Does This Video Show a ‘Ghost Car’ Appear from Nowhere and Cause an Accident?
We want to believe.
The human eye is a funny thing. It's among the most complex in nature, and yet, sometimes it cannot be trusted. Take this clip that purports to show a "ghost car" appearing out of thin air to cause an accident at an intersection, for instance. What's really going on here?
The dash cam video was recorded last week in Singapore and uploaded to Facebook. It shows a white BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe slowly easing into an intersection to make a right turn. Like the British, Singaporeans drive on the opposite side of the road from the United States, so this setup is the same as a left turn into cross traffic here at home.
As the BMW driver pauses to let an oncoming van pass, the path looks clear and everything seems normal. But as he accelerates to complete the turn, a small compact car appears to materialize out of the ether and crosses directly in front of the 6 Series, causing a T-bone collision. It's an utterly unremarkable accident—except, where on Earth did that little car come from?
The account that uploaded the video described it as a Back to the Future situation where the ghost car simply time-hopped to the exact wrong spot, but as usual, reality is a little less exciting than that. If you look closely, you can see its roof glint in the sun on the far side of the road as it heads towards the camera starting at around 9 seconds. For the rest of the clip, the movements of the camera car and the BMW sync up exactly to block the "ghost car" from view.
Between that and the deep shadows in the far lane where the car was driving, it's pretty clear that this is one big optical illusion. Of course, we say pretty clear because this still doesn't explain why the BMW driver accelerated into what should have been a very obvious accident from his vantage point. What can we say? We want to believe.