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Top 25 of the most famous ghost photographs ever taken

8 min read

To start with, this article has nothing to do with whether or not ghosts exist. I don’t have an official stance on such matters. Whether or not these ghost images are real or not is up for the reader to decide.
Since ancient times, various legends and folk tales have told about the presence of otherworldly figures in the real world. With the spread of photography, some of these testimonies have resulted in disturbing images of ghosts (more or less real). Skeptics consider these photographs to be the work of jokers and professionals in search of fame. Some of these images leave ample room for the free interpretation, such as the “devil” seen in the flames of the September 11th tween towers. Others are more explicit, with faces, figures and characters materialized, it seems, only after the development of the photo.
The advent of digital cameras (including post-production, photoshop and similars) seems to have calmed the proliferation of images with ghosts, but the study of the previous ones and the interpretation of the new images has never stopped.

1) Lord Combermere – 1891

This photo taken of the library at Combermere Abbey in Cheshire, England by Sybell Corbett clearly shows a figure sitting in the chair on the left. It’s believed to be the ghost of Lord Combermere, a British cavalry commander in the 1800s.

2) Goddard’s Squadron – Freddy Jackson – 1919

This image was taken by Sir Victor Goddard, and shows his squadron of the Royal Air Force getting together in 1919. The ghostly image behind the fourth sailor from the left, at the top, is believed to be of Freddy Jackson, a mechanic died a few days before the photo was taken by walking into a moving propeller.

3) The SS Watertown – 1924

The SS Watertown was an oil tanker making its way to the Panama Canal from New York City. This image taken from the ship shows the faces of two crewmen, James Courtney and Michael Meehan in the water. The two men died from gas inhalation while cleaning out the cargo hold. As per tradition, they were buried at sea. Other crew members on the ship saw the faces in the water but didn’t initially take photos, they went back to a similar spot and saw them again. Five of the six photos showed nothing, but this was the sixth and clearly shows the faces of two men. Ever since then, people have claimed to see their faces in the waves around the ship.

4) The Brown Lady – 1936

Taken in 1936 at Raynman Hall, England, this is one of the first paranormal photos ever taken. It seems that the ghost to be that of Lady Dorothy Walpole, who was locked in a room in the hall by her husband when he found out about her infidelity and left there to die. It is considered by many to be actual photographic evidence of ghosts. There had allegedly been many sightings of the figure before this photo.

5) Mrs Andrews baby – 1947

This photo of a child appearing over a grave was taken by Mrs Andrews in 1947, while she was visiting the grave of her child in Queensland, Australia. She noticed the ghost when she had the film developed, but said it wasn’t her daughter in the picture. Despite there being some graves for children nearby, the child in the picture has never been identified.

6) Cooper family ghost – 1950s

This image, taken in the 1950s shows a family sitting at a table. Two boys sit happily on their mother’s laps but a pretty terrifying and unexpected guest has also dropped in. Hanging disturbingly from the rafters. This is the infamous “hanging ghost” photograph taken by the Cooper family when they moved into a new house in Texas.

7) Corroboree Rock – 1959

Nobody knows who the ghost in this photo is, but it was taken in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia in 1959. Some people think it’s just a case of a double exposure, while others think it could be a spirit watching us, because it looks like she’s holding binoculars.

8) The ghost in the backseat – 1959

This photo was taken by Mabel Chinnery in March 1959. When she and her husband went to visit his mother’s grave, the woman turned around and snapped this picture of her husband waiting in the car. After developing the image, she was surprised to see a figure in the backseat wearing glasses. Until the day she died, she swore it was her dead mother-in-law. If paranormalists believe it to be real, others have debunked it as being another case of double exposure.

9) The Tulip Staircase – 1966

This photo taken inside the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, clearly shows a ghostly figure holding the handrail of the Tulip Staircase. This staircase has had its fair share of ghost sightings. This one was supposedly taken by a Canadian couple in 1966. Photo experts have all agreed that it hasn’t been tampered with, so is considered a genuine example of ghosts’ existence.

10) Robert A. Ferguson – November 1968

Because this photo was taken on a Polaroid, it’s been deemed by many to be legitimate. It shows Robert A. Ferguson giving a speech, with the ghost of his deceased brother Walter peering over him.

11) Worstead Church – 1975

When Peter Berthelot visited Worstead Church in Norfolk, England, he took this photo of his wife Diane praying. Seated behind her, however, was something else! When they had the film developed, they noticed a ghost sitting on the pew behind Diane. A man allegedly stayed in the church all night sometime in 1830 to try and disprove the theory of ghosts, but he claimed the following morning he had in fact seen the white lady seen in this picture. According to the legend, the Lady in White will pray with people in the church.

12) The Ghost of Amityville – 1976

This photo, taken by Ed and Lorraine Warren, claims to show the ghost of nine-year-old John DeFeo. DeFeo, along with his other brother, two sisters and parents, were killed by his older brother Ronald at their house in Amityville. The DeFeo murders were the inspiration for The Amityville Horror books and films. If you’ve ever seen the movie, then you know how Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family. The house in which they were killed is still around, and one of the later owners snapped this photo while they were alone in the house.

13) Johnny and Toys ‘R’ Us – 1978

The Toys ‘R’ Us store in Sunnyvale, California is probably haunted by the ghost of Johnny Johnson, and in fact this photo shows somebody leaning up against the shelves. The same figure wasn’t there when the photo was taken. The story goes that Johnny had an infatuation for a girl named Elizabeth, the daughter of a plantation owner, a plantation used to be on the Toys ‘R’ Us site. Johnny bled to death after cutting himself chopping wood, and now roams the aisles of the store searching for her.

14) The ghost pilot – 1987

In 1987, Mrs Sayer was visiting air airfield in England with her friend, and she thought it would fun to take a photo of her sitting in the cockpit. When the image was developed, there was a man sitting in the pilot’s seat who hadn’t been there when the photo was taken. A long died pilot? A mystery.

15) Car Crash – 1988

The spectral figure in this photo is believed to be an angel, overlooking Rose Benvenuto, who was involved in this car crash. She said it could only have taken a miracle for her to survive the crash, and lo and behold, there’s an angel-like figure in attending firefighter Sharon Boo’s photo.

16) Ghost of Bachelor’s Grove – 1991

The Ghost Research Society of America took this photo at Bachelor’s Cemetery in Illinois, after it noticed strange phenomenas on its equipment. Researchers didn’t see anything at the time, but when this image was developed, it showed a woman in white clothing sitting on one of the graves.

17) Boot Hill Ghost – 1996

This photo taken in Arizona’s legendary Boothill Graveyard shows a man hidden in the background. Only Ike Canton’s friend was seen when this photo was taken. Canton later looked more closely at the photo and decided the figure was, in fact, holding a knife, with the point ending just above his collar.

18) Grandpa’s Ghost – 1997

Denise Russell took this photo of her grandma, who lived alone at the time, on 17 August 1997. Even though the photo had been developed, copied and given to other relatives, nobody noticed the male figure standing over her until Christmas Day 2000. The Russell family say it’s a clear image of their grandpa who died in 1984.

19) The arm grab – 2000s

The two girls in this photo, taken in Manila, Philippines, didn’t report seeing anyone or feeling any presence when this photo was taken. It was also taken on a digital camera, so it can’t have been the result of double exposure. This is another ghost picture that has been making the rounds on the web.

20) Waverly Hills Sanatorium – 2006

This image was snapped in an abandoned tuberculosis hospital in Louisville, Kentucky in 2006. This insane asylum is supposedly a hotspot for the paranormal, and as you can imagine, in its heyday, the hospital saw an incredible amount of sickness and death. In recent years, it has become one of America’s most popular destinations for ghost-hunters. This disturbing photo is supposedly that of Mary Lee, one of the nurses who had worked there, and who hung herself in the hospital. The story goes that the woman was impregnated by a doctor who worked in the hospital but later wanted nothing to do with her.

21) Slave’s face in the window

Found into the window of Pickens County Courthouse in Alabama, the imprinted image is said to be the face of Henry Wells, a slave who was running from a lynch mob when he took refuge in the courthouse. Although he was killed, according to the legend his ghost still haunts the building.

22) The Fallen Soldier

Taken during the American Civil War in the basement of a house under reconstruction, this image supposedly shows the ghost of a fallen Confederate soldier.

23) The Demon in a Hospital

This photo was taken by a nurse at an unknown hospital. It shows what looks like a demon hovering above a patient. It seems the patient died shortly thereafter.

24)The died mother

This photo taken by the little girl’s father has made the rounds on the internet. Many have speculated that the ghostly figure is the child’s died mother playing with her.

25) Ghost Bridge

Found in Oak Grove, Kentucky, according to a legend a soldier through his wife into the river and she drowned. This image allegedly shows her ghost on the bridge.

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