My experience with spirit photography

Photo by Monica Silvestre on

I don’t usually put much stock in things like spirit photography because they can easily be faked, and even when earnest, cameras are sensitive to the tiniest shift in light, or in my case, shake of the hands.

I say “usually” because a few years ago, when I was still working in ABS-CBN, a psychic production assistant (she was so psychic she wouldn’t look up when she visited me during my dad’s wake because ‘a lot of his friends were paying their respects’) showed me and a bunch of bored writers that it could be done.

We were hanging out in the ABS-CBN auditorium in the middle of taping a show. Most of the place was empty. Everyone and everything (cameras, lights, etc) that had to do with the taping was near the auditorium stage or on the first few rows. None of the special lights were on, just the basic ones needed to illuminate the auditorium.

Suddenly, the production assistant gets a weird look in her eye.

“Take out your cellphone and turn on the camera,” she says to one of the writers.

The guy whips out his cellphone. The production assistant tells him to aim it towards the balcony, giving him specific instructions on how to position the camera.

Finally, she tells him to take a picture.

All of us crowded around the finished product. There, among second floor the balcony seats, was a pillar of light. There was no pillar of light when the writer took the picture and there was still no pillar of light when we looked back at the balcony.

Like I said, there was no light source around that could make that isolated a flare. Still, we were skeptical, so we asked the production assistant if she could do it again. She agreed, again telling the writer where to position his phone, and again getting a pillar of light in the picture.

Until now, I’m not quite sure what happened. I’d like to think that there’s a logical explanation for it. I wish I had that photograph now.


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.

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