Analysis: Feeley case
By Bob Dezon & Hayley Stevens
On October the 12th 2010, Michael and Sarah Feeley, and a friend called Geoff decided to take a trip to Sutton Park. For those that may not know, Sutton Park is a forest near Birmingham. The reason for this excursion is presently unknown, however whilst they were there, they took several images using mobile phone cameras. The cameras used were the LG KC910 Renoir and the Nokia X6-00. There seemed to be some confusion over what they managed to capture that night, so they decided it would be best to ask the advice of Professor Chris French. Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit’s Department of Psychology in Goldsmiths College London.
We are not quite sure why they would contact a Psychologist to look at their images, but we are glad they did. Chris French has an incredibly demanding and time consuming schedule, so Chris thought it might be best, if BARsoc had a look at these images instead. We are better equipped to handle these type of requests, and he may end up with enough free time to finish his tea (and by tea, we mean Grolsch).
Sarah & Michael Feeley Wrote:
I am emailing you as I have some pictures I wish to share with you, if you are interested, of several experiences that have taken place over the last year of a spiritual/supernatural/paranormal nature. I know your position on such subjects and thought it would be interesting to get your analysis of the images that we have accumulated.
To give a brief introduction, my Husband and I are ex police officers* in the UK, having left our careers due to going through a traumatic spiritual awakening together whereby we relived the murder of a Victorian teenager. This took place in February of 2009 and set us on a path that seemed to unfold before us. This path included not least the existence of Angelic beings and spirit guides as well as the many sightings of unidentified craft.”
*NB: Sarah & Michael Feeley claim to be ex West Midlands Police, and we have no way of confirming this due to data protection laws. We must accept this information provisionally.
Sarah & Michael Feeley Wrote:
“Being ex police officers we are naturally analytical and always first look for a rational explanation, and sometimes find one! However on these occassions the experiences are beyond what we consider to be conventional.”
The couple also claim to be “Lightworker’s”, and have experience with U.F.O.’s, out-of-body experiences (O.O.B.E.’s), energy meditation, ascended masters and experience “Angelic visitation” (from Archangel Michael, Zadkiel). They also claim to receive messages from spirit guides and other celestial helpers, including those of a more “cosmic nature”. They also believe they were together in Egypt, and Atlantis in previous lives.
Now I know what you are thinking after reading the above, but regardless of what personal belief systems they subscribe to, we at BARsoc prefer to be as objective as we can about inquiries such as this. Sarah & Michael Feeley have requested help, so that is what we shall endeavour to provide, and to the best of our abilities.
This is the series of images they submitted for analysis, with an editorially brief description of each from Sarah & Michael Feeley.
“The first three were taken on the same occasion. The first one of these pictures is the picture that took itself as we saw a big white light appear in front of us. The two following that were actually taken shortly before that incident. They basically show what looks like a doorway of light opening up. None of us saw the light in these two pictures with the naked eye, however, unlike the first picture.”
The picture that “took itself”, and was apparently visible to the naked eye, appears to be a description of the image below (click for full size version).
This image anomaly is a type of lens flare called the “Bokeh Effect”. It is usually more prevalent with point and shoot type digital cameras, where the flash is quite close to the lens, and increasingly, also on the more modern mobile phones. The anomaly is caused when an object is quite close to the flash at the time the image was taken. The light from the flash is reflected from the surface of that object, back into the lens. The final image becomes over saturated with light. The “orb” shapes, are actually copies of the fully dilated aperture profile. This pattern is repeated several times (inside the lens), and creates a “hall of mirrors effect”.
Here is an excellent example of the bokeh effect, which coincidentally, also has a pinkish hue. In this example, the “orbs” appear to be more “polygonal” than round. This effect is actually the blades of the aperture diaphragm being partially closed. If the aperture diaphragm was fully opened, the “orbs” would appear to be smoother. Click here for additional information on the Bokeh Effect.
We know there is an object in front of the lens, because with a little post processing, we can even reveal its shape. We have no realistic way of knowing what the actual object is, but it would appear to be the lower part of a hand (thumb/heel) shown in black.
Images 02 and 03 (as seen above) are also quite unusual. What initially looks like a “glow stick” suspended from a tree branch (we are assuming no manipulation has occurred), turns out to be much more interesting. This photographic anomaly, is what is known as a “thermal noise” A.K.A. a “Hot Pixel”. A Hot Pixel is basically charge leakage from individual sensors on the CCD. This causes electrons to travel into the substrate, and this can produce a false positive. This usually occurs on longer exposures, but the exposure time on both of the images, was 1/12Sec. Certainly not long enough for this to be the case, unless the camera is damaged.
It can also happen if a digital camera heats up after prolonged use, or the camera operates outside of its normal operational temperature range. Bringing the camera out of an insulated pocket into cold night air, could cause the camera to rapidly radiate heat, until the camera reaches its ambient temperature. This is likely, considering the image was taken during October, and we can clearly see the photographers breath misting in Image 03. Incorrect ISO settings can also exacerbate this problem, especially in low light photography. The ISO setting for these images, is ISO 635.
Here is an analysis of the scene, clearly showing the location of the “Hot Pixel”.
“The last two pictures were taken with our friend Geoff’s camera phone in the same Park in a different area around about four weeks ago. The first one of these, Michael actually felt as though he had been joined by an unearthly even galactic type of presence behind his right shoulder. When we feel this we will take a picture and usually capture on camera an orb of some kind to confirm this feeling.
On this occasion following Michael’s feeling, Geoff raised his camera phone and pointed it at Michael. I was stood on the left side of Geoff watching him as he took the picture. As the flash on his camera illuminated, I was shocked to see a strange white shape appear within centimeters of his camera. I cannot find a word for the shape I saw but the picture is exactly that. It could then no longer be seen with the naked eye. The last of these pictures is another large orb taken shortly after the strange shape.”
These images were taken on the March the 21st 2011. Picture 38 clearly shows a large “orb” next to Sarah Feeley (we assume). Orbs are a very common feature of digital photography, and the causes are generally quite well-known. It is due to the proximity of the lens being very close to the flash unit of the camera. This problem is usually less prevalent with the high-end S.L.R. cameras, but can be the bane of small point and shoot varieties. The orb itself is usually an “out of focus” atmospheric pollutant such as dust. However it can also be water vapour, fibre fragments or even insects etc, the list is not comprehensive.
The object (whatever it may be) is in what is known as the “orb zone”. This is what photographers term, the “circle of confusion”. A particle of pollutant drifts in front of the camera, and very close the lens. When the flash fires, the object (Which is now inside the boundary of the circle of confusion, and beyond the camera’s capability to focus) is illuminated by the flash, and while highlighted, it appears much larger and unfocused. This is called diffuse reflection backscatter.
So while that nicely explains the orbs, it does not quite match Sarah’s description of events. Digital photography orbs are not visible to the naked eye, but Sarah claims to have also seen a strange white shape at the same time the image was taken, so let’s take a look at image 37.
Picture 37 (above) is actually my favourite shot from the entire series. It really does manage to capture something quite rare, but unfortunately not an “unearthly even galactic type of presence”. The strange off-white “squiggle” you can see on the upper right edge of the “orb”. That is the area of interest, because this is a classic “Rod” anomaly.
These have been present on film since the advent of cheap consumer video cameras. However, in 1994 Jose Escamilla who managed to capture this anomaly on film claimed they were some form of Alien life form (Rods AKA skyfish). This has long since been proven to be an error caused by his lack of basic understanding of how the camera worked. It is an artifact of the interlacing of the video camera frames, creating a blurring effect.
So what is this object in the image? It is definitely some type of insect, and most likely a nocturnal Moth caught by the camera flash. How do we know it is an insect? You can clearly see the Wingtip oscillatory motion caused by the upstroke, and dowstroke of its wings to maintain equilibrium. It clearly shows a wave pattern, and this is the sinusoidal wave. This can even be charted and displayed as a graph. The faster the object (in this case an insect) the more severe the blurring effect eventually is.
Here is a short video explaining how this phenomena is demonstrable, from the Discovery channel TV show, MonsterQuest.
Click here for another short video, clearly showing the motion of the insects wings. The clip is available in three different formats.
All in all it’s clear to us that although these photos contain naturally occurring phenomena or known effects caused by the devices used, a paranormal explanation was the conclusion instantly reached by the individuals involved due to the pre-existing beliefs they have. This is unfortunately confirmation bias in action. We hope that our analysis of the photos can offer an insight into the anomalies that wasn’t initially considered.