The other day I was sent an email saying:

“Attached is a photo that a friend of mine took back in 2008 (ignore date stamp,as he never figured out the settings on camera).The camera is a Kodak Digital Easy Share c310. The location is a south Dublin city farm and garden which is open to the public. My friend Pat was on a organic vegetable course and always took  photo’s of their progress in growing veg and plants. The attached photo he took  on a lovely sunny morning is of a fellow course member.When he got home later that day
and reviewed the photo’s on his pc,he was amazed to see the young woman in the background.He is 100% certain she was not there when taking photo.She is sitting in an area that is out of bounds to the general public..He showed staff members a print and no one ever saw her before or could identify her.

I am still puzzled as Pat who is retired and in his early sixties is so certain she was not visible on the day.He is very level headed and down to earth man and is very fond of gardening.The distance between the camera and the lady he estimates is approx 40 feet.You would not miss seeing her from that distance especially with the unusual upper body features..
Zoom in closer you will notice her neck with a large scar or distortion and also her right eye with very dark shadow as if eyeball is missing.One last thing is her left hand reaching across to the right side of her head.She does look a bit strange to me. Looking forward to your expert opinion on what it might represent.”

Here is the photo – if you click on it you will get the full-size version.

What do you think?



  1. No, it’s a young woman who happened to be in a place where she shouldn’t have been. Happens all the time. It’s called trespass.

  2. I think its just a young woman who had been laying in the grass in the sun. Maybe she sat up and lay down again.

    The thing on her neck is her right hand holding her neck… a very normal gesture… she may have a missing eye or it may be a flaw in the pic….

    she looks slightly alarmed like she has just woken from snoozing and sat up to see the photographer and gardener

    I dont think ghosts sunbathe…. I may be wrong

  3. Just looks like someone was listening to their music, wondered who was digging, looked up, thought “Oh yeah”, and lay down again. Hardly a mystery.

  4. Note the author is 100% sure she wasn’t there … the author means she was 100% sure she didn’t notice anyone there. Big difference. She was paying attention to taking a picture of her subject, not to the background. It’s just a photo bomb.

    The neck thing? … it’s strands of her hair that aren’t bound up with the rest. Or, it’s not a woman, it’s a man with short facial hair that blends into the face given the harsh light and the poor focus.

  5. The ‘scar’ is clearly the wire from the headphone in her left ear. You can see the wire from the other ear too, and where they meet in the characteristic ‘v’ shape. Her right eye is in shadow, not missing.

    On the other hand, I love the idea of cabbage patch dolls gone feral, so Tom’s probably right.

  6. The author states that he was 100% that the person was not there. Richard, you have also proven that we can be deceived easily and that our memories are very tangible.

  7. As we are looking at her left arm she was obviously facing away and has turned her head round. Turning your head this much will get you lots of folds in the skin of your neck. Combined with the shadow (which is… just a shadow) and the low resolution it can look like anything.

    And I concur with Ken: she didn’t notice her on the day, but if the girl just popped up to see what was going on, you’d have easily missed her if you were busy taking a picture. Also, you easily miss stuff you’re not paying attention too (the experiments with the gorilla suit are a famous example).

    There’s no word of whether there’s a path or anything there that is frequented by people, which would be rather crucial information (and maybe intentionally held back?) There might just be someone lying down beside her as well whom you can’t see, you know what they get up to in the grass…

  8. Everybody is right, it’s the ghost of a feral cabbage patch doll listening to an mp3 player, probably “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers

  9. She was probably just out chillin’ in the grass smoking a joint, laying back and soaking in the sun on a lovely spring day, when she just happened to sit up as the camera took this shot.

    Of course the person taking the picture did not see the lady sit up for that 1/5 of a second, as the image in digital cameras will at that time go blank.

  10. “She is sitting in an area that is out of bounds to the general public.”

    Well, it doesn’t seem very out of bounds, the gate is o p e n , and she is sitting a few feet away from it. It wouldn’t have been very difficult to get there… Seems like a nice rest in the sun on a warm sunny day. Doesn’t look very sinister to me. No scars (just a strand of hair), no missing eyeballs. Alas.

  11. I think this is a waste of space. Of course it’s not a ghost, ghosts don’t exist. She’s obviously lying in some kind of depression, which is why he didn’t notice her there. Why do you keep posting these banal and completely uninteresting photos Richard? Is it because you think it might actually be a ghost?

  12. It looks like a young man who has just woken up and sat up in the moment the picture was taken which had an unfortunate outcome, which does happen sometimes with pictures. And yeah, looks like a pink headset hanging around the neck.

  13. Photo bomb! Always look around the edges of the viewfinder as you frame your shots. You will be surprised what you didn’t see.

    Or, it’s probably a ghost.

  14. If this area is out of bound to the general public… Why is the gate open. Maybe she forgot to close it when she went in there…

  15. Richard,

    Please stop this ! You undo a lot of the great work you have done for sense and reason by even posting this as a question. The title of the blog should be “Yes another delusional email about ‘ghosts'”.

    Asking if people think this is a ghost might boost the number of visitors to your site but I thought you would be better than that.

    The discussion about how the woman in the picture looks is largely beside the point. What I would be interested in is the mechanics by which anyone thinks this image got into the picture. Cameras work on the same principle as the eye so why were the laws of physics suspended for the people (eyes) present but not the camera.

    For this and so many other reasons this is all so much nonsense.

    Ghosts do not exist. As a colleague of mine once said, it is simple “you live, you die, you rot”, perhaps not that edifying, but, as with so many things, how we feel about them has no bearing on their truth or falsity.

  16. It’s an office worker with a fetish for the smell of compost heaps having a cigarette during her lunch hour, unnoticed by someone who hasn’t mastered a simple camera.
    More seriously, has anyone a method for the riddance of feral cabbage patch people, they keep going through my bins ?

  17. This is extraordinary. What’s more, I believe there may possibly be a second ghost in the photograph.

    Focus very closely on the female ghost in the long grass, then look down slightly. There, rather closer to the camera, is the second ghost. While his face is not visible – he is turning away from the photographer, perhaps for fear of his ectoplasm being captured by the camera – this one looks, to me, more like a man.

    He has a bright white object projecting downwards from his left eye, just as a small dagger would look if it had been thrust up through the eye socket into the brain. And there is a clear line around the back of his head, exactly as would appear if his cranium had been surgically opened in an autopsy. And here’s the clincher – he appears for all the world to be digging a grave.

    Truly astonishing.


  19. It’s either Jesus or God; diifcult to tell the difference these days, what with present fashion etc. Everybody looks the same.

  20. She’s wearing orthopedic neck collar and that’s why she needs her hand to rotate head to the left. Usually the collars are used after an accident – that could explain lack of an eye and face distortion.

    I don’t think she’s a ghost.

    The fact that the photographer didn’t noticed her is not unusual. When making a photo you are concentrated on the object of photo, taking care to frame it correctly etc. A tunnel vision of sorts. If the woman didn’t moved much they could easily not notice her. The grass is tall – she could lie down and sunbath being all but invisible to them.

    1. So… one of the things we do know about ghosts is that they don’t flatten grass, but they do emit or reflect photons, can reduce ambient temperature, and even rattle noisy objects? My, the science of the paranormal has come on a long way. 😉

  21. “He is 100% certain she was not there when taking photo…..He is very level headed and down to earth man…”.

    But unfortunately, not level headed enough to work out a simple thing like changing the date on a camera for three years.

  22. Someone climbed over the wall and lay down in the grass to sunbathe. When I was young, sneaking into ‘secret gardens’ was a popular diversion. From time to time, young people were chased off by angry landowners who never stopped trespassers, such was the attraction of forbidden fruit. In this case, the young woman was unnoticed by the photographer when she was disturbed by the sound of digging and sat up. There may have been any number of accomplices who kept their heads down and do not appear in the picture. Without the leading question of the title, “Is this a ghost?” and the text, which is full of suggestions, I would never have thought of ghosts. I’m sure that a sensible person seeing the picture for the first time would say, “Who is that in the background?” There is nothing in the picture to suggest anything out of the ordinary.

  23. The human mind an amazing ability to recognise patterns, even where there are none, especially human faces. There is clearly no woman there, we just contruct one from the abstract background. 😉

  24. Alright, let’s look at this logically.

    If this is a ghost this assumes that:
    (1) Ghost’s are real. A matter of some debate.
    (2) Camera’s can capture the image of ghosts that we can’t see. Granted cameras can pick up infrared, but this picture it’d be picking up infrafleshtone, infrablue etc. Those are made up colors.
    (3) Either ghosts are few and far between or their sensitivity to film is intermittent. Either that or maybe they’re unaware their ghosts like in that one movie. Either way there needs to be some explanation as to why if 1 and 2 are true why everyone pictures aren’t filled with ghosts (lots of folks have died all over) trying to use pictures to communicate with us. “Margette, it’s that tribe of Indian ghosts again. Photobombed the family reunion. Not a single picture is usable. Can’t we just call the ghostbusters?”

    On the other hand if this is not a ghost it assumes:
    (1) There was someone lying quietly in the tall grass, possibly with headphones.
    (2) They were where they weren’t supposed to be.
    (3) They popped their head up at just the right moment to be captured on film.
    (4) Pat just never noticed them there.

    Which explanation requires fewer assumptions?

  25. i think they need to dig up the ground at that spot — because her body is probably buried there. hence the “out of bounds to the general public” bit.

    it is odd, isn’t it, that the last garden bed ends just a few feet from that very spot. this is a cover-up!

  26. I see absolutely no reason to think that is a ghost. We all miss things that are right in front of us all the time. The ‘scar’ on her neck is a bit of her hair and the ‘missing eyeball’ is a shadow. I hope she sees this and laughs her ass off.

  27. I have some explanations for this:
    – There was a mirror
    – Camera was set to double exposure, a second picture was taken before or after
    – Camera/memory card got messed up and merged two pictures into one

  28. This is the stupidest thing I’ve seen on here in a long time. It’s completely uninteresting, banal, trite and boring. There’s someone sitting in the grass who the photographer and the subject of the picture did not notice at the time (their protestations to the contrary notwithstanding). We all know how unreliable human beings are as witnesses. It happens a thousand times a day. It’s not even one of these pictures where you can’t see how it was done and there is at least some fun in speculating.

    I wish Richard would explain himself as to why he keeps posting crap like this. These posts completely undermine the rest of his blog, which is usually excellent.

    1. The thing is, how representative of “ghost” reports are these kinds of pictures? From what I have read, reports of “ghosts” do not usually consist of cases that can be interpreted as photographic pareidolia or inattentional blindness. Rather, a “ghost” usually appears as a human figure that someone actually experiences and notices, not something identified on film after the fact. These kind of pictures are just red herrings in my opinion.

  29. There is a mirror clipped to the fence or another object that mirrors, and the person you are seeing acutally is sitting to the left side of the picture

  30. But how could she have gotten there?

    That area was closed to the public, that’s why there’s a gate between her and the gardener.

    An open gate. 😐

    The only mystery is why people insist on supernatural explanations for clearly natural occurrences.

  31. The tipoff here is that there is nothing remarkable about the photo by itself. It’s only the story attached to the photo that makes it remarkable. A photo is hard to fake convincingly. A story is trivially easy to fake.

  32. Richard, what is up with people telling you what you should and should not post? And what is up with people thinking what a waste of time this post is, then taking the time to comment? Moving on to the next post would seem to take so much less effort.

    Or maybe … these commenters are all ghosts, and they’re afraid you’re on to them?

  33. To me… It is most clearly Not a women, but a young man… The “scar” is clearly the wires from a pair of earbuds (you can see the other wire on the other side of his face… And as someone else mentioned… The face is caught in shadow by the very real grass he’s sitting in! So.. The logical answer, which happens often is this:

    Person with camera walks up to photograph subject “A”. Subject “b” is laying in grass (in the “forbidden area”… Kid who doesn’t follow rules) when he hears talking… Fearing he’s been discovered, he half sits up to see. Simultaneously, the photographer, looking through the viewfinder, paying attention/focusing only on subject “A” does not see subject “B” for the short time said subject “B” sat up, and more than likely subject “B” – seening the camera, immediately laid back down hiding himself in the grass. When the photographer finished.. There was nothing to see other than his subject. Same reason people texting on their phone walk into ponds or poles… They are simply focused/distracted by something else and aren’t fully aware of their surroundgs.


  34. I’m even more cynical. Look at how the photo has been framed. If it had really been intended to be just of the gardening chap, he’d have been fully in the centre. As it is, his feet have been chopped off and, if it weren’t for the figure in the background, there’d be a large expanse of wasted space at the top of the photo. I suspect the person who took the photo knew the person was there in the background and was amused by it, and framed the photo accordingly, then made up the story of the ghost as a joke and it has escalated from there. So I think your correspondent has been the victim of a practical joke.

    The figure is certainly not like any ghost I’VE ever seen 😉

  35. Which is more likely, that there was a person where they weren’t supposed to be and the letter writer didn’t notice them (or lied about it), or that cameras have a magical ability to show ghosts (an entity that has never been shown to exist) that are invisible to the naked eye?

  36. Why would it be a ghost? Why not a giant pixie? Why not a god in human form? Why not any number of things? Maybe it is just a person. There are many things it could be but a relatively small list of things it probably is.

  37. Odd that they explicitly call out the make and model of the camera that happens to match the EXIF data. I can’t remember what model mine is and I use it all the time, let alone one I used 3+ years ago!

  38. One of the most normal photos i have ever seen. No mystery at all. “He is 100% certain she was not there when taking photo.” Yes, of course…

  39. Most people miss obvious things when engrossed in doing something they enjoy. I believe the lady was there, and the fact shes touching her hair while looking towards the camera, is a gesture of wanting to look better, I dont think n”ghosts” worry about that

  40. Ask yourself which is more likely: that ugly women exist and visit gardens, or that the disembodied consciousnesses of dead people visit gardens but are invisible unless photographed?

  41. The only mystery is why anyone would think there is a mystery. Obviously it’s a photo of a person, because the person was there when the photo was taken.

  42. Adding to all the other disbelievers… if you look closely at the (enlarged) photo you can clearly see the slightly jagged edge of the ‘ghost’ in the grass. Looks like the girl has been edited into the shot. Her outline is nowhere near as sharp and ‘normal’ as the outline of the larger ‘being’ in the foreground, the one digging the pixie grave.

  43. hardly a ghost.. I would say a photo made. And the scar is probably not a scar it’s something that happened when editing the photo and it was left there, in photoshop it looks like done by the tool which drags some area and this looks like the result of that.
    hardly hardly

  44. It might be her hand on her neck, because it’s the same colour. And anybody could put their left hand on the side of their face like that. Also its the first ghost i saw in fiction who has perfectly normal shadow and light reflecting on her body. The old man also has the same amount of light and shadow level, which proves that it was just a lady who’s sitting on her garden. And if ghosts can perfectly reflect light and shadow, than there should be dozens of other ghosts on the camera, as there are a lot of deceased people.

  45. No ghost here. Actually I think there might be 2 people. Perhaps having a bit of a cuddle. The arm belongs to the other person who is pulling the person down, probably saying “hey get down!”. The photographer simply didn’t notice them. Some people said they thought it was Photoshopped. No, it’s too banal for that. Simply a normal shot.
    If you want to see a REALLY good mystery photo Google ‘The Cumberland Spaceman’ for a pic taken in 1960’s. Now that one is worth a good debate.

  46. Hume’s test for miracles:
    No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish; and even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree of force, which remains, after deducting the inferior.

    So based on the above which is the more probable
    1. We have a picture of a ghost
    2. The person taking the photo is trying to deceive us.
    3. The girl popped her head up just at the moment the photo what taken and the cameraman failed to spot her.

    I think option 3 is most likely, closely followed by option 2. Option 3 seems very unlikely.

  47. Someone climbed over the wall and lay down in the grass to sunbathe. When I was young, sneaking into ‘secret gardens’ was a popular diversion. From time to time, young people were chased off by angry landowners who never stopped trespassers, such was the attraction of forbidden fruit.
    Although, make a scientific study, just in case ….

  48. ¿UTILIZARÄ :SAN GIL MARTÍN, JESÚS A., Tesis de Licenciatura. “Urgencias Psiquiátricas y Condiciones Meteorológicas en la Isla de Tenerife”. Para evaluar la variacion en el tono de las respuestas BIOCLIMATOLOGIA.SIQUIATRIA?

  49. As most people have agreed, this photo and the events surrounding it are utterly mundane. However, I think it’s worth adding that if the subject of the photo was standing upright, as he undoubtedly was just seconds before the photo was taken, the person in the background would probably not be visible to the photographer.

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