Ghostly Shadow – An Interesting Case


Usually most ghost images are pretty simple to explain away. At first I thought this shadow was easily explained but furthur examination left me intrigued.

Peggy Maguire of the Central Ohio Paranormal Society captured a photo of a shadow on a tree at the Camp Chase Cemetery on Sullivant Avenue in Columbus, which holds the remains of some 2,600 Confederate soldiers. You can read more about the backstory here. 

The ghost hunters provided two images, one with the shadow and one without:


Photo with shadow.


Photo without shadow.

My first reaction is this is the shadow of the camera-person. However if this was the case the shadow would have to be much larger in size. The size of the shadow suggests an object much closer to the tree. Next I thought the gravestones might be creating the effect but the clearly defined head, neck and rounded shoulders made me doubt that. And of course both of these theories would not explain the second photo that is taken at almost the exact same distance and angle but does not have the shadow.

Next I thought the image could be digitally manipulated. I ran it through ELA and didn’t notice anything abnormal. Next I ran it through which uses six tests including image noise comparison to metadata to determine if an image is an unmodified original. Both images passed with a high trust rating. 

So all signs point to the shadow being part of the original image. Now let me stress that this doesn’t imply a paranormal cause. Based on the placement of the sun, right-rear of the camera, this could be a much smaller object above the camera, possibly in a tree. Now let’s see if we can determine the size of the shadow.

Close-Up of Shadow

Close-Up of Shadow

I used the man in a red shirt and a rough height estimate to determine the number of pixels per inch. 

Pixels per Inch: 2.92 to 3.41 pixels per inch

Shadow Height (base of tree to top of ‘head’): 41.1″ to 47.9″
Body Width: 14.1″ to 16.4″
Head Width: 7.9″ to 9.2″
Neck Width: 4.4″ to 5.1″

After completing these measurements and taking a closer look at the shadow there are some parts that are inconsistent with a human shadow. 

1) The shoulders are either sloped too much or if the person is standing side-ways their body seems too wide. 

2) The width of the head is very wide even though the total height of the person seems consistent.

3) The neck is too narrow for the head.

4) The shape of the head is very round. 



The head and neck region seem abnormal when compared to a normal human. The head is too round and too wide and the neck is too narrow compared to the width of the head. However, the angles and difficulty in finding hard edges could account for some of the discrepancies.

This object could be slightly higher and would have to be significantly farther back, smaller and to the right. I calculated the angle of the sun (horizontal axis) to be around 36 to 37 degrees. From this angle the source of the shadow would be around the same position as the camera-person. 

I would not rule out another object or even another investigator on a slightly elevated position behind and to the right of the camera-person.