Fact Check

Did a Photo Show Paranormal Activity on Christmas Day?

TikTok videos showed a dark figure that appeared to be floating in the air as a family opened presents on Christmas morning.

Published May 10, 2021

Image courtesy of @callmemegh/TikTok
A photograph of a family opening gifts on Christmas shows paranormal activity, a demon, or a ghost.

On April 29, 2021, TikTok user @callmemegh posted a video about an interesting photograph. She called it a "family mystery" and said it "was taken a few years ago." The photo from Christmas Day purportedly showed some kind of paranormal activity, a demon, or a ghost. The clip was later made private.

In total, @callmemegh posted six videos about the strange photo. They were collectively viewed nearly 400,000 times.

Paranormal Activity?

On May 9, @scottythemedium stitched the original video. Stitching a video on TikTok allows users to show part of another video before spending the rest of the time commenting on camera about it.

In the video from @scottythemedium, which was viewed more than 1 million times in 24 hours, he pointed out the outline of the odd shape on the left side of the photo:

This photo is nuts. I look at a lot of paranormal pictures, photographs, video evidence, whatever. Being on a paranormal team for the amount of time I have been, we do a lot of video and photo looking at for paranormal and not paranormal. I was so excited to see this picture. It is so crazy.

Look at the outline of the thing standing there. There's no legs. We're gonna do a second video and I'm just gonna green screen it and point to some stuff then I'm just like, as somebody who takes photographs and analyze photographs of paranormal stuff, this photo is just the bomb. It's so good.

He then published a second video that took a closer look at the "paranormal" photo from Christmas Day. "So unless this girl is a really good Photoshop editor, then this is a real piece of photographic evidence of the paranormal," he said. "Amazing."

While the photo did appear to contain a strange figure, there was nothing paranormal about it.

The Truth

The picture was simply a panoramic photograph gone wrong. The man on his knees in jeans in the center of the picture appeared to have walked left to right and sat on the ground during the time it took to capture the photo. The dark object was the man in jeans just before he sat down.

The photo from Christmas Day purportedly showed some kind of paranormal activity, a demon, or a ghost, and was posted on TikTok.
Courtesy: @callmemegh/TikTok

One sure way to confirm that this was indeed shot in a panoramic mode was to look up. A curve could be seen along the top of the brick and the ceiling, which is what a panoramic picture would look like.

How Panoramic Photos Work

Panoramic photographs can be captured with a special mode on professional cameras, as well as iPhone and Android devices. Here's how it works:

After switching the phone's camera to the special mode for panoramic photography, the person capturing the picture points the camera and slowly moves left or right to capture a wide field of view. If a person or object moves during the time it takes to shoot the panoramic photo, it could appear distorted, just like the Christmas Day picture.

After receiving some comments and taking a closer look, @scottythemedium published a new video where he identified the picture as a panoramic picture. "In response to the very creepy photo, guess what? I was wrong," he said. "That is absolutely one of those panoramic photos that went wrong."

In sum, there was nothing "paranormal" about the strange photograph. The picture that captured a family opening gifts on Christmas Day simply showed that it's always good to stand still if someone is shooting in panoramic mode.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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