In case you’re not familiar with the Paranormal Activity franchise, it’s a series of “found footage” horror movies based on the premise that victims capture ghostly happenings with their video cameras. The latest (and from what I understand, last) installment of the franchise called The Ghost Dimension involves some unlucky homeowners who discover a spirit camera in their house, which seems to be the key to all kinds of unfortunately, well, paranormal activities.
It’s a horror movie, so no one expects the plot to be grounded in reality, but spirit photography actually has a long history in the real world. Wikipedia credits William H. Mumler with being the first to use the technique way back in the year 1860. If you tune into modern day reality shows where people hunt ghosts (there are a bunch), you’ll see all kinds of different spirit photography devices.
In fact, spirit photography is quite a sizable rabbit hole one can fall into when poking around on the internet. Once you start reading about the uses of infrared and ultraviolet photography, or you start looking at pictures of ghostly “orbs,” it can suck up a whole afternoon. Then there’s all the stuff they do with thermal cameras—it goes on forever.
I’m not a big horror movie guy, so I can’t even really say if the movie looks like it’s going to be any good, but it’s cool that they’re tapping into a phenomenon like spirit photography to try and scare audiences. It also kind of reminds me of a movie I particularly love: