ROBBERT van den BROEKE Photographs

rynner2

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#1
ROBBERT van den BROEKE is a young Dutch medium who produces huge numbers of anomalous photographs - but only when he is aware of some kind of 'external energy'. He produces these pictures on film or digital cameras, whether his own or belonging to someone else, and the cameras are always set to 'Auto'.

Nancy Talbott is an American researcher who has worked with Robbert extensively, watching how he takes the photos, and also using photographic experts to try to replicate some of the results. (Orbs are a well-known artefact, but some of RvdB's Balls of Light do not seem to be regular orbs. He also produces a wide range of streaks, light tubes, and other anomalies.)

Perhaps one of the oddest features of some of his pictures is partial double exposure, where only part of the picture appears double exposed. (Double exposure with a digital camera is almost impossible anyway.)

Nancy Talbott's findings are presented in five long pages, starting here:
http://www.bltresearch.com/robbert/photoanoms1.html

I have only read two pages so far, so I'll not comment further until I find time to read the rest.

In the meantime, perhaps some of our correspondents from the land of polders and canals would like to offer other perspectives on RvdB... 8)
 

rynner2

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#2
OK, I've now viewed the whole website. Many of the pics have been taken at crop circle locations, but by no means all.

Few of the photos are 'OMG amazingly inexplicable :shock: ', but the cumulative effect of so many photos, over so many years, is pretty impressive.

Any one photo, on its own, might be writen off as "Don't know, might be explained by X, Y, Z", but the great mass of evidence presented leads me to think that there's something going on....
 

ProfessorF

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#3
I've skimmed most of it, and so far most of the pictures would appear to be something in front of the lens.
BOLs... well the ones presented would appear to be of the 'dust & flash' variety, IMHO.

As you say, there's something going on, but I remain to be convinced that it's anything super-natural yet.

I'll have a proper nose tomorrow. As ever, the original digital files would be a nice treat to look at.
 

linesmachine

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#4
I've skim read the text and looked at all the pics. There is clearly something going on but I have a massive nagging issue that (for me) discredits all their hard work. I wonder if you guys have a reasonable explanation.

On several occaisions we are told that the photo was taken around the same time that "a crop circle appeared before our very eyes" etc etc. Well, if that happened to me I would make damn sure that the next time I go to a field with Robbert I would have a video camera, and if it's night time a video camera with night vision. I'm not even a pro investigator like these guys, but surely it would make sense...right? The crop circles appeared before them frequently enough over a long enough period to make it questiona ble why they didn't have the equipment to record it.
 

chickentoast

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#5
I am a photographer and I have also worked as a printer in a high volume photolab in the past. I also do a lot of experimental shooting with a wide range of film and digital cameras: point and shoots, SLRS, DSLRS, medium format, large format, toy cameras and pinhole cameras. I've seen miles of film and terabytes of digital files. I also love shooting with the idea of creating anomalies - mostly when working with film, but it's entertaining when working digitally as well.

I hate to play the debunker, because I am so fond of the idea of spirit photography and believe that there is the possibility of catching such things on film. I'm not going to touch the crop-circle stuff, as I have no strong opinion either way on those. These images, however, are all fairly classic examples of photographs taken by inexperienced users with low-end consumer grade point-and-shoot digital cameras set on Automatic Exposure in less than ideal situations.

The "double-exposures" are often due to too little light and no camera flash - the camera needs to increase exposure time by keeping the shutter open a little longer than what is optimal for a clear image... you move the camera (something as little as breathing or your heartbeat can do this!) or your subject moves, and you will see this sort of thing in your final image. Easy-peasy to replicate, and all you need is a tripod and self timer to fix it. If you examine old portraits from the late 19th century, you'll often see people with creepy white eyes, as blinking and moving their eyes that were the only thing they could do whilst strapped into the head braces and sitting chairs used to keep them still for the excessively long exposure times for those old cameras and image plates.

The "light tubes" are caused by several things:

One way these happen is another case of long exposure coupled with the blasted shutter lag that all these cheapy little cameras have (you press the button and the camera takes it's sweet time to finally take the pic - that's why you can never quite get that one picture of the kitten or the kids doing that cute thing they do). So, you've set up your shot in the house and probably aren't using the flash, the camera is set on auto and has metered for it (taken the light readings, set the shutter time, etc) but has not yet taken the actual picture. You move the camera out to check your masterpiece, and while you do this the camera decides now is the time to open the shutter and expose the CCD chip (the digital version of the film frame). Since there's a bright overhead light source somewhere in the room, you end up getting a nice snake of light where it has moved across the CCD. I can't tell you how many times I've done this with a horrible old Fuji point and shoot that now functions as a much better paper weight due to the massive shutter lag. The "Night Shot" setting on the camera dial is often the culprit for these types of shots, too. Try flailing your arms about with the camera taking an image using a long shutter setting: woo, crazy light trails!

The second way these can happen is to have something close to and in front of the camera lens and flash. Between the autofocus with a mind of it's own, the depth-of-field limitations of point and shoots and the poorly placed flash, something close to the camera can be illuminated by the flash but be completely out of focus while the background subject looks fine. This can be camera straps, fingers, human hair, window glass (a HUUUUUGE culprit in some UFO and orb photos), window screen material - whatever is able to get between your flash/lens and subject can do this. Many of the "light tubes" on page two look to be something like chrome knitting needles or pens, further down the page appear to be hair or yarn/ string (hence the "pink tones"). Some of the images on page three - at the crop circle site - are almost certainly a piece yarn, looks like angora or a boucle type. I wonder if anyone was wearing a knit cap on that chilly night? The green "light tubes"? Blades of grass. These items are close to the flash, therefore overly illuminated, and close to the lens which is unable to focus in that close, and is therefore out of focus. Seriously, try this at home, it's wicked easy to do.

This is the same case for the "smoke anomalies". The outdoor ones could be steam, smoke or the breath of the photographer illuminated by the flash. The one of the lily pond appears to be shot out of a dirty window with light reflecting on the inside. The "smoke" in the image with the woman appears to be a reflection back into the lens or on the wall - possibly something metallic near the lens bouncing the light (a ring, or a wee piece of foil or something?). I'm quite certain the image taken of the "smoke" in the living room (sofa and chandelier in the background) is of a burning incense stick held close to the lens. This could be an excellent method for dispersing the supposedly mysterious and sourceless smoke since incense smoke is so thick and can be "drawn" into these wispy forms - I might have to go buy a pack of incense to try this one out.

With regard to the yellow color cast on images on page two. Simple: shooting with no flash under artificial light without setting the white balance in the camera. Sunlight has a different color temperature than incandescent light, as does fluorescent light, LEDS, mercury vapor bulbs, etc. A camera flash is generally set to mimic the color temperature of the mid-day sun - a coolish 6000 deg Kelvin. If your cameras white balance has been set to reflect a light source in that range (either daylight or flash conditions) and you proceed to shoot without a flash under another warmer light source, say 2700 K for an incandescent bulb, you will see this yellowy color cast. Try shooting indoors at night with the lights on using the various white balance settings on your camera - everyone will look quite jaundiced, or rather green around the gills depending on the type of lights you have. I have a photo taken under mercury lights of snow falling that looks insanely post-apocalypse orange due to a wrong white balance setting on a cheap point and shoot.

Page four's "fuzzy" photos are either condensation or finger smudges on the lenses. I cannot tell you how many times I've had to clean the lenses of customers at my lab after developing a whole memory card or film roll of photos that looked like they'd been shot with a soft focus filter on them. These tiny cameras go in and out of pockets with no lens caps. Rub your oily fingers on them, breathe on them in the cold air or take them from your nice dry bag into moist warm air (or cold night into the warm house) and you've suddenly got a lovely bit of oil/water diffusing the light coming through your lens. I don't really recommend attempting to replicate this with a nice camera, since it's not so hot for the camera CCD or lens coating.

The rest of the images are all variants of these tricks - long exposures coupled with extreme camera motions, stuff in front of the lens/flash (try blocking a flash with your finger or a piece of paper: interesting effects!), lighting issues, etc. For example - the "feathery" anomaly on page five is the flash lit out-of-focus back of someones head.

All of these are quite easy to replicate, and in doing so one has the benefit of learning the various functions and limitations of point and shoot digital cameras. Plus it can make for a rather fun night of running around the house with the camera harassing pets, partners and children until the batteries run out (and then freaking out your office mates the next day by emailing them your spooky haunted pictures).
 

ProfessorF

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#6
Great post - I've seen similar lighting effects from people taking photos in dark clubs. The subjects will be crisp, but often the lighting (presumably static, but hey, it's a night club) will produce those streaks. Quite a nice effect really.
 

rynner2

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#7
I quite agree with most of the comments.

But one picture still baffles me - the partial double exposure on page 2.
http://www.bltresearch.com/robbert/photoanoms2.html

This is taken in a Wiltshire field (not by RvdB, actually), in daylight, which seems to rule out low shutter speeds, flash effects, etc.

Since this is film, not digital, I guess a processing error might give a faulty print.

A bigger version of the photo is here: http://execonn.com/cropcircles/ (about 3/4 of the way down the page.) The analysis given there also shows an enhanced scan at 360 [dots?] per inch, which does suggest that a print was being scanned, but there's no mention of checking the negative.

Any thoughts?
 

linesmachine

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#8
I agree with Rynner. There are a few shots which baffle me. the double exposed landscape, and the double exposed shot with Robbert in the chair but with single exposed arm of chair.

I also agree with the explanation provided above as to how most of these "accidents" happen. However, to get that many accidents would seem unlikely, therefore thye must be purposely done...
 

ProfessorF

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#9
Actually, I've just been looking through some old pics I took in the Opera House in Covent Garden - clearly something very spooky was going too. Clicky.
 

chickentoast

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#10
ProfessorF: Spooky, indeed!!! :lol:


Rynner,

I read that page and noted that he was shooting with an AE1 film SLR on the dreaded Auto setting and no note of the film used - film speed and type (slide or print) are nice to know when trying to troubleshoot problems.

To me, this looks to be a combination of film and camera...

The film:

I'm going to guess that the film is probably Kodak ISO 100 or 200, as those are the most common films found at drugstores and such. These are both rated for well lit outdoor settings - when I was still living the the rainy Pacific Northwest I almost never shot films in this ISO range since there wasn't always suitable light available.

Since the camera is on the Auto setting, it will adjust the shutter speed and aperture to compensate for lighting changes. If you are using a film that is too "slow" for your lighting conditions (ISO 100 on an overcast day for example), you will need to have more light let into the camera - thus, a longer shutter speed than is preferred for hand held photography.

The double exposed areas are in the most well lit parts of the photograph, since those are the areas that "burn" into the film first. Darker, less well lit areas will take longer to imprint themselves on the film. With a lensed camera this can be tiny fractions of a second, so you will not be aware this while it happens. This is something I have to be very conscious of when working with pinhole cameras where exposure times can be minutes or hours.

Also: the orange streaks in some pictures... generally light leaks or the static discharge from fast winding they mention in the writeup. Terribly common with film, hence why they've seen them in multiple photos from several cameras. Other reasons for these sort of anomalies: bad film, poor handling by whoever is loading the film into the developer, expired chemistry or more camera issues.

The camera:

SLR cameras have a mirror that reflects up into the viewfinder so that you can see your shot as it looks through the lens. This mirror is immediately in front of the film, and must pop up out of the way in order to expose the film. This is can sometimes be quite forceful and can cause the camera to jerk/shake . Even if the camera were on a tripod, the mirror impact could have caused the camera to jump just a wee bit. Mirrors can also bounce or misfire, and shutters can go out of sync (which could be the cause of a couple of the dark streaked shots nearer to the top of the page).

So... I'm thinking camera vibration coupled with a long shutter speed and slow film.

The "dimensional shifts" are a result of the imperceptible camera movement - figure the actual size of a 35mm negative and think of how little the camera would have to move to achieve this small of a degree of image shift. Since standard frame size is 24mmx36mm (.9 inches x 1.4 inches), it's really quite small. Coupled with what is probably some lens distortion to get the left/right shifts on the horizontal plane and I think that's pretty much it.

That said, it's still a rather lovely series of photos and I'm terribly fond of the patterns, textures and limited colors of the closeup shots in the circle formations as well. I'd love to go wander around in crop circles with my camera gear and see what I could catch on film.
 

nyarlathotepsub2

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#11
chickentoast said:
The camera:

SLR cameras have a mirror that reflects up into the viewfinder so that you can see your shot as it looks through the lens. This mirror is immediately in front of the film, and must pop up out of the way in order to expose the film. This is can sometimes be quite forceful and can cause the camera to jerk/shake . Even if the camera were on a tripod, the mirror impact could have caused the camera to jump just a wee bit. Mirrors can also bounce or misfire, and shutters can go out of sync (which could be the cause of a couple of the dark streaked shots nearer to the top of the page).

So... I'm thinking camera vibration coupled with a long shutter speed and slow film.
This is was quite a problem with amateur astrophotography in the days prior to the advent of CCD technology. Mirror slap would ruin a great many photos on (quite expensive!) hypered film.
 

rynner2

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#12
nyarlathotepsub2 said:
This is was quite a problem with amateur astrophotography in the days prior to the advent of CCD technology. Mirror slap would ruin a great many photos on (quite expensive!) hypered film.
Granted, but why does this only affect part of the Wiltshire field photo, and not all of it?

A simple mechanical problem should affect the whole picture equally.
 

chickentoast

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#13
When taking a photograph of a subject that contains a wide range of tonal values (dark & light areas), the film does not get exposed at an even rate. Brighter areas, those reflecting or emitting more light into the lens, will begin to form images in the film emulsion first. Darker areas are receiving less light and take longer to form.

This all happens within fractions of seconds, so the double exposure in the image in question could've formed in, say, 1/100th of a second.

If full exposure time for the overall image - that time needed to get details in both the brighter and darker areas - was maybe 1/50th of a second, you've got a fair bit of leeway for the highlight areas to expose themselves on several areas of the film if the film plane has moved from it's original position.

Here's an image I shot several years ago - it's actually a single frame from a huge project that was the closest folder of negatives to my scanner - that shows a similar effect, though there isn't much in the way of detail in the darker areas to really show it off.



This was shot indoors, under fluorescent lights with an SLR using ISO 200 speed black and white film. As I recall, I had the shutter speed set to 1/50th of a second and was purposely jerking the camera around in an attempt to capture motion.

Obviously, this is not an exact replication of the events that possibly led to the photo in question, but the concept and result are rather close to what I've outlined as a potential reason for the double exposure in the crop circle image.

You can see the double exposed highlight areas of the the outlet facing, but also quite clearly see the dark plugs, the stippling of the wall and the line where the counter top formica meets the wall. There is even a tiny bit of distortion in the outline shape of the the outlet that is evident in the top of the "ghost" outlet.
 

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#14
I have nothing to add on the subject of the photographs themselves, since I am not an expert. However, the name Robbert van den Broeke is well-known in The Netherlands. In 2005, the young gentleman was the star of a short-lived tv-series about his paranormal abilities. Unfortunately, when he was exercising those abilities on-camera, he did it so clumsily, that even other mediums denounced him as a fraud.

The most famous example of this was the 'genverbrander' case. In the show, Robbert visited the widow of a cameraman (who had worked for the channel the show was on) who had comitted suicide. After giving her some generalities about her husband 'being in the light', he suddenly blurted out a bunch of very specific information on the previous life the widow had had with her husband. Unfortunately for him, he relayed a typo that was present in the historical web page that he'd memorized. He gave the profession of the supposed previous incarnation of the cameraman as 'genverbrander' (gene burner), stipulating that he did not know what such a strange word meant. TV watchers who googled the name of the historical person themselves, soon found that the profession was listed on other web pages as 'geneverbrander' (gin distiller).

This mistake became so famous in Holland that the word 'genverbrander' was chosen as Word of the Year by some news web site. Poor Robbert became somewhat of a national laughing stock. The web page containing the typo still is present at http://home.tiscali.nl/jhberends/Geneal ... essels.htm

Another obvious case of fraud on the TV show about him was seen when he was taking pictures of a blank wall with his digital camera. He had 'seen' the image of a nun there before. After exclaiming that he managed to photograph this image, he handed the camera to the show's presenter, who excitedly started paging through the pictures. This showed, on-screen, that there were multiple nun pictures dated several minutes *after* the one he was exclaiming about.

I've tried to find some English-language information on all of this, but oddly, there is hardly any to be found. On Dutch pages, the case is quite well-documented, for example on http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robbert_van_den_Broeke and on http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genverbrander

The only English-language reference I could find in a 10-minute visit to Google is here: http://derrenbrownart.com/blog/?p=321#comment-2969
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#15
Randi gives an overview of the TV jiggery pokery here:

www.randi.org/jr/2006-01/010606netherlands.html#i1

It seems van den Broeke has been caught out faking images, as well as some pretty awful apparent hoaxes (one which seems to be a crude image of a Grey drawn on a plastic spoon and held in front of the camera):

www.skepsis.nl/mudman.html
www.ufowatchdog.com/comments.html
http://forgetomori.com/2009/ufos/ufo-ph ... g-roundup/

And this is a lengthy investigation of one of the "best cases" for alien/paranormal involvement in crop circles going back to 1999:

www.ufologie.net/htm/crophoeven.htm
 

rynner2

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#16
Good if rather long links, Emps! The biography in the last one I give in full here, as it explains much about RvdB, but many others here may not have had the time to wade through so much info:

Robbert van den Broekke is in no way some anonymous boy anymore.

His website is at www.robbertvandenbroeke.com

He says he is a medium. He is actually a media celebrity in the Netherlands, as he campaigned for years on the radios, TV shows, magazines, in a mission to reveal the reality of the paranormal to the broades audience, in order to bring people to "higher levels of spirituality". Of course, Robbert is also in crusade against the evil minded skeptics who refuse to believe him.

He is the author of the book "Robbert, van zorgenkind tot medium" ("Robbert, from disturbed child to psychic") in which he shares his numerous experiences and talks of his paranormal powers.

Robbert was a problem child. Endowed in setting up puppet shows for his sister, endowed in telling stories, he had problems with school integration, not managing to get interested for activities such as learning multiplication tables or doing homework. His desperate parents had him followed by psychologists, put him in a boarding school for the rehabilitation of difficult children, but without good results. He was depressive, was prescribed antidepressants, but hi parents discovered that it did not take the medicine. Then he met an alleged medium, Rens Hendriks, who stated the kid had paranormal powers, and the parents believed it.

He discovered his first crop circle in February 1996. He then concluded that he had the power to "sense" the appearance of crop circles in advance. As crop circle regularly appear in the area that he traveled on his bike - very small and unimpressive circles - he did not fail to find some, presenting invariably his find as a result of his "visions". Under the influence of Rens Hendriks, he thus grew up, always in social difficulties, but with a "solution": he was different because he had paranormal powers. Since 1996, when he appeared on local television channel TV8, he never ceased obtaining publicity, with the support of his parents. When Eljto Haselhoff became interested in the boy, as "witness of the appearance of crop circles made by balls of lights", he became a national celebrity in the Netherlands.

During one night of the summer of 2000, whereas Robbert's parents were on holiday, his sister Madelon realized he was not home. Robbert appeared only at 4 a.m.. His trousers were wet and muddy. Robbert could not, or did not want to, explain what had occurred. The next day, there were five crop circles in a nearby field.

Robbert claims psychic healing powers, claims to communicate with the souls of dead people, claims to foresse the future, claims retrocognition, and since 2004, claims to have photographs proving his contacts with both ghosts and aliens.

www.ufologie.net/htm/crophoeven.htm

His lack of education may explain the 'genverbrander' case, a word he apparently memorised without understanding. If I had read somewhere about a man who worked (say) as a 'charcol burner' I would automatically correct the typo when passing the information on, but Robbert does not realise he should have said 'geneverbrander', even though 'genever' is such a common Dutch word.
 

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#17
rynner2 said:
Good if rather long links, Emps! The biography in the last one I give in full here, as it explains much about RvdB, but many others here may not have had the time to wade through so much info:
Good idea - it is actually a bit of a sad story.

It also chimes with an idea I had that in earlier times such individuals would have become the village shaman or wise woman and that their energies would have been diverted into more "constructive" areas that might have benefited the tribe. Although he is now at least doing something more... "positive" with his time I doubt it will be that helpful for him in the long run, especially as his fakery is pretty blatant (but then again perhaps he can get enough believers in him to stop his bubble from bursting).

Anyway I doubt this is the end of this and we'll be seeing this chappie again soon.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#19
coaly said:
Just like Billy Meier, et al. :lol:
That is the amusing thing - Robbert's faked UFOs seem to be cut-outs of Billy's (probably) faked UFOs. Round and round it goes....
 
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