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Still Waters

Teenage girl snaps haunting photobomb

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Here is a good tool for image forensics: https://29a.ch/photo-forensics

Or a simpler ELA analysis plugin for Gimp: https://github.com/sentenza/GIMP-ELA

I could not find any signs of tampering in the picture. It looks perfect, still the embedded text reveals that even the full-size version was resaved in Photoshop 3.0 for some reason, which is somewhat suspicious. It could be simply for resizing, yet I don't see any signs of that, as the size is 1080x1440 which is a typical HD resolution (tuned 90 degrees). May be the levels were adjusted. I am not sure.

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Posted (edited)

Here are the results of the ELA analysis:

First comes the special set with the test area embedded in the top right corner of the image. I've made the test area by copying a rectangle area with the trees and superimposing it with 25% opacity and some feathering. I even matched the JPEG quantization grids. You cannot notice it with bare eyes (only by direct comparison with the original), yet it becomes clearly visible when analysed using the ELA method:

649f67ed21140f0bdbaa9227b2ac757c.jpeg19e322c635a418c5b1ffcbac66f299c6.jpeg50929e0f883fb6a4ca9e663cf45499fb.jpeg

And here is the clear original picture analysed in the same way:

2dbc6aaeb734be801c878673b0a901f5.jpeg39c9771884ab9f579f26d1fb50d574e9.jpeg2f8173e578f82d5b10dc2c2bddb57e2e.jpeg

Remember that I don't want to prove ghosts exist. I am just telling the facts. And the fact is the picture was NOT cut-n-paste edited. It may have been brightness/contrast/etc. adjusted but not a bit "photoshopped" in the common sense of that word.

My best bet still it was just a statue.

Edited by Chaldon
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Is that a civil war era kepi cap?

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"Jessica also said that Kolton explained that when Haley took the photo, he was fixing the tacklebox and nobody else was there, despite the fact it looks like there is a man right in front of him."

There appears to be a shadow on the boys back of probably a grown ups head. And If no one else was there, why is she sitting in the truck, her 12 year old brother Kolton going to drive it home?

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15 hours ago, I hide behind words said:

Is that a civil war era kepi cap?

It looks more like a visor to me because of the height in the front.

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13 hours ago, South Alabam said:

"Jessica also said that Kolton explained that when Haley took the photo, he was fixing the tacklebox and nobody else was there, despite the fact it looks like there is a man right in front of him."

There appears to be a shadow on the boys back of probably a grown ups head. And If no one else was there, why is she sitting in the truck, her 12 year old brother Kolton going to drive it home?

I think that's something due to how the media picked up the story- they left out the original part from the FB post about the kids were accompanied by their grandparents. I thought the same thing about the shadow on the back when I first read the story.

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Posted (edited)

Just a warning for those who would try the ELA analysis method on other suspicious photos: the method completely fails if the image was even a slightest bit resized, and becomes nearly useless if the image was resaved in worse quality. It's absolutely not a magic wonder tool to detect every kind of forgery, it's only usable on high-quality images. The best sign of that it really works is the mostly black image (like in this particular case), but to achieve that you have to know the original JPEG compression quality. You can find it manually, which is a bit tedious task, or estimate it automatically using the open-source tool named phoenix, which is itself a very good instrument for digital image forgery analysis (and can do ELA as well).

As to the low-quality images (which are the most out there), nothing can be better than a trained eye and some enhancements to help. I particularly recommend the following tools from the G'MIC toolkit: Local Variance Normalization, Simple Local Contrast, Texture Enhance and Garagecoder's Image infomap. Those can help to reveal inaccuracies in digital compositing invisible to the naked eye. Pay extra attention to perspective correctness of all the objects, their texture consistency with the background and any abnormalities in lighting. But surely such analysis proves nothing, it can only raise or lower the degree of suspicion.;)

Edited by Chaldon
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