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Ghost caught on CCTV
December 20, 2003 2:40 AM   Subscribe

There's a Ghost in King Henry's Court and it was caught on film. "Security staff heard alarms ringing near an exhibition hall, indicating fire doors had been opened. But on investigation they found the doors closed. Perplexed, they examined CCTV footage and that is when it got spooky. The cameras showed the heavy doors popping open but no one there. Then, suddenly, the long-coated figure appeared and slammed the doors shut." [More links]
posted by Dome-O-Rama (49 comments total)

 
Why is it always a picture? They say they got it on tape? Release it. Until then, don't bother us.
posted by Mach3avelli at 3:11 AM on December 20, 2003


I've seen both the picutre and the tape. It's so obviously a person in dress that the resulting media-coverage makes my face hurt.
posted by nthdegx at 3:26 AM on December 20, 2003


there's no way that's a ghost! it's clearly a robot.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:45 AM on December 20, 2003


Doors get blown open. Man in large coat kindly closes them. Media frenzy begins.

Fantastic tabloid nonsense.
posted by jack_mo at 4:55 AM on December 20, 2003


I love how they dismiss the possibility of it being one of the guides (who dress in period costume btw) simply because "they do not enter that part of the building".

Well now that's been 100% ruled out it just HAS to be a ghost.
posted by arha at 4:57 AM on December 20, 2003


Aren't ghosts supposed to be re-enacting scenes from their lifetimes? If that's the case I guess that firedoor must be pretty old - quick release handles and all.
posted by spazzm at 5:04 AM on December 20, 2003


the guides wear a different time period than what the "ghost" is wearing. That may not mean much to you non costume geek folks, but 100 years is a HUGE difference in dress.

The guides dress in the manner o f Henry VIII, it's a "hotter" period with his whoreing and wife killing and all, but the costume on the "ghost" is clearly to me at least 100 years later (I am a costume geek). (the sleeves, my man, the sleeves...)

and the hall was unused at the time.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 5:31 AM on December 20, 2003


but the costume on the "ghost" is clearly to me at least 100 years later


Who/whatever it is it isn't clearly anything
posted by devon at 5:42 AM on December 20, 2003


Nicely put, Dome.

Why are we so quick to dismiss possible phenomena when we're only presented with a tabloid's spoonful of evidence? Researchers have been working for decades at Hampton Court and know better than we what constitutes a valid sighting and what doesn't.
posted by moonbird at 5:47 AM on December 20, 2003


There are no such things as ghosts.
posted by rushmc at 6:01 AM on December 20, 2003


I'm looking at the shape of the sleeves and the cuffs, which you can pretty clealry make out, as well as the line of the front palcket, both of which are NOT tudor, but more in line with late 16th century... not 15th.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 6:12 AM on December 20, 2003


"Expecting the unknown to look like we expect it to is like flying a spaceship around the galaxy expecting to find a good Italian restaurant." -- Terrence McKenna.
posted by n9 at 6:28 AM on December 20, 2003


Why are we so quick to dismiss possible phenomena when we're only presented with a tabloid's spoonful of evidence?

Because we're only presented with a tabloid's spoonful of evidence.

both of which are NOT tudor, but more in line with late 16th century... not 15th

...and of course 15th century ghosts are more likely to have knowledge of the workings of firedoors
posted by devon at 6:30 AM on December 20, 2003


If they have doors in the 25th Century, I expect they'll have handles. By the same token, a visitor from the 16th Century would know that the door was a door, and that the quick release bars were handles. Or, would have soon figured it out.

Having said that, as rushmc said: there's no such thing as ghosts (imho).

I'm just saying that the logic used in comments above is unconvincing.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:44 AM on December 20, 2003


to me, the notion that that ghosts are real is no more far out than superstring theory. I dunno if ghosts are real or not, but after centuries of anecdotal evidence and the occasional unexplainable, I don't think it's very fair to say straight up that ghosts don't exist.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:50 AM on December 20, 2003


Let's trot these old guys out:
"extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
Occam's Razor.

If our possible explanations are: a guy in a centrury-off robe in a section of a building he shouldn't be in, or a completely inexplicable centuries dead person walking around. Um. Yeah.

String theory may be far out, and certainly seems to be conjecture, but it at least fits many measurable phenomena. Ethereal spirits of the dead walking around has a wee bit more pressure on it to come up with the extraordinary evidence, given that there are exactly zero scientific theories for how that work, why it would happen, etc. And, of course, would require throwing out a good deal of existing provable science (neuroscience for one, if our personality ends up being housed in a "soul").
posted by malphigian at 7:34 AM on December 20, 2003


I can't believe I feel compelled to mention this but with all the security cameras around these days, one would think that if "ghosts" could be filmed, they would have before now, no?
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:08 AM on December 20, 2003


Here's where the whole ghost thing loses me: The clothes. I can sort-of accept the after-death persistence of a spectral body, composed of the vital spiritual essence of a once living person. But clothes have no spiritual essence. They don't die. And of what use are they to the spiritual body? A clothed ghost is the height of bogosity.
posted by Faze at 8:17 AM on December 20, 2003


Morphic Resonance.
posted by Orange Goblin at 8:57 AM on December 20, 2003


With all the cameras in the world going off countless times per second and all the tape rolling, there should be a ghost thousands of times a day 'caught on tape' if such things existed.

Oh well, another Mother Theresa cinnabun and basement stain Virgin Mary for the believers.

Hopefully, someone can start merchandising this ASAP!
posted by skallas at 9:29 AM on December 20, 2003


Trackback post:
Got a Historic Royal Palace? Would like to increase ticket sales over the Christmas period? Simple, here?s what you need:
posted by skallas at 9:29 AM on December 20, 2003


"Expecting the unknown to look like we expect it to is like flying a spaceship around the galaxy expecting to find a good Italian restaurant." -- Terrence McKenna.

I'm sorry, but if while flying a spaceship around the galaxy I can't find a good Italian restaurant, I see no reason to leave Earth.
posted by blm at 9:48 AM on December 20, 2003


This reminds me of the crop circle idiocy. Time after time, hoaxers have confessed and documented exactly how they have created the circles. But there are some circles that no one has admitted to or explained, so the feeble minded immediately jump to the conclusion that by golly, they MUST have been created by space aliens!
posted by 2sheets at 9:54 AM on December 20, 2003


Hampton Court Palace does not require a ghost to make it an attractive place to visit. I was there last September, and I'm really happy I took the time.
posted by Goofyy at 10:07 AM on December 20, 2003


Something tells me they'll send in a team of experts in the paranormal to investigate, and it'll all end with the line, "...and I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddlin' kids!"
posted by MonkeyMeat at 10:34 AM on December 20, 2003


sorry, I meant 16th C and 17th C - not 15th C and 16th C - I was running on two hours sleep and those #th C's get jumbled when i get like that.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 10:39 AM on December 20, 2003


You guys, the palace is opening a new museum of late 16th Century historical artifacts, but it's completely top secret. One of the tour guides, who dresses in late 16th century garb, closed the door, but because nobody is supposed to know about his top secret museum yet, not even the security guards, they had to cover it up somehow. It's a conspiracy, and even CNN is in on it.

Failing that, it kind of looks like a weather balloon to me.
posted by Hildago at 10:48 AM on December 20, 2003


S'okay Dome, the costume discrepancies simply make the identity of the ghost a bit more of a mystery :)

So who's got the link to the video?
posted by scarabic at 10:52 AM on December 20, 2003


Wait, they're saying that it isn't possible that someone could put on a different coat than they normally wear, and go into a part of a building they don't normally go, so therefore it's a ghost?

Ray Stantz: Symmetrical book stacking. Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947.

Peter Venkman: You're right, no human being would stack books like this.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:54 AM on December 20, 2003


"extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
Occam's Razor.



The problem with using either of these is that neither is logically valid.

It's simple to come up with an extraordinary claim that would require very simple evidence. As for Occam's razor, while it is common sense tool, there's no reason that the simplest explanation has to be the correct one. Rube Goldberg devices are the perfect example of this. If you didn't see the complex machine designed to do the simple task, Occam's razor would tell you that a simple machine was used.

Having said that, I don't believe or disbelive in ghosts.
posted by drezdn at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2003


"My first reaction was that someone was having a laugh, so I asked my colleagues to take a look. We spoke to our costumed guides but they don't own a costume like that worn by the figure."

Because, like, a hoaxing staff member would naturally immediately confess to owning the costume.

In all seriousness, they should do a careful inventory of artifacts (including those in storage) and review their security procedures.
posted by D.C. at 12:52 PM on December 20, 2003


I thought ghosts didn't show up on cameras. Or wait, was that vampires? Oh, durn it, I can never get my undead straight. I'm surely going to fail my Defense Against the Dark Arts class at Hogwarts.
posted by moonbiter at 1:16 PM on December 20, 2003


...as an aside, why is it okay to say "There are no such things as ghosts" but not okay to say "There is no such god as Allah" or "Jesus isn't real"?
posted by Jairus at 1:23 PM on December 20, 2003


Corporate sponsorship.
posted by DaShiv at 2:04 PM on December 20, 2003


Occam's razor does not state that "the simplest explanation is usually correct". Occam stated "Plurality should not be posited without necessity," also phrased as "One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything." It's designed to cut out unnecessary factors in an explanation. Since a ghost is an entity which is an extraordinary claim, it needs extraordinary evidence-- and the we have enough evidence to come up with an explanation that doesn't involve something as extraordinary as a ghost, so it's really unlikely the paranormal was the cause.

...as an aside, why is it okay to say "There are no such things as ghosts" but not okay to say "There is no such god as Allah" or "Jesus isn't real"

I do, but that's just me. Also, what DaShiv said.
posted by nath at 2:15 PM on December 20, 2003


...as an aside, why is it okay to say "There are no such things as ghosts" but not okay to say "There is no such god as Allah" or "Jesus isn't real"?

It's not always okay. At best it's an indictment against magical thinking - at worse it's spiritual hypocrisy. By the same means - why is okay to say you saw a UFO and not an angel? Why is it better to claim temporary insanity rather than say you were possessed by a demon?

We live in an enlightened, yet muddled era. Logic and reason have closed the door on large portions of historical magical thinking (ghosts, elves, demons and that stuff) -- yet people still cling to the larger, as of yet unresolved, issues of say... morality or the afterlife. No where in our current world is this more evident than in the disparity demonstrated between the secular west and the superstitious Middle-East.
posted by wfrgms at 2:42 PM on December 20, 2003


As the only 'evidence' we have to work from is one grainy CCTV screengrab, here's my argument:

As we can see from the picture the ghost is gripping the outer parts of the quick-release doorhandles - the part that is closest to the hinges. Normal door-handles are located on the part of the door that is furthest from the hinges (making it easy to open and close the door).

If we accept the axiom that ghosts relive their past life, thereby often walking trough bricked-up walls and down no longer existing stairwells, this clearly means a quick-release handle (or similar) was in place at the same period as the 'ghost' lived - I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure such handles were not commonplace in the 17th century - especially not the fireproof aluminium kind, since aluminium was only produced in pure form in 1809.

I guess we'll have to study the film to see if the alleged ghost grips the doorhandles or not.

Which brings me to the next question: If the film is so revealing, why hasn't it been released?

But please, don't let this stop anyone from creating contrived theories to support their dearly held beliefs.
posted by spazzm at 5:04 PM on December 20, 2003


"By the same means - why is okay to say you saw a UFO and not an angel?"

I don't think claiming that you were abducted and - ahem- probed by angels will be well received in the "secular" west. In the "superstitious" middle east, however, suggesting that you saw a ufo is likely to make people laugh at you.

Superstition is everywhere - it doesn't matter if you call it angels or ufos.
posted by spazzm at 5:09 PM on December 20, 2003


Spazzm, your shortsightedness is exemplary.

Superstition is everywhere - it doesn't matter if you call it angels or ufos.

OFCOURSE it matters! You dolt. If you run into a room of 1000 people and shout, "I just saw an angel" you'll be laughed at. However, if you say, "I saw a UFO," you'll still get laughes but at least a few people will wonder... and ask questions... and want to know more. For them pseudoscience is strong enough to lend plasuability to all manner of bullshit like UFOs, aliens, healing crystals, scientology and so forth... but NOT oldschool bull like ghosts or unicorns or whatever

Hopefully there will come a day when you run into the room and say I saw X... and everyone says, "Oh you poor thing, you must be ill... let's get you an MIR or some meds right away." Until then people will be superstitious... mildly so here in the West (where magical thinking has been nipped in the bud) and majorily so in the Middle East(where people are only a few generagions away from cave dewelling goat hearders.) Get a clue, jackass.
posted by wfrgms at 9:01 PM on December 20, 2003


wfrgms: Fuck you too. :)
posted by spazzm at 10:19 PM on December 20, 2003


Brits go out of the way to pull practical jokes. Who brought the world Crop Circles.
posted by stbalbach at 10:40 PM on December 20, 2003


they showed the footage on Swedish telly yesterday. I missed it because I was reading this thread. *kicks myself*
posted by dabitch at 7:53 AM on December 21, 2003


OFCOURSE it matters! You dolt. If you run into a room of 1000 people and shout, "I just saw an angel" you'll be laughed at.

Actually, the tide is turning on that to where it is more acceptable to report angel sightings than UFO sightings (in spite of the best efforts of SciFi Channel to defilibrate ufology.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:13 AM on December 21, 2003


You're all wrong. It is the Ghost of Christmas Present. Somebody at Hampton Court Palace is gonna get Scrooged!
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:34 AM on December 21, 2003


wfrgms, most of us here in the West are only a few generations away from hut-dwelling goat-herders. I doubt the hut vs. cave dwelling really has that much of an effect on superstition. Most newspapers in the US have an astrology column, and psychic hotlines rake in the dough ... the US in particular is not exactly a hotbed of rationalism.

At any rate, the photo is pretty clearly swamp gas.
posted by hattifattener at 2:54 PM on December 21, 2003


I can't believe I feel compelled to mention this but with all the security cameras around these days, one would think that if "ghosts" could be filmed, they would have before now, no?

Perhaps they have. Given that the current world population is significantly higher now than a century ago, a 20th-century ghost is more likely to be "spotted" than a 16th-century spook. Therefore, logically, most ghosts captured on video will be relatively modern in appearance, and therefore, difficult to distinguish from the teeming multitudes around them.

So, next time you're watching a video monitor and you see some guy wearing a fedora, don't think: "Hey, check out the guy in the old hat." Instead, think: "Hey, check out the GHOST!"
posted by SPrintF at 7:15 PM on December 21, 2003


hehe, Joey I think so too. Anyone seen any films of this on the internet yet?
posted by dabitch at 2:23 AM on December 22, 2003


All I know is SOMEONE moved my car keys!
posted by briank at 7:33 AM on December 22, 2003


And man that's one sissy ghost.
posted by Yossarian at 11:11 AM on December 22, 2003


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