The Phantom Nurse of Waverly Hills
Waverly Hills Sanatorium, as we’ve previously discussed, is a now abandoned tuberculosis hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. As is expected for any hospital, the building saw a whole lot of death, so a ghost or two isn’t out of the ordinary, if you believe in that sort of thing. In recent years, it’s become a hot spot for paranormal tourism and has featured on numerous ghost hunting shows.
Given its history, it’s no surprise that one of the mot renowned paranormal photographs was taken there. The image above was said to be photographed in 2006 and shows the ghostly figure of a woman, stepping out of a doorway in a long hall.
Many identify this figure as a former nurse named Mary Lee, who – the story goes – committed suicide when she realised she was pregnant after a naked rendezvous with a married doctor. Other’s claim that the Mary Lee in question was actually a patient who died from tuberculosis in the hospital, which is a much more likely story.
Creep Factor: 💀💀💀 – Hospital ghosts are a special kind of creepy because – abandoned or not – hospitals make us face our own mortality. Also, she’s looking right at us. Spoopy.
Believability: 💀💀💀 – Unfortunately, modern technology means we must take every ‘paranormal’ photograph with a pinch of salt. That being said, the figure translucence varies from top to bottom, with the outline of her hips, legs and feet faded but visible. Could it be photoshopped? Of course. Could it be pareidolia? Sure. Do I want it to be real? Absolutely.
Freddy Jackson’s Last Photo
When you so searching for ghost photos, this is likely the first you’ll come across, and for good reason. It’s a seemingly official military photograph, of a squadron of airmen, which isn’t the most likely setting for a deliberate hoax.
The story most often attached to the image is as follows: An Airman named Freddy Jackson was killed a few days before this photograph was taken. It’s said he walked into the moving propeller of a plane and died instantly. A few days later – some say on the very day of Jackson’s funeral, from which the squadron had just returned – this photo was taken. In the highlighted circle in the back row, a spectral face peers out from behind a friend. The face was recognised as the ghost of none other than Freddy Jackson.
The photo, also known as the Goddard’s Squadron Ghost, has been rigorously debated ever since. Blake Smith of Skeptic Magazine has researched this in depth and has come across the death record of a Frederick George Jackson, an RAF Aeroplane Repair man, who died in hospital in Sheffield. Although there are a few discrepancies between this information and the original story, could this unfortunate Freddy be our ghostly airman? Perhaps.
Does that prove our photo is of a genuine ghost? Not exactly. Although I think we can rule out a deliberate hoax, we can’t exclude the possibility of double exposures or movement in the image. Blake Smith Discussed this possibility further.
Creep Factor: 💀💀 – The story of a tragically deceased friend coming back to say a final goodbye is quite sweet when you think about it.
Believability: 💀💀 – Probably not an intentional hoax, but we can’t completely rule out the ordinary. That being said, confirmation tying a real life Freddy Jackson to the image would further support its legitimacy.
William Hope’s Spectacular Spectres
This is one of many images captures by English photographer, William Hope. Hope captured remarkable images of mourners with their deceased loved ones, combining what was then, state of the art photographic instruments and the influence of the growing spiritualism movements.
Unfortunately, if something’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Hope was first exposed in 1920s by a man named Edward Bush, who sent a photograph of a (living) friend, who he claimed was his deceased son, to Hope before attending a photographic sitting with him. To the amazement of no one, the portrait was returned to Bush, with the “spirit” of his very much living friend featured upon it.
Later in 1922, famous paranormal investigator Harry Price exposed Hope again with the use of marked plates which proved to be swapped out for ones Hope had earlier prepared.
Despite this, believers still flocked to Hope, as they did to other “exposed” mediums. This caused a fracture in the Society for Psychical Research, with figures such as Arthur Conan Doyle leading a mass resignation from the society, siting it was opposed to spiritualism.
Hope was not the only phoney photographer of the time, with many other’s taking advantage of their beliefs of spiritual inclined mourners the world over.
Creep Factor: 💀💀💀💀 – Some of the images are genuinely creepy, other images are laughably poor, but the worst thing of all is lengths to which people will go to to exploit a mourning public.
Believability: 💀 – Known frauds are afoot.
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