This will make you look away

Christian Bale in the Prestige. There’s only one way he can do that trick… isn’t there?

Has a friend ever told you they’ve seen someone who looked just like you? It’s not that hard to find people who look similar (and it can be quite useful in certain magic tricks as you can imagine!) but there’s a slightly more creepy kind of ‘doppelganger’. Legend has it there are ghost-like beings that take on the form of their victims, and whose appearances are a bad omen.

The internet is full of spooky doppelganger stories (the story of Emilie Sagée will give you goosebumps) and a few famous people are said to have had visits from mysterious doubles.

Abraham Lincoln supposedly saw a vision in the mirror of his face reflected twice, one paler than the other – his wife thought this meant he would be re-elected, but die in his second term, as indeed he did. The poet Shelley saw a vision of himself pointing to the sea shortly before drowning in it, and writer Guy de Maupassant’s double helpfully dictated his work for him. After Queen Elizabeth I saw her dying double in her deathbed, she soon followed suit.

What do you think? Is it just electrical stimulation of the brain, a glimpse into a parallel universe, a side-effect of too much absinthe… or are there things out there we can’t explain?

Do you believe in ghosts?

ImageDo you believe in ghosts? How about now? Yeah, I’m not sure either, to be honest. A lot of ghosts in photos look eerily like random rock formations or shadows, to me. Some of them are definitely good though… notice anything funny about this picture?

Ghost photos are nothing new. When photography first started cameras needed long exposures, so the Victorians were always getting ghosts in their pictures by mistake. An optical scientist called Brewster was the master of the ghost photo and you can see some fun deliberate ones concocted by him and other mischevious Victorians here and here. Charlatan mediums used camera tricks too.

These days spirit orbs are all the rage with ghost photographers. Spirits are apparently quite shy, and only appear as little glowing balls of light after the film is developed. Chances are the camera flash is just lighting up specks of dust or water in the air. But who knows for sure? Are ghosts real? Have a look through the pictures below and decide for yourself.

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