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Investigator 'debugs' N.M. ghost mystery

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Luke Hodiak
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« on: October 30, 2007, 11:58:15 pm »

Investigator 'debugs' N.M. ghost mystery

By MATT MYGATT, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 30, 5:00 PM ET
 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Jeepers, it was just one of those creepers. An investigator specializing in all things bizarre has debugged the mystery of the Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost a specter captured on a blurry surveillance videotape.


"Whooooooooooooo....," Benjamin Radford said in his finest ghostly Halloween howl.

"In the end, it was in fact a bug or inspect of some sort that was on the lens of the surveillance camera," said Radford, an Albuquerque-based professional scientific paranormal investigator and managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

"To my mind, it's a case of where people typically say something is unexplained and all that means is they haven't worked hard enough to look for an explanation. They've given up," he said.

The image a glowing spot drifting in front of a patrol car parked beneath some trees generated more than 132,000 hits on YouTube since Santa Fe County Deputy Alfred Arana first noticed the image June 15.

"There were a wide variety of theories on what it was," said Radford. "Some said it was a ghost. Some said it was drifting cottonwood fluff. Some said it was a prank."

But the one that stuck was a ghost, he said.

Radford drove to Santa Fe to watch the original video, ruling out a couple of theories.

"If it was a reflection, what would be reflecting and why was the sun in the wrong place?" he said. "And why would someone conduct a prank on courthouse surveillance with deputies with guns watching. That didn't make sense."

Radford narrowed it down to drifting seeds from cottonwood trees or an insect.

"I took some plastic tubing (June 19) and blew some cottonwood fluff into the air in front of the camera. That experiment was not successful. It basically looked like cotton fluff."

Radford then visited an Albuquerque nursery for some creepy-crawlies, shelling out $9 for 1,750 ladybugs.

"So basically, I then put the bugs on the camera casing (the next day) to see if by any chance they would duplicate the ghost and eventually, sure enough, we got the ghost," he said.

"It was kind of touch-and-go there for a while. If these bugs don't walk across the lens, I could be in big trouble," he said.

The object in the surveillance video was purposely moving, not floating, Radford said.

It was blurry because it was close to the camera lens and it was glowing because direct morning sun hit the lens from a low angle, he said.

Radford said it's a rare definitive answer in his line of work investigating haunted houses, crop circles, psychics or Big Foot.

"This case was solved through logic, scientific analysis and methodology," he said.

___

On the Net:

Surveillance video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?vZBR6wD6rzPg

Radford's video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v9OhjYOhhMPc
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