The Queensland Photo, 1946
Taken in 1946 in Queensland, Australia by a mother who was taking a picture of her teenage daughter’s grave. Nobody was in sight at the time, but when the picture was processed the image of a child appeared, apparently sitting on the grave. The mother does not recognize the child, thereby reducing (though not entirely eliminating) the possibility that it’s a double exposure.
The S.S. Watertown Faces, 1924
Normally I’m not a big fan of faces appearing in grainy photos due to the brain’s tendency to make order out of chaos (known as “matrixing”) but this case is different in that the faces were seen by numerous members of the crew for several days beforehand and were positively identified as those of two crewmen who suffocated while cleaning out an oil tank a few days earlier. The Burns Detective Agency analyzed the negative for fakery and found none.
The Wem Fire Apparition, 1995
A young girl standing in the doorway of the burning building. Firemen found the photo so disturbing that they sifted through the ashes afterwards searching for the remains of a body but found nothing, leaving everyone wondering who the girl may have been. Not surprisingly, there is a bit of local folklore which claims that a young girl named Jane Churm accidentally burned the town hall to the ground in 1677 when she dropped a candle, and her ghost has been reputed to haunt Wem town hall ever since. Once a firebug, always a firebug I guess.
Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, 1991
Photographer Mari Huff was using high-speed monochromatic film in the area where their equipment had detected several electromagnetic anomalies, and captured this image of a woman in period costume—complete in a burial shroud of the era—sitting on a gravestone. Note that parts of her lower legs appear to be transparent. Looks staged, I know, but then what’s a real ghost supposed to look like?
HMS Daedalus Photo, 1919
Notice the transparent face peering around the man in the upper left corner of the photo. Several men from this squadron identified the face as belonging to mechanic Freddy Jackson, who had been killed two days earlier when he accidentally walked into a spinning propeller blade. His funeral had taken place earlier that day. Apparently, Freddy didn’t want to miss all the fun.
The infra-red film image of the young man leaning against the wall was NOT seen by any of the people present at the time, nor does he appear in the high speed footage shot from the same vantage point at the same time. There’s a story that in 1869 a young man died at the location where the store now stands from a accidentally self-inflicted axe wound, which might explain his unusual clothing.
The Lord Combermere Photo, 1891
At the time this photograph was being taken, Lord Combermere (a top British cavalry commander) was being buried four miles away and the house was said to have been locked and empty at the time. Additionally, those who knew Lord Combermere claim the figure looks exactly like the man, so we have to wonder if the old gentleman wasn’t simply just visiting his old “haunt” one last time.
The Chinnery Photo, 1959
Female figure is that of her mother, who appears to have taken her customary place in the back seat and is patiently waiting to be driven home. A photographic expert examined the print and declared it to be neither a reflection nor a double exposure. Notice that “mom” appears to be a pretty solid ghost, with no hint of transparency or light from the rear windows shining through her. Even her glasses appear to reflect light!
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, 1936
The spectral figure of a woman descending the stairway was seen seconds before the shutter was snapped. The negatives on this photo have been scrutinized by literally hundreds of experts (and no small number of skeptics) who can find no evidence of it being either a hoax or a double exposure. Still considered by many to be the best “capture” ever taken.