Explaining the Ghost Boy in the Back Seat Photo with Occam's Razor

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
To Deirdre:

Photoshopping this hair wasn't that difficult:


Try it against a real background. I can see where you took an eraser tool to the tufts on the right side; without a uniform backdrop that fuzzy edge would be far more obvious.

It is not just eraser tool. There seem to be compressions on the right side of the image and a transplantation of a lock of hair over a darker area above the forehead (the latter looks rather amateurish).
 

eki

New Member
Here's my two cents:
1) The ghost's mouth is actually a lock of Harper's hair.
2) The dimensions of the ghost's head are not natural (the forehead is much wider than the other parts of the face)

This leads me to believe it was most likely sunlight and shadow which played a trick and caused the resemblance to a boy's head.

The most real looking part in the ghost's head is the hair. This effect might be caused by something semi-transparent passing light partly through, e.g. a tint/shade in the upper part of the side window / tree leaves.

-eki
 

kasparovitch

Active Member
TRANSFORMED.jpg TRANSFORM2D.jpg TRANSFORM3D.jpg

Maybe these 3 pictures might help. I can't compete with Mick's expertise in treating images, but I can try myself.

The first one has a rectangle taken from the "no ghost" image. They're slightly rotated, so I added a 2 degree rotation to the right on the selection.

The selection is made visible on the second one to help see it.

The third marks 2 hairbrushes to see how well matched they are for a hair that moved enough to have a hole where there was none.

I agree that's hard to photoshop hair, but this is what we have.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I agree that's hard to photoshop hair, but this is what we have.
i cant follow what you are saying. the main issue is there is absolutely no reason to spend 5 hours in photoshop (and you would have had to use an low res image, which she didnt), when you could have just pasted the ghost boy into the first photo and not messed with the hair at all. even that alone is extremely difficlut with those little fly away hairs sunlit perfectly etc.

It's alot easier to pretend you don't remember a kid in the back seat.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I agree that's hard to photoshop hair, but this is what we have.

Your evidence is meaningless. Obviously there are two different photos here. In the second one the hair has moved. You just showed that some of it still roughly lines up in both photos if you move things around a bit.

The hair that moved is the hair in front of her sunglasses. Almost certainly she brushed it sideways out of her face, and it is falling back.

There's nothing odd about the hair. Look at it again in terms of that movement.
 

Bfahome

Member
For all the talk of the hair seeming to "match up", I can't see a single strand of the "blowing" hair that stays in the same position from one photo to the other. The bunches look different, the individual strands look different, and even the shadows of it on her face look different. I, too, am curious as to why, if they were looking to create a hoax, someone would spend so long meticulously editing strands of hair rather than going "hey Bobby hop into the back seat and look over my shoulder when I say so".

The "FotoForensics" results, for what it's worth, see the two halves of the comparison image as basically the same. Not a perfect method, though, and would probably be better to compare the actual posted images rather than an edited-together version.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I agree. For myself, I maintain that the hair detail is the ultimate detail that will debunk this mystery, that is explanation #4.
Are we voting? I'm voting #1: the lie.

Though it would be pretty weird for a beauty pageant mom to do something to try and generate publicity/attention. Normally such shy, retiring types... ;)
 

kasparovitch

Active Member
No good news.

After running I-4 from exit 98 to exit 81A and Highway 17 (a less likely path) from Pearl Lake to the intersection with 426, I couldn't recognize the building reflected on the girl's right lenses. Also, at around 11am, you have the Sun mostly from East, so as she drove North-South, the Sun couldn't be shinning the girl's (and ghost's it seems) right side.

Is there something escaping me?
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
https://www.google.com/maps/@28.683...4!1sdmoaREZSBnjm3Ti3GT497w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

20161127-074832-vsg19.jpg

One step along the road.

https://www.google.com/maps/@28.683...4!1sREMr7ZztsTTGtg6EBmZZfQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

20161127-073802-0cuxh.jpg

I just looked for flat white roofed buildings, and picked the first one.

If you turn around there's even a match for the trees behind her (not flipped)
20161127-080248-421a0.jpg

20161127-080719-5gh7x.jpg

So the car was heading north, away from the beauty pageant venue. Given that the photos' date is one day after the event, it is likely that both Melissa and Harper were confused about the circumstances of when and where these photos were taken. They probably were under a strong impression they were on their way to the beauty pageant and remembered that they were alone in the car at the time. But the next day there could have been another child with them. As there probably was no significant event attached to that date, they might have forgotten about it.

Edit
As the car was heading south, the time of photos must be wrong. By the Sun position, it probably was around or after 4 PM EDT. And if the camera time was wrong by five or so hours, the date could have been wrong too.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
So the car was heading north, away from the beauty pageant venue.
No, it's heading south. The Streetview images are flipped.

Also, at around 11am, you have the Sun mostly from East, so as she drove North-South, the Sun couldn't be shinning the girl's (and ghost's it seems) right side.
It looks like the photos were taken in the late afternoon. Probably around 2-3PM, looking at SunCalc

http://suncalc.net/#/28.7618,-81.3744,8/2016.07.08/14:02
20161127-083741-mpqgd.jpg
 
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kasparovitch

Active Member
"So the car was heading north [...]"

I don't think this is an important or critical point, but I think the car was heading south. That part of the building is facing the girl, so she must be running on the road just next to the building, that is North-South, as the building is to the West of the highway, unless I'm missing something. However, this is not critical, only the location in I-4 was and this is debunked now.

Well, the camera might have its settings inaccurate, even if on July 9, there was Imperial Beauties, too. About 11pm seems right if the show started around 12am. Or maybe it started at 4pm, like the first day, and about 2-3pm would be appropriate to be at that point towards the event, in which case the Sun facing the girl's face is right for the time.
 

kasparovitch

Active Member
Now I'm most inclined for hypothesis #3 and #4 of Occam's Razor, as suggested by Mick West.

Forgetting about a boy in the car is also possible, but I wouldn't think forgetting that so likely.

I made my contribution to hypothesis #4, but this was rejected as photoshopping hair is so difficult. I deeply agree, but wouldn't put away this hypothesis so soon.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Now I'm most inclined for hypothesis #3 and #4 of Occam's Razor, as suggested by Mick West.

Forgetting about a boy in the car is also possible, but I wouldn't think forgetting that so likely.
On the contrary, I am pretty sure the photos are genuine, especially after their location has been identified.
I also think that pareidolia is less likely. This is because (i) the "ghost" head image has just a right size compared to that of the Harper's head, which is about twice closer to the camera, and (ii) the "ghost" is sunlit in a very similar way to the Harper's head.

I think the forgetting is now more likely, as it was established that the camera clock setting was wrong. As the time was several hours off, the date could be wrong too. The narrative of Melissa driving Harper to the beauty pageant at the time of the photo is no longer supported by the metadata. It could have been some other date, unrelated to the event, and there was another child on the back of their car. However, confused by a wrong date, they forgot about him being there.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The narrative of Melissa driving Harper to the beauty pageant at the time of the photo is no longer supported by the metadata.
? the photos are hidden from public on her FB now, but Harper was in a black tee with same hair style July 8th after arriving at the facility. July 8th was a friday, so mom likely had to work. 4pm. was just a "prepageant workshop, with Registration starting at 5"
upload_2016-11-27_15-52-54.png

Seeing as they seem to go to quite a few pageants, missing a prepageant workshop is not unlikely.

But yes i agree the photos are genuine. And she either forgot (due to attending lots of pageants) or she is outright lying about not remembering their backseat passenger.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Harper was in a black tee with same hair style July 8th after arriving at the facility.
I am no expert in girls fashion, but what was so special in her outfit and hairstyle that she wouldn't wear it again, say a few days later? Otherwise, the fact that she was wearing it during the event could simply have added to their confusion about the date of the photo.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I am no expert in girls fashion, but what was so special in her outfit and hairstyle that she wouldn't wear it again, say a few days later? Otherwise, the fact that she was wearing it during the event could simply have added to their confusion about the date of the photo.
i dont think she was confused about the date of the photo. i think she based her "date" on the surrounding photos. occams razor says.. theres really no need for elaborate "what ifs". (there was also a young boy about 8 years old, with a crew cut hugging Harper in one pic at the facility.. that could have been him and the top hair part of the ghost just got pixelated out, since it looks weird even for a girl style).

They were at the right place, at the right time, in the right outfit and accessories and hairstyles to be driving to the pageant. (I'm saying she forgot because I'm trying to be nice and give her the benefit of the doubt.. but i really think she lied).
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
i think she based her "date" on the surrounding photos.
Is there evidence for this? It was my understanding that the mother saw the photos that her daughter took in the car only a month later. The photos (in her Facebook?) that you mentioned could have been taken with a different camera.

Anyway, I think that I'm done with this thread. I only wanted to give Melissa the benefit of the doubt and proposed a new hypothesis of her being mistaken about the date and acting on the assumption that it was during the pageant. I did not see a supporting evidence for the latter apart of the date of the photo, and now this is in question.
 

kasparovitch

Active Member
On the contrary, I am pretty sure the photos are genuine, especially after their location has been identified.

[...]

it was established that the camera clock setting was wrong.

[...]

1. The photos are not genuine and this is certified by Greg Pocha. For them to be genuine, they had to be the exact files from the camera. They were further saved, and so their genuineness is gone. Pocha assumes he doesn't know what type of change they have, but admits without explaining why that the pictures might have just been resized...

2. Locating the spot doesn't prove the photos are genuine either. This is a fallacious argument well known to philosophers as modus tollens. If the photos are genuine, the location can be verified. This is valid of course. Then you verify the location and affirm the photo is genuine, something unwarranted by the premise, which only guarantees that the location can be verified provided the photo is genuine in the first instance.

If someone owns a Rolls Royce, he or she is rich.
Bill Gates is rich. Then, he owns a Rolls Royce.

I think this example makes it clear, even if I don't know if Bill owns a Rolls...

3. It seems likely that the camera settings were wrong, at least for the time. Maybe also for the date. Melissa told that she could recognize the location from the reflex on the lenses, something amazing. This plus a wrong date would help a wrong association. I don't think this is critical unless she had changed the date, but in this case why should she change the time? Even if she had changed the date, what for? She wouldn't need the picture to be month-old or to be driving to a pageant for credibility. However, accepting a wrong date might help forgetting about a child in a car on a different occasion...

[...]

(there was also a young boy about 8 years old, with a crew cut hugging Harper in one pic at the facility.. that could have been him and the top hair part of the ghost just got pixelated out, since it looks weird even for a girl style).

[...]

I don't think those pictures are public and can be posted here, but they could help a lot.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
I don't think those pictures are public and can be posted here, but they could help a lot.
even if they were public i wouldnt allow them to be posted here. i would use copyright infringement argument.
There's no point to it anyway, imo.
The 'ghost' is too blurry to even attempt an ID based on other photos.
It's too silly a claim to be examining or downloading pictures of minor children from people's FB pages.
There is enough evidence (sunlight, perspective/right size, shoulder in first pic, no evidence of photoshopping,etc) to show there is nothing incompatible with it being another person in the backseat.
 

Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member.
1. The photos are not genuine and this is certified by Greg Pocha. For them to be genuine, they had to be the exact files from the camera. They were further saved, and so their genuineness is gone. Pocha assumes he doesn't know what type of change they have, but admits without explaining why that the pictures might have just been resized...
This is interesting. I thought Greg Pocha was one of the experts that had "certified" the pictures as not being faked, based on the news reports where the claim of expert inspection is made, and that he's one expert frequently named. Although his claim should probably be dismissed if he can't provide any concrete reason ("That which is asserted without evidence.....") it might be useful to see his claim, particularly if he's had access to images that aren't filtered through social media. Can you provide a link please?

2. Locating the spot doesn't prove the photos are genuine either. This is a fallacious argument well known to philosophers as modus tollens. If the photos are genuine, the location can be verified. This is valid of course. Then you verify the location and affirm the photo is genuine, something unwarranted by the premise, which only guarantees that the location can be verified provided the photo is genuine in the first instance.

If someone owns a Rolls Royce, he or she is rich.
Bill Gates is rich. Then, he owns a Rolls Royce.

I think this example makes it clear, even if I don't know if Bill owns a Rolls...[/
Maybe I've missed some posts, but wasn't it you that raised the issue of locating the spot, seemingly as evidence that the photos could be fake? In that case it wasn't that the spot couldn't be located, it was that you couldn't locate it.

Evidence that the spot exists on that route doesn't make the photos genuine, but it does add to the evidence that they may be, not least by negating the false claim/innuendo that they must be fake because the location doesn't exist. There's nothing fallacious about that.

3. It seems likely that the camera settings were wrong, at least for the time. Maybe also for the date. Melissa told that she could recognize the location from the reflex on the lenses, something amazing. This plus a wrong date would help a wrong association. I don't think this is critical unless she had changed the date, but in this case why should she change the time? Even if she had changed the date, what for? She wouldn't need the picture to be month-old or to be driving to a pageant for credibility. However, accepting a wrong date might help forgetting about a child in a car on a different occasion...
I'm not sure recognising the location is "amazing", certainly not if that's a route she's travelled fairly frequently.

For my two'penneth... There was a girl with them in the car, possibly one of the grandkids she says regularly accompany them to pageants. She saw the picture and assumed it was a boy, knew there was no boy in the car, so jumped straight to "Spook!". The story got wider coverage so she had no choice to continue with it, plus she may like the publicity.

Obviously, deliberately faking is also an option but I'm using Hanlon's razor as a corollary to Occam's. Photoshop'd photos are possible but I think unlikely, due to it being far easier to stage real photos, and the "shoulder" in the before image would be an illogical addition.

Just my opinion:)

Ray Von
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Can you provide a link please?
the link to where he says that is inside this link here
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Paranormal-Phenomena-3278/2016/11/photo-boy-wasn-t.htm

i'm giving you this link because it's more interesting : )
in the second embedded link you will find him say
his education and credentials listed here, in case you are interested
http://www.allexperts.com/ep/3278-123727/Paranormal-Phenomena/Greg-Pocha.htm
 

Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member.
the link to where he says that is inside this link here
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Paranormal-Phenomena-3278/2016/11/photo-boy-wasn-t.htm

i'm giving you this link because it's more interesting : )
in the second embedded link you will find him say
his education and credentials listed here, in case you are interested
http://www.allexperts.com/ep/3278-123727/Paranormal-Phenomena/Greg-Pocha.htm
Thanks Deirdre!

I can see why he feels misrepresented in some of the reports, although I do find it difficult to gauge his actual opinion either way - I'm reminded of a meme - "I'm not saying it was aliens...." :)

I guess that's understandable, as he says he wasn't party to any direct evidence and it's not in his interest to risk his reputation on what could be a deliberate hoax.

The one area he seems most clear about is whether the pictures have been photoshop'd (though he still leaves himself an "out" I think).

Ray Von
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member.
And in the inside link there are links to the photos, which are apparently resized, but which metadata, including original Exif data, seem to be intact. Interestingly, there is IPTC Keyword: "hodori Oympic (sic) Tae Kwon Do Team"
Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 13.16.03.png

Results of Google search with this keyword suggest it is related to a later event in the area that happened on August 6:
http://sanford365.com/event/hodori-korean-olympic-team-exhibition/
Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 13.28.49.png
https://www.facebook.com/djayluna/posts/10153845912204537
Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 13.22.58.png
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
1. I don't buy that they didn't know when the photo was taken, given how many photos people take these days, and how the pictures from the car would be framed by photos before and after - including, presumably, many from the pageant/martial arts display.

2. Thanks to Mick, we know where the photo was taken and we know that there wasn't a fatal crash there "a year to the day before" (or anywhere thereabouts). Therefore, we know that the mom made up that part of the story.

3. Is it possible that, having "spotted the ghost" in the picture, she decided this might be a good way to spook Harper into wearing her seatbelt? Although that would require Harper also 'forgetting' there was an actual living person on the backseat.

4. Mom lies. Mom gets more publicity than she bargained for. Mom takes down photos and backs away, worried she'll get found out.

Occam's Razor indeed.
 
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Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member.
And in the inside link there are links to the photos, which are apparently resized, but which metadata, including original Exif data, seem to be intact. Interestingly, there is IPTS Keyword: "hodori Oympic (sic) Tae Kwon Do Team"
Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 13.16.03.png

Results of Google search with this keyword suggest it is related to a later event in the area that happened on August 6:
http://sanford365.com/event/hodori-korean-olympic-team-exhibition/
Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 13.28.49.png
https://www.facebook.com/djayluna/posts/10153845912204537
Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 13.22.58.png
If you look at the FB page of the event, there's a picture of Harper with the eventers. There's a young girl looking up at her, with a very long sleeved pullover fleece, although it's pink/purple.

I wonder if that could be the 'backseat boy', colour washed out by the shadows and tints?

Ray Von

Edit - the picture is prior to the event, likely from around Xmas, so very unlikely to be from whatever event they were travelling to/from.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
his education and credentials listed here, in case you are interested
http://www.allexperts.com/ep/3278-123727/Paranormal-Phenomena/Greg-Pocha.htm
I'd take anything he has to say technically with a pinch of salt. He does not actually have any relevant education and credentials. He talks about the most trivial things are as if they are trade secrets:
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Paranormal-Phenomena-3278/2016/11/photo-boy-wasn-t.htm
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Paranormal-Phenomena-3278/2016/8/boy-backseat.htm
That's just nonsense. Even on his small images, there's detail in the "face" at an upper mid threshold (luminosity only)
20161128-070645-5bsn4.jpg

More detail if you RGB threshold it on the larger FB image.
20161128-082050-t34h4.jpg


And the "face" does have color, in fact a similar color cast to the back seat of the car. Saying it lacks "temperature" is utterly meaningless. You might as well say her nose isn't in the image.
20161128-070922-swkep.jpg
 
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Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
...his education and credentials listed here, in case you are interested
http://www.allexperts.com/ep/3278-123727/Paranormal-Phenomena/Greg-Pocha.htm

I read his credentials there as "none, but I own a LOT of books, which is probably just as good."

Also:
This does not make him look knowledgeable.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I read his credentials there as "none,
well if he knew anything about ghosts, he would know a ghost of a child is impossible. Young children don't have the psychological makeup yet to get them "trapped" on Earth. he's been watching too many movies and reading the wrong books.
 

kasparovitch

Active Member
I think the issue is about to be debunked thanks to the work done here.

The answer will be around Rory's post #70 certainly.

Perhaps we still miss some extra information, that is if the mom got some extra benefit beyond publicity and persuading her daughter to wear the seatbelt (this is lifesaving and "finesaving" at least), in case Daily Mail pays for reader's stories just like the Sun:

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at tips@the-sun.co.uk
or call 0207 782 4368
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Just for the curiosity, why from around Xmas?
Because the kids from the local Tae Kwon Do Studio wear Christmas hats.

More importantly, the event page for Korean olympic tae kwon do exibition (sic) was set by Melissa Kurtz on Agust 2nd. Her daughter was photographed at this event, held on August 6th.

A short comment "hodori Oympic Tae Kwon Do Team" in the "ghost" photos metadata could have been added to the photos as they were taken. The camera manual (http://cdn-10.nikon-cdn.com/pdf/manuals/noprint/D40_noprint.pdf) tells how to do it:


All this suggests that Melissa's camera could have been "programmed" to add this comment to all photos near the time of the martial arts event. If this is true, the "ghost" photos were taken not at the time of the beauty pageant, but at a much later date.
 
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kasparovitch

Active Member
I have queried Greg Pocha about the evidence posted here and have this answer:

http://www.allexperts.com/user.cgi?m=6&catID=3278&expID=123727&qID=4911309

In short, he claims that the photos were validated by the press, not him, and rejects evidence shown here as mere opinions. Also says that "[in my] that first letter to the questioner I point out all of the discrepancies that lead me to believe the image to have been faked". And that "It was not until I started private correspondence with her did i look into the photos in greater depth".

He didn't bother to be polite when answering. I'm sorry, this is not a question of politeness, just discussing evidence, complex evidence indeed, humanly by trial and error.
 
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