Forgive me for just stumbling on this and wishing to beat an expired equine... but seriously, WTH?????? And yes,I know it's now in the hoax bin, but
I think some folks at the 'Society of the Unknown', need to do some explaining...
Lemme get this straight, the story is that it 'somehow' superimposed itself? Yeah, sure, that happens all the time with digitals...
Let's consider the possibilities:
1. Burnt pixels, ie an afterimage.
Yes, a 'burnt-in' image could conceivably get 'left' on a CCD, but only if there was an *extremely* overexposed image taken of that object,
immediately, ie less than a minute or so, before. And naturally that image - of a close, overexposed flower basket - would have been pretty (insert
favorite word) obvious when the images were offloaded for use. If the afterimage lasted longer than that, it would pretty much have to be permanent
damage - that 'thing ' would be showing in every dark image from thenceforth.
2. Some sort of data corruption
where two image files were 'tangled'. Sorry, but this simply doesn't happen like that - data corruption means a broken-up image, NOT a
superimposed one. The structure of a typical image file makes 'superimposition' impossible by this method.
3. A deliberate or accidental double exposure.
Yes, some cameras have this ability (but I don't think the A20 does..). if they can, they store one image temporarily, and then when the second is
taken, 'adds' the first image and then saves the final result. Problem is, you can't really do this accidentally - you would still have to
deliberately take the first(second) image of the flower basket up close. There's another problem - the flower basket part of the image is very
seriously underexposed, yet it was clearly close to the camera - on an automatic camera like this, that is EXTREMELY unlikely to happen, unless done
deliberately to get the desired 'faintly visible' effect..
Beyond that, you are talking image editing, ie the dreaded 'photoshopping'.
(It's a pity this term gives Adobe free advertising every time it is used...)
Frankly, imnsho, someone has some explaining to do, and it sure looks like they are trying to cover up being busted. I'd love to see someone from
the 'Society' come here and explain the situation in detail (and defend their reputation, if any). I would suggest that at the very least, their
methodologies and preservation of 'chain of evidence' will be proven to be SEVERELY lacking. An examination of the original data card used to store
the images would almost certainly reveal what really happened, but I'll BET that card is 'no longer available' or has 'inadvertently been written
over'. Anyone else care to bet?
And it may be a little unkind to say this, but they used a Pentax Optio A20??? That is, frankly, an extremely mediocre (aka awful) compact camera,
and does not reflect well on their 'scientific approach'. (Sorry, Pentax - your DSLR's are quite excellent, but your compact digitals SUCK
(there's one exception, but it's not the A20), and they are particularly badly suited to night photography (see all that grain/noise..?))
And as for an earlier comment "That kind of photoshop skill doesn't exist as far as I have ever seen.
" ?? That person needs to get out
more. Layers and transparency (ie no cloning) will do that easily. Bringing up a faint object via layering is simple, virtually leaves no trace
whatsoever, and the object will appear 'behind' things simply because of the brightness differences. All you then need to do is not let your
editing be shown up in exif, which has been shown above - quite easy.
Anyway, I'd love to be proved wrong, and shown that this was an 'accident' (in which case I will apologise for the sentiments above and withdraw
them), but it sure doesn't look like one to me... Someone has some 'splaining to do...