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Is the JREF Library Haunted? PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   

The Isaac Asimov Library at the James Randi Educational Foundation has many thousands of books on the occult, supernatural and paranormal. It also has a time lapse camera, which has recorded something previously found only in those volumes.

The Isaac Asimov Library at the James Randi Educational Foundation has many thousands of books on the occult, supernatural and paranormal. It also has a time lapse camera, which has recorded something previously found only in those volumes.

Watch the video. What is this ghostly image? A former resident dancing around the table? The manifestation of a spirit previously trapped in a long-shelved tome? Is it Isaac himself, come to gaze upon his portrait on the mantel?

Well, no. It's a piece of cotton on a coat hanger wielded by James Randi. There have been several "ghost" videos making the rounds of YouTube and elsewhere that depict "blobs" or "lights" gallivanting around gas stations and most recently, an exercise room. What's actually happening is that a bug is crawling on or near the lens of the security camera.

You see, the camera is focused for distance. Objects close to the lens are out of focus and appear distorted and blurred, and you can see through them because they are smaller than the lens itself. So, rather than a large blob floating far from the camera, you're seeing a small solid object very close to the lens.

We can't say that all videos of "ghosts" are caused by this phenomenon, but this is exactly the kind of video you'd get if an insect was crawling on a security camera's lens.