Taking photos today is literally a snap. Not so long ago however the process was a bit more complicated. Gremlins and ghosts in the machine were common… but is there more than meets the eye?
Here are 5 famous photographs appearing to show the unexplained and mysterious. From the silly to the sinister, they continue baffling people to this day…
5. Ghost Dog
Man’s Best Friend it isn’t! Not that this 1930s terrier didn’t like human company. It’s just the feisty little dog preferred a large canine companion. When the diminutive doggy scampered off to that big kennel in the sky, it was seemingly gone for good.
As reported by LIFE Magazine, a bizarre photograph taken after the terrier’s demise shows the pair reunited beyond the grave. According to Insider, the happy if vaguely disturbing image was “snapped by a psychic photographer”.
Now, those of a mischievous nature will wonder exactly where the terrier is arriving from here. It’s a far from heavenly location that’s for sure. Joking aside, the assumption is the pint-sized pooch’s spirit is hovering over its pal in loving memory…
4. JFK Missing Photographer
From shaggy dog stories to shocking historical mysteries. The assassination of President John F Kennedy in 1963 still fascinates investigators. Even now there’s no definitive explanation of how the deadly deed took place. Lee Harvey Oswald is the official perpetrator, though that doesn’t satisfy some who’ve looked into the case.
A tantalizing detail involves the so-called “Babushka Lady”. This amateur snapper in a headscarf – whose supposedly Russian appearance gave rise to the nickname – reportedly had her lens trained on the action.
Some speculate her roll of film could throw light on the dramatic situation. What pictures did she take? Here’s where things get complicated… no-one knows where she is!
One possible lead existed in the form of a Beverly Oliver, who in 1970 revealed herself as the Babushka Lady. Authorities showed an interest at the time, but it didn’t come to anything. As The Sun writes, “Frustratingly, some aspects of her story don’t add up and conspiracy theorists have ruled her out.”
Did the lady in the headscarf exist at all? Her presence only deepens the mystery surrounding JFK’s death…
3. Amazing Abe
From Presidential witnesses to the President himself. Honest Abe decided to pay his widow an ethereal visit, if this late 19th century photo is anything to go by.
Seated is Mary Todd Lincoln. Her husband may have perished at the hand of John Wilkes Booth in 1865, but he clearly had unfinished business. That’s if he was actually there in the first place.
Who took this extraordinary image? William H. Mumler, a noted practitioner of “spirit photography”, is responsible for the eerie yet heartwarming scene. It was one of numerous such images he created.
2017 book ‘The Apparitionists’ by Peter Manseau explored Mumler’s work. Smithsonian Magazine highlighted an extract from it, reading “One possible explanation was that Mumler was beginning to find new ways to control the chemical reactions on which all photography at the time depended.” His mysterious methods seemed bafflingly simple and frustratingly effective.
It’s widely believed the works were fakes. Business was wrecked following Mumler’s court case for alleged fraud and larceny… reportedly some of the phantoms in his pictures weren’t as dead as originally thought! He got off, but the damage to his reputation remained, as permanent as a photograph. Whatever magic he worked, it was certainly all his own…
2. Freddy Jackson
In 1975, an intriguing and spine-tingling photo was published from the early 20th century. By 1919, World War I was over. An RAF Squadron, posted at the HMS Daedalus training centre and airfield in Hampshire during the conflict, posed for a group shot.
Missed at the shoot was one Freddy Jackson, air mechanic. He’d tragically met his end after an accident with a propeller. It happened a couple of days before the photographer arrived. Even sadder is the fact his funeral was on the same day.
Squadron commander Sir Victor Goddard released the image decades later. To everyone’s surprise, it looked like Jackson put in an appearance after all. He’s visible in the top row. At least that’s the prevailing view. “Members of the squadron easily recognized the face as Jackson’s” says website Liveabout.com. So this unsettling story was given more credence than most.
1. (Un)Holy Ghost
Better start praying… especially with this super spooky visitor looking over people’s shoulders! Newby Church North Yorkshire was the setting for a figure who wouldn’t look out of place in a horror movie.
Standing – some might say leaning – against the ornate decor, the figure has been compared to a monk with its dark hood framing a truly bone-chilling face. One Rev K.F. Lord was the man behind the lens.
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Was this man of the cloth having his parishioners on? As Insider writes, commentators think the image “was merely the result of a well-done double exposure.” There’s no denying the fear factor though. Rev Lord believed he’d captured a ghost, so the jury is out on one unnatural sight…