• Christina Corsetti, H.S.

The 7 Most Common Types of Ghost Photos


Generally speaking, orbs are circular gray or white specks that appear in all sorts of photos, though they’re most common in pictures taken at night or in dimly-lit rooms. Many people believe orbs are paranormal in nature, but skeptics insist they’re nothing more than reflections of dust or moisture in the air.

Ghost Faces

Fans of the supernatural often cite ghost faces as evidence of paranormal activity. These faces, which appear in the background of many ghost photos, can be difficult to see or easy to spot, but critics say pareidolia is to blame. Per Dictionary.com, pareidolia is “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist.” In other words, people are imagining things.

Mists and Vapor

White mists and vapor like substances are also common in ghost photos. The assumption among ghost enthusiasts is that the mists are apparitions of some kind, though critics say they’re nothing more than smoke, fog, or objects in front of the camera.

Streaks of Light

Some ghost pictures feature odd streaks of light that many attribute to ghosts. However, skeptics point to cigarette butts, reflections, lightning, and low-level camera settings.

Reflection Ghost Photos

Reflection photos are also popular among ghost hunters. While there’s definitely something creepy about the idea of spirits appearing in mirrors or windows, not everyone is convinced that’s what happening. Reflection photos, critics say, are tricks of shadow and light or the reflection of a live human being, not spirits from beyond the grave.

Obvious Fakes

There are many obvious fakes on the web, though when it comes to ghosts (which no can prove are real), it can be difficult to label one photo fake and another legit. Photoshop and popular ghost generator apps don’t make the task any easier.


Not all photos fall neatly under the categories listed above. Some photos show what appear to be full body apparitions or mysterious figures in unexpected places. Of course, for every ghost photo, there’s a skeptic to offer an alternative explanation. It seems ghost photos will always remain a controversial topic.

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