Top 10 Famous Ghost Pictures (And the Stories Behind Them)

The long history of spirit photography is littered with hoax and fakery, but perhaps there’s truth in at least one of these famous ghost photographs.

What do you believe?

10. Pink Lady, the Ghost of Greencastle

The haunting photograph of a spectre in pink was taken at O’Hare Mansion in Greencastle, Indiana many years ago. After reports of paranormal activity in the mansion, Guy Winters and his friend Terry Lambert decided to investigate. They took multiple photographs of an upstairs window, as well as a video recording. This is what they saw when they developed the film. The mansion has since been demolished.

9. Grandpa’s Ghost

Image: Denise Russell

An ailing grandmother was moved to an assisted living home, but if this photograph is to be believed, she was not left alone. Her husband, allegedly the man standing behind her in the photo, decided to keep her company. He had died thirteen years before.

8. A Ghost in Manila

Image: Ghost Research Society
Image: Ghost Research Society

An ordinary photograph taken in Manila in the Philippines. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking this is just another photobomb, or a double-exposure. But neither of the girls in the photo reported anyone coming nearby when the picture was taken, nor any other presence, and the photo was shot with a digital camera, ruling out double-exposure. Who, then, is the translucent figure holding the girl’s arm?

7. The Woman on the Bench

Bachelor's Grove Ghost Picture
Image: Mari Huff

This photograph was taken at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Bremen Township, Cook County, Illinois in 1991 during a paranormal investigation by the Ghost Research Society. The small, abandoned cemetery is known to be haunted — perhaps one of the most haunted places in the Chicago area. A woman sits on a tombstone, staring out into the trees. She was not present when the photo was taken.

6. Abraham Lincoln’s Spirit Photography

Image: William H. Mumler
Image: William H. Mumler

Some of the most famous ghost pictures come in the form of spirit photography. Here, we see an example of one such photo, the eerie visage of a ghostly Abraham Lincoln standing behind his wife. Taken by the spirit photographer William H. Mumler, such photos are considered fake. But if you ask me, they’re still very haunting.

5. The Ghost of Freddy Jackson

Image: Sir Victor Goddard

In 1919, a group portrait of a World War I squadron was taken at the HMS Daedalus training facility. All seemed normal, save for one extra face in the crowd — the ghostly visage of Freddy Jackson, an air mechanic who had perished in an accident only two days before.

4. The Hampton Court Ghost

Image from CCTV (just call him Skeletor)

In 2003, this image was captured by closed-circuit security cameras at the Hampton Court Palace in London, England. The fire alarms had sounded, indicating that one of the doors had opened. Guards rushed to the area, but found the doors closed with no one nearby. Only the ghostly figure on the camera footage, nicknamed Skeletor, provided any clues. Perhaps one of Henry VIII’s beheaded wives returned?

3. The Watertown Ghost Faces

Image: Captain Keith Tracy

In 1927, James Courtney and Michael Meehan were killed by gas fumes while cleaning a cargo tank aboard the SS Watertown. A freak accident. Caught en route between the Panama Canal and New York City, they were buried at sea and the ship sailed on. But days later, crew members reported seeing unmistakeable faces on the water’s surface — the faces of James Courtney and Michael Meehan. The captain took several photographs, and the one you see above contains their ghostly faces.

2. The Girl in the Fire

Image: Tony O’Rahilly

November 19, 1905. A fire raged inside Wem Town Hall in Shropshire, England, engulfing the entire building and burning it to the ground. As it burned, one onlooker, Tony O’Rahilly, took several photographs from across the street. One contained something very shocking — a young girl standing in the doorway. No one at the scene recalled noticing the girl, nor did any of the firefighters.

1. The Brown Lady

Image: Captain Hubert C. Provand

Perhaps the most famous ghost picture ever taken is that of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. It was taken in 1936, and many claim it is in fact the ghost of Lady Townshend, who had been forcibly confined to the mansion by her husband until her reported death in 1726.

As the story goes, Indre Shira and Captain Hubert C. Provand were photographing the house when Shira saw a strange, misty figure gliding slowly down the stairs. They snapped the photo. Provand didn’t think anything would turn up on the photograph, as he didn’t witness the form on the stairs, but as you can see in the image above, they certainly caught something.


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.