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Is Ghost Photography Real?

Updated on April 9, 2018

Pictures of Ghosts -- Are Ghosts Real?

Solid evidence for the existence of ghosts and other paranormal energy is hard to find. Hoaxes and scam artists outnumber genuine, verified evidence. But real evidence of ghosts and other visitors from the spirit world does exist. It's up to you, of course, to decide whether you believe the images and sounds of ghosts and paranormal activity, but no one can deny that there is some truly disturbing and hard-to-forget evidence out there. On the web, for example, one may find photographs from times past as well as more modern digital images that appear to show faces and beings from beyond. In addition to images, the internet is fertile hunting ground for actual sound tracks of so-called" white noise" spirit voices: messages hidden in seemingly meaningless static that become chilling voices when slowed or filtered with modern recording technology.

This lens is not intended as an argument for or against the existence of ghosts and other spirits. This is up to you to decide. Here I'll only offer photos and recordings that remain unexplained. This is evidence of ghosts and phantoms that has stood the test of time. It remains up to you to decide if what you are about to see and hear is real, or merely human imagination.

Pictures of Ghosts -- The William Hope Spectres

William Hope was a paranormal investigator who was popular around the turn of the century. He produced his first "real ghost photo" in 1905, and the public responded with enthusiasm. Hope formed a society of paranormal investigators, which he called the Crewe Circle Spiritualist Group. Hope produced several more images, most featuring ghostly faces and disembodied heads floating above people seated for formal portraits.

Soon, however, serious allegations of fraud began to surface against the charismatic Hope. Among them was an investigator who used secretly marked photographic plates to trap Hope into exposing his work as fraudulent. While Hope is an example of hoax photography that was fairly easily debunked, other examples have been much more difficult to refute.

Another Hope Ghost Photo

Pictures of Real Ghosts -- The Polly Clarke Apparition

Also known as the Old Blaby or Park House ghost photos, this innocent-looking girl may actually be an ephemeral visitor from the non-material plane. Polly Clarke was rumored to be a day-student at the Park House school in 1896, but unlike other students there is no record of her ever having had a birth certificate, death certificate or burial records. One story has it that the little girl was punished for tardiness by being shut in the coal cellar for a morning; when the truck came with a half-ton delivery, Polly was buried by the coal pouring through the basement chute. Her spirit is said to haunt the school, and her face has at times inexplicable appeared in class pictures, even in the years after her death.

The Polly Clark images are among the most difficult pictures of ghosts for investigators to explain away. How does the same girl's image reappear in class photos in the years after her death?

Claymont Mansion - Infamous Stairway to the Third Floor

This is one of the most haunted sites in North America. West Virginia is the center of a remarkable amount of paranormal activity, and the Claymont Mansion's stories of strange sights, sounds, and even physical contact with guests is second to none.

The Original Ghost-Hunting Kit

  • Original Starter Kit Includes: GaussMaster EMF meter to measure EMF
  • Portable Motion Sensor to monitor motion in the dark
  • EVP Recorder to capture electronic voice phenomena
  • Geo-Phone, vibration detector to detect unseen vibration
  • Pen Style Infra-red Thermometer to test for cold spots and a Deluxe Carrying Case to to keep it all together

Pictures of Ghosts -- The Brown Lady

This is perhaps the most famous ghost photograph of all time. Sightings of the Brown Lady have occurred since 1835, when she interrupted a Christmas party, drifting downstairs, face pale, eye sockets hollow. The Lady is believed to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole, the sister of Robert Walpole, considered the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. By one account, she was punished for adultery by being locked into a room in the house until her death in 1726. Other accounts tell a different tale, but the end is the same: Lady Walpole was confined to the house until she died of one of the most horrible diseases known to man.

The Brown Lady appeared again in 1836, and at irregular intervals in the years that followed. This photo purports to show her descending the stairs, a phantasm of flowing skirts and hollow eyes.

The Ghost Meter EMF Sensor

The Ghost Meter works in a number of ways to detect small, distinct, erratic energy fluctuations that have been reported as being produced in haunted areas. The instrument is calibrated to ignore the subtle EMF emissions produced by the human body, focusing on the qualities produced by paranormal energies. The Ghost Meter provides three indicators of EMF emission: a needle meter, LED lights, and an adjustable audio signal. This unit can be operated in silent mode in order to avoid interfering with EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) recordings.

Tantallon Castle Ghost Picture

A tourist's photo of a closed balcony revealed a ghost-like apparition watching intently from between the bars. Where the child came from remains a mystery -- her identity has never been established, and records of visitors failed to turn up any leads. She -- or it -- simply appeared for a moment and happened to be caught by the photographer. Often ghost pictures are a matter of chance, as if phantoms are appearing briefly in many places and at many times, only to be caught occasionally by chance in the lens of a photographer.

Pictures of Ghosts -- The Wem Town Hall Ghost

This is another apparition of a child appearing for a moment on a balcony -- but this photo is a much clearer image. For years the photo of the Wem ghost troubled investigators, until one plausible explanation was offered by an amateur photography buff. The Wem ghost appears to bear a striking resemblance to a little girl in this postcard, leading many people to conclude that the Wem ghost was a well-made hoax.

While some photos of ghosts turn out to be hoaxes, it's entirely possible that some ghosts actually appear for flashes at many times and in many places. It's possible that these flashes are too fast for mortal eyes to comprehend, and the split-second of a camera exposure is what's needed to show us what is in fact happening all around us, all of the time...

Another William Hope Spectre

Pictures of Ghosts -- The Lincoln Ghost Photo

For several years following the tragic assassination of Abraham Lincoln, paranormal activity was reported in and around the White House. Much of this was attributed to the intense desire to contact the dead president, and to seek comfort in the idea that he could still be talked to, and was still watching over the country as it tried to recover from the devastation of the Civil War.

One of the most talked-about ghost pictures of this time was this portrait of the widowed Mary Lincoln with her lost husband standing over her, reassuring hands on her shoulder. While this image is almost unquestionably a hoax, it's still revealing about the state of mind of the country following the assassination.

Lord Combermere's Ghost

This ghostly photo of the deceased Lord Combermere sitting in his favorite chair has since been dismissed as a hoax, but it haunted the imagination of turn-of-the-century fans of the paranormal.

Pictures of Ghosts -- Cemetery With Rising Ectoplasm

While this image may provoke skepticism, the fact that it's located in a graveyard gives skeptics reason to pause. Taken on a cold night in early November, 2006, this cemetery ectoplasm photo is one of very few of its kind. Ectoplasm is thought to be the non-physical, yet visible, essence of phantoms and ghosts. If this image is indeed a record of ectoplasmic material rising from a grave, then it's one of the few on record of the event in a similar location.

Pictures of Ghosts -- The Corroboree Rock Spirit

One of the more famous pictures of ghosts, this image of a woman sitting at Corroboree Rock in Alice Springs, Australia, was taken by Reverend R.S. Blance. The fact that this ghostly image was taken by a Reverend gives considerable added weight to the picture's veracity. The woman at center, holding her hands toward her face and peering out into the distance, has never been identified, and a satisfactory explanation for the photo has yet to surface.

Attacked By Spirits? This Video Offers Evidence - Warning! Some images may be disturbing

Pictures of Ghosts -- The SS Watertown Ghost Faces

The story of the ghost faces of the SS Waterton is the stuff of legend. While a recent article in the paranormal journal The Fortean Times suggests the phenomenon was a hoax, there are elements of the story that are truly perplexing.

In 1924, two crew members of the SS Waterton, James Courtney and Michael Meehan, were cleaning the cargo tank of the ship, and oil tanker, when they were overcome by fumes. The men died in the hold of the tanker as it sailed from Panama to New York City. In keeping with maritime procedure, they were given a full burial at sea.

That could have been the end of the story, except for the fact that soon after their corpses had slipped beneath the waves, crewmen on the ship began reporting seeing their faces eerily appearing in the ocean swell off the port side of the ship. This phenomenon continued for several days, giving the men ample opportunity to take photos of the faces. When the ship docked several days later, the photos were developed, and one of the six exposures clearly showed the features of the dead sailors drifting in the icy waves of the Atlantic. How they got there was a mystery; the famous Burns Detective Agency was brought in to examine the photos for forgery. None was found.

The faces were not seen on subsequent trips, and the ghosts of the SS Waterton became part of history.

Pictures of Ghosts -- The Tulip Staircase Ghost

This photo, one of the most famous pictures of ghosts ever taken, was snapped by the Reverend Ralph Hardy in the Queen's House section of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. He intended to take a nice souvenir shot of an ornate, yet empty, staircase; what he got soon became one of the most compelling pieces of evidence that spirits are sometimes caught on film. The phantasmic image appears to show a shrouded figure ascending the stairs, and clinging tightly to the bannister. It's chilling image, an unearthly form with a foreboding presence.

Experts at Kodak and other institutions have examined the photo, and unlike other ghost pictures, the Tulip Staircase ghost image has stood the test of time. If it is a hoax, it has yet to be revealed, even with modern technology.

This is not the only report of paranormal phenomenon in the house. Other manifestations include ghostly choirs of chanting children, and the form of an emaciated, frantic spectre mopping blood at the bottom of the staircase.

Pictures of Ghosts -- The Chinnery Ghost Photo

If you look closely, you'll see the ghostly image of a person -- or a phantom -- sitting in the back seat of this town car. But when the photo was taken, there was only one person in the car: the husband of Mrs. Mabel Chinnery, who was visiting her mother's grave on a cold day in 1959. After visiting the grave, Mabel turned and took a quick shot of her husband sitting in the car alone. But after the photo was developed, a chilling face appeared in the back seat -- and it bore an uncanny resemblance to Mrs. Chinnery's dead mother.

This is yet more evidence that spirits are around us, appearing for fleeting seconds, and are occasionally snapped by the faster-than-the-eye speed of a camera shutter.

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    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      4 years ago from Port Elizabeth

      Very interesting hub. I think when not only one person but a few have seen the same ghost, you have to believe. There was a well known ghost in South Africa. They called her the Uniondale Ghost. After the town that she came from. This young girl was killed with her fiancee in a car accident. At the scene of the accident a few people have given a young girl hitchhiking a lift. She gives them her address in Uniondale, but a short distance from the scene she just disappears out of the car, and once from a motorbike.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      OK, to be honest, during the day, I think that ghosts are unreal and incriminatory. But during night when i think of ghost I get freaked out and think that a ghost will come to my house.

    • CrisSp profile image


      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I've never been so engrossed reading a hub but this one is deeply interesting including all the video clips.

      Stories and articles like this always fascinates me.

      Well done.


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