Rather than being related to one particular case the Warrens have investigated over the years, this entry relates to the demonologists’ “methods” for photographing spirits. The new, slightly spiffier version of the Warrens’ website does not feature this info, but over at their old archived page, there’s a section titled “Taking Psychic Photographs,” which features such helpful hints as: “Load your camera after you get to the site. Lorraine Warren believes that this gives recognition to the spirits and gives them maximum opportunity to imprint on the film. …use an auto focus or fixed-focus camera with an automatic flash, the more powerful the flash the better. …assuming you are successful in taking psychic photos, you want to be able to rule out clouds, the moon, and so forth as the origin of your ‘psychic’ photos…”
These last two instructions are quite specific. Why? Because these supposed psychic photos usually just look like blobs of light. And that’s because they are. As Steven Novella writes in his article “Hunting the Ghost Hunters” for SkepticBlog: “The vast majority of the Warren’s [sic] physical evidence is photographs. They have hundreds of ghost shots, taken by them and those who work for them… The bulk of these photos are simply blobs of light on a piece of film. There are dozens of ways to get such light artifacts onto film, but most fit into one of three categories: flashback, light defraction, or camera cords. Rare double or multiple exposures create more interesting, but still artifactual, photographs.”
Most telling of all is the first category: flashback. Novella explains, “Flashback is simply light from the camera flash reflected back at the lens, causing a hazy, overexposed region on the film. The result is often a whispy [sic] and blurry light image on the film.”
Instances of so-called “ghost orbs,” furthermore, are typically nothing more than dust motes or other particles exposed by the camera’s light.This explains why the Warrens encourage bright flashes – “the more powerful the flash the better” – on their website.
And yet, the myth of these “psychic photos” persist, with Lorraine Warren still fueling their “validity.” Check out this video: the quality is atrocious, but it does clearly show Lorraine Warren leading a photoshoot at the aforementioned Union Cemetery, where Ed claims to have shot groundbreaking footage of a White Lady materializing from a cluster of “ghost lights.” Note that the narrator of this piece says, “Several local residents have been trained in this special photographic technique developed by the Warrens. Lorraine, a renowned psychic in her own right, pinpoints energy vortices in the cemetery and directs when and where photographs should be taken.” In other words, the BEST way to get a photograph of a ghost, or a ghost’s energy, is to follow Lorraine’s directions EXACTLY. So, if you point your camera in the exact right place at the exact right time, and make sure you’ve got a strong flash, you’ll get incontrovertible proof of ghosts on film!
Or you won’t. Take your pick.