Feb 23, 2018 I Brett Tingley

‘Spirits’ at Abandoned Quarantine Site Filmed With an Xbox Camera

An Australian paranormal researcher claims he has successfully modified a camera designed for the Xbox gaming console to detect the presence of spirits. Ghost hunter Graham Lewis says he made the discovery when conducting field studies at Sydney’s North Head Quarantine Station, a former 19th-century facility where new admissions to the colony were screened for infectious diseases. Naturally, thousands of individuals died at the station after picking up all manners of maladies on their ocean voyages. Today the station is a tourist attraction featuring a hotel and restaurant complex and today is advertised as one of Australia’s most haunted places.

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The quarantine site today goes by the whitewashed name "Q Station."

Lewis says he was conducting research at the station when he detected what a spirit medium informed him was the ghost of a deceased child named Oliver, son of a former worker at the station:

At the Q station I experienced a chilling moment. On the screen I noticed a small figure the size of a child. The figure seemed to be limping, and when I waved the little figure waved back.

To spot “Oliver” at the North Head Quarantine Station, Lewis used a modified Xbox Kinect camera, a peripheral device which lets Xbox users control their in-game avatars in some games using physical gestures. Ghost hunters have been modifying these cameras for years, taking advantage of the infrared-sensing abilities of the Kinect to create structured light scanners, or SLS, which can measure and plot three-dimensional shapes. 

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They also spy on you while you sleep, even if your console is "off." (Pro tip: it's never actually off.)

According to one description of a Kinect SLS system like the one Lewis used, the technology allows users to see things the eye cannot:

This camera will detect humans and animals in absolute darkness or full light. It also seems to see bodies when there is nothing there the naked eye can see, spirits? If it shows a person shaped object on the screen that you cannot see with the naked eye then there is something there the IR is detecting and the programing is recognized as a human shape based on body parts and joints together.

The supposed ghost-detecting capability was first discovered when Xbox users reported their Kinect cameras were detecting other humans in the room with them when they were alone. Maybe that's why all Kinect models have been discontinued and are no longer in production? Nah, that couldn't be it. It's definitely ghosts. Similarly modified Kinect cameras are available for purchase online, so take this headline for what you will. Clever buzz marketing for an overpriced webcam with fun new uses, or a proof of concept for a new tool in the quest to discover the supernatural? I’ll let you decide.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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