If you are interested in capturing real ghost videos, there are several options available. One option is to start your own paranormal research society, invest thousands of dollars in high tech equipment, and sit in the damp, dark basement of some haunted house with the hope that you’ll capture something at least resembling a ghost. The other option is to take advantage of Internet technology, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and do a little bit of armchair ghost hunting through your browser.
How Internet Ghost Hunting Works
If you are a fan of the popular television shows Paranormal State or TAPS, then you’ll know how ghost hunting basically works. A team of researchers pack up two or three vans full of electronic recording equipment, haul it all to an allegedly haunted house, they’ll then set up the equipment in every room, and then they’ll sit in the dark all night waiting for something to happen. Half the time, they don’t capture a single piece of evidence. This is not the way ghost hunting is supposed to work. Instead of going to the ghosts, use the Internet to let the ghosts come to you.
There are hundreds of property owners across the world who have already realized the value of setting up a webcam at a haunted location. By taking advantage of video streaming technology, these home and business owners can allow ghost hunters to watch for ghost and spirit activity around the clock. This new advancement allows you, the Internet ghost hunter, with the unique ability to be at dozens of locations at once in order to monitor for ghost or spirit activity anywhere.
The Best Ghost Hunting Webcams
I’ve been doing paranormal research for almost two years now. Much of my own research is academic, meaning that I draw data from field investigators all over the country for analysis, and I write articles on the paranormal. The last thing I have time to do is watch a webcam for several hours, waiting for the 15 minute refresh. The most effective application I’ve found that will monitor and record a whole list of webcams for you is Webcam Watcher 2.1.
You’ll need a good list of ghost hunting webcams to start with. Copy any of the link locations provided below. A few of the most popular ghost webcams include:
- Star Chamber, Ordsall Hall ( http://services.salford.gov.uk/ghostcam2/latest/ghostcam2.jpg?&1232108648923 )
- Great Hall, Ordsall Hall ( http://services.salford.gov.uk/ghostcam/latest/ghostcam.jpg?&1232108691644 )
- Willard Library Children’s Cam ( http://www.libraryghost.com/ghost/images/childrenrm.jpg_CAM1.jpg?&1232109184735 )
- Willard Library Basement Cam ( http://www.libraryghost.com/ghost/images/ipixghost.jpg.jpg?&1232108749368 )
- Willard Library Research Room ( http://www.libraryghost.com/ghost/images/researchrm.jpg?&1232109201265 )
- OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam1 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam1.jpg?&1232109120817 )
- OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam 2 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam2.jpg?&1232108816907 )
- OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam 3 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam3.jpg?&1232109120818 )
- OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam 4 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam4.jpg?&1232108864968 )
- OKC-PRG / OPRA Research Cam 5 ( http://www.researchwebcam.net/cams/cam5.jpg?&1232109049483 )
- Knickerbocker Hotel ( http://www.jasonsghost.com/remote/hotel.jpg?&1232108953436 )
Setting Up Your Ghost Hunting Lab
The first step to beginning your virtual ghost hunting career is to configure Webcam Watcher to start logging the video streams from all of your favorite webcams.
First select the “Add” button to connect to a new webcam stream.
Just type the name of the webcam, the URL link, and how often you want to refresh the image. If you’re not sure how often the stream was set up to update, go to the main page of the webcam and check the posted update time.
If the webcam doesn’t update more often than every 30 seconds, it wouldn’t make sense to update your image every 15 seconds. Keep the refresh rate at, or greater than, the webcam’s actual update time. If you can’t find the update time, 60 seconds is a good default refresh rate.
As you add each webcam, they will show up on the left menu bar. Double clicking each one will add them to the icon display box on the right, as shown here.
Clicking on any of the icons will display the actual webcam in the larger window to the right, with options to zoom, save the image, or make it a screensaver. However, the real purpose of using this software is to make it automatically collect updates for you. If you click the box next to “AutoSave New Pictures,” the Webcam Watcher will start logging updates to the “cam” folder after each update.
Managing Your Ghost Hunting Data Collection
Once Webcam Viewer collects a volume of streamed images to your hard drive, the final step is to search through those images for something that jumps out as unique or different than the rest. This would signify a potential anomaly that you may want to check out. The best method I’ve found to do that is to view the images in sequence using thumbnail view in Windows Explorer.
As you scroll through the frames, you may spot a shadow, mist or movement from one frame to the next. The next step is to conduct a more thorough analysis of the movement or change. To do this I use ImageDiff, a free image comparison application that allows you to conduct a complete pixel-by-pixel comparison between two images.
The settings I use are: use overlay, monochrome colors, and set the threshold over 90%. This will force the difference in pixels to be at least over 90%, and the differences will display on the bottom window as big red dotted areas.
It’s never a good idea to trust only your eyes. Even though you may spot a difference in the video frames while you’re scrolling through, this pixel comparison will scientifically verify that you aren’t just seeing things. As you can see in the photos above, the only differences were the time stamp, and some very slight lighting or shadow differences. If someone (or something) were to walk across the hallway, the lower image would light up like a red Christmas Tree.
How Internet Technology Can Help Ghost Hunting
In time, ghost hunters around the world will recognize that they can’t be everywhere at once. And while there’s some chance of capturing something interesting on film by sitting for a few hours in a haunted location, those odds are multiplied exponentially when you set up a webcam to monitor many locations over hundreds of hours, around the clock. Let your computer do the watching, and you can capture that elusive ghost on camera at your leisure.
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