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GHOST PHOTOS REAL GHOSTS! "A skeptic is one when faced with the handwriting on the wall, claims that it is a forgery."

The Specter of Newby Church
This photograph was taken in 1963 by Reverend K. F. Lord at Newby Church in North Yorkshire, England. It has been a controversial photo because it is just too good. The shrouded face and the way it is looking directly into the camera makes it look like it was posed – a clever double exposure. Yet supposedly the photo has been scrutinized by photo experts who say the image is not the result of a double exposure.

The Reverend Lord has said of the photo that nothing was visible to the naked eye when he took the snapshot of his altar. Yet when the film was developed, standing there was this strange cowled figure.

The Newby Church was built in 1870 and, as far as anyone knows, did not have a history of ghosts, hauntings or other peculiar phenomena. Those why have carefully analyzed the proportions of the objects in the photo calculated that the specter is about nine feet tall!

Story by Jason Turner

There are hundreds of terrible faked and forged haunted photos out there claiming to be authentic real photos of ghosts and many of them are not. Do we really know whats real? Are Ghosts just in the eye of the beholder? The camera has become one of the most important tools that a ghost hunter uses in every investigation. The camera's ability to freeze time may also combine with the intense energy pattern of the ghost, which somehow imprints itself on film. As many have come to know, real ghosts and their images are captured on film by accident. Remember that trying to take photos of ghosts is not an easy process. Many investigators only use their camera when they encounter anomalous readings with their equipment and still others cover the alleged haunted location with their camera to document as much of it as they can. You just never know what might turn up on the developed film.

Spiritualism in America--and more specifically, spirit photography-- was taken to court in New York City in 1869. The case: a preliminary hearing for William H. Mumler, who was charged with fraud for selling photographs that he claimed included images of ghosts or spirits. Testimony and arguments lasted for seven days. On Mumler's side, witnesses included a prominent former judge who was also a spiritualist. Among the opposing witnesses were several photographers who explained how the same effects could be achieved by darkroom tricks, and P. T. Barnum--who said he purchased some of Mumler's photographs to exhibit them in his museum as specimens of humbug.

In 1875, late in William Mumler’s career in spirit photography, he advertised the ability to take photos of persons who were not dead, but were simply somewhere else at the time—across the Atlantic, for example. He seems to have arrived at the idea from reading a letter in the spiritualist press from William Stainton Moses about Monsieur Buguet, who had already taken up such trans-Atlantic and cross-Channel photography. Around the same time, another similar phenomenon began to be reported in spiritualist papers, which continued for years afterwards, the “spectral appearances on window panes” of images of the faces or forms of spirits, lightly etched onto the glass. Sometimes the images were permanent. It was a kind of glass plate photography, but without chemicals or light.

The hearing attracted nationwide attention, including the full cover page (and back-page cartoon ) of the mass circulation Harper's Weekly.

In the end, the judge in the case reluctantly decided to drop the charges against Mumler, citing a lack of evidence. According to The New York Daily Tribune, the judge explained "however he might believe that trick and deception had been practiced [by Mumler], yet, as he sat there in his capacity as magistrate, he was compelled to decide...the prosecution had failed to prove the case."

Both sides were thus able to declare victory. The prosecution had exposed Mumler, revealing that the same "ghost" appeared in certain photographs taken in Boston and New York-- a "spirit" who turned out to be very much a living mortal. Mumler went back to spirit photography and gloated a bit in a pamphlet he published in 1875. But his brush with the law took its toll, both to his reputation and to his finances. Mumler never recovered from the $3000 cost of his defense, a staggering sum for its day. He destroyed all of his negatives shortly before his death in 1884.

Henry Jotham Newton (1823-1895), a New York inventor who had made a fortune in piano manufacturing, turned to photography as a hobby, and in the late 1860s and early 1870s made some important discoveries in photographic chemistry, which allowed the widespread use of the dry-plate process, a revolutionary development in the history of photography. He became a leading figure in the American Photographical Society and the Chairman of the Photographical Section of the American Institute of the City of New York.

Before becoming interested in photography, he had taken up spiritualism. By the time he was disseminating his innovations in dry-plate photography, he had become the President of the First Society of Spiritualists in New York City.

He became fascinated by Mumler’s and others’ seeming abilities at spirit photography. Newton investigated and found some fraudulent practices in the “art,” but also became convinced that some spirit photography was genuine and he worked to achieve some success in it himself.

But as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Many speculate why if you show a picture from a bank robery of the bank robber it's proof they did it. But capture the image a ghost on the same camera and it's considered faked forged or just a glitch.

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Here are the most important things to be careful of when experimenting with taking ghost photographs:

1.Make sure that you have nothing protruding in front of the camera lens. Know where your camera strap is at all times! Notice how many so-called "ghost photos" that you see look like camera straps or like a finger.

2. Be sure that your lens is clean and covered when not in use.

3. Make sure that the weather is cooperating with your photographs. By this, I mean make sure that it is not raining or snowing. Round balls of glowing light that are photographed during a rain storm are not exactly overwhelming proof of the supernatural.

4. Make sure that conditions are not damp, promoting moisture on your camera lens.

5. Be sure to point the camera away from reflective surfaces when using a flash. Avoid mirrors and windows in a house and polished tombstones when shooting at night in a cemetery. The light from the flash bouncing off this surface can refract back onto your camera lens and create "orbs" that are not of paranormal origins.

Debunking Ghost Photos

Houdini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and many other famous people worked together to debunk fakes. The Society for Psychical Research was founded in 1882. Some of the original members were the poet Tennyson, Prime Minister Gladstone, the scientist J.J.Thomson (discoverer of the electron), Mark Twain, William James, Lewis Carroll, John Ruskin, and Sir Oliver Lodge.

Houdini and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln

CREDIT: "Houdini and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln." Between 1920 and 1930. The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920, Library of Congress.

Harry Houdini was a well known debunker of fake mediums and spiritualists. His interest began after the death of his mother, Cecilia Weiss.
Because of his background as an illusionist, he recognized the techniques of mediums who claimed to have contacted the spirit world. Houdini became a crusader against these charlatans who bilked grieving families of their money. He frequently attended seances in disguise in order to expose the mediums.

Houdini who could wriggle out of almost any situation knew every trick in the book. Margery, an American medium, claimed she could summon ghosts with the help of her dead brother, Walter. The day Houdini locked her in a wooden box, she couldn't summon a single ghost.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the famous Sherlock Holmes character, was a contemporary and admirer of Houdini's. Ironically, Doyle was known for the logical explanations in the Holmes stories, yet he believed that Houdini's escapes and illusions were a supernatural phenomena.

Are These Real Ghost Photos?

In 1959 Mable Chinnery went to the cemetery to visit the grave of her mother, as any devoted daughter is apt to do. She took some photos of the gravesite and then turned and took this picture of her husband sitting alone in the car's passenger seat. The film was developed and this came out: somebody sitting in the backseat wearing glasses, clear as day. Mrs. Chinnery swore that the "backseat driver" was none other than her own mother... whose gravesite she was standing next to when she took the picture.

Ghost photos are they definitive proof? Of course not, since photos and recordings can be hoaxed, and many are open to interpretation. But the photos in this article, are considered to be authentic; that is, not deliberately hoaxed or fabricated digitally. The compelling aspect of these photos is that, like the ghost or spirit phenomenon itself, they happened spontaneously. The photographers were not trying to take pictures of ghosts. Rather, the photos were taken and quite unexpectedly, the apparitions were justcthere.

This photo was taken in 1936 at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England, by two photographers of Country Life magazine. Raynham Hall was long reputed to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Dorothy Townshend, who died in 1726. The ghost had been seen on many occasions throughout the years when it was spotted descending these stairs by the Country Life photographers, who quickly took a snapshot. This is considered by many to be the most highly regarded and reputable photograph.

This one became fairly well known after it was released in December of 2003. Hampton Court, near London, was one of Henry VIII's favorite hangouts (it's because of him that Anne Boleyn is now a headless ghost roaming the Tower of London). A fire door inside the castle kept being opened when no one was supposed to be around. Guards checked the security cameras' videotape... and spotted this figure in period costume walking through the door. Castle personnel swear they don't know who did this, noting that they don't even have a costume that looks like this. Security was concerned about a fire exit that was often found open and checked the footage to find this ethereal figure opening and then closing the doors. The figure appears to be wearing long, flowing robes, and could be a woman - maybe King Henry's 3rd wife, Jane Seymour who died on the premises shortly after giving birth. This footage was taken in December, 2003.

Freddy Jackson was a mechanic in the Royal Air Force in World War I. Freddy Jackson's squadron served onboard the H.M.S. Daedalus. Freddy Jackson was killed in 1919 when an airplane propeller hit him. Two days later when the squadron assembled for a group photo, Freddy Jackson faithfully showed up, grinning behind the ear of a fellow comrade. Guess nobody bothered to tell Freddy Jackson that he was dead. His face was widely recognized in this photo by members of the squadron.


Submitted ghost photo from John Clemens.

Submitted ghost photo from John Clemens, I was recently on a mission trip to south-eastern Iowa. The house in which I was staying noises were frequently heard. We continually heard laughter coming from the guest bedroom which was not being used. Footsteps were also heard, although less frequently than the laughter. The feet outside our door were usually heard shortly after the laughter. It would occur from 2am to about 5am. It happened most of the nights we stayed in the house. The woman that owned the house told us that the house was the site of a lynching.

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