“I’m interested in Robin Hood, always have been,” Dean told Nottinghamshire Live. “I caught it on my camera and I was so excited. When we were in the forest, we felt we were being watched from all angles, we felt it every time as we went deeper.”
As they explored the forest, Dean said their group tried to communicate with the phenomena they were experiencing.
“We heard whistles and footsteps behind us and saw shadows. We would call out to them,” he explained. “I felt excited, I always do; it doesn’t bother me.”
Dean’s partner, Veronica, who claims to be a spiritualist medium, said that this was her first trip into Sherwood Forest, and that she could feel something watching them as they investigated.
“I was excited to understand more about the history of Sherwood and the Robin Hood tale,” she said. “We used our night vision camera to try to debunk it as animals but there was nothing. I don’t believe it was Robin Hood, I believe he was part of the merry men.”
Veronica added that she is not frightened by spirits, with whom she sometimes communicates telepathically.
“I talked to them verbally and through my mind, they were telling us stories,” she said. “He was injured by an arrow and wanted to get his story told to find peace. I could also see arrows flying across.”
Dean posted to Facebook that at least one of the arrows mentioned by Veronica was caught on her Structured Light Sensor (SLS) camera, although that footage has not yet been made available on their website.
Critics of SLS cameras are quick to point out that the complex algorithms that allow them to identify objects are far from perfect. The sophisticated technology is more than capable of picking up a shadow as a human, for instance, said Tim Farley, a computer software engineer and security analyst, in a 2014 interview with the online gaming site Polygon.
“Nobody trains those algorithms to detect ghosts; they’re trained to detect people standing in front of it getting its attention,” Farley said. “There are lots of things in frame that are invisible to a person and lots of ways [the SLS camera] can be fooled.”
As for the “hooded man” filmed by Dean Buckley, the Singular Fortean Society’s photo and video analyst Emily Wayland has her doubts about whether it was a spirit caught on camera that night.
“Based on its movement, the object in the video appears to be an insect,” she said. “In fact, just after the supposed ‘hooded man’ flies through the frame, another object that is most likely an insect can be seen flying in the opposite direction. We’ve seen insects on camera at night plenty of times before during our own investigations. It seems pretty obvious to me, especially since there’s a light source behind the camera that it could be flying towards.”
Despite the prosaic explanation offered for their video evidence, the mysterious sounds and shadows remain unexplained, and Dean and Veronica Buckley plan on returning to Sherwood Forest in April to continue their investigation.