This is the now-famous Cooper Family ghost photograph. I’m fascinated by pictures like these. Years ago I borrowed a book from the library called (something like) “350 Famous Ghost Photographs” and it contained – no surprises – 350 pictures of ghosts, fairies (Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle was a big believe in fairies or “faeries”) ectoplasms and lots of other paranormal stuff. This picture wasn’t one of them, but the concept behind the book was interesting. Every photograph included was, to the photographer’s knowledge, genuine. In other words, they may well have been the victim of some kind of hoax, but the person who took the picture believed it to be real. With that in mind, it only needs just one of those pictures to be genuine and ghosts exist – and at odds of 350 to 1 what’s the chances…? Actually, you can apply the same thinking to UFO sightings. Really, is every single UFO sighting over the past, let’s say even just a hundred years, completely false? Every… single… one? (Hmm… worth another post I think)
Anyway, one of the pictures in that book prompted my short story called “The Girl In The Back Seat” a totally creepy photograph of a family that got lost driving to friend’s house. They used a pay-phone to call and ask directions, so their hosts were waiting in the driveway to take a photo of their arrival. When the picture was developed, a ghostly girl was sitting in the back seat. It’s the kind of innocent, utterly out-of-the-blue ghost photo that has infinitely more credibility than any team of ghost hunters running around haunted castles.
So what do you think of this one? The background story is distorted and retold by countless websites – many debunking the picture, some suggesting it’s real. Basically, it was a straightforward family photo that proved very, very different when it was developed. Is it a hoax by someone? Well, you’d have to say it’s an imaginative one. Hardly your standard “unexpected ghost in the background” picture.
I think it could be real and no amount of 21st century internet analysis about “wrong” shadows or angles and can lessen the impact of its original form. What possibly caused the hanging man is another debate altogether. Bottom line for me is that they are simply too many of these incidental ghost photographs for each and every one of them to be a hoax. They can’t all be fake – one of them must be real. Just one, remember? Maybe it’s this one?