Three things.

1) As you may have heard, the genius that was Martin Gardner passed away a couple of days ago.  I never met Martin, but he was a huge inspiration (e.g., my Prediction video is based on his work).  His last interview is great and available here (and thanks to @alexbellos  for bringing it to my attention).

2) Jon Ronson and my good self were guests on Radio 4’s Museum of Curosity recently.  I suggested that Milgram’s shock machine should go into the museum, and you can hear the show here.

3) @alexisconran sent me the great ghost photo below.  Any ideas about what might be happening?


  1. This has to be the 5th or so old-school black and white photo I’ve seen where some nature in the background has formed features that to our eyes tends to look like a face. In this case (for those who haven’t spotted it yet), it’s in the arm of the sailor to the right, almost as though he has the ghost in a headlock.

    Not an uncommon visual illusion, I’m starting to think.

  2. I see the face of a child, yes, but on thought it could easily be a pattern in the foliage behind the sailor. Where’s the “ghost”?

  3. It took a little while before I even saw it. It’s clearly just part of the tree. But even if there were no tree behind them, I don’t see why a ghost would be a better explanation than someone simply hiding behind the sailor.

  4. To me it looks like a child is standing on the concrete ledge behind the sailor, and looking out through his arm.

  5. @cto485, it looks like that to me, too. There seems to be some clothing sticking out along the edge of the sailor’s left leg and in the space between his legs (which looks a bit like grass but doesn’t seem to quite match).

    1. Yeah, pareidolia is a possibility, but I see no reason there can’t just be a kid standing behind them peeking out. His body is just well hidden.

  6. According to the Bible of the Catholic Faith,Catholic theology has nothing to say against the possibility of a ghost,,in the sense of an apparition of one dead.It is within the providence of GOD to permit departed souls to appear on earth to fulfill some good purpose,e.g.,to give help or warning, or to obtain prayers.The Church also fully recognizes the possibility of apparitions or illusions caused by diabolical agency.
    Apparitions-appearances or manifestations of a remarkable nature shown to man by GOD.Many such are recorded to the Scriptures.Angels appeared to Abraham(Gen.8:2-22)Also mentioned are the apparitions of many dead persons after the crucifixion(Matt27:52-53)The apparition of Mary to the three peasant children at Fatima Portugal, in 1917.

  7. People fear or discard the unknown, but there is an after life, and some want to be noticed and others walk in darker realms..dimensions I would venture to say ghosts don’t bother me in the least, I just don’t open doors I can not shut.
    Still, thanks for this chance to check this out. This leaves me wanting to see more.

  8. Richard, You do yourself a disservice declaring these pictures as “Ghost Pictures.” You’re priming the audience for what to interpret them as.

    1. Ahh, so true brian. But you do yourself a disservice in not reading, or not taking Mr. Wiseman’s advice in being a happier, more optimistic person. So let me help you; your critique is weak.

  9. Read all the posts so far and as Richard didn’t say what part of the photo shows a reported ghost….it was up to us to find for our self. With that said I see THREE things that could be the ghost in question. 1} The kid hiding behind the younger man. Can see what clearly looks like a face…see part in his hair…some white in the left eye…and upper lip…and a full length lighter pant leg. Kid… no ghost. 2} The whitish see through draped like figure in the upper right near tree…..smudge on camera lens? Ghost…..hmm maybe….maybe not. 3} Man in the window on top floor towards the left….so far no one has said anything about it and really that is what I saw first! Looks like a man in a military hat….like an officer….ghost….maybe or maybe not. Who knows I wasn’t there to know if 1 or 3 maybe real people and 2 maybe the “ghost”……and I enlarged the photo to 150% and then use my jewelers loop to look at the photo to come to my impressions….but not a great quality photo for this type of exam.

      I thought he talking just bout the 2 guys and im like…yeah…..well done richard……… you found a ghost……

  10. The face in the gap between the sailors arm and body seems better defined than most pareidolia I’ve seen before. Why should we discount a boy hiding behind them and mischieviously peeking out from behind the sailor to get into the picture?

  11. Just looks like a child looking out from behind him to me… Or *possibly* double exposure – hard to see whether the ‘shapes’ in top and lower right and around upper right window are due to damage to the photo or are remnants of a previous image.

  12. The face under the arm is clearly a boy stood behind the sailor – you can see part of his clothing sticking out alongside the sailors leg as well.

    The shape in the window doesn’t look like anything to me – I’d suggest it’s due to an uneven reflection in the glass (which tended not to be perfectly flat in olden times).

    The shape in the tree is due to the gloss coat cracking and flaking off the print (I’m sure this is a scan of a print rather than a negative) which is quite common with very old prints that used a shellac coating.

  13. The pattern between the sailor’s legs is a concrete/stone post much like the one on the left. The discolouration in the top right is possibly from something like sellotape from being stuck in a photo album or just aged photo paper. The face in the crook of the sailors arm looks too much like an actual face to be pareidolia so I guess its some kid hiding behind them or there’s been some photo manipulation.

    1. Good eye on the posts. I didn’t even notice the one on the left at first, but (if that’s what that is), another one behind the sailor would do a lot to hide the little boy.

    2. Great find with the stone post! The kid is actually behind the stone post, which is why we can’t see his body. And, without the colors, it was difficult to distinguish if what we saw between the sailors legs was green grass or greyish stone post. That was actually a great illusion!

  14. Is there a ghost? The kid looking thru the arm is just behind the sailor ..his clothes show behind the sailor’s leg. Hand on oder guys shoulder doesn’t match the sailors thin hand on his hip, much stronger looking and bigger.

  15. To me it looks like a kid standing behind the sailor’s leg, perhaps sideways to make himself smaller. There seems to be clothing showing along the sailor’s left leg all the way down to the curb. I think there might be another one back there, behind the other leg.

  16. It’s without doubt a kid standing behind the sailor, u can even see part of his body and a bit of his groovy flared pants by the sailors leg! No ghost!

  17. I was looking at the picture for a minute or two and saw nothing, then I saw the “face” under the sailor’s arm and it startled the proverbial bejeezus out of me. I’m pretty sure it’s just variations in the foliage though. You can see another, half-covered “face” sticking out of his elbow if you try. The framing of the arm makes this one jump out a bit more.

    I’m not sure about this clothing along the sailor’s left leg that other people are mentioning. If this were an actual kid, he seems unrealistically tiny given the size and apparent age of his face. Seems more likely to me that the pants have some kind of stripe down the side, or the sailor is holding something in his hand, or that this is another illusion of the light.

  18. Same, i couldnt find anything untill i read the comments below hte picture and that too i found out when i reached 3 r or fourth comment. It is just a coincident to see such thing above and below the sailor’s arm. For me, it is just like when the weather starts turning to be cloudy from sunny, the gathering clouds make such designs which are sometimes like someone’s face or can be anything. Then, the clouds settle and the figures disappeare. NO GHOST! 🙂

  19. duh! you can see his pants between the sailor’s legs, they look kind of wrinkled that’s why you can mistake them with the grass.

  20. Photobomb!

    …or shopped, but I like to lean towards the organic answer to any question.

    Sh!t happens. With the millions of photos being taken around the world its inevitable that one or two would turn up with a creepy convergence of elements.

    Kid photobombs sailor. 99.99% of the time the head would be in the wrong place and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. This time it was, by pure chance, perfectly placed and here we are.

  21. Yeah we could be talking about the kid kid in a head lock, the alien head above the porch, the body-less goblin bighting the older guys bum, Zippy from rainbow in the window…. I think I saw the 2012 Olympic logo in the tree too..the scariest of the lot!

    1. Yeah yeah… That should be biting!! and no reason to say kid twice… I’m still shaking from that logo

  22. A kid standing behind the sailors, peeking under the arm of one of them, is what it looks like to me. Doesn’t seem very ghostlike.

  23. Why does the child’s face overlap part of the sailors black shirt? It almost looks like someone cut out a face and glued it on.

  24. The sailor’s face and the “face” appearing under the arm are similar and the facial features resemble each other but the face under the arm is smaller and rotated clockwise. There is not enough information available to form any reliable conclusion without knowing the camera which took the photo, whether it was tripod mounted, how easily it could take double exposures, and whether some feature about it could give rise to internal reflections. It cannot be a ghost unless we assume ghosts exist ( no convincing evidence), that some property about them means that they reflect sunlight and are anxious to pose for photographers.

  25. It’s clearly shopped. Zoom in, Look along the left side of the face at the transition from face to the darkness of the man’s jacket. That’s not even a good shop job.

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