If there's something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? The ghost filter on TikTok, apparently!
In 2018, the short-form video-sharing app TikTok took the world by storm. TikTok offers an array of effects and filters, sounds, and song snippets and directly adds videos taken on your phone's camera. TikTok quickly took over as the most popular social media app.
From memes to different challenges, plenty of TikToks end up on the trending page.
One popular effect is called the Reality Ripple Effect, and it’s been all over the trending page.
What is the ghost filter on TikTok?
Formally called the reality ripple filter, it's unclear what the original purpose of the effect really is. Some say it detects energy sources, while others say it detects movement. Others say it detects heat.
The mystery behind the technology has users looking worldwide to figure out just how the reality ripple effect works.
Whatever the case, this effect leaves a color gradient around detected objects. The filter is designed to leave a rainbow trail behind the user, but it has another use that's become increasingly popular: ghost hunting.
TikToks of people using the ghost filter have gone viral, showing what people claim may be ghosts in their houses.
This video appears to show a figure in the corner of a bedroom. It could be the shelf and vase, but it’s spooky for sure!
The rainbow trail effect, eerily popping up where least expected, has TikTokers all over saying that they have seen ghosts and encouraging others to get in on the fun by sharing their own ghost footage.
Could it be this effect really detects ghosts? I wasn’t convinced.
This second video explores the possibility that TikTok is catching ghosts. The compilation videos definitely give us the creeps!
Even Carrie Underwood is getting in on the action!
How do you use the Reality Ripple Effect on TikTok?
Are you ready to start your own ghost hunting adventure? Here’s how!
Begin by opening your TikTok. On the bottom of the screen, you'll see the "+" button. Click to create a new video.
On the bottom left of your screen, click ‘effects.’ Find the trending page, and locate the reality ripple effect.
The icon is a human raising their arm, with a rainbow trail.
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Start recording to find ghosts! I’d recommend slowing down your camera to about half speed (0.5) for a better chance of catching spooky scary ghosts!
Once you’ve found out if your house is haunted, go ahead and post your video.
In the name of science, I tried using the filter on my own. I live in a very old Victorian house in the Pacific Northwest. If someone is being haunted, if would be me.
First I tested out the filter on my sister and dog. It detected them; the signature did look like a heat signature, so this theory is pretty credible.
I moved through the dining room without seeing anything, and then on to the bedroom. Where I had been lying down was glowing, but nothing else.
Moving back towards the living room, I noticed somethings glowing… Some things I hadn’t touched in months.
My partner’s bike rack was glowing and the saddle on my bike was glowing as well. I caught a couple of other objects like tables and chairs as well.
I’m on the fence about this effect. Either ghosts hate me or there are none in my house. Let’s hope it’s the latter!
It seemed to me that it just it was detecting shapes.
Does the reality ripple effect really detect ghosts?
This effect needs to be seen to be believed, so hop on TikTok and get started. What if there are one-hundred-year-old twins haunting you? What if you end up like Jack in The Shining — seeing ghosts around every corner?
You're not the only one wondering whether or not the so-called ghost filter is really exposing the ghosts in your house. Some Reddit users have also tried to deconstruct what's really going on.
"The photo app tries to find moving features in the image that it can give that weird afterimage. If it doesn't find any it tries harder, and it can sometimes try hard enough to fool itself into thinking that minor image errors or the screen shaking equates to a moving object. It then latches onto that and draws a halo around it," one user explains. "No, it doesn't show any 'energy sources'. Image processing algorithms screwing up and freaking out on a false positive is super common, especially with automatic image editing tools."
Truth be told, this effect likely isn’t finding real ghosts, but it’s a great distraction and cool to show your buds!
Happy ghost hunting, boys and ghouls!
Rachel Reed is a writer and editorial intern interested in news, culture, self, and relationships.