Where do we go after we die? Religion would have us believe there is an other worldly realm where our souls exist for all eternity. And the deeds we do in life determine which one we end up in. Go good things and you’ll be rewarded with a place in heaven. But if you don’t it’s the fiery pits of hell for you!
But what if our souls go nowhere? What if there is no heaven and no hell, only the plane which we exist upon right now? What if when we die we simply stick around, our essence becoming part of the white noise in the background? What if there was a way to capture the lingering periphery of our former lives? Images of ghostly presences date back as far as cameras do.
The first images of spirits were captured by a photographer called William Hope. Which was ironic, since he had none. He was a complete fraud who was able to trick the public into believing the souls of the dearly departed had been captured on film by double exposing the silver plates used to capture images. There was no photo shop back then, so nobody really questioned his methods until…well..somebody questioned his methods.
As camera quality evolved over the years, so did the volume of spooky images. Whether you believe in spirits and the ability to capture them on film or not, there’s no denying some photos out there can’t be debunked. And even if they aren’t what they appear to be, they have invoked the imagination of those in search of answers. And sometimes the stories behind the images are stranger than the images themselves.
1. Peeking car ghost
This photo was taken by a girl simply known as “Emily” on the social media platform “snapchat”. Her boyfriend was sat in the back of the car to her left, but certainly nowhere near the ghostly face that appears in the car window.
2. Pearl Harbour water
The De Vanny family visited the Arizona Memorial on Monday, and as usual, Susan took lots of photos. “I was flicking through the photos and seeing how many do I really need, and take some of the bad ones out and then I came across this particular photo,” said Susan De Vanny. The particular photo of the water over the wreckage, with oil shimmering, shows an image that looks like a face. Susan wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. “I showed my husband and I didn’t say anything, I said just have a look at the photo and he said oh my gosh it’s a face, and then the kids saw it and they go oh wow.” 1,177 sailors died aboard the USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. Most of the bodies were never recovered. The De Vanny family learned all this when they visited the memorial. And after getting over the shock, Susan says perhaps the image is a message from beyond. “It just looked really sad, really sad and young. The face, to me, looked young, which I don’t know if it represents the men at that time who perished.” The De Vanny family will spend a few more days in the islands and take a lot more pictures. But probably nothing quite as memorable as this one. “Definitely, it will certainly bring me back to Hawaii every time I look at it.”
3. Giant window girl
This picture was taken by a woman named Katherine who was exploring an abandoned prison. She said of the picture, “I took this picture at Old Newgate Prison in Connecticut. I noticed nothing abnormal when I took the picture, but when I got it onto my computer I saw the girl in the third window on the second floor. This is the original guard building from the prison, and as far as I am aware no one is allowed on the top floor. My Uncle who was with me that day also sees someone behind the girl and a face in the lower left corner of the second window. It wasn’t busy that day, and the girl doesn’t fit with anyone my uncle or myself saw. Nor why she would have been leaning out the window on a hot day, when she was in an air-conditioned building.
4. The Willard Library
In Evansville, Indiana there exists a Library called The Willard Library. For years now they have had their “ghost cams” wired up ready to capture all the unexplained phenomena going on in the building. It was founded by Willard Carpenter in 1870. However, he died of old age before seeing the building work completed. Over 100 years after it first opened its doors, in 1999, Willard switched on its first Ghost cams and over 2 million viewers logged on to see what was captured. Needless to say, there has been a lot to see.
5. Oddly dressed bridge figure
This photo was taken by a man called Richard Wiseman who was a tourist in Germany. He said of the photo, “My wife and I visited Monet’s garden at Giverny in 2002 and as true tourists took photographs of each other on the bridge over the lily pond. After waiting for the bridge to be more or less clear of other people I took 2 photos of my wife, one with a conventional film camera & the other with a digital camera ( these within moments of each other). On processing the pictures we were amazed to see a figure of a woman, apparently standing next to my wife, on the digital photo. We are both convinced that there had been nobody by my wife, and indeed I had waited for the bridge to be clear (and my wife would have been irate if someone had joined her having awaited her “turn” on the bridge!). I am a skeptical 64-year-old but cannot think of a non paranormal explanation!”
6. Freddy Jackson
Some people, whether alive or dead, hate to miss a photo-op. Freddie Jackson, a mechanic in the Royal Air Force during World War I, was killed by an airplane propeller around 1919. On the day of Jackson’s funeral, a group photo was taken of his squadron, which had served aboard the HMS Daedalus. Jackson, so the story goes, did not want to be left out of the photo, even after death, and his face can be glimpsed behind the fourth airman from the left in the back row. The photo was not made public until 1975, when it was revealed by retired RAF officer Victor Goddard, who had been in Jackson’s squadron. Many of the details of this much-repeated story, however, have been called into question, along with the photo’s legitimacy.
7. Playmate in the TV
Known only as “Tim S”, Tim gathered this from his archives: My parents took this picture of my brother and I while playing in front of the TV. My parents were bewildered when the photos came back from the developers. Although our house was haunted, nothing ever appeared before in the TV. My family had the picture handy for years, so they could show it to family and friends. That’s probably why it’s so dirty and coffee stained. The red on the right of the picture is just because it was the last picture on the roll and was probably a bit exposed when exiting the camera.
8. Mrs Andrews Baby
This photo of a child appearing over a grave was taken in 1947. There was initially nothing there, but when the film was developed, this image of a baby appeared. Except, this isn’t Mrs. Andrews’ daughter. She showed the image to the parents of the child graves nearby, and no one was able to recognize the child. The ghost child seems to be aware of Mrs. Andrews since he or she is looking directly into the camera. Is is possibly a double exposure? Mrs. Andrews said there were no such children nearby when she took the photograph and, moreover, did not recognize the child at all – it was no one she would have taken a picture of. She remarked that she did not believe it was the ghost of her daughter as a child.
Investigating this case, Australian paranormal researcher Tony Healy visited the cemetery in the late 1990s. Near Joyce’s grave he found the graves of two infant girls.
9. The Amityville boy
This photo, taken by famous ghost-hunting duo Ed and Lorraine Warren, shows the ghost of 9-year-old John DeFeo. If you recall, the DeFeo’s were the family that lived in the famous Amityville house and were murdered by their son Ronald. This photo was taken over a year after the original murders, while the Lutz family was living there. The Warren’s were using an infrared camera that was taking pictures all night, and caught young John peeking.
10. Car crash ghost
Not much is known about this image, other than it was taken from a newspaper clipping and posted on the mid 00’s website GhostStudy. The head-on collision killed a mother of 3 boys and it happened around the late 90s. You can clearly see a face within the mangled wreckage.
11. The Toys R Us ghost
There’s a Toys ‘R’ Us store in Sunnyvale, California that is allegedly haunted by a ghost named Johnny Johnson. When this particular photo was taken, there was no figure leaning against the shelves. According to the story, Johnny worked on a plantation that once inhabited the land the store was on. He was in love with the owner, and bled to death after injuring himself cutting wood.
His antics as a spirit were as you’d expect. Employees of the store complained about hearing their names called by a disembodied voice, or feeling touched by an invisible hand. Objects launched off shelves. Unexplained footsteps echoed through the aisles. Even in the bathroom, doors seemed to open and close on their own, and the water would turn on and off by itself. One incident, recreated in that episode of Real Ghosts, involved a mysterious voice whispering through the store’s PA system: “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away…”They would also witness the occasional manifestation, the ghostly figure of a man in his 20s, dressed in old-fashioned clothing. Sometimes he’d be clear, other times he would appear as a shadow person.