Tesla sensor graveyard

The Tesla screen showing human figures in the empty graveyard. (Credit: SWNS)

BURRILLVILLE, R.I. — Are there real ghosts walking around in a famous graveyard in Rhode Island? According to the sensors in one man’s Tesla, the answer may be an eerie yes! In a bizarre event shared on TikTok, the driver’s Tesla sensors purportedly detected what appeared to be several “people” walking around his car. The problem is he and his passengers were driving through an empty cemetery. Though we can’t verify the video and don’t know for sure what happened in this case, this fun talker led us to dig deeper into why the electric vehicle might make such a jarring mistake.

For those who believe in other-worldly reasons, you may be excited to learn that this potentially paranormal shocker took place on the road along a cemetery near the Arnold Estate, the real-life inspiration for the 2013 movie “The Conjuring.” As the unnamed driver of the Tesla passed this graveyard, the images of people walking appeared on the motion sensor display.

Tesla ghosts on screen
The Tesla screen showing human figures in the empty graveyard in Burrillville. (Credit: SWNS)
As the group in the car stops to stare at the terrifying sight unfolding on the pedestrian sensor screen, you can hear them react in shock as more and more “ghosts” appear in the graveyard! At one point, it even looks as if the ghosts are surrounding the Tesla, which spooks the riders even more. The video does show someone standing in front of a grave as they pull in, and the driver says his cousin and a friend were outside and eventually got in the car. That certainly would indicate an instance of the sensors picking up a person, but as the number of individuals grows and they appear to be in multiple places, the travelers are left laughing in confusion.

The unnamed driver, who claims to be a Tesla employee, adds that this isn’t some funny prank built into the car’s software by Tesla founder Elon Musk.

“[I can] confirm this is not an Easter egg Elon added as I’ve tried this many times. It’s not just picking up the gravestones as even if it was they would show as stationary on the screen,” the driver said, according to a report by SWNS.

The Tesla screen showing human figures in the empty graveyard in Burrillville.
The Tesla screen showing human figures in the empty graveyard in Burrillville. (Credit: SWNS)

So, what was the car picking up on its screen? It might help first to understand how the sensors on a Tesla work. These sensors are calibrated to detect objects and people in typical driving environments. A graveyard, with its unique layout and objects, might present atypical conditions that the car’s system isn’t optimized to handle, leading to unusual readings on the sensor system.

Tesla’s pedestrian detection recently underwent a major transition. Prior to 2022, the system used a combination of sensors and software. This combined:

  • Radar: Radar sensors emit radio waves that bounce off objects and return to the sensor, providing information about the object’s distance and speed. However, radar waves can penetrate some materials but not others, and they’re generally not capable of detecting objects buried underground.
  • Cameras: Tesla vehicles use multiple cameras to provide a 360-degree view around the car. The cameras feed visual information to the car’s computer system, which uses image recognition algorithms to identify objects like cars, pedestrians, and road signs.
  • Ultrasonic sensors: These are used primarily for close-range detection, especially useful for parking assistance. They use sound waves to detect objects around the vehicle. Like radar, these waves are not designed to penetrate the ground significantly.
  • Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) software: This software analyzes the combined data from the sensors to identify pedestrians, predict their movements, and take potential actions such as braking or issuing warnings.

Since 2022, most Tesla models (Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X) transitioned to Tesla Vision, a system that relies solely on cameras and vision-based software. This approach utilizes a sophisticated “occupancy network” that analyzes camera footage to identify and differentiate objects, including pedestrians, with high accuracy. It’s highly unlikely that the sensors were detecting bodies underground. More plausible explanations could include:

  • False Positives from the Sensor System: The car’s sensors, particularly the cameras, might be misinterpreting tombstones, trees, or other structures as people. This can happen due to the shapes, sizes, or even reflective properties of these objects.
  • Software Glitches: The algorithms processing the sensor data might misinterpret what the sensors are picking up, especially in unusual environments like a graveyard.
  • Environmental Factors: Things like shadows, lighting conditions, or weather could affect how the sensors perceive their surroundings.

While it’s unclear which type of Tesla this was, it’s clear the high-tech car sees “something” in one of the creepiest places in the United States.

Check out the entire incident here:

South West News Service writer Leo Black contributed to this report.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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4 Comments

  1. Emory Kendrick says:

    Yeah….because ghosts hang around deserted graveyards, wear the same clothing and walk like Pac man figures. Give me a break!

  2. Emory Kendrick says:

    Seems they have moved on to UFOs.

  3. gray says:

    I’ve seen ghosts for 42 years, they are everywhere…just sayin. I always thought they’d be proved by accident. I mean, that’s how we found other things we couldn’t see with our human eyes-like ultraviolet

  4. Joe says:

    I do believe in ghost, however if you watch the video till the end one even is riding a motorcycle. Lol