ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Jeepers, it was just one of those creepers.
An investigator specializing in all things bizarre has debugged the mystery of the Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost — a specter captured on a blurry surveillance videotape.
"In the end, it was in fact a bug or insect of some sort that was on the lens of the surveillance camera," said Benjamin Radford, a paranormal investigator and managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine.
The image — a glowing spot drifting in front of a patrol car parked beneath some trees — generated more than 132,000 hits on YouTube since Santa Fe County Deputy Alfred Arana first noticed the image June 15.
"There were a wide variety of theories on what it was," said Radford. "Some said it was a ghost. Some said it was drifting cottonwood fluff. Some said it was a prank."
But the one that stuck was a ghost.
Radford drove to Santa Fe to watch the original video, ruling out a couple of theories.
"If it was a reflection, what would be reflecting and why was the sun in the wrong place?" he said. "And why would someone conduct a prank on courthouse surveillance with deputies with guns watching? That didn't make sense."
After various tests, Radford shelled out $9 for 1,750 ladybugs and put the bugs on the camera casing. "Sure enough, we got the ghost," he said.
Radford said it's a rare definitive answer in his line of work investigating haunted houses, crop circles, psychics or Big Foot.
"This case was solved through logic, scientific analysis and methodology," he said.