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Paranormal Photography and the Smoking Ban

On 1st July 2007 smoking will be banned in all public buildings in England. PSI’s Dave Wood considers the effect this might have on paranormal investigation photography.    

Many investigators I’ve spoken to have claimed the ban will make no difference at all. This might be a reasonable assumption, after all how many investigators actually permit smoking in areas under investigations? Very few would be a reasonable guess.  

However smoke - or lack of smoke - has raised more than a few disagreements amongst researchers over time. Quite a number of ‘mist photos’ (such as the one on the left) have been sent to, or taken by, PSI.  

 In such circumstances people have claimed that the air was not cold, ruling out condensation, which is fair enough, but have also claimed that, despite smoking having taken place in the room there was no smoke there at that time.    

Does this remind anyone of the argument that ‘orb’ photos could not be because of dust, because the room was just cleaned or was dust free? Of course there is no such thing as a ‘dust free room’ - or at least not one one does not have to pay £500 an hour to access for delicate electronics work - and a similar argument can be made for a room where people have smoked, regardless of whether they have smoked in the last few hours.    

If you are in doubt that smoke can ‘hang’ in theair for hours afterwards just darken the room and shine a very bright light source. As well as thousands of dust motes you will likely see clouds of smoke hanging in the air.    

PSI visited one location on several occasions. The owners were briefed to not allow smoking on the day of the investigation. On the second occasion the owners were unexpectedly away and had not briefed the duty manager; we saw them stubbing out cigarettes just before the investigation and ‘mist’ photos were taken throughout several hours of the investigation.  

But, as ever, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. We at PSI will certainly be tracking the number of indoors ‘mist’ photos we are sent from, or take ourselves in, public places after the smoking ban comes into force. A significant drop would be a reason prediction to make.