Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hallowe'en Countdown 22: Security Cam Spectres

Hampton Court Palace Ghost on a security camera (October 2003). Image Source: Our Curious World.

When the Internet first took off and became a platform for popular media, there was a window of time when people still believed that pretty much everything they saw on it was true.  One corner of the Web that exploded when Youtube was created in 2005 (yes, Youtube is only 6 years old! it feels like it's always been there) depended on films created by the seemingly reliable, fixed witness of anything and everything Millennial - the CCTV security camera.

The idea that security cameras, and cameras in general, provide an objective point of view also popped up in film-making, and fact and fiction rapidly converged.  CCTV cams quickly spawned whole genres of quasi-virtual-real post-Postmodern entertainment - Reality TV and 'found-footage' horror films.

Before Reality TV and found footage became full-blown gimmicks, there had already been plays on the use of the camera in horror and suspense films.  The camera became the detached, technical POV that could tell the truth in a situation where human observers were strained to their limits.  Film-makers especially tested this idea in a frightening situations, when subjective views were compromised.  There were weird hints of it in The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978).  The camera as impartial witness appeared in Cameron's Aliens (1986), Lost Highway (1997), Blair Witch (1999), Blair Witch 2 (2000), My Little Eye (2002), Red Road (2006), The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007), REC (2007), Paranormal Activity (2007), and Paranormal Activity 2 (2010).  All hinged on the assumption that there is a reality beyond our senses, evident to the camera, but not to us.  We can only see this larger truth in 'playback.'  This is an example of how we turn to tech as a higher power to tell us the 'whole truth.'  The camera gives us answers in areas where we doubt ourselves and the world.

That was fiction.  Yet factual accounts quickly repeated exactly the same idea.  You can see news reports on one real (?) CCTV ghost case here and here.  In the early 2000s, security cams were considered especially impartial.  Youtube quickly became awash in scary security cam ghost videos.  Supposedly their footage, unmediated by human direction, unedited, untouched, told the 'straight facts' of what happens in places when we are not there and not looking at them.  Security cames provide the objective reality of unseen objects.  When they show random paranormal events, they appear to provide cold, hard evidence for the existence of ghosts.

Then tech caught up with our credulousness.  It's so easy now to fake security cam videos or digitally doctor them, that almost all of these films may be considered to be fake or potentially faked. Only a tiny handful of security cam ghosts are difficult to explain.  Most of the latter cases are of moths flying in front of the camera, as with here, here and here.  For a borderline convincing (or at least entertaining) CCTV ghost in a Singaporean elevator, go hereSee a few of the most convincing security cam ghost videos below, with no surprise pop ups - promise!

Video Source: Youtube.

Caption for the above video: 1st January 2006 Midnight, everybody is partying the brand new year, at the same time a mirror in the gents toilets explodes outwords. This was and still is un-explainable. Nobody was about before or after, and nob[od]y was in the room behind the mirror at that time either. If you look closely you can see a face or something on one of the toilet doors. Remember the time on the system is 1 hour ahead from normal time.

Video Source: Youtube.

One of the best CCTV ghosts, in a Japanese parking garage walking backwards into a wall, above.

Video Source: Youtube.

Another convincing video, the Blockbuster video ghost.

Video Source: Youtube.

Caption for the above video: In late December of 2003, security cameras at Hampton Court Palace, a huge tudor castle near London, captured a startling image. Security guards were unsettled to repeatedly find a fire door open when no one was apparently around. Upon checking the security tape, they were shocked by a ghostly figure, closely resembling King Henry VIII (who died in the 1500s). Vikki Wood, a spokesperson for the Palace, said “We’re baffled too--it’s not a joke, we haven’t manufactured it. We genuinely do not know who it is or what it is.”

Video Source: Youtube.

Creepy Ghost Footage Captured by Security Cameras at a NC High School!

Video Source: Youtube.

Another Japanese security cam ghost, walking down a hallway and into a wall.

Video Source: Youtube.

Ghostly Orb in the Western Suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia (2010).

Video Source: Youtube.

Caption for the above video: I am a video Technician in Florida. My friend worked at one of those giant new condos they built during the housing boom. The building was plagued with accidents during construction and after. The security system never worked right and they frequently had static breaks in the image. These happened at odd times when nothing was going on and also at coincidentally bad times when strange accidents occurred. This condo is now closed due to the economic downturn. My friend sent me some of the footage to see if I could do anything with it. This is the first clip. It's from early in the building's occupancy. I'm not a ghost person so you can take what you want from this. I'm not adding any arrows or creepy music or stupid circles.

Video Source: Youtube.

Caption for the above video: The Adelaide Arcade in Adelaide, Australia, has had a spook around for so long the employees have given it a name: Francis. Now surveillance cameras have allegedly captured the image of Francis.

See all my posts on Horror themes.

See all my posts on Ghosts.

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  1. I've seen "Cats responding to ghost bubble" type vids before. -J

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