6 "Ghosts" Caught on Film

Ransom Riggs

I love ghost stories -- and judging from the way they dominate certain aspects of our popular culture, it seems safe to assume that a lot of other people do, too. That doesn't mean I expect to find ghosts lurking in dark corners or popping out of closets, but when "evidence" of ghosts crops up, be it in the form of photographs, videos, recordings or what-have-you, I'm a sucker; I have to check it out. YouTube has become a place where such video "evidence" of ghosts tends to aggregate, and the videos run the gamut -- from obvious fakes designed to produce shock scares, to news reports about local ghost "sightings," to legitimately "unexplained" footage that people upload, hoping someone out there in internetland has an answer. Here are six such videos -- whether any of them are real, well, that's for you to decide.

Girl in the mirror

This one's been floating around the internet for a while -- more than long enough for the debunkers to get their hands on it. We're pretty sure that a little motion-tracking and some simple matting created the "mirror" effect in this video (the camera stops shaking right before the scare, a dead giveaway), but somehow knowing it's probably fake doesn't take all its creepiness away.

Gas station ghost

The scariest thing about this video may be its opening shot -- of $3.19 gas, which sounds like a bargain to me right now. But plenty of people find more to be scared of: specifically, the strange, ghostly blue cloud that hovers on a gas station security camera for more than half an hour, seeming to stalk customers as they fill their tanks. The phenomenon caused quite a stir, apparently making the Ohio gas station where it occurred the most popular one in town.

Singapore elevator ghost

This is supposed to be security camera footage from an office building in Singapore. After racking up more than a quarter-million views on YouTube in just a few days, it was revealed to be a marketing stunt created for a business recruitment and staffing firm, GMP Group, at a cost of some $100,000. Subsequently, a manager from the company named Josh Goh appeared in a video explaining that their motive for creating the video was to discourage their employees from working too late at night: "At GMP, we want to highlight the dangers of working too late. Stress, fatigue, ill health are just a few. And if you're really unlucky, you just might see a ghost." Hilarious, guys.

Vatican Ghost

A Canadian tourist unwittingly captured something spectral-looking on video while taping in the Vatican. This is a news report about it.

Creepy gnome

OK, this one's not a ghost, but it's just as X-files as the rest of these videos, and just as creepy. To wit: back in March, headlines started circulating around that read "creepy gnome terrorizes Argentinian town!" Links led to a video, supposedly made with a cell phone by a group of small-town Argentine teens who were sitting around doing not-very-much when a two-foot-tall, pointy-hatted gnome popped out of some bushes some twenty yards away and began shambling across the road. How convenient that they had just started shooting moments before it appeared, and knew right where to aim the lens and zoom in perfectly, and how strange that the footage cuts off where it does, and the boys don't rush to investigate. And that there are no reports of Argentine towns being terrorized by gnomes, as claimed in the Sun, essentially the Brit equivalent of our (may she rest in peace) Weekly World News. Despite all this, however, this video genuinely creeped me out.

"Dungeon" ghost

There are way too many "ghost" videos of this type floating around the web, but I thought I should include at least one because they're so prevalent. Don't say I didn't warn you.

* * * * *