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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Sources: historicmysteries.com, dailymail.co.uk, paranormal.about.com, myrtlesplantation.com, inyminy.com, paranormal360.co.uk.
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