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Author Topic: The Top Ten Best GHOST PHOTOGRAPHS Ever Taken  (Read 6818 times)

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The Top Ten Best GHOST PHOTOGRAPHS Ever Taken
« on: 14. June 2008., 08:17:47 »

The other night I happened to catch Ghost Hunters on the Sci-Fi Channel. It’s an hour-long show that follows the members of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) as they investigate reputedly haunted locations, in an attempt to document and de-bunk supposed ghostly infestations. I'd never seen the show before but I came away very impressed by these guys: they're regular working joes – the founders are Roto-Rooter plumbers by day – who do their investigations on nights and weekends in a completely professional and ethical manner. They scrutinize everything and make thorough reports to the proprietors of the sites they look into. If there's nothing that can't be explained, they say so. If there is bizarre stuff going on that doesn't fit on the charts, they report that too, without embellishing it for what it might or might not be.

It made me recollect a night a little over five years ago, when I was part of a ghost hunt. There were about seven or eight of us – two reporters (myself included), a professional photographer, and a selection of other responsible individuals – that a newspaper sent in to spend the night at what is said to be one of the most famously haunted hotels in America. It was meant to be "part Scooby-Doo and part Blair Witch", my editor said. We were supposed to treat it seriously, but also have some fun while we were there: not to take it TOO seriously. 'Cuz then we might fall into the trap of believing things that our subconscious minds wanted us to believe. Our editor worked it out with hotel management for us to have what was supposed to be the most haunted room in the entire place to use as our homebase: we'd meet back every hour and swap notes. In the meantime we were free to go wherever, just so long as we didn't bother the guests. We didn't have anything like electro-magnetic field detectors or night-view videocameras, but we did have several photographic cameras (including one loaded with infrared film) and my audio tape recorder that I used to speak notes into and record whatever else.

Long story short: we came away from that night with more than we expected. A lot more. There's a photograph taken that night that I wish I could post here, but the copyright belongs to someone else, so it wouldn't be right for me to do that. I made myself look at it again after watching Ghost Hunters, even though five years later it still gives me the freezing willies. We took several pics with the infrared film: in four of the photos (including two from the "haunted" room) there are unexplained signatures that show up. It's the one in the hallway that's really disturbing: it was the day after we got the photos back that we realized there was a woman's face hanging neck-high in mid-air down the hallway. There was nothing there when we took the photo, and don't ask me why we chose to take a picture at that exact moment: the whole story is coming someday from another venue, and I don't want to steal their thunder by talking about it here. There was also the matter of my tape recorder: it picked up some very spooky sounds – a voice whispering – while we were in another building on-site. There were two people in that room at the time, and this wasn't a voice from either of us.

Do I believe in ghosts? Well, given the evidence we collected firsthand that night, I now admit to believing that there's something we can’t explain in terms of the normal world that’s at work here. My own personal theory? If there are such things as ghosts, I don't believe they're "spiritual" in nature at all. My thinking is that they are some kind of "recording" left in a place that sometimes replays itself: a recording in time and space. It might have something to do with quantum physics. Or this might all be a little too wacky anyway. But you tell me: would you say you don't believe in spooks if your tape recorder picked up a weird voice saying "Let me out..."?

Anyway, at the time I wound up doing a lot of research into real-life hauntings, including the many apparent photographs of ghosts taken over the years. Some I'd seen before and others were brand-new to me. It's been something I've made an occasional study on in the years since. A number of them "stuck with me". Since we're now getting into the Halloween season, I thought it might be fun (and maybe even horizon-broadening) if I shared here what I thought were the top ten ghostly photographs taken to date.

So far as I can tell, these are the real deal. Meaning that they've been sifted through with a fine-tooth comb by people who know photography and have withstood all scrutiny. These are the pictures that simply can't be explained, or at least haven't yet according to anything we can explain currently. That doesn't leave very many photos for serious consideration: there are tons of professed ghost photos. Most of them are explained away with extreme ease: Too many "ghosts" are simply camera straps that got in the way of the lens. Ghostly "orbs" are probably nothing more than light scintillating off of dust particles. Some ghostly images are mere double exposures (an example of which is glimpsed in the movie The Godfather). Occam's Razor applies bigtime here: the simplest explanation tends to be the correct one. Tends to be, that is...

So with all that in mind, for your viewing pleasure (and excluding the one photo that I've already said I can't show here, even though it's really unsettling to look at) and just in time for Halloween, here are what I consider to be:

10. "The Brown Lady" of Raynham Hall

his photo was taken in 1936 at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England, by two photographers of Country Life magazine. Raynham Hall was long reputed to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Dorothy Townshend, who died in 1726. The ghost had been seen on many occasions throughout the years when it was spotted descending these stairs by the Country Life photographers, who quickly took a snapshot. This is considered by many to be the most highly regarded and reputable photograph by a ghost yet made.

9. The Hampton Court Ghost

This one became fairly well known after it was released in December of 2003. Hampton Court, near London, was one of Henry VIII's favorite hangouts (it's because of him that Anne Boleyn is now a headless ghost roaming the Tower of London). A fire door inside the castle kept being opened when no one was supposed to be around. Guards checked the security cameras' videotape... and spotted this figure in period costume walking through the door. Castle personnel swear they don't know who did this, noting that they don't even have a costume that looks like this. 'Course this could be some prankster at work, but I felt this was yet worthy of including in my top ten list... until we ever find out otherwise. It might turn out to have just been some tourist in an overcoat.

8. The Newby Church Monk

Reverend K.F. Lord took a picture of the altar at his church in North Yorkshire, England (why are the GOOD ghosts always found in England?) and this is what came out. The picture and the negative are said to have been thoroughly examined by photographic experts and they can't find any evidence that this was either a double exposure, or artificially altered. The "thing" is calculated to be standing nine feet tall, and no one's found any record of a monk that humongous ever being at Newby Church. Who is it? What is it? Trick of light or something else? Either way it's way too creepy to not mention on this list.

7. The Bed-Ridden Boy

I found this one at the L.E.M.U.R. website also. The photo was taken in 1999 at the Historic Worley B&B Inn in Dahlonega, Georgia (YES finally ghosts in our neck of the woods!). It wasn't until four years later that this photo – which seems to show a figure resting on a bed – was really given notice. It's thought that this might be the ghost of a young man who died in the house in the 1800s after being struck by a train, and if you go to L.E.M.U.R.'s page you can find a picture of the lad (when he was still alive) to compare this photo with.

6. Freddy Jackson's Comeback

Freddy Jackson was a mechanic in the Royal Air Force in World War I. Freddy Jackson's squadron served onboard the H.M.S. Daedalus. Freddy Jackson was killed in 1919 when an airplane propeller hit him. Two days later when the squadron assembled for a group photo, Freddy Jackson faithfully showed up, grinning behind the ear of a fellow comrade. Guess nobody bothered to tell Freddy Jackson that he was dead. His face was widely recognized in this photo by members of the squadron.

5. His Favorite Chair

Remember how Archie Bunker liked his recliner so much that he never let anyone else sit in it? Well, ol' Archie doesn't have anything on Lord Combermere. After being ran over by a horse-drawn carriage he died in 1891. A photographer set up a camera with its shutter open for one hour in the manor's library while the entire staff was off at Lord Combermere's funeral, some four miles away. When the plate was developed, the startling image of what looks to be a man's head and arm sitting in the chair was immediately noticed. Many of the staff said that the image looked very much like the late lord, and it happened to be sitting in Combermere's favorite chair in the library.

4. Darn Backseat Drivers!

In 1959 Mable Chinnery went to the cemetery to visit the grave of her mother, as any devoted daughter is apt to do. She took some photos of the gravesite and then turned and took this picture of her husband sitting alone in the car's passenger seat. The film was developed and this came out: somebody sitting in the backseat wearing glasses, clear as day. Mrs. Chinnery swore that the "backseat driver" was none other than her own mother... whose gravesite she was standing next to when she took the picture! Hmmmm... a live husband and a deceased mother-in-law looking over his shoulder: there's a joke here, I just know it.

3. What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

Ike Clanton is from the same family that produced the Clanton gang of O.K. Corral fame. He’s obviously proud of his heritage, and he shows it on his website Back in 1996 Ike Clanton took this photo of a friend wearing western duds, in the middle of Tombstone's Boothill Graveyard. They swear that nobody else was in sight when they made this picture. Furthermore, some time later they tried to restage this picture with someone standing at the spot where the "mystery man" appears in the background. Ike Clanton says that it was impossible to take such a picture and not show the rear person's legs. Clanton said he wasn't so sure about Tombstone being haunted, but this photo made a believer out of him. There's so much ghostly activity going on in the famous town that Clanton's set up a special section of his website dedicated to Tombstone's population of yesteryear. Well worth checking out, if nothing else than for the sense of history that this excellent website conveys.

2. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it..."

I first saw this photo over twenty years ago. It was the first "ghost photo" I ever came across and it still wigs me out to look at it. In 1924 James Courtney and Michael Meehan, two crewmen of the tanker S.S. Watertown, were accidentally killed by gas fumes while cleaning a cargo tank. The crew of the Watertown - on its way to the Panama Canal from New York City – buried the two sailors at sea off the Mexican coast. That was on December 4th. On December 5th the first mate reported that the faces of Courtney and Meehan were appearing in the water off the port side of the ship. Over the next several days every member of the crew witnessed the faces appear and disappear, including the ship's captain. When he reported this to his supervisors after docking in New Orleans it was suggested that he try to photograph the faces. Captain Keith Tracy bought a camera and the ship was soon underway again. Sure enough, the faces appeared, and Tracy took six pictures, then secured the camera in the ship's vault. The camera was not removed until it was taken to a commercial developer after docking in New York City. Five of the photos showed nothing unusual, but the sixth clearly showed what was said to be the faces of the two dead crewmen. No evidence of forgery or tampering of the film was ever discovered. The faces stopped appearing after a new crew was brought aboard the Watertown.

1. Come On Baby, Light My Fire

Of all the ghost photos I've seen (well, except for that one that I can't show at the present time), this one is hands-down the most eerie. Probably the most disturbing too. I didn't know about this one until a few months ago. Almost ten years ago, on November 19th, 1995, Wem Town Hall in Shropshire, England was engulfed in flames and burned to the ground. As firefighters tried to stave off the inferno a town resident, Tony O'Rahilly, took pictures from across the street using a telephoto lens on his camera. There, rather clearly in one of the photos, is what looks very much to be a small girl standing in a doorway, with the brightness of the flames behind her. No one ever remembered there being a small girl present on scene, much less in that close a proximity to the fire. The photo and the original negative were turned over to a photo expert who decided that the picture was 100% authentic: "The negative is a straightforward piece of black-and-white work and shows no sign of having been tampered with." Okay, so what's a girl ghost doing in such a big fire? Well in 1677 a fire destroyed many of Wem’s wooden houses. The fire was said to have been caused by a 14-year old girl named Jane Churm, who had been careless with a candle. Churm died in the fire along with several others, and her ghost is said to still haunt the area. Whether there's such a thing as ghosts or not, it must be said: if this is just a trick, an illusion of smoke and fire that happened to be captured on film, it's a zillion-to-one coincidence that it just so happened to appear in the form of a girl who also died in a terrible fire at the same location. But hey, stranger things than that have happened in this world, right?

"The lady in the color photo is my granny," she says. "She lived on her own until age 94, when her mind started to weaken and had to be moved to an assisted living home for her own safety. At the end of the first week, there was a picnic for the residents and their families. My mother and sister attended. My sister took two pictures that day, and this is one of them. It was taken on Sunday, 8/17/97, and we think the man behind her is my grandpa who passed away on Sunday, 8/14/84. We did not notice the man in the picture until Christmas Day, 2000 (granny had since passed away), while browsing through some loose family photos at my parents' house. My sister thought it was such a nice picture of granny that she even made a copy for mom, but still, nobody noticed the man behind her for over three years! When I arrived at my parents' house that Christmas day, my sister handed me the picture and said, "Who do you think this man behind granny looks like?" It took a few seconds for it to sink in. I was absolutely speechless. The black and white photos show that it really looks like him."

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The Top Ten Best GHOST PHOTOGRAPHS Ever Taken
« on: 14. June 2008., 08:17:47 »


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Re: The Top Ten Best GHOST PHOTOGRAPHS Ever Taken
« Reply #1 on: 24. February 2011., 06:10:02 »
any photos?

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Re: The Top Ten Best GHOST PHOTOGRAPHS Ever Taken
« Reply #1 on: 24. February 2011., 06:10:02 »


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