Seeing is believing, right? That’s what they say. But today, in this age of CGI and photo editing, modern technology has made it much easier to pretty much fake any type of photo you would want. This includes photos of ghosts. Faking ghost pictures has been around for ages, since the beginning of photography. In the early years, double-exposure and development trickery was often used to create ghostly images on film. Capturing that perfect photo evidence of a ghost is the Holy Grail of a paranormal investigator. That has led to many to use modern technology to try to create that “perfect” photo in order to promote their cause. I would like to think most serious investigators and eyewitnesses would never do this, but I’m sure some do.
For others, simply seeing a good ghost picture is chilling, even thrilling, even for those who do not believe in the existence of ghosts. There are tons of spooky ghost photos floating around the internet, and, even with all the modern technology employed, most are easily identifiable as fakes. Others are ambiguous and could easily be explained as tricks of light, shadows, or just misidentification. Yet, if you remove all those fakes and misidentifications, we are still left with a treasure trove of photos, some decades old, that has survived scrutiny and remain possibly the best evidence of ghostly encounters. Photographic experts have, in most cases, examined the negatives and ruled out tampering, and others are generally thought of to be untouched, genuine photographs of something unexplainable. In the spirit of Halloween, if you’ve already read our list of some of the most haunted places in the world, now join us in looking at photographic evidence of some of the most chilling ghost sightings.
15. The Grey Lady of Hampton Court, London
In 2015, two school girls were visiting Hampton Court in London. One of the girls, Holly, took a picture of her cousin, Brook, as they toured the King’s Apartments. The girls believed they were alone in the room, however, when they viewed the photo it was apparent they were not.
The photo showed, to Brook’s right, the ghostly image of the Grey Lady standing over her. The Grey Lady is often reported as haunting the Hampton Court. However, there have been some questions of just who she was. Some say she was Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, but most agree she is the ghost of Sybil Penn, who was born at Hampton Court in 1537, and became a royal nurse to King Edward VI. In 1562, Penn looked after Elizabeth I at Hampton Court when the Queen fell ill from smallpox. She was said to have devoted herself so completely to her ill monarch that she sacrificed her life, catching the disease and dying herself. Penn was buried at the nearby Church of St. Mary’s, and when it was demolished in 1829 for rebuilding, it is said her spirit became roused and has been reportedly seen at Hampton Court ever since.
14. Cooper Family’s Dinner Guest
This chilling photo was taken in the 1950s. The story goes that the Cooper family took this photo shortly after moving into an old house they bought in Texas. They were excited after having moved into a new and wanted to commemorate the occasion. They took many photographs and when they got them developed, one photo in particular horrified them. The photo depicted what appeared to be a body falling from the ceiling, right next to wear family members were posing for the image.
They assured people that there was indeed no falling body while they were having the photo taken. Tons of experts over the years investigated, yet no one could give an explanation for the occurrence. Some claim it must be a problem with the photo developing, others say it must be some sort of hoax. Some say it is proof of a haunting and must be one of the house’s previous tenants who died.
Of course, some others are insistent that someone actually did hang from the ceiling while the photo was taken; it’s that simple. But then, if that’s the case, why are their face and hands blacked out? Crazy as it is to look at; this picture grew famous as it stands out as a peculiar piece of evidence that just can’t be reconciled.
13. Combermere Abbey Ghost, 1891
Field Marshal Sir Stapleton Cotton, Viscount Combermere, referred to as Lord Combermere, was a distinguished British cavalry commander in the 1800s, and was the Governor of Barbados. The Abbey that bears his name is located in Cheshire, England. It was founded by Benedictine monks in 1133. In 1540, King Henry VII evicted the monks and the Abbey became the family seat of Sir George Cotton, Vice Chamberlain to Prince Edward, son of Henry VIII. Sir George’s descendant, Lord Combermere tragically died in 1891, when he was accidentally struck and killed by a horse-drawn carriage.
On the day of his funeral, a man named Sybell Corbet was taking photographs of the Abbey. Corbet captured a famous photo believed to be the ghost of Lord Combermere himself, who can be seen faintly sitting in his chair. The head, collar, and right arm are certainly distinct. In those days, a photographic exposure easily took an hour and some thought that during that time, a servant must have come into the room and sat in the chair, creating the transparent image as a double exposure. However, this theory was rebutted as all members of the household were seen attending their lord’s funeral, more than four miles away. Today, the Combermere Abbey is a hotel and tourist attraction.
12. St. Mary’s Guildhall Monk
St. Mary’s Guildhall, in Coventry, England, was built around 1340. It was originally the headquarters of the Merchants Guild of St. Mary, but later was used by Elizabeth I to imprison Mary, Queen of Scots. Even later, around the late 1800s, the building was used as an administration building for the city. Today, this medieval guildhall is a restaurant and meeting hall used for weddings, meetings, and other various functions.
One day, on January 22, 1985, such an event was taking place at the guildhall. The Coventry Freeman organization was hosting a dinner. Everyone present had bowed their heads in prayer and during this moment, a photographer had chosen to snap a photo of the solemn moment. When the photo was developed, a mysterious enormous figure, wearing a monk’s frock, could be seen in a corner but who no one remembered being present at the party. Everyone had their head bowed, except for this towering cowled form. Lord Mayor Walter Brandish, who was present at the dinner, insists that there was no one present who was dressed like a monk from another era. He, along with everyone else present, was unable to explain the presence of the mystery man in the photo.
11. The Amityville Horror
Many people know the story. It’s been a best-selling book as well as a terrifying film. The real story behind it all is equally chilling. It was early morning, November 13, 1974, Ron DeFeo Jr., shoots and kills his father, two young brothers, and his sister. The bodies were discovered face down in their beds without any signs of a struggle. The neighbors never heard any screams or noises. Defeo claims he was guided to commit the horrific acts by spirits that had taken over the house.
The infamous house located at 112 Ocean Avenue, in the otherwise quiet Amityville, New York, was later purchased by George and Kathy Lutz. They knew of the evil past but the waterfront view and great space made it a deal they couldn’t pass up. For the next 28 days after moving into their new home, a set of horrifying paranormal events drove the family to leave the home. Paranormal investigators were called in to help and claimed an otherworldly presence was in the home. One of the investigators took a series of photographs as they toured the home. One of the photos captured what appeared to be the image of a young boy peeking out a room. Is this the spirit of one of the young DeFeo boys, trapped in the house by the evil spirit that has laid claim to the residence? Whether the story was true or a long, drawn out hoax, the Amityville horror remains one of the most terrifying stories of all time.
10. The Ghost of Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Kentucky
In the era long before a cure was discovered, Waverly Hills Sanatorium treated Tuberculosis the only way that was known how: fresh air and plenty of sunshine. Patients spent their time in the solarium porches. But it wasn’t all just lounging and soaking up the sun; over-crowded, understaffed, unethical treatment, along with the whole, you know, coughing up blood thing, the patients were miserable. Waverly Hills used many other unprincipled methods to treat patients, dangerous ways which only had a 5% survivability.
It is reported that as many as 8,000 dead patients were haphazardly discarded down the notorious body chute and then secreted out of the building using an underground tunnel. The method of disposing of dead bodies was kept confidential as to not alarm the other patients. Thankfully, antibiotics were discovered and tuberculosis could then be successfully treated; Waverly Hills closed down. However, many still believe that the ghosts of former patients still reside in the long-dormant hospital, unable to find peace. Perhaps the most famous of these ghosts is a former nurse named Mary Lee, who unfortunately contracted the deadly disease. Her body was found hanging from a light in Room 502. Young and unmarried, they say she took her own life when she learned she was pregnant from one of the doctors. This photograph was taken in the dark corridors of Waverly Hills and is believed to be Mary Lee, captured on camera as she roams the hospital moaning in pain for eternity.
9. The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, in Norfolk, England, is possibly the most famous ghost ever caught on camera. This photo was taken of this wraithlike figure on the staircase inside Raynham Hall in 1936. It remains one of the few ghostly images that actually have widespread belief in its authenticity.
The ghost of Raynham Hall is called the Brown Lady because she appears wearing a brown brocade dress. She is believed to be Lady Dorothy Walpole, wife to Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend, in the early 1700s. Raynham Hall is the family seat, even today, of the Townshend family. Rumors are that Lady Walpole had an affair with Lord Wharton and was discovered by Charles. He allegedly locked his wife away in an area of the home where she remained until her death. Soon after, sightings of her ghost began to be reported. One sighting involved a man named Major Loftus, who was visiting Raynham Hall in 1849. He was retiring to his bed chambers for the night when he observed a woman in a brown brocade dress on the staircase. As he began to approach her, she disappeared into thin air. Determined to confront the spirit, he went to the same spot the following night and there she appeared again. He got close enough to the apparition to look into her face. He was horrified when he gazed into two deathly black sockets where her eyes should have been.
8. The Ghost of Freddy Jackson
This interesting photo is one of the most widely celebrated ghost images ever captured. Taken in 1919, the photo came to the public attention in 1975, when it was first published by retired Royal Air Force Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard. The photograph is a group portrait of Goddard’s squadron, which saw action in World War I as part of the Royal Navy at the HMS Daedalus training facility.
In the photo, you can see the face of another man peeking out from behind the head of another pilot. This extra ghostly face appears behind the airman positioned on the top row, fourth from the left. When members of the squadron reportedly first saw the photograph, they instantly recognized the face as belonging to a squadron air mechanic named Freddy Jackson. Freddy had been tragically killed just two days prior to the photo being taken when he accidentally walked into an airplane propeller. In fact, the photograph was snapped on the occasion of Freddy’s funeral! Many believe that young Freddy, just not ready to accept his death, decided to show up and join his mates for the group photo.
Skeptics dismiss the photo a simple case of double exposure; however, the disembodied face is not wearing a military cap, unlike the other airmen. Photography experts can find no evidence of tampering. Maybe it is just the spirit of Freddy Jackson having wanted to see the boys one last time.
7. Chloe’s Ghost at the Myrtles Plantation
The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, is believed to be the home to at least twelve spirits, the most famous of which is Chloe, often seen wearing her green turban. Chloe was, so they say, a slave owned by Clark and Sara Woodruff, inhabitants of the Myrtles. One day, Clark caught Chloe eavesdropping on a private conversation. As punishment, Clark had one of her ears cut off. This is the reason why she wore the turban, to cover her missing ear. In revenge, it is believed that Chloe baked a poisonous cake intended for her master. Unfortunately, her plan went astray and Clark’s two daughters ate the cake instead and died. Chloe was hung for her crime and her body was thrown into the Mississippi River.
Many say that the ghosts of Chloe and the Woodruff girls still haunt the plantation. Countless witnesses have claimed to see Chloe, easily identifiable by her turban. In 1992, compelled by their insurance company, the owners of the Myrtles Plantation took various photographs of the buildings. One photo shows what appeared to a slave girl wearing a turban standing near the breezeway between two buildings. The boards of the building can be seen showing through the body of the figure. The Myrtles Plantation is believed to be one of the most haunted places in America.
6. The Tombstone Ghost
Terry “Ike” Clanton is a descendant of the infamous Joseph “Ike” Clanton and the Clanton gang who fought with the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday at the famous OK Corral, in Tombstone, Arizona. Clanton operates a website dedicated the history of Tombstone and famous gunfight. In 1996, Clanton wanted to get a photograph taken of himself, clad in 1880s attire, standing in Tombstone’s famous Boothill Cemetery. The photo was taken in black and white for that Old West feel, to go along with his clothing. After getting the photo developed, he noticed a peculiar figure near the back of the photo. It appeared to a man, dressed in old cowboy clothes, as well. By the height of the figure, the man appears to be kneeling or rising up out of the ground, as his legs are missing. Closer examination reveals the figure to be holding what at first was thought to be a tie, but later appears to be a knife. The knife is in the vertical position with the tip just below the figure’s right collar.
Clanton insists that there was no one there at the time of the photo. Clanton even tried to re-stage the photo by having someone stand in the same spot behind him. Just as he believed, it was physically impossible to appear in the photo without showing the person’s legs. What’s even odder is that Clanton’s shadow is visible at a distance behind him, visible at his right, yet the figure doesn’t have a shadow at all. Clanton never put much stock in the ghost stories told of Tombstone, but this photo made a believer out of him.
5. Ghost of Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Chicago
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery is a small, mostly abandoned cemetery on the rim of the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve, near the suburb of Midlothian, Illinois. Believed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in America, Bachelor’s Grove is home to over a hundred individual reports of eerie phenomena, such as glowing orbs of light, mysterious sounds, and even unexplained ghostly figures. On August 10, 1991, members of the Ghost Research Society (GRS) were conducting an investigation of the cemetery. GRS member Mari Huff was taking black and white photos using a high-speed infrared camera. She ventured into an area where other group members had experienced some abnormalities with their ghost-hunting equipment. It was late and the cemetery was empty, save for the GRS team. Huff took her photos and the team continued their investigation.
Later, when the photos were developed, this famous image was found. The image of an apparently lonely young woman, dressed all in white, sitting quietly on a tombstone. Some parts of her body are transparent and her attire seems to be from an older era. Though other witnesses have claimed other ghosts reside in the cemetery, such as figures wearing monk’s robes as well a man’s spirit who appears in glowing yellow, the GRS team were only able to capture one image, that of the lonely woman’s spirit.
4. The Tulip Staircase Ghost
This famous photograph was taken on June 19, 1966, by Rev. Ralph Hardy, a retired clergyman from British Columbia. His intention was to simply photograph the spiral staircase in the Queen’s House area of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. However, when he got the photo developed, he was surprised to see a shrouded figure climbing the stairs, both hands ahold of the railing. The photo was taken around 5:30 PM, with Rev. Hardy’s wife standing beside him. She confirmed that there was no one on the stairs when they took the photo. In fact, the Tulip Staircase itself was closed with a rope and a sign stating, “No Admittance.”
Hardy admitted that he had heard about the rumors of the house being haunted. Spectral apparitions and unexplained footsteps are always being reported near the staircase by both visitors as well as staff. There have been sightings of a ghostly woman seen wiping down the bottom of the stairway. She is believed to be the ghost of a maid who fell over the banister and died at the foot of the stairs hundreds of years ago. Experts from all over, including Kodak, have examined the photo and the original negative. They concluded that the photo had not been doctored. It remains unexplained.
3. The Backseat Driver
In 1959, Mable Chinnery and her husband went to the cemetery to pay their respects to the grave to Mable’s departed mother. While there, she took some photographs of the gravesite and then turned and decided to take a photograph of her husband sitting in the nearby car. Mr. Chinnery was sitting in the passenger seat as the photo was snapped. Later, when the photograph was developed, Mable saw what appeared to be someone else sitting in the car with her husband. The figure was sitting in the car’s backseat, wearing sunglasses. This was absolutely mysterious as they both were pretty sure there was no one else with them at the time of the photo.
What is even more mysterious is that the “backseat driver” in the car was instantly recognizable to Mable as being none other than her own deceased mother! The very person whose grave site they were visiting when she snapped the photo! Photographic experts at the time examined the negative and concluded that the mystifying image of the backseat woman was neither a reflection nor a double exposure. As to whether it was the spirit of Mable’s mother or not, the photo was deemed genuine and has remained a staple of ghostly evidence.
2. The Hampton Court Ghost
The Hampton Court Palace, near the River Thames in London, is famous as the home of King Henry VIII. It’s also famous for being the current home of quite a few ghosts, some reportedly belonging to the Kind himself and a few of his wives, namely Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard! As tourists walk about the 1,300 chambers of the palace, many report hearing, feeling, and sometimes even seeing spooky unexplained apparitions. The ghosts are often seen dressed darkly and have been referred to as the “Grey Ladies.” We already met one of them above at #15. Now we’ll meet another.
One of the most famous of Hampton Court’s ghosts was captured on a security camera and has been dubbed “Skeletor.” It was winter of 2003, a fire alarm sounded in the palace near an exhibition hall, which signalled that the fire doors had been opened. When the security guards arrived, the doors were closed and no one was around. When they went back to review the security footage what they saw was astonishing. The heavy wooden doors seeming fly open without anyone nearby, then a darkly hooded figure appears from the hall and draws the doors closed. Security recalled that those same doors had been opened at the same time, in the same way, the previous night, though they saw no ghostly figure on that night’s security footage. The footage remains one of the most chilling pieces of evidence ever captured.
1. The Spectre of Newby Church
The Spectre of Newby Church, also known simply as the Newby Monk, refers to a disturbing figure caught on a photograph taken inside the Church of Christ the Consoler, which is on the grounds of Newby Hall in North Yorkshire, England. The photograph was taken in 1963, by Reverend K.F Lord, who claims he was simply photographing the altar and that there was no one else there when the image was taken. The figure resembles a large person wearing what resembles a 16th century monk’s cloak, with a white shroud over their face, such as was customary at the time to hide leprosy or deformity. Judging by the size of the altar seen in the image, Reverend Lord estimates the figure to have been nearly 9 feet tall!
Though Newby Hall was built in 1870, there had never been any reported claims of paranormal activity. Regardless, this eerie figure is by far one of the creepiest ghostly images ever captured. Over the years, many have speculated against its authenticity, however, photographic experts have determined that the image is not the result of double exposure or negative tampering. It remains a tantalizing piece of evidence.