Several years ago I was contacted by a group of ghost hunters from Massachusetts who were interested in my infrared services. According to the youthful phantom finder on the other end of the line, infrared cameras are capable of detecting other worldly entities. I was both intrigued and amused by his spirited enthusiasm. He made a lively pitch hoping I would aid him and his companions out of pure curiosity for he could not pay. Seems ghost hunting is more a hobby than a vocation. Needless to say I declined his offer.
While hunting ghosts in certainly not a diversion I care to engage in, on occasion I am called on by a homeowner to identify the cause of strange goings on in their house. Such was the case recently when a gentleman called to inquire about my infrared services. He was having a recurring problem on his kitchen and bathroom ceiling. He feared there might be a leak or a moisture related problem which he was unable to find.
When I arrived on the day of our appointment, the man showed me to the kitchen so that I could set up my equipment. This was also one of the rooms that had the problem. He pointed to the ceiling over the back kitchen door. I could see the distinct dark pattern extending from the wall several inches into the room.
I told him it was ghosting.
This phenomenon has nothing to do with phantoms or spooks. Simply, the dark patterns are created by dust and dirt sticking more readily to those particular areas, thus forming the pattern. In some instances these dark stains are mistakenly thought to be mold. The formation of these smudges is more often due to a high amount of particulates in the air. A common cause is soot from candles or wood burning stoves.
What is occurring here is the ceiling is colder where there is ghosting. Usually the pattern is of the wall studs, not the stud bays. This pattern tells me the ceiling is missing insulation in those areas. Scanning with my ghost finder, infrared camera, the coldest areas form exactly the same pattern in the infrared spectrum.
The ghosts the youths from Massachusetts were seeking are in reality much more elusive than the type found on the ceiling of this house.