Perspective Distortion & Ghost Pictures                    Back to: Ghost Pictures

Consider Perspective Distortion When Examining Pictures for Ghosts
When viewing possible pictures of ghosts, we feel it necessary to make you, the reader,
aware of a photographic phenomenon commonly known as "perspective distortion."

Perspective distortion is a common effect caused by the lens of the camera, especially when
using a wide angle camera lens. Objects in photos can become ballooned or warped,
making them appear different from how they should look normally. Perspective distortion is
especially noticeable when objects are photographed close to the lens, though the distortion
can be subtle and not recognized by the untrained eye. The distortion is directly related to the
focal length, consistently increasing relative to how close the subject is to the lens. Distance
minimizes the effect. Items in the photo will bend away from the center of the frame, creating
one part to appear larger (or closer to the viewer) than the rest of the subject matter.
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Perspective distortion can also be found in
cinematography, specifically used in horror films
or scenes that are meant to induce fright. In one
small example, the
Twilight series of movies use
this effect quite a bit to present weird-looking
camera angles that creates an eerie world for
vampires and werewolves to inhabit. Distortion
of the subject matter is a popular movie effect
that is used for artistic purposes, changing how
we view the scene. I can't help but recall Jack
Nicholsen's odd head popping through the door
The Shining and saying, "Here's Johnny!"
How Does Perspective Distortion Relate to Ghost Pictures?
When examining ghost pictures, we can take account of the distortion if
we know to look for it. How distorted is the ghost within the photo in
comparison with the rest of the picture? Is the perspective distortion the
same throughout the image? A common mistake by people who fake
ghost pictures is that they do not know to account for this phenomenon. If
you know to look for this, oftentimes false specters will easily be spotted
as not part of the original image. Look for this when examining ghost
pictures, even those on this website. Become a good detective and
study the light, shadows, and colors. Pay attention to the angles and the
perspective. Does everything line-up accordingly?
Distorted Perspective: Ghosts or Explainable?
Above: A man's nose
appears to be larger than
normal due to distortion.
Perspective distortion can also deform images of people or things in the frame. A tree, for
example, might become warped enough to take on a human form, becoming a ghost. A man
standing to the left in a photo might now appear to have an elongated jaw like an animal, etc.

Tkay of
Paranormal Sight has taken note of this while examining ghost pictures. She has
seen objects in photographs (especially things off in the distance) that are bent towards one
another due to distortion. The human brain does not easily recognize the objects for what
they are, and thus, works to view them as something identifiable to itself. The mind wants to
believe it is seeing something human. In example, two poles might angle toward one another
in the photograph. To the brain, they no longer look like poles but appear to be large,
human-looking legs! Perspective distortion can add to this effect called
Although perspective distortion is something to
look for, there are other types of distortion
found with perspective. Horizontal and vertical
linear perspectives create strong angles that
head east and west or north and south,
respectively. Different perspectives certainly
come into play with how we view subject matter
in our photographs, especially when looking for
- Angels & Ghosts wishes to thank Tkay for
suggesting the idea behind this article.
Above: Two types of distortion shown with grids. At left
is the more common 'barrel distortion,' and at right is
what's known as 'pincushion distortion.'
Angels & Ghosts!
Ghosts Pictures Perspective Distortion Copyright 2010 Angels & Ghosts, LLC