RICK HALE takes a look at some of the most unexplainable English paranormal photographs
The internet, specifically paranormal websites, seem to be a repository for countless photographs of alleged ghosts.
Photographic evidence of what people claim to be supernatural entities are questionable merely because they are so easily faked.
Such tomfoolery, whether intentional or accidental, calls the reputation of psychical research and spirit photography into question.
With that being said, out of all the fakes, phonies and hoaxes there are a large number of ghost photos that are truly unexplained.
These 10 photos in this list are ghost pictures that have caused even the most hardened sceptics to sit up and take notice.
The Phantom Photo Bomber
In 1919, following the horrors of World War I, Sir Victor Goddard’s RAF squadron who served upon the HMS Daedalus, were gathered for a photograph to commemorate their heroic deeds.
What they didn’t expect was their picture being photo bombed by the dead.
The ghostly face of Freddy Jackson, an air mechanic who died in a tragic accident two days prior to the photo can be seen peeking out from behind one of his peers.
It’s been suggested that Freddy knew of the photo and wouldn’t allow a little thing like death to keep him from being immortalised.
The Guildhall’s Ghost
St. Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry, Warwickshire, was build in the 1340s and has been long believed to be haunted by the ghosts of its past.
A number of organised ghost hunts have been held here, and several pieces of convincing evidence have been captured there
However, its most convincing piece of evidence was captured not by a paranormal enthusiast.
In the 1980s, during a meeting of the Coventry Freeman’s, the image of a hooded monk appearing to be in the act of prayer was captured at the meeting.
When asked, no one at the function could account for the strange figure. Leading many to believe a legitimate phantom took part in their meeting.
St. Botolph’s Ghost
Historic St. Botolph’s church in the City of London stands at the junction of Houndsditch and Aldgate High Street.
Apart from a few reported episodes of unexplained activity, Botolph’s is not considered a hotbed of psychic phenomena.
All that changed in the 1980s with one simple image.
In 1982, a local amateur photographer was taking a few snaps of the interior of the church. According to him, he noticed nothing out of the ordinary.
Nevertheless, that changed when he developed the film and discovered the ghostly image of a man looking down at him from a second floor landing.
People who have analysed the photo say that the ghost may be a former clergyman that died in the church centuries earlier.
The Fire Bug Returns
On 19 November 1995, the town hall in the village of Wem in Shropshire was completely destroyed by a mysterious fire.
Local photographer, Tony O’Rahilly, was there to document the blazing inferno with his trusty camera.
While developing the film of the burning structure he made a shocking discovery.
Staring back at him from a burning doorway was the image of a little girl.
When he presented the photo for all to see, several people remarked that it was the ghost of Jane Churn.
A little girl who in 1677 was held responsible for a series of fires that were set around the town.
While others claimed the photo was faked as the little girl in the photo resembled a girl in a post card.
O’Rahilly maintains that no trickery was involved and his picture is authentic.
His Lordship Makes An Appearance
In December 1891, Wellington Stapleton-Cotton, 2nd Viscount Combermere (Lord Combermere) was killed when he was struck by a horse drawn carriage.
While his funeral was taking place miles away, his sister in law, Sybell Corbet, was taking a picture of Combermere Abbey’s library when she received the shock of her life.
Sitting in a chair in the left hand side of the photo is the unmistakable image of a semi-transparent Lord Combermere.
Despite all the tests the photograph has been subjected to, this mysterious photo has never been proven a fraud.
The Tulip Staircase
In 1966, Ralph Hardy, a retired clergyman from Canada was on vacation with his wife in England.
While there, the couple visited the Queen’s House section of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.
When he unexpectedly captured the image of a ghostly monk ascending the elegant Tulip Staircase.
This world famous ghost photo has withstood years of careful scrutiny by numerous researchers.
Upon closer inspection some believe that the image actually shows two separate monks due to the length of the one monk’s arms.
Although Reverend Hardy and his wife have no interest in the paranormal, they maintain the picture is authentic.
Hampton Court Palace Spook
For centuries, London’s Hampton Court Palace has known war, heartbreak and death over its long history.
So it should come as no surprise that it is considered by many to be one of the most haunted buildings in England.
Unfortunately, with its reputation for being haunted photographic evidence of its ghosts is seriously lacking.
Except for a series of images caught on the palace’s security CCTV system.
For a period of three nights a fire door was inexplicably opening and closing on its own.
When the security personnel reviewed the CCTV footage they made an unnerving discovery.
They watched as the door suddenly opened and was then closed by an individual dressed in Elizabethan era clothing with what looked like a skull for a head.
When they raced to the area to investigate security staff found no one. No one living anyways.
Some believe the video is legitimate proof of a ghosts while others believe it was a hoax.
Hooded Nightmare of Newby Church
The atmospheric Newby Church, or Church Of Christ The Consoler, in North Yorkshire, is a relatively new church having been built in 1870.
The church received widespread attention in 1963, when Reverend Kenneth Lord, captured the nightmarish image of a hooded monk with its face shrouded standing next to the altar.
What made the picture so unique was, the church never had a reputation for being haunted.
And whomever this spirit is stands over nine feet tall.
Some researchers believe this phantom may be associated with the ground the church stands on.
And the shroud he wears over his face may be covering a face afflicted with leprosy.
While others have declared this photo to be nothing more than a hoax. Either way this hotly debated photo remains a mystery.
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall is the picture that is arguably England’s most famous ghost, the Brown Lady Of Raynham Hall.
On 19 September 1936, Captain Hubert Provand, a London based photographer for Country Life travelled to Norfolk to shoot Raynham Hall for the magazine.
While he and his assistant, Indre Shira, were photographing the main staircase, the two men were stunned when the misty form of a woman in a brown dress began to manifest on the stairs.
At Shira’s direction, Provand was able to take one picture of the mysterious figure before it vanished.
Shortly after the publication of the photo, Harry Price the legendary ghost hunter interviewed the two men and was impressed with not only the picture but the sincerity of the two men.
He believed the figure in the picture was a legitimate apparition. But who was it?
Researchers believe the famous ghost was Lady Dorothy Walpole, sister of Robert Walpole, England’s first Prime Minister.
Dorothy is believed to have died under mysterious circumstances while living at Raynham Hall, and has been seen stalking the house numerous times before and after this picture shook the world.
Photography and ghost hunting are two pursuits that just seem to go together.
While I am not so naive to believe every alleged photo purportedly showing a ghost on the internet.
I also can’t throw the baby out with the bath water and dismiss all of them as fake. Especially these classic examples of spirit photography.