Top Ten Famous Ghost Pictures – Ghosts or Hoax?

Famous Ghost Pictures Analysed

Psychic Medium Craig Hamilton-Parker looks at famous ghost pictures and reveals the ten most spooky ghost pictures of all time. Are they real or fake, phantom or fraud? You decide to vote to confirm or debunk these pictures.

Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker. I have a monthly newspaper in Take a Break’s Fate and Fortune Magazine called ‘Phantoms on Film’. Have you got a snapshot that spooks you out? I have studied thousands of paranormal photos, so send yours to the magazine and I’ll give you my expert verdict. You can send in your picture at the magazine’s website linked from my contact page. Or you can also have your picture analyzed on our ghost picture forums.

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Let’s Analyse some Famous Ghost Pictures

Now it’s your turn to analyze the Top Ten Famous Ghost Pictures of all time. I have given my verdict – what do you have to say? Are these real ghost pictures with a psychic origin or are they just oddities that we can explain away or should simply ignore? Please post your comments at the bottom of this article.

Famous Ghost on the Stairs Photograph

The Ghost on the Stairs – The Classic of Famous Ghost Pictures

In 1966, a retired Canadian Clergyman Ralph Hardy photographed the staircase at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. He saw nothing unusual at the time of taking the picture but was horrified to see the strange ghostly figure lurking in the shadows. This has become one of the world’s most famous ghost pictures.

Although experts at the time concluded that no one had tampered with the negative I have my doubts. The shots are famous real ghost pictures but smack of trickery as it is just as you would expect a ghost to look. During nearly 30 years as a medium, I have never experienced communication from a spirit dressed in spooky hooded clothing. This is the stuff of fantasy.

Famous Ghost in Back Seat - Famous Ghost Pictures

The Back-Seat Driver Ghost

In 1959 Mrs. Mabel Chinnery went to the cemetery to visit her mother’s grave. She took a photo of the grave, then a picture of her husband who was sitting alone in the car waiting for her. Mrs. Cinnery’s mother appeared in the back seat of the car when the picture was developed. An expert who examined the photo and negatives declared: “I stake my reputation on the picture is genuine!”

Craig’s Response: This could be a real spirit communication. I believe it is possible for a spirit to appear on film to give comfort to their loved ones and this could be one of those instances. Or could it be that this is a case of a mother-in-law nagging from beyond the grave?

Famous Ghost Pictures Stairs

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

This photo is taken on September 19th, 1936 at 4 P.M. It was a photo shoot for Country Life Magazine and taken at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England. The ghost was seen on several occasions by credible witnesses.

The photographer reportedly saw her coming down the stairs and began yelling to a colleague, who claims she did not see anything.

Some say that this photo is a double exposure but many other photography experts think otherwise.

I have seen similar effects to this caused by a smudge of Vaseline or fingerprint on the lens. We asked a professor to look at the photos. He claimed they we fake. I am however a bit skeptical of the skeptics used in this debunk. The ‘professor’ was not a ‘professor’ of photography or of ‘hard science’, but of English.

Borley Rectory Ghost Picture Famous Ghost Pictures

The Borley Rectory Ghost

The Borley Rectory is near the river Stour, Essex. It was the most haunted house in the UK until it mysteriously burnt down in 1939. It is one of the places to generate the most famous ghost pictures with people visiting the derelict site today in search of catching a phantom on film. At least two thousand Poltergeist phenomena were experienced at the Rectory between October 1930 and October 1935. This was during the tenancy of Lionel and Marianne Foyster. Many of these were investigated by the famous parapsychologist Harry Price.

Poltergeist activity may not necessarily be caused by spirits. Often it is the energy of living people. This psychic energy is projected into the environment and causes objects to move. There was so much press hysteria about the haunting at the time that is now hard to sort the real phenomena from the fantasy.

Ghost On Ebay Famous Ghost Pictures

The Ghost on eBay

This modern photo was as part of an auction on eBay. There are two strange figures near the grave one appearing to lean over the grave and the other of a woman who is looking at us from beside the tree. Both are in modern dress and very life-like.

It is certainly an intriguing image that has done its rounds on the Internet but without more background information it is hard to know if the image is faked. I would class this picture as a ‘Simulacra’ – is a Latin word originally meaning an object representing something for example when you see faces in the clouds or the face of Jesus in a slice of burnt toast.

Ghost Train Famous Ghost Pictures

The Alberta Ghost Train Spook

This photo was taken in 1960s on the last trip of the famous Alberta Steam Train made before being retired from service. Some of the train drivers believed that the train is haunted and this picture appears to show the culprit. A nearby pub is the Flying Scotsman and is where many ghosts are seen.

The picture was posted to my website by the son of the man pictured. He said: “I will vouch for the fact that there was no trickery involved or photo retouching.”

It has been picked up by other sites and is now considered one of the most famous ghost pictures.

Rainforest Ghost - Famous Ghost Pictures

The Rain Forest Spook

This photograph became part of the archive of famous ghost pictures when millions of people forwarded it to one another on the Internet.

Part of the message read: “ I was with three friends Gaurav, Akshat, and Chetan. We went on summer holidays to Sunderbans (INDIA) a rainforest reserve. We were taking each other’s photographs when Chetan asked us to take his photograph. One of us took his photograph but suddenly after that, he said why did you take this photo when you could see this woman standing next to me. Three days later Chetan died.”

An obvious a fake.

distorted - Famous Ghost Pictures

The Ghost of Lord Combermere

This photograph of the Combermere Abbey library was taken in 1891. The figure of a man can faintly be seen sitting in the chair to the left. His head, collar and right arm on the armrest are clearly discernable. It is the ghost of Lord Combermere – a British cavalry commander in the early 1800s who had investigated the famous “Moving Coffins” of Barbados.

This is probably an accidental double exposure cause when using a slow shutter speed. A servant might have come into the room and sat briefly in the chair, creating the transparent image.

 Famous Ghost Pictures

Sir Victor Goddard and the Ghost Squadron

This photo is a group portrait of Sir Victor Goddard squadron, which had served in World War I aboard the HMS Daedalus. However, an extra face appeared on the photo. The sitters said that this is the face of Freddy Jackson. He was an air mechanic who had been accidentally killed by an airplane propeller. His funeral was taking place on the day.

During WWI it was commonplace to use the new and exciting technique of superimposing images of family members who were killed at the front into family photographs. These images are not supernatural.  They are a ‘token of remembrance’. Maybe the photographer was trying to be helpful? Or maybe the ghost of Freddy dropped in to reassure his friends that he had survived death.

Murder Ghost - Famous Ghost Pictures

Photo Makes Murderer Confess

This is a very early photograph from a glass plate. The picture was taken in Brazil. These early pictures required the sitters to stay still as the image was taken. The photographer was not a Spiritualist or medium. He claimed that he saw, through his camera lens the woman who has transposed herself onto this photograph. Two weeks after being photographed the man confessed to the spirit extra’s murder.

It is much harder to tamper with glass plates than with negatives or digital images. The picture looks like a double exposure. Perhaps the photographer set a trap or could it be that the spirit world found a way to point the finger? Be sure your sins will find you out!

Next Ghost Picture

Now tell me what you think. Are these phantoms or fakes?

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25 comments… add one
  • one Oct 31, 2018, 9:44 pm

    That which might have been a fact back then cannot even be assumed now. who can say now that they know for a fact that no picture had been taken of Freddie? I think that the pic of Victor’s squadron is my favorite. It shows the work of a true artist. Evidenced by how this one still makes one think. As a side-note: Sir Victor Goddard owned the squadron and surely wouldn’t be photographed in the back row if in the photo at all. The men seem miserable because it was WWI. All their friends were being killed.

  • one Oct 31, 2018, 9:13 pm

    I see two apparitions on the stairs. The first isn’t wearing a hood. His head is the highest shadow and his shoulder covers the lower half of the crest-of-arms thingy on the wall. Still, I didn’t know that ghosts used handrails.

  • The Rayman Jun 4, 2016, 8:00 am

    This comment is regarding picture #3 – The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. I have run across this a few times. One of the sites – I’m sorry I don’t know which one – mentioned some notes written by somebody having something to do with Cambridge University who checked out this photo. It was stated that some light had somehow gotten onto the negative and made the image which is seen in the photo. As I recall the person researching this photo had come across these notes many years after they had been written down. In my opinion the only real ghost photo here is #9.

  • MARAB Apr 9, 2015, 5:49 pm

    These pictures are so fake

  • Molly Feb 2, 2015, 10:30 pm

    In picture 9, the zoomed in picture shows a man and then faintly a face behind him. Is the man who died the one who shows up clearly or the face behind him, or both?

  • Brenda Caldwell Oct 24, 2014, 6:49 pm

    Regarding Ghost Picture #1: Has anyone else ever commented that the supposed “apparition” has two left hands? Look at what should be the right hand. Why is the thumb on the wrong side?

  • Vanina Aug 16, 2014, 7:52 pm

    Hi there! Here´s one thought about Pic# 6: for me, it´s not a ghost but a reflex. The window in question has another one mirrored in parallel, so I think that what appears to be the tie is in fact the reflex of a tree (a pine tree or similar located on the road besides the train) and what it seems to be the face is the reflex of the smoke of the machine itself. It´s easy to see if you put your view in the same situation as watching a Gestalt picture.
    Btw, great compilation!

  • Pawan Mar 27, 2014, 6:15 am

    Ghost Picture 3 seems to be more real and Authentic. Skeptics may disagree though.

  • Nessa Parada Jan 9, 2014, 1:53 am

    I read a book once about photographers who would take pictures of the inside of peoples houses for them and during the developing process they would secretly add pictures of dead relatives to make them think their houses were haunted.

  • Perseus Nov 12, 2013, 11:58 am

    Pic #9 is the most insane one I’ve ever come across. In the zoomed picture there appears to be two ghosts.

  • Liegh Anthony Aug 25, 2013, 10:13 am

    I think the most significant picture is of the famous ghost of Freddie Jackson appearing behind Sir Victor Goddard. It yet remains unexplained.In the description it fails to mention that there was no other pictures of Freddie taken during the time of his life. So how can photographer and add a extra image? Also the fact that no pictures existed of Freddie Jackson when he was alive completely dismisses the,’double exposure’ explanation.

    When the picture was taken why is Freddie seen behind Victor Goddard even though there is plenty of Space next to him? Why did other members of the Squadron recognise Freddie? Everyone seems miserable because they have been to Freddy’s funeral!

  • Raymond Jul 18, 2013, 4:03 am

    #1 and 4 of the famous ghost pictures are fakes the others I sense the dead in all of them.

  • Niomi Steer Feb 3, 2013, 12:46 am

    Has it been proved that ghost actually exist. And if so when and where. Can you please send me some photos. Thank you.

    • Craig Hamilton-Parker Feb 3, 2013, 9:16 pm

      There have been a number of famous cases of investigators who have attempted to prove ghosts exist but ghost are not a scientifically proven fact. One needs to also distinguish between ghosts and spirits. It can be argued that there is proof of the existence of the spirit world through the evidence given by mediums as well as cases of Near Death Experiences and so on. Most people who have made a serious study of alleged ‘ghosts’ consider them to be a vibration that has been left at a location by events from the past. This is ‘seen’ by people with clairvoyance.

  • sinkalert Jan 28, 2013, 7:12 am

    1. Why do ghosts in pictures wear clothes? Does fabric travel with us to the beyond?
    2. Why are many ghost pictures taken in a meaningless context (if it were not for the ghost). Who would take a picture of an empty staircase, an empty chair, an empty field, etc. That’s the dead giveaway – if the intentional composition of the shot doesn’t make sense, then neither does the “ghost”.
    3. Brown Lady – ha, someone on Internet well explained this is an popular statuette of a Madonna standing on a globe.
    4. Or maybe the mother-in-law and Freddy are, just, like, still alive? Where’s the provenance of those ghost claims?

    • Kit Taylor Jun 4, 2013, 1:46 am

      Ha – you have it spot on with these famous ghost pictures. Yes, that is a Madonna figurine (there’s a special term for it, it was popular in the late 18th cent early 19th) and she stands on an orb (which is quite visible). The mother-in-law in the back seat of the car at the cemetery? The reflection of the “glasses” can also be two reflections from the top edge of the open window. The other pictures are just crocks. Like you said, who wears their clothes in the afterlife? Who takes a picture of an empty staircase, or the best I saw was someone who took a picture of her empty desk from the floor (and lo, her dead husband appeared in the computer screen!)

  • Jason Jan 26, 2013, 10:17 pm

    My thoughts of the Chinnery ghost are that it’s fake. Doesn’t closer examination reveal the woman’s white shirt/scarf to be overlapping the car doors pillar? That would make no sense unless the pillar itself was transparent, or an image had been overlaid over the top.

    And why would a Ghosts glasses reflect the light?

  • Synclaire Ronceret Nov 5, 2012, 12:18 am

    The ghost squadron and brown lady pix are interesting, but I am very serious about ghost phenomena so I rely only on evidence that I acquire because I know the source and all the painstaking controls we go through to validate our evidence. I noticed you were a medium. I am an empath and I am very much impressed with the special gift of mediumship. I would totally enjoy the chance to chat with you one day. – Synclaire

    • Craig Hamilton-Parker Nov 5, 2012, 5:40 pm

      I often drop into our online chat rooms where I talk about Famous Ghost Pictures and lots of subjects – as well as giving demonstrations of mediumship etc. We get a lot of experts in the rooms so please feel free to drop in to chat about this page (Top Ten Famous Ghost Pictures) or any other topic you find on this site.

  • Rainnelor Jun 30, 2012, 1:22 am

    About picture 6….I do not argue that there was no trickery involved; however, depending on how you focus on the point in question, it can appear to be different things….so….possibly a case of matrixing.

  • Craig Jun 16, 2012, 10:33 am

    Excellent observation about the train ghost picture. I think it even looks to me as if the photographer has one of those huge box cameras and has his hand at the top.

    I write a monthly column for a magazine about real ghost pictures and in most cases there’s an explanation if you look carefully enough.

  • Vene Jun 16, 2012, 12:01 am

    What if image is the photographer’s face or the face of someone standing next to him?The second man on the left on the pic seems to looking at something or someone ,most likely at the person taking the picture and is not looking downwards but as at someone standing on the same level….so the window mirrored this person and the white over the head are the white stones that are on the other side…..just speculating,lol

  • Venelina Johansen Jun 13, 2012, 11:44 pm

    I have a comment on pic 7,The Rainforest Spook….I have seen another pic with the same figure in a cemetery and a matching story claiming that the pic was taken by a British journalist and the ghostly figure was of a murdered Malaysian girl …no doubt that the figures from the 2 pics are identical ….so-fake,indeed : )

    • Craig Hamilton-Parker Jun 14, 2012, 10:52 pm

      It’s much easier to fake black and white ghost photographs. With colour digital photos you can spot a montage because the patterns of the pixels will differ for the two matted photos.

      I was looking again at the ghost photo of the train with the Indian and wondered if the ghostly image is actually the window on the opposite side of the train.

      • April Sanders May 13, 2013, 8:13 pm

        I was wondering about ghost picture image 6 of the train window too. I believe it’s possible that the face is a reflection of two smoke plumes from a train behind the photographer. The human brain picks out a face in the smoke in a similar way we find shapes in clouds.

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