The Polaroid Ghost

The Polaroid Ghost

Date

GuestsJoe Augustyn, Bill Murphy, Open Lines

Filling in for George, Dave Schrader (email) welcomed writer Joe Augustyn for a discussion on the 'ghostwriter' case, in which anomalous images were captured on Polaroid film in the home of John Matkowsky. Augustyn described some of the strange activity in the house, noting in particular that Matkowsky complained of regularly hearing the sound of footsteps on his roof. The residence eventually became known for the antics of an entity who communicated messages onto Polaroid film. On one such occasion, a photo (from a brand new sealed pack of film) was taken in the house and the Latin phrase "genius loci" inexplicably appeared on developed image, he reported.

Augustyn recalled a 1994 Halloween party at Matkowsky's place. "There were different people who had brought their cameras and they were all getting ghost photos," he said. In one photo, a man dressed like the grim reaper is seen with an ectoplasmic form attached to his face, Augustyn explained, adding that the image disturbed the man so much that he left the party. In another image, a partygoer dressed as Charlie Brown is covered in ghostly squiggles shooting out from his neck, he continued. A photo taken by a different camera shows the same unexplained formations surrounding the two men, Augustyn revealed.

Bill Murphy from Fact or Faked: The Paranormal Files joined the conversation in the second hour. Murphy spoke about his television investigation of the ghost writing phenomenon at the Matkowsky house. He pointed out that Polaroid photos utilize a chemical development process so there is no opportunity for the digital manipulation of an image. Murphy's team attempted to recreate the ghostly photos using two methods put forth by skeptics: pre-exposure of the film to a stencil and photographing a message written on Plexiglas. The methods did not result in realistic versions of a ghost writer image, he disclosed. Murphy claimed the writing really does seem to appear in response to questions. "There's no trickery involved," he said.

The remainder of the show featured Open Lines.

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