Ghostly Selfies

Ghosts are hogging the picture in some selfies

By Ava Hawkinson


Only Peaches Geldof and her young son Astala were bathing in the bathtub. But the selfie, which Geldof took, revealed a third presence sitting right behind them.

The picture, taken in 2013, shows a small hand, which rests on Geldof’s shoulder and clasps a chunk of her long blonde hair.

These four bony fingers are neither transparent nor blurry. They look as real and alive as Geldof and her son.

Selfie Ghost 2 Geldof later uploaded the selfie to Instagram and captioned it, “Close up shot of the mystery ghost hand in the pic I took of Astala and me In the bath!! And no that isn’t my hand – one of mine was around his waist to hold him during the photo, the other holding the camera to take the shot. Also the hand is around my shoulder so totally weird angle if I did it myself!! How terrifying!! I am shitting myself! #haunted #ghost.”

Geldof claimed that the hand in the photo was that of a woman who died 100 years ago.

Apparently Geldof’s South East England home was built by a man and his pregnant wife, and the wife later miscarried and spiraled into a deep depression. She ended up drowning herself in the house’s bathtub, Geldof said, according to Huffington Post.

Rise of spirit selfies

Geldof’s selfie is only one of many selfies that have gone viral over recent years for documenting ghost-like presences. There are hundreds of “spirit selfies” all over the internet.

Earlier this year, a blurry face floated over a woman’s nose as she took a picture of her newly-dyed light blonde hair.

A couple weeks ago, Julian Eltinge, a famous actor who died in 1941, is said to have appeared in a selfie a couple took while dining at a New Orleans restaurant.

There are countless other selfies like these.

Since the late 1800s, people have claimed to capture ghosts lurking in the backgrounds of their photographs, but this claim was never as widespread as it is today.

It seems that every week a new picture becomes viral which has a ghostly presence in it. And, strangely enough, most of these pictures are selfies.

Probably, the presence of many ghosts in selfies is not due to ghostly attempts to communicate that, “We love selfies, too!”

More likely, more and more people are photographing ghosts in selfies because selfies have become extremely popular over the last decade.

In 2014, Symon Whitehorn, the head of camera design at HTC Corporation, said that, “In some markets, 90% of pictures taken are selfies.”

One million selfies a day

And, an infographic created by Techinfographics in 2014 shows that over one million selfies are taken every day.

It stands to reason that the increase in selfie-taking is causing the increase of ghost-spottings in selfies.

In turn, the trend of the “spirit selfie” is renewing old debates around the existence of ghosts.

People are wondering whether or not ghosts like Geldof’s spine-tingling hand are truly ghosts or well-crafted spoofs, caused by photo editor effects and tricks of the light.

Some skeptics refer to Pareidolia, the common psychological phenomenon in which people interpret random images and try to find meaning in them, when looking at pictures like these.

Perhaps the human mind is only interpreting the “ghost hand” in Geldof’s photograph to be a hand, when in fact it could be something she’s wearing, like a necklace, or a strange object in the background.

Skeptics also often reference other famous “spirit selfies,” in which the ghosts that were captured turned out to be complete hoaxes.

For example, two brothers, Ryan and Alec, posted a Snapchat video to Reddit earlier this year that went viral. Alec stood facing the camera, and behind him a faceless transparent figure hovered.

Overnight, the brothers’ video received 150,000 views. Every hour, it was getting 15,000 more, the brothers said, according to Daily

But Ryan and Alec eventually told the truth. The “ghost” in the background was truly Ryan. He had stood right outside the window and shone harsh light onto his sides and back and soft light onto his face. This tricked the camera and many of the viewers into seeing an eerie floating figure.

One thing is certain; whether or not ghosts truly exist, they will continue to be seen in selfies. Probably as more and more selfies are taken, more ghosts will be spotted in them. And, when people start taking less selfies, the news around these “spirit selfies” will decline.

No matter, whatever technology becomes popular in the place of selfies should get ready.

Either people will continue to spot ghosts or ghosts will keep popping up, hoping to be spotted.