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Watch: Ghostly Image Damages Officer's Car

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A freak weather phenomenon blew through a parking lot at the Hartford Police Department and damaged a car and it was all caught on camera. (Published Thursday, Oct 31, 2013)

    When a strange phenomenon blew through the Hartford Police department's parking lot and damaged an officer's personal vehicle, police turned to NBC Connecticut to help them solve the mystery.

    Surveillance video shows a ghost-like wisp of wind whirling around the car, ripping off the mirror, tossing it around a bit and then dropping right back beneath the door.

    "At the end of his shift, he went out to his car and found his rear view mirror had been damaged and it was lying there next to his vehicle," said Lt. Brian Foley, spokesman for the Hartford Police Department.

    At first, the officer assumed it was the work of vandals, but investigators saw something much more unusual when they looked at surveillance video of the lot.

    "Some of the officers said they think the parking lot's haunted," Lt. Foley said.

    NBC Connecticut meteorologist Brad Field reviewed the video and gave an explanation that was scientific rather than supernatural.

    "I saw this surveillance video and I said, 'What the heck is this,' " Field said.

    After checking it more closely, Field realized that the conditions were just right for a dust devil, a tornado-like whip of wind that tends to form over asphalt.

    "The only way you can see the dust devil is that it picks up dust and debris into it," Field said.

    Call it a dust devil, call it what you will, but investigators call it creepy and said no other cars in the lot were damaged.

    "To be able to rip a mirror off a car, throw it around and then put it right back below where it was ripped off is interesting ... to say the least," Foley said.