Termination: Ghost-busting AV?

It’s a conspiracy, man.


15 February 2015

Text:/ Graeme Hague

There is one aspect to modern AV technology that continues to disappoint me. An ongoing failure of epic proportions. Yes folks, shocking as this may seem, modern technology is still capable of failing. Who would have thunked it?

Despite the zillions of high-resolution cameras installed everywhere, including sneaking into digital signage, we’ve still yet to see a decent picture of a ghost, UFO, yeti or the Loch Ness monster. To be fair, Loch Ness probably isn’t a prime location for digital signage — the actual watery bit — but you know what I mean. It’s amazing, because cameras are everywhere now. So are ghosts and flying saucers. Still, no one’s got a decent happy-snap of either [you’re frequenting the wrong conspiracy sites, evidently — Ed.].

I’m interested in this stuff and I stumbled across a picture that’s supposedly from the 1950s called the Cooper Family Ghost photograph. It shows a family who moved into an old house (of course) in Texas and took a picture of mum, grandma and the two kids at the dining table. Upon being developed, the photo revealed a ghostly figure hanging upside down on the wall behind them. No surprises that an internet debate rages about its authenticity ranging from true believers to calling it Photoshopped “horror art” from 2009. The thing is, in my other life, apart from this gig of annoying our editor with totally non-AV related back page columns, I write horror books and I’ve been researching these kinds of phenomena for decades. There are countless, incidental photographs of ghosts, demons and slightly-miffed spirits. Pictures taken by photographers trying to capture something entirely innocent and discovering spooky stuff when the picture’s developed, every one of them blurred, grainy, over-exposed and really only proving one thing — the person holding the camera is crap at taking photographs.

It shouldn’t be a problem now, right? Even I’ve got a dodgy old mobile phone that can take a 10 überpixel photograph worthy of hanging in the National Gallery. So surely someone can finally get a decent picture of a genuine ghost? Is it too much to ask?

All right, what about video footage? According to most US-based television crime shows there is a “traffic cam” installed on every intersection in America. Add to these a couple of billion surveillance cameras plus the entire population walking around with a smart phone in their hand, and that’s some serious AV happening every single second of the day. Yet no one’s YouTubed anything decent video-wise when it comes to strange and inexplicable figures making weird noises in the night — Justin Beiber concert videos don’t count, by the way. This is nothing short of extremely disappointing. How can it be so hard? Yes, it’s starting to sound suspicious.

UFO’s… well, okay. Arguably any master race of alien beings that’s capable of travelling light-years across the universe shouldn’t have too much trouble avoiding photo-bombing most wedding parties and teenage selfie sessions. They’ll have some kind of far-out technology that masks them from being seen on any digital AV recorders — a bit like Johnny Depp’s dogs at the airport — so maybe it’s not that impressive. However, there is also an enormous amount of evidence that UFO’s can be sloppy when it comes to being discrete, popping up on the ancient pyramids, sneaking around the Nevada desert, snatching chickens and Elvis from Memphis… We hear about these things all the time. You can even see it on the telly around 1 o’clock in the morning between the infomercials. Plainly, there has been more than enough opportunity to capture some hi-res, irrefutable video of your basic flying saucer, yet no one has. Instead, it’s always the out-of-focus, shaky stuff that might be a UFO or possibly a potato hanging on a piece of string. 

Which leads me to the outrageous, yet entirely plausible suggestion that the AV industry is, in fact, run by aliens [oh dear, wondered where this was headed — Ed.]. This is all part of a cunning conspiracy by Little Green Men to ensure their existence is never confirmed. Somehow, using some sort of other-worldly technology, they’ve managed to maintain throughout the world that any photographs and videos of UFOs will always be barely watchable and nobody can quite prove that dudes from Mars exist. This also explains why a lot of AV equipment has the controls labelled with tiny, dark lettering and indecipherable hieroglyphics that no one understands unless you come from another planet. It’s why the Adobe Help website takes so ridiculously long to open, too. The software is checking your PC for images of UFOs might actually stand up to some scrutiny. And the lack of decent ghost pictures? That’s a collateral side-effect of the same alien-driven, AV industry technology. 

What else might explain such a consistent failure that’s lasted over decades? Particularly during the last 10 years or so when taking a hi-res photo or video is practically impossible not to do?

All this can be disproved very easily. Go looking for a bump in the night. Record the bump in 24-bit/48kHz audio and the ghostly video in super hi-res 4K format and post the results up on YouTube. See what happens. I’ll bet it mysteriously turns to crap.

Beware, you might get a midnight visit from the Men In Black. That’s a couple of guys wearing black cargo pants, black tee-shirts and carrying Mag lights and Leathermen tools. They’ll drag you off screaming into the night, never to be seen again. Say hello to Elvis for me.

Graeme Hague is quite possibly the most incredulous horror writer in the history of fiction, and potentially an illegal alien.


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