Can you solve the ghost mystery?


A few days ago I received an email saying….

“I promote a weekly event at xx and have done for the last 9 years now. But I have and many other people have experienced many strange happenings ….(cut)… last week I took a photo of my friend and when I looked at the back of her I caught something unexpected….I need your expert skill I’m really not sure if this is an effect that has been coursed by over exposure from the flash on my phone or if this woman in the back has decided to show me her new born baby to say that I’m not crazy lol.”

Any ideas?


90 comments on “Can you solve the ghost mystery?

  1. Vinicio says:

    Come on!

  2. Vinicio says:

    Everyone with some knowledge on Photoshop or any other software can make and improve that…

  3. Matt Brown says:

    The person says they took the photo on their phone. I’ve seen a ‘ghost’ app for the iphone whereby ghostly images are imprinted on photos. Could this be that.?

  4. anaglyph says:

    What Matt says. I have that app – it doesn’t have that particular ghost but there are probably lots of those now.

  5. rotchell73 says:

    the framing of the photo is suspect,plus very over exposed for an inside shot,not impressed,surprised the metro paper didn’t offer a full page spread.(seems like a slow exposure hench the slight blur to the main subject)

  6. bob says:

    Is it a coincidence that all ‘ghost’ photos are of very bad quality (overexposed, blurry, etc)?

  7. Chris says:

    Oh. Em. Gee. It’s a photograph of a real ghost. That’s Pulitzer winning stuff there, that is. Weren’t you scared? Oooh, gives me the chills just looking at it.

  8. Chrissie says:

    There also appears to be an upside down baby-in-walker ghost hanging above the ghost mother’s head! Incredibly acrobatic these spirits!

  9. wyesite says:

    Can I be the first to say “Nice rack!”?

  10. M says:

    Why do you keep on trying this?

  11. Holden says:

    As somebody else said earlier, a very strange way to frame a picture, the subject to the right looking right, with a great big ‘ghost sized’ gap on the left. Also, if I thought I’d snapped a ghost, Richard wouldn’t be where I’d bring the ‘evidence’.

  12. Chris says:

    I’ve two words for all you sceptics and naysayers………..… “Derek” and “Acorah”. He’s like, the scouse Steven Hawking. For ghosts.

  13. Mike says:

    Light reflecting off the TV screen

  14. Mad Kev says:

    Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re our only hope.

  15. Paul Durrant says:

    Where’s the full-size, original quality image?

    Oh – and big ghost! What, six-and-half to seven feet tall? Unless people regularly bash their heads on that weird structure hanging from the ceiling in front of the chairs and bar.

  16. Edgar says:

    That’s one gigantic ghost! 😀

  17. Pepijn says:

    So do you post *every* mysterious “ghost” picture that people send you? I should make one myself! I’ll use The Gimp, it will be the first open source ghost photo…

  18. Berber Anna says:

    The ‘newborn baby’ is the bar chair in the background that’s visible through the vaguely woman-shaped white smear. The smear itself could be a reflection, a smear on the lens, some dust lighting up in the flash or a double exposure. I’m no photography expert, but I don’t think it’s a ghost.

  19. David Mathew says:

    Somewhere a ghost is blogging: ‘I took a photo of my missus and our new baby… and bugger me, when it came out there was this attractive human woman with dark hair in the foreground of the shot…’

  20. Peter McKay says:

    The boy in the front looks more like a ghost.

    • mittfh says:

      *Boy* in front? I’m not sure many boys with gynecomastia would show off their growths, or wear their hair in a pixie cut…

      Meanwhile, given how easy it is to fake ghost photos nowadays (even without the smartphone application), perhaps the main reason for Richard posting these teasers is to generate comment and discussion (which they always do) rather than a serious attempt to crowdsource potential methods in which the effect was created.

    • It's me says:

      Well that ‘boy’ has a pretty nice … ahem … chest

  21. Olie Hanson says:

    Check out the ghost on the second row, third from the left. Look familiar? The ghost has been mirrored and rotated everso slightly (4 degrees ish) so it looks a little off.


    • Olie Hanson says:

      It’s a little rough but here’s my comparison:

    • Lazy T says:

      Well spotted! I had thought it was queen elizabeth.

    • Pepijn says:

      Busted indeed. It also occurs to me that it’s actually impossible to tell that she’s holding a baby in the photo, and yet the emailer talks about “this woman in the back has decided to show me her new born baby”. Seems to me he could only know that from looking at those ghost brushes, where it’s quite clear.

      I’m going to make one of these too, see if I can get Richard to post it!

    • Berber Anna says:

      Oh yeah, that one does have a baby. I thought she meant the black bar chair that creates a black blur around the ‘ghost”s midsection. Well, it’s kind of a bad forgery if you can’t even tell what it’s supposed to be…

    • Gus Snarp says:

      Nice find! I thought it looked like a clip art ghost. It’s getting absurd, given how easy these are to fake, they should just be ignored. It’s just not fun anymore. “Can you explain this ghost photo?” “Yes, and I don’t even have to look at it. It’s either a complete fake, double exposure, lens flare, something in front of the lens, something on the negative, or something that was really there and not remotely ghostly.”

  22. Kris says:

    I can’t view the other comments to see if anyone’s already said this, but it looks like a long exposure with a flash. See how the girl’s shoulder is also ghosted. If the woman with the baby moved through the picture and was caught by the flash, this is the effect I would expect as she’s so far back the flash would have caught her only faintly as she moved through this point, whilst the scene behind her is exposed normally by the rest of the long exposure.

  23. Pepijn says:

    Richard, I don’t get why you keep posting these. The only way I can see they could possibly be interesting to someone is if they thought it might actually really be a ghost.

    So, do you believe in ghosts?

    • Olie Hanson says:

      It’s an exercise in critical thinking.

    • Pepijn says:

      Only if you think there’s a possibility that it actually is a ghost. If you discount that possibility then it’s just a guessing game with no answer, i.e. a really boring one…

    • annoymous says:

      Of course not, he’s made it clear on several occasions, he doesn’t believe in the paranormal. He believes people imagine these things or there’s a perfect explanation other than the paranormal for these experiences.

  24. Mrs. Schaarschmidt says:

    I believe the solution lies in the text…”I promote a weekly event at x”. She was hoping to have her venue plugged. The fake ghost picture is incidental – just a way to get the name of the venue published. Didn’t work though. 😀

  25. Mot says:

    Obviously a fake, a manufactured hoax, or a trick of the light. If it was genuine, a skeptic wouldn’t have the balls to post it on a site predominated by other skeptics.

  26. Danny says:

    It’s Peter MacNicol from Ghostbusters II!

  27. James Adams says:

    Which one is the ghost?

  28. Magic Nuts says:

    Why do people feel the need to create fake ghost photos and make out like they might be real? So sad.

  29. David L Good says:

    Must be a slow day. I really don’t know why you post these images — they’re obvious fakes each and every time. No mystery. No puzzle. Nothing to really figure out at all. You should consider not posting these any more.

  30. T says:

    Noone takes a photo of their friend like that with their friend at ONE CORNER of the photo. And two why is the so called ghost (which looks more like a chic) in a party dress posing for the guy’s photo?

  31. Robby says:

    Hey guys well I have to say thank you to Richard for putting this up for me as I have been trying to get an answer and wow what mix reviews.

    I’m shock by the response that this photo has had. I’m the guy that took the photo just wanted to answer some of the facts about it. I honestly think its exposure from the flash and something caused a reflection from the TV in the back ground what interests me and a lot of you have said it’s an Iphone app funny enough the phone I took the photo on is a Samsung phone M8800. What gets me is how is it so bright from just taking it from my phone the exposure is so bright maybe it’s because of a club light reflecting on my friend and my flash going off on my phone at the same time causing this effect I really don’t know.

    Some one also said about bashing their heads haha this is true where this figure is standing is almost under the right box of the theatre. That’s right the building is a theatre but is now transformed in to a nightclub of course being a grade 2 listed building none of it can be touched so still has all its amazing features and to stand where that object is standing would make you look tall I will have to take another photo to show you all.

    The balcony still has some of the original theatre seating but a lot of the old seating has now been removed. The ghost images link that have been put up that’s amazing because they 97% almost match I have even tried but I did not use any fake ghost pic’s this is a genuine photo so we could be back to bright exposure this make me sound a looney haha.

    • bob says:

      If this photo isn’t shopped it becomes more interesting. It seems that where a ‘believer of ghosts’ would see a ghost, a skeptic may tend to see a con artist. Pareidolia apparently doesn’t only apply to seeing religious imagery in things.

    • Olie Hanson says:

      I mean no disrespect but if you still maintain that you have not ‘shopped’ this photo then you need to consider the fact that someone might be playing a trick on you. Did anyone else have access to the picture file? Did you see the ghost immediately on your phone? Is it possible someone (maybe a flat mate?) is playing a trick on you?

      Look again.

      The elbows all match, the bottom line of the dress matches , the hairline matches, the ‘baby’ matches. They are the same PNG file.

    • Robby says:

      No one can access my phone as it has a password on it and I could not see my mother being that talented to use Photoshop she does not even know what it is. I did look at the photo but did not agnoledge it at first as I thought it was over exposure. You see with the photo shop png I would be really interested to get the package as they amazingly match really well. But this is where it gets good at the theatre I’m not the only one to witness a woman in a dress. When you look at many customers photos some times on facebook you see many photos with large orbs in so we know we could have something here. See with the png what gets me they match very well but when you look at my photo to the other one my photo the dress image you can see the front and the back of the dress. And the other image is more cut and paste and made transparent to give the effect of a ghost. I would love to get my hands on a copy of it to see if this photoshop pic is the same as in the dress effect as its quite small to figure it out. Trust me I don’t believe it myself that’s why I’m asking the experts and you guys for your thoughts on the photo. I’m more than welcome to have paranormal experts come to the venue and check it out I have already said to people I would like to set up some recorders to see if I can capture anything sound and video because this is where it good when I have been in the dome roof of the theatre I heard a new born baby cry. I know this sounds crazy but I even have staff that remember me talking about this crying sound. The venue has a lot of history before it the theatre has been open since 1913 I have been trying to gather information before hand but can’t find anything. Some people have said people used to get hanged where the building was built but you know what stories are like I want to research the facts myself. No one that really works at the venue don’t believe in this paranormal stuff and I’m on the line of both worlds is it all in the mind or if this could be real.

    • Olie Hanson says:

      Here’s the full size image from the set, it’s free to download from the link I gave earlier. Still a match.

      Can you explain how orbs could be in anyway connected to paranormal activity? Most orbs are dust particles out of the focal range of the camera (ie too close to be in focus) that are hit by the flash. Why would a ghost appear on camera as a faint circle? We’re drifting off point though.

      Do you have a full sized copy of the photo?

    • Ash Pryce says:

      Ollie- Iwas going down the route that this hadn’t been tampered with and that it may be a smudge or other such natural occurence but now I’m convinced- someone, somewhere has intentionally manipulated this photo.

      Excellent detective work!

    • Match says:

      This guy is trolling.

    • annoymous says:

      It’s very difficult to make a genuine definitive comment when looking at ‘supposed’ ghostal figures in photographs and in particular on a site such as this where photographs have been or can be tampered with for reasons best know to the contributor. Also with the technological advance in photography and related equipment, one can only give a visual account of what is portrayed in the picture, any paranormal inferences would be speculation. Having said that, in reality – the paranormal definitely exists because I have had many unwanted and unsolicited experiences – good and bad, and further I don’t feel the need to convince anybody as it’s not really important. Just keep an open mind, some day those sceptics may be lucky OR unlucky OR previleged OR acquire the awareness (whatever) to experience the paranormal. 🙂

    • Olie Hanson says:

      Our minds are open. If good evidence is put before us then we’d change our minds. Unfortunately there is no good evidence. You may argue that, and I expect a lot of people would. The difference here is our difference in the definition of ‘good’ evidence. Annecdotal evidence is not good evidence.

    • annoymous says:

      Believe me Robbie, the paranormal is not only in the mind, it is a fact, there are unseen or at times visual entities which are visible or make themselves known through various means or by interaction with some living people. I don’t need convincing and neither do I wish to convince any skeptics of the existence of the paranormal, I’ve had numerous experiences over the years and that’s good enough and convincing enough for me.

  32. SteveG says:

    Really? Another photo-shopped ‘ghost picture’

  33. Nine years he’s been doing this club? How come there’s no-one there?

    • Brian B says:

      Maybe more people would show up if there was some sort of hook. I don’t know what… maybe if the promoter played up some sort of “unexplained paranormal phenomenon” angle?

      And he would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for YOU MEDDLING KIDS!

  34. severn says:

    One of the great stumbling blocks to my believing in ghosts is that ghosts have clothes. Maybe people become spirits – but textiles too?

    • Ash Pryce says:

      I suppose a believer might say that the reason they wear clothes is because their “essence” is affected by their living form which had clothes, or maybe our own preconcevied ideas mean it should have clothes.

      Just playing Devils Advocate- you’re right, the clothes thing is a major stumbling block

    • annoymous says:

      Ghostal images would be imprints left behind by a once living person or animal who/which frequented or lived in that spot and or in some instances, had a traumatic ending where it appears. The imprint would be transparent in nature and always seen to be performing the same moves (like a rerun of a film clip) and, this apparition would be non-interative with it’s surroundings. However, there are other spiritual entities as well, which may be seen visually, whereas others make their presence felt atmospherically (though invisible) and can be experienced in various forms, these entities do interact with living individuals of its choice. I speak from experience over many years.

    • John Stabler says:

      “I speak from experience over many years.”

      Great. But have you got any evidence? Or is everything you just said indistinguishable from some explanation that somebody made up?

    • annoymous says:

      Why should clothes be a stumbling block – after all – every tangible thing in this universe is made from the same material even though the texture is different, if the outline of my body is visible, why not the clothes I’m wearing? And if a spiritual entity can move a physical object, and believe me they do, everything else is possible.

    • annoymous says:

      If I may add John Stabler, having physical evidence to present to you or anyone else is irrelevant to me, my very existence, clarity and soundness of mind and ability to distinguish between imagination and fact whether visible or invisible is good enough for me without any outside influence or belief. This is one of the reasons why I speak quite openly without embarassment and could care one way or another if I’m being ridiculed – it is my personal experience and therefore my truth.

      If you told me that you spent a quarter of an hour gazing over the horizon at nothing (without being seen by anyone), am I to believe or disbelieve you, particularly as there is no evidence that at that particular time you did just that. John Stabler, that was your personal experience and your truth and you can’t prove to me or anyone else that is what you did for a quarter of an hour.

      Do you get my drift? 🙂

    • John stabler says:

      “it is my personal experience and therefore my truth.”

      I believe you seem to be simply changing the meaning of the word truth to be equivalent with belief. When we talk about truth we are referring to something absolute or objective. Please search for “truth” on google or wikipedia and you will see there is an entire branch of philosophy dedicated to what truth is. Your defintion seems to be that everybody has their own truth and therefore we cannot say that anybody is wrong. That is just a load of bulls**t.

      We ask for evidence so that it can be shown that something objectively exists or is objectively true. If you’re just saying “I believe in ghosts because I’ve had an experience” then fine, but that is not addressing the question of whether it is objectively true that ghosts exist. In fact I would go as far as saying that, without objective evidence, your belief in ghosts is irrational.

    • annoymous says:

      Certainly not, I could believe what you tell me even though it isn’t the truth because this world is made up of all sorts including convincing liars. That is why I called ‘my belief’ in the authenticity of the paranormal ‘my truth’ because thet are my my experiences without any tangible proof as these entities are intangible in this physical world.

      If I was to say to you there were occasions when unsolicited, I experienced these entities along with other human beings, yet we only have our truthful visual experiences to relay without any tangibility, you would throw the scientific question at us all – that is – ‘where is the evidence’? Our sanity along with our senses are good enough for me and I don’t need to convince you or anyone else and that is the truth. Just be aware the paranormal definitely exists and it’s a shame not everyone has the sensitivity and awareness to experience it. 🙂

    • John stabler says:

      I want to find an understanding and I’m trying not to put words in your mouth. As I explained, the concept of “my truth” doesn’t bear any relation to “truth” that I am aware of, unless you wish to make the claim that objective truth doesn’t exist…

      You now make a distinction that leads me to believe that “my truth” is equivalent with “knowledge”, as in “I know the paranormal is authentic”.

      A good definition of knowledge, which hopefully you’ll agree with, is “justified true belief” ( My next question is, in what sense is your belief objectively true and justified?

      “Our sanity along with our senses are good enough for me” – ok, so you accept a lower standard of evidence than a skeptic. I can understand that.

      “I don’t need to convince you or anyone else and that is the truth” – wrong. If you’re making the claim that the paranormal exists then the burden of proof is on you to show it. Skepticism is the only logically consistent position on undemonstrated claims.

      “Just be aware the paranormal definitely exists” – you’ve just made a claim about reality. If you agree reality is objective then there must be evidence for ghosts and it is up to you to present it if you want to go around telling people that the paranormal exists.

      “it’s a shame not everyone has the sensitivity and awareness to experience it.” – ad hoc justifications are lame. It’s like somebody saying that fossils exist because god put them there to test our faith.

    • John stabler says:

      “these entities are intangible in this physical world”

      If the entities are intangible then how did you experience them? As far as I know, when can only experience tangible things through interacting with them some way e.g. sight, sound, touch.

      Some people say they have a “6th sense”. However, under controlled contditions there is no evidence for such a sense. So your claims are still untestable and incoherent with reality.

  35. Ash Pryce says:

    I don’t think it is a strange way to frame a photo at all, I’m sure we all have photos somewhere in our collection that are awful.

    However if we say it’s not an intentional fake (which of course it still could be) then it leaves natural occurence. Possibly a smudge on the lense- look at the “ghost” it appears superimposed almost as if it has beena dded either post production or as somehting on the lense. Could also be lighting.

    I hate to jump to the “its fake” position. It doens’t have to be fake, it just probably (read: nearly certainly) not a ghost.

  36. Paul Murray says:

    The “ghost” looks like a painting. Ie – this looks shoped. I can tell from some of the pixels.

  37. Pepijn says:

    Everyone, check Olie Hanson’s first comment. This is photoshopped, clear and simple. He found the reference image and it’s pixel perfect. “Robby” is a troll, and it’s disappointing to see these trolls on this blog time and again…

  38. Paul says:

    Start Photoshop
    Open the subject image
    Open the “ghost” image
    Select the sibject image
    Click the word “Normal” on the layers tab
    Select “screen”
    Click “Opacity” and set it to about 30%
    Click “Edit” and pick “free transfrom”
    Using the gizmo move the “ghost” into the desired position, scale if needed
    hit “enter”

    Send to Richard Wiseman 🙂

  39. Brian Parsons says:

    Too much credit here, I would say this is caused by “Peppers ghost”.

  40. redcat says:

    “I promote…” Enough for me, it’s fake!

  41. It looks more like an in-camera trick though. Long exposure (hence the over exposed person in the foreground).Very much planned though.

    Good day.

  42. abbie says:

    well it looks like to me that it is infact a real ghost i found out that a woman and her new born baby died in a shooting it accurs to me that she wanted to be noticed so if you ever go back take a nother pic and see if she shows up a gain

  43. BigSoph says:

    Wow… 21st century and people still believe in ghosts.

    Do you pray to Darby O’Gill and the L’il People too?

    The old refrain of ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ means nothing in this age of easy Photoshopping

    And folks, an anecdote or a story is not evidence. Not now, not ever.

  44. Ra says:

    Isn’t there an effect called “ghosting” sometimes when you take a picture? I remember reading something about it a while back, but I can’t remember the mechanics of the effect

  45. annoymous says:

    For the many paranormal skeptics who are surprised that in the 21st century people are foolish enough to believe ghosts/spirits or for that matter ufos exist, read the numerous true stories on –

    • John stabler says:

      LOL. Just because someone puts the word true in front of something, it doesn’t make it so. Evidence please.

    • annoymous says:

      🙂 🙂 🙂 John Stabler, you certainly are a ‘true’ skeptic, is the word true appropriate in this instance?

    • annoymous says:

      Read my response to your previous input where you assert ‘ones truth is b… ….

    • John stabler says:

      “is the word true appropriate in this instance?”

      I’m not a word nazi, I just like to be sure that people agree on the meaning of words so that communication is not impaired. In this case, you’re using the word “true” in place of “genuine”. I got the context though, so I accept the compliment.

  46. Nikita _the ghost buster says:

    the’s no such thing as ghost’s

  47. Best Chest Exercises For Men…

    […]Can you solve the ghost mystery? « Richard Wiseman[…]…

  48. this is not an effect…i’m sure that is a spirit or something like that…so,i advise u to capture more picture at the same place and if u will found that again…pls post me to my email address…

    • Olie Hanson says:

      We found the original image used to create this fake picture. Read the earlier replies.

  49. Tehreem says:

    well , have you even tried to solve this mystery before giving it to us as it seems to me its all a joke

  50. alex says:

    you should ask ghost questions so you could know why its haunting you. If you get scared ask god for help

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