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Olde English Ghosts?

I don’t believe in ghosts but even I have to confess that this qualifies as spooky:

Closed-circuit security cameras at Hampton Court Palace, the huge Tudor castle outside London, seem to have snagged an ethereal visitor. Could it be a ghost?

“We’re baffled too — it’s not a joke, we haven’t manufactured it,” said Vikki Wood, a Hampton Court spokeswoman, when asked if the photo the palace released was a Christmas hoax. “We genuinely don’t know who it is or what it is.”

In the still photograph, the figure of a man in a robe-like garment is shown stepping from the shadowy doorway, one arm reaching out for the door handle.

The area around the man is somewhat blurred, and his face appears unnaturally white compared with his outstretched hand.

“It was incredibly spooky because the face just didn’t look human,” said James Faukes, one of the palace security guards.

“My first reaction was that someone was having a laugh, so I asked my colleagues to take a look. We spoke to our costumed guides, but they don’t own a costume like that worn by the figure. It is actually quite unnerving,” Faukes said.

Follow the link and have a good look at the photograph. At first site, I will admit that the image is quite unsettling. However, it is not a ghost. Even if one accepts that human beings can survive physical death and then flit between this world and the next in ethereal form, how, exactly, do they manage to do so while remaining fully dressed? It would take quite a lot of convincing to persuade me that garments possess an eternal soul.

So perhaps this is an elaborate fake? Or some trick of the light? If it is the work of pranksters they deserve some credit for conjuring up such an admirably creepy illusion.

32 comments to Olde English Ghosts?

  • well, if ghosts can materialize at all, and possess a conscience, what’s to say they can’t create clothing for themselves? they’re existing in another plane altogether.

  • M.

    Oh hell,forget the physics and metaphysic and monophsycics and miniphsyics of it,that photo is just too cool.

  • This is hardly compelling stuff. So, they haven’t found an earthly explanation, hence it must be a ghost? Puh-leeze. Is Hampton Court having money problems, perhaps? Looking to attract more visitors and more importantly, visitors’ wallets, perhaps?

  • Ann

    I’ve had personal experience with things that science can not currently explain, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an explanation out there somewhere. I have degrees in physics and engineering, so I’m the practical “show me” type.

    My problem is that I have been shown something relatively unexplainable. Many times as a child, and less so as an adult, I’d have glimpses of a small piece of the future. For example, a couple years before I went off to college, I saw a classroom, teacher, even other students. Years later, that moment in time actually occurred. I had not even visited the college before I had that glimpse, so I couldn’t have created it from memories of a visit. I had thought about the glimpse several times between the two events, so I wasn’t making it up in college and projecting the memory backwards.

    As a phyisics-minded person, I have tried to come up with an explanation. The only thing I have come up with is to model time not as a straight line, but as a line which twists and folds back upon itself. In some places two points in time are close enough for them to merge to some extent.

    This would explain some ghosts. It isn’t that they are ghosts in the present, but that we are seeing pieces of the past crossing temporarily into the present.

    Believe me, as a science type it has always been confusing to have something happen to me which current science can not begin to explain!

  • Julian Morrison

    Hmm, analysis…

    The figure is no more blurry than bits of doormat (or whatever that rectangle is), bits of wall, bits of the side of the doorway. Blobs on the lens?

    Shadowing under the robe and inside the sleeve and cowl is consistent with physical (light blocking) material and with it’s orientation relative to the light.

    The sun on the wall is plenty bright enough to light the face that white, and the face is turned sideways towards it. Also, there is light on the shelf of hood/collar under the figure’s chin. Does the closing door have a transparent window in the top half? The white blob above the push bar suggests a lit window-sill. That would explain the relatively dark hand, reaching beneath the window.

    Someone else should pose there, mimicking the figure’s posture, with the sun in the same place. Then the two pics should be compared.

  • Verity

    Hmmmm. Time looping backward … Ann could be on to something. Although most of us may not have had experiences as vivid as hers, there must be very few who haven’t had unsettling moments of déja vu in our lives.

  • John

    I’m sure you’ve said that before, Verity?

  • rc

    Somebody is having a laugh right now 8^) Good on ’em! I have far more faith in the ingenuity of pranksters than I do in ghosts. Every time I’ve ever heard ‘..but there is just no other possible explanation’, there turns out to be one.

  • mad dog

    Maybe its Osama…he’s come back top haunt us!

  • Hmmmm… somebody in costume in the Royal Family’s house?

    The shocking thing here isn’t that it’s thought to be a ghost.

    The shocking thing is, it’s not a prostitute in S&M garb, a midget in armor carrying a whip, or a Tory politician in a woman’s dress. Now that’s stunning.

    On the other hand, looking at it, I wondered if it wasn’t the eternal footman, coming to pick somebody up. Just a thought.

  • Verity

    John – yeah, but it just wasn’t the same.

  • Maybe the ghost got tired of making crop circles?

  • The figure resembles a king from the days before bathing and grooming were in vogue, but it looks equally like a homeless man. It would not be the first time that a strange person breached royal guards without initially drawing attention to himself.

  • James

    It may be crazy but my theory is that an ordinary guy with a trench coat and a pale face walked out the door.

  • Pete

    Maybe an echo from a parallel universe intersecting ours in a “thin” spot. Makes as much sense as a ghost.

  • Matt W.

    Um, sorry to be off topic, but whats with the posting today? I haven’t seen a new story for over 20 hours.

  • Bryan C

    Hmm. I think if we look into this more closely we’ll find that it’s Old Man Smithers trying to scare people away from his elaborate counterfitting operation hidden in the Palace subbasement. And he would’ve gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!

    …either that ot it’s an apparition of Death himself, touring the grounds prior to the horrible disaster about to befall us all.

  • ed

    Frankly the world is not only a lot stranger than we think, it’s a lot stranger than we can think. While I don’t give much attention to self-proclaimed “psychics” I must say that I have seen, and participated, in some pretty odd things so I’m going to keep an open mind.

    Personally I believe that ghosts are possible and even likely. There doesn’t seem to be all that many ghosts, compared to the number of people who have lived and died, and so perhaps there is an accidental mechanism at work. The living mind exists as an energy state and thoughts exists as patterns of energy. That everything is hosted by an organic construct and the actual mechanism of thought is a biochem reaction doesn’t detract as thought is still represented by energy.

    So the only thing that really differentiates a “dead” mind and an “living” mind is both a source of energy, to power the mind, and means of representing the energy patterns of thought. If there truly is nothing that can represent or hold energy patterns, so that a mind can think, then a mind may exist but it won’t be “living” and so cannot think. However if there is a means of powering a disembodied mind then that mind will continue to exist, in whatever form, and it will continue to represent that mind in that exact form without change.

    What I’m trying to say, I suppose, is that I don’t think that ghosts can think, as there is nothing that can hold or represent thought. But I do think that ghosts can exist but only as a non-thinking fragment of a mind. Incapable of change, feeling or thought, this fragment simply exists as a memory endlessly repeating itself. Much as a fragment of video tape can only represent a smallish portion of a whole.

    Of course there might be differences between instances of such disembodied minds. But I do think that such things do exist. I suppose the primary reason why is that there are so many unanswered questions about the actual nature of the universe. There are so many strange theories in existence of existence that almost nothing can be discounted.

  • There’s a very simple explanation.

    He’s the ghost of Christmas Past, and he’s late for the matinee of “A Christmas Carol.”

  • WAL

    Hampton Court . . . 16th century Tudor cast…

    My God! It’s the ghost of royal dignity

  • Eric the .5b

    Well, let’s see. “Royal dignity” with a lot of killing to preserve said dignity and power in that period of time, or a lack of “Royal dignity” and no real killing to support the royal family, as in the modern period. The latter sounds nicer to me, but I’m a foreigner to your shores…

  • Ann

    Fox has shown more than that one picture. They have about 4 on a time loop. If you see it, you’ll notice that it looks like the doors open before the figure gets to them, which is kinda strange.

    Still, I found the time loop less convincing than a single still. It just looks too much like a real person walking through. Like someone said above, it could just be a homeless person roaming the halls.

  • Hal Combs

    We have visited Hampton Court Palace many times and my wife has, on several occasions, ‘seen’ women whom I could not see in the gallery and on a stair. After 30 years of marriage I beleive that she is telling the truth. Now about the image … I vote for a hoax. There are usualy costumed docents wandering the building. The only spirits in Hampton court in my experience are invisible to the normal eye.

  • WAL

    Eric, I’d prefer the monarchy as it exists now to the monarchy as it existed then any day of the week.

    It’s a joke . . . the post I mean.




  • toolkien

    How’s this for an angle? The world, the universe, and its phenomena are not fully understood. But then who cares? It is shaping our world with our intellect and harnessing the phenomena that we understand to serve us. Unless the ‘ghost’ is going to do something useful or can be made to operate as we choose what is the difference?

    Regardless, ‘we didn’t futz with the image’ is going to be the first thing someone who has futzed with an image is going to say. I say file this away next to the Loch Ness monster.

    Also, I’ve experienced deja vu as well. I can only say that when I get the feeling it is not perfect in the sense that I can certainly say I’ve been in the same exact situation before. The brain appears to deal with patterns and it may recollect a very similar set of circumstances down to basic senses, smells, background noises and visuals and recall that it had sensed this combination once, but only once, before and is trying to make sense of it in total, leading to the creepy sense of having been here/there before. I understand the normal brain can process up to 13 bits of information per second through the 5 senses, not all of which are processed through the most ‘conscious’ parts of our brain but go directly to ‘sub-conscious’ parts of our brain, there for retrieval at some future point and contributing to the sense of deja vu as we try and process old information through our conscious intellect, along with new data, at the same time, leading to that out-of-time feeling.

  • I had never believed in ghosts until I lived two years in a haunted apartment. Furniture would move, the TV would turn on in the middle of the night, the front door would lock and unlock itself, the faucets would turn on by themselves – full blast, there would be mysterious footsteps, and closet doors would open and close by themselves. And once something sat on the bed, making a deep impression, yet it could not be seen…. These were not daily occurances, but at least once a week something bizare would take place.

    The best story though comes from the fellow who moved in after the wife and I left. He was having a party and went to the bathroom. The bathroom door had no lock and just a simple knob, yet, when he tried to leave he could not open the door. No one could – it would not budge. There was no obvious reason the door would not move. Finally one of the guest went a summoned the super and he had to break the door down to get the fellow out. I kid you not.

    So while I remain skeptical about ghosts, I have a much more open mind.

  • Eric the .5b

    WAL: Ah, OK.

  • Ok having seen this I must admit its so real, Im a movie star I know the secrets of photography and this is not fake!

  • HELP! This freeks me out! It is so real! Please read my comment you’ll want toooooo! Well I know its true cos I went to Hampton Court and I saw the ghost!

  • wayne

    o you out there living in your little boxed in worlds,do you realy think all there is,is what you see.

  • wayne

    o you out there living in your little boxed in worlds,do you realy think all there is,is what you see.