In this photo below, there is very obviously ectoplasm in front of the face, and also going behind can and upward toward the shoulder. However, when this pic was posted to a paranormal group on facebook, many paranormal enthusiasts saw a lot of spirit "faces" and shapes ranging from an "alien cartoon" to a "frog spirit" in the hair. Little attention or note was made by members in reference to the ectoplasm. The question then becomes, are these things that are being seen in photographs real spirits or just like clouds, under certain lighting and exposure conditions just tricks of the eye?
What concerns us the most is that because these forms of spirit detection seem to be gaining popularity, there is a real danger that such practices are in fact, taking away a certain amount of legitimacy from real hauntings that people experience. The best example we can draw upon to illustrate what we mean when we say people are "seeing" spirits in photographs, is to say it is much like when we gaze up at the sky and see familiar shapes replicated in the clouds.
Just because a cloud looks like the profile of a man doesn't mean it is a spirit trying to communicate..or at least that is our take on it. However many paranormal enthusiasts do this with photographs. The human eye is programed if you will, to seek out patterns in the chaos. Meaning: to look for that which is familiar to the persons frame of reference for purposes of identifying and interpreting what it sees.
This programming allows the human to recognize people, places, and things. When the information is less obvious or distorted as in fractions of a picture, the eye then tries to locate patterns, even rudimentary patterns to help it identify what it is looking at. This happens when we look at clouds and see "bunnies" or some other object. If the eye sees three dots in a triangular shape, in their frame of reference the person will say it looks like a face, because faces tend to have two eyes and a mouth.
TPB doesn't say they are all wrong in what they see, but when you start seeing cartoons in a persons hair from a picture, suffice it to say your imagination is getting away with you, and the most paranormal thing we are truly witnessing is how badly distorted some peoples opinions are about actual spirits. What say you?