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The Iain Lee Column: The Magic of the Internet

By 123 Reg - May 25, 2012

The internet is an amazing place. It can unite, inspire, move and arouse. There are an infinite number of sites to look at and an amazing amount of information out there, waiting to be accessed.

Why then do I only ever really look at 4 sites – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and eBay? I have to confess, I am a massive eBay addict, despite the fact it’s written with a lower case e and then a capital b. That makes no grammatical sense whatsoever and is actually quite annoying. Still, where else am I going to spend money I don’t have on tat I don’t need?

I have made it my personal mission to delve deeper into the www and find gems that are hidden away, waiting for someone to stumble across them, dust them off, and hold them up to the bright sunlight of scrutiny. OK, I got a bit lost in that metaphor (or simile, I’m not fussy) but hopefully you get the idea. I find good stuff. I show to you. You like.

Recently I have been marvelling at 19th century technology via 21st century machinery. The photograph has taken many shapes and forms over the years, but it’s always going to be a part of our lives and with the sale of Instagram for $190 billion , photos have never been cooler.

The best sites are the ones that keep on giving. Well, actually, the best sites are the ones with free knockers, but let’s try and keep this clean.  www.dearphotograph.com is deceptively simple.  At first glance, it’s people taking photographs of them holding up photographs. Wow. AMAZING! But look closer, it’s so much more than that. It’s pictures of ghosts.

Author Taylor Jones has collected hundreds of photos of people standing in the site where old photos were taken, whilst holding those old photos up in the same position they were taken. There, got it? No, because it is bloody hard to describe.

OK. Imagine you have a photo from the 70’s of your mum stood on some church steps. You then go back to those same church steps, armed with that photo and a camera. You hold the photo up so it looks like mum is still on those steps, and snap, you take a photo of that! There, that should help get an image in your head. I was thinking of explaining this with a comparison to the ‘Crush Your Head’ guy, but how on earth a reference to a long forgotten character in cult Canadian sketch show Kids in the Hall with help is anyone’s guess. But it’s sort of similar. Have a look http://youtu.be/1pKXMcfx1d8

While I may not have sold this site too well, it’s definitely worth checking out. It starts off cute, but as I kept looking and reading the stories that go with them, I started to get very emotional. I’ll be honest, the picture of an old man holding a baby with the caption ‘This is how my granddad used to hold me…now I am holding him’ had me in tears. But shh, don’t tell anyone or I will have to kill you. And then take a photo of it.

If you want proper spooky pics, then have a look at this www.scienceofghosts.com – this is genuinely amazing. Do ghosts exist? Of course not, don’t be silly, but this corner of cyberspace almost convinces me they do. Some of the pictures need a bit of concentration, but when you finally ‘see’ that head of a dead man hovering behind a 2 year old in a garden (I realise I needn’t have put the word dead, as ghosts do tend to be rather deceased by definition) a tiny little bit off wee will leave your body. Or what about the wedding photo? Nothing there, but hang on, I can see something behind that dudes trousers, and if you look up a bit…IT’S A TINY DEAD MAN POKING OUT FROM BEHIND!

Again, it almost definitely isn’t because I am not a 12 year old girl and so I KNOW FOR A FACT that ghosts DO NOT EXIST. It’s a shame, because I’d love to meet one, but it just ain’t gonna happen.

Some paranormal photos that aren’t quite so impressive can be found on www.ghostphotos.org This site claims to contain pictures of ghosts. I can tell you now, they aren’t. They are just very, very bad photos. Circling a blob and saying it’s a man’s face, does not make it a man’s face. It makes it a blob. Seriously, I have never seen such bad ghostly images in my life. One is titled ‘Ed eating a peanut butter and jelly’ and that’s all it is. A man wearing braces, eating a sandwich in a really blurry photo. THAT IS NOT SUPERNATURAL OR SPOOKY ON ANY LEVEL! It is, however, very funny that someone could think these pictures were worth sharing with the entire world. Worth having a look just for a giggle.

If you’ve got any sites you think I should be looking at, please let me know iainATiainlee.com (you know replacing AT with @ so the spammers don’t get me!)

You can read Iain Lee’s very own take on the internet here on the 123-reg blog every last Friday of the month.

A familiar face on television since he got his first break landing the job hosting Channel 4’s thrice weekly topical comedy show the 11 O’Clock Show at the age of 25, Iain is also an award winning radio presenter, top podcast creator and a genuinely funny guy with an eye for the bizarre.