To believe something, we often say we have to see it with our own eyes. Usually, that means seeing it on film — our eyes can't be everywhere that all the interesting things are happening. The trouble, of course, is that pictures can be manipulated, especially in the digital age. And photos don't even have to be purposefully manipulated to be misleading. Double exposure can cause all kinds of freaky effects to appear in a photo, and that can happen at random.
However, every now and then something unexpected shows up on camera that can't be explained away with manipulation or tricks of the light. It's right to want to be skeptical. It's right to doubt. That's what makes pictures like these so cool — all reasonable explanations for what we're seeing go up in smoke. All that's left is mystery.
The famous Amityville ghost boy picture has never been fully explained — the photo was taken with an automatic infrared camera while investigators searched the house, with no children present at the time.
via Facebook / Real Ghost Pictures
The Naga Fireballs of the Mekong are a phenomenon seen rising out of the Mekong River every October. Thousands of the balls of light rise a few hundred meters up from the water before disappearing.
via reddit / Maslo59
These bare footprints were seen in an abandoned nuclear reactor in Washington State.
via reddit / allisgolden
The Time-Traveling Hipster appears in this photo that dates from 1941. The photo was taken at the re-opening of the South Forks Bridge in Gold Bridge, British Columbia. The man on the right appears to be unshaven, wearing modern clothes and holding a modern camera — note how everybody around him wears suits and hats more appropriate for the era.
via Virtual Museum of Canada
The Steppe Geoglyphs, first spotted in Kazakhstan by Dmitriy Dey, a researcher using Google Earth, are a set of puzzling ancient formations. Dey has been working with NASA ever since to examine the geoglyphs in the area — there are more than 250 of these massive earthworks reminiscent of the Nazca lines in Peru. The Steppe Geoglyphs are believed to be at least 8,000 years old.
via Turgay Discovery
This photo, taken on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 14 mission, shows a strange blue light hanging in space.
via flickr / Apollo Image Gallery
Taken in the attic of an abandoned house — look closely at the bench on the left.
via reddit / arg6531
The Newby Church Ghost
via Wikipedia / Reverend K. F. Lord
Reverend K. F. Lord snapped this photo in 1963 at Newby Church in England. It appears to show a ghostly monk. Photographic experts say the apparition does not come from double exposure.
Edna Cintron, waving for help from the crippled North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11.
via The Web Fairy / randfreedom
How Cintron, a secretary on the 95th floor, managed to survive the impact of the plane remains a mystery.
VThese friends posed for a photo together. With nobody else around, a hand pokes out from behind the head of the guy on the right. There's no arm on the other side of his head.
via imgur / barrychenault
The Solway Firth Spaceman
via Wikipedia / Jim Templeton
In 1964, Jim Templeton had his daughter out for the day and snapped this photo. He claims nobody else was in the area when he took the photo, and Kodak even confirmed that the photo hadn't been altered.
This rowboat was found on Bouvet Island, one of the most remote and inhospitable islands on the planet. It's a common size for a lifeboat, but no trade routes run within 1,000 miles of Bouvet Island.
via A Blast From The Past
There was evidence of human activity there, but no human remains were found, and no ships were reported lost within the vicinity. Nobody has ever been able to explain how the boat came to land on Bouvet Island.
These friends took a photo together. Count the hands. They all say no one else was there.
via reddit / Renouille
Clearly, nobody in this photo from a wedding knew the man in the background was there — but nobody had seen him at the wedding either, or recognized him at all.
via reddit / sophsays
Denise Russell's picture of her grandmother, taken in 1997, features a figure in the background that she says looks like her grandfather — who died in 1984.
via The Haunted Internet
For three years, nobody noticed the figure behind her grandmother, although the photo had been reprinted and passed around the family. If it was a random passer-by who wandered into the shot, he looked an awful lot like Denise's grandfather.