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Ghostly Hands in Well Photograph



Martha162

Skilled Investigator
Knowing the Paracast's interest in unusual photographs, I have one that is particularly intriguing (I think) and am at a loss for an explanation. I took it while visiting the "Well of Initiation" at Quinta da Regueira, a World Heritage site, in Sintra, Portugal in August, 2007. The well is eight winding stories deep with stairs that descend from top to bottom and have various tunnels that lead out as well. Anyway, when I downloaded the digital pictures, in one of them there is a series of disembodied hands above one of the stone railing areas. The curious thing is, no one was in the well except me at the time. I would be happy to send the file to whomever to see if they have any thoughts.
 

fitzbew88

Skilled Investigator
Knowing the Paracast's interest in unusual photographs, I have one that is particularly intriguing (I think) and am at a loss for an explanation. I took it while visiting the "Well of Initiation" at Quinta da Regueira, a World Heritage site, in Sintra, Portugal in August, 2007. The well is eight winding stories deep with stairs that descend from top to bottom and have various tunnels that lead out as well. Anyway, when I downloaded the digital pictures, in one of them there is a series of disembodied hands above one of the stone railing areas. The curious thing is, no one was in the well except me at the time. I would be happy to send the file to whomever to see if they have any thoughts.

If they are not too big, I believe you can insert them into a post.

If you feel comfortable with it, send them to me and I will post them for you. I may have to resize them.

PM me for my private email address.
 

Gareth

Nothin' to see here
Knowing the Paracast's interest in unusual photographs, I have one that is particularly intriguing (I think) and am at a loss for an explanation. I took it while visiting the "Well of Initiation" at Quinta da Regueira, a World Heritage site, in Sintra, Portugal in August, 2007. The well is eight winding stories deep with stairs that descend from top to bottom and have various tunnels that lead out as well. Anyway, when I downloaded the digital pictures, in one of them there is a series of disembodied hands above one of the stone railing areas. The curious thing is, no one was in the well except me at the time. I would be happy to send the file to whomever to see if they have any thoughts.

Yep al you have to do is go to Image hosting, free photo sharing video sharing at Photobucket and create a free account.

Then upload your photo. You will get a specific web address for the image from photobucket that you can post here so we can all see the photo!
 

Martha162

Skilled Investigator
Undoubtedly the five second exposure is correct as it was rather dark in the well and I took a whole series of shots, some in natural light with the shutter open longer just to see what would happen. For some I balanced the camera on the opposite ledge looking across the open well. The mystery to me is that I didn't see any other people in the well at the time who might have provided the hands--with no bodies? (and the well itself had a real aura of the mysterious as well).
 

Gareth

Nothin' to see here
Nice photos. I do have hunch though that the hand shot is 100% explainable.

Im sure the resident image expert will clear things up either way. (I hope its not explainable)
 

fitzbew88

Skilled Investigator
...I balanced the camera on the opposite ledge looking across the open well. The mystery to me is that I didn't see any other people in the well at the time who might have provided the hands--with no bodies? (and the well itself had a real aura of the mysterious as well).

If you are certain nobody was in the FOV during the exposure (no matter how long), then the photo is certainly anomalous. Because there are arms there.

If we can eliminate the possibility of someone sneaking into your FOV without your knowledge, then we will have to look for some other solution.

Next, we would have to rule out some technical issue, but alas, that will have to fall to Someone Else. :D
 

Hoffmeister

There is no spoon
It looks to me a bit like a reflection of some sort... i dont know why I say that but it just does.
Were there other people around the top of the well with their hands leaning over?
 

Martha162

Skilled Investigator
I can assure you, this well is not a model, but exists on a whimsical, very old estate that was built around the turn of the century in Sintra, Portugal and has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. I have many other photographs of it, some sharply in focus, but this particular one with the hands just happened to be one that was taken with a long exposure in my experimenting with different lighting. That's probably why it is fuzzy. (There's nothing unusual in the others.) The well is eight stories deep and this photo was taken near the bottom. There is no water in the well (never was) and I can't imagine how hands from the top could possibly be reflected down in line with the ledge. The most "logical" explanation to me is that somehow this is a extended exposure of someone I did not notice walking on the stairs opposite me (not that likely, really; I'm not that oblivious). And besides, I wonder how to account for there being none of the person's body showing if this were the case.
 

0uterj0in

Reality Support Tech
Extended exposure. While the shutter was open, one person ascended the steps, periodically resting their hand on the railing long enough for light to accumulate and get exposed on the film. The rest of their body was always in motion (and also in the shade of the stairwell) so it was not exposed.
 

Martha162

Skilled Investigator
Do you think this exposure of the hands multiple times could have happened within a five second time frame? I still wonder how "she" could leave her hand still long enough to be picked up, but not her body, which could not have been moving that fast independent of the hands to my way of thinking. Some of her body should show up. Just speculating.
 

TClaeys

Skilled Investigator
Do you think this exposure of the hands multiple times could have happened within a five second time frame?

That seems about right if you think about how many stairs you might climb in 5 seconds. Probably 4-5 or so, and that correlates to what we see. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't there, I don't know the circumstances, but it seems like the extended exposure could fit.

And it reminds me of a photo I took awhile back of my daughter and another little girl. They were sitting on a small step together. As I took the photo, the little girl moved. I don't know why my camera was on a longer exposure, but anyway what resulted was a picture of my daughter sitting next to 2 feet. And no body.

It looked so convincing that I played with it a bit with my 12 year old niece and a few others. I told them that the photo just turned out like that, an apparent ghost. Their reactions were quite interesting. I could see after only a short while that my niece became somewhat scared. In no time I revealed what had actually happened. Anyway, this photo reminds me of the one I took.
 

0uterj0in

Reality Support Tech
I still wonder how "she" could leave her hand still long enough to be picked up, but not her body, which could not have been moving that fast independent of the hands to my way of thinking

Observe the movement of people climbing steps with the aid of the hand railing. Their feet and bodies are in continual motion, but the hand is planted on the railing and stays there a moment while the body ascends above it. Then the hand is raised and planted again at a point above the body. Although brief, the "rest moment" is long enough to register reflected light on film, relative to the constant motion of the rest of the body.
 

Martha162

Skilled Investigator
Thanks to everyone for their possible explanations (which seem quite reasonable) for the disembodied hands. I am not that familiar with the quirks of digital photography and wonder if it's possible to see that same effect on regular film when the subject is in constant motion. The stand-alone feet were quite amusing and do sound like what happened here. I may have been so involved in trying out exposures, etc. that I didn't see the woman climbing the circular stairs opposite me. There were several places in the eight stories where one could enter the well from tunnels which were riddled throughout the hill that the well was built into. The site is really fascinating in itself and worth a look if you are in southern Portugal.

One other question...any explanation for the "sine wave" that seems to be moving up the stairs as well?
 

0uterj0in

Reality Support Tech
any explanation for the "sine wave" that seems to be moving up the stairs as well?

Perhaps this was something bright or reflective on the person's clothing. The line corresponds to the slight up-and-down bobbing of one's body as they climb stairs. Search the web for other long exposure photos to get a feel for how moving objects are depicted in these images.
 

Martha162

Skilled Investigator
Thanks for your prompt comments; I've enjoyed reading some of the other posts under personal experiences as well and plan to add to them.
 
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