and void that appear as ghostly human figures in cemeteries and other random places. As observed by the naked eye I am somewhat convinced that they would very closely resemble real people shadowed by, oh, a tree or a passing cloud. On film they appear somewhat less tangible and, since there's no earthly way anybody could snap a photograph with a stranger unwittingly in frame, they are clearly some sort of haunt. Also notable is the fact that shadow beings often appear wearing hats. So capless shadows are just your inability to take a clear picture in broad daylight.

My term: A word invented by the Ghostbusters screenwriters to make Dan Aykroyd sound vaguely scientific and plausible.
Proper term: Ectoplasm.
Ectoplasm, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is either a) the outer relatively rigid granule-free layer of the cytoplasm usually held to be a gel reversibly convertible to a sol, or b) a substance held to produce spirit materialization and telekinesis. So. There it is.

My term: Glare.
Proper term: Ribbon energy.
"And just so you know, ribbon energy is a form of Ecto-mist." End quote. Ribbon energy is not lens glare or a nail clipping imprinted upon the negative during processing. In actuality it's closer to the photographic light spikes first widely seen in The Omen than anything else. If you recall, those light spikes foretold the manner of violent death Damien would dole out to the unworthy seeking to destroy him. I have yet to find evidence that ribbon energy is malevolent. So far as I can tell it just likes to be close to the heads of the living.

You may be reading this and tsk-tsking my lack of belief in the supernatural. You should take a long hard look at this blog before you decide that's the stance you're going to adopt on this issue. My belief in the supernatural is not affected by my healthy dosage of sarcasm. Nor does a belief in things out of the explainable immediate necessitate a ghost hunting degree and a frantic examination of every photo you've ever taken that had a bit of glare to it. Do I believe in spirits? That's a strange question to ask a vampire, don't you think? But more importantly, I don't disbelieve in reality.

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