A wedding photograph has sparked debate online for seemingly featuring a mysterious supernatural phenomenon. The image, which was captured in the fall of 1972, is said to show a so-called “spirit extra” next to a guest at a reception held in Scotland. The ghostly apparition appears to be behind a man in a tuxedo at the event, with what looks to be a sandal-clad foot just visible in the photo.
The spooky snap found further attention after it appeared on paranormal blog Science of Ghosts – along with a message that supposedly came from one of the wedding guests seen in the shot. According to the attendee, who can be seen on the left of the image, no one else had been lurking in the background at the time that the photo had been taken.
Chillingly, the man claimed that the spirit extra could also be seen on the photo’s negative. He added on the Science of Ghosts page, “Another friend who was working with the police at the time had the photograph examined by a police photographer, who said [that it] was genuine and not faked.”
Some viewers of the blog post attempted to provide possible explanations for the supernatural sight. Billy McCoy speculated, “Just before the photo is taken, the lady on the right asks her husband to hold her shawl so that it doesn’t hide her new dress. Being a gent, he holds it behind his back out of the way.” If this is true, then the “spirit extra” is nothing more than a piece of clothing.
Another more skeptical commenter wrote, “It’s probably a little boy peeping from behind a drink stand. The photographer has got an excellent memory to say that no one was there at the time. Or did [he] want his money, and he didn’t want complaints made about his lack of detail?”
But the individual claiming to be the wedding guest denied both arguments. Addressing the idea that the other man pictured on the far right had been clutching a woman’s accessory, he wrote, “I can assure you that the gentleman did not hold a shawl behind his back.” He also claimed that the figure was not that of a young person, adding, “Although children attended the wedding, no one stood behind us when the photo was taken.”
The man pictured on the left of the snap also contended that the eerie shot had been blown up in size. “The police photographer who examined the original photo made an enlargement from the original [image] to enable the ‘extra’ to be seen more clearly,” he recalled on the Science of Ghosts blog page. “[The officer] further advised that the dimensions of the eye and foot were such that they could not possibly be that of a child.”
Some were certainly convinced that the photo showed a spectral presence. “I have the feeling that this is a child that is from the other side and is related to this man,” commenter Julie wrote of the image. Another individual, on the other hand, simply spoke about how terrifying the photo is – regardless of whether or not it is undoctored. “That ghost… has just spooked the hell out of me,” they admitted.
The father of ghost photography
The practice of spotting or even producing apparitions in photographic images has been around for decades, with one of the most notorious peddlers of ghost photography being American William Mumler. Mumler was a 19th-century jewelry engraver who took pictures as a hobby, and in 1861 he produced a self-portrait that seemingly suggested that he hadn’t been alone at the time.
That photo not only showed Mumler in the forefront, but it also featured the form of a young woman apparently hovering next to the amateur snapper. Then when spiritualists began spreading the word that Mumler had somehow captured a spirit on film, he did nothing to sway their opinions. Instead, the photographer began shooting potentially vulnerable subjects, ostensibly in the hope that he could capture the spiritual silhouettes of people whom they had once loved and then lost.
But some were skeptical of Mumler’s apparent skills, with P.T. Barnum among the most notable of those naysayers. Barnum chose to testify for the prosecution when Mumler was brought up on charges of fraud in 1869, producing his own spirit photo that seemingly showed an apparition of Abraham Lincoln hovering above him. And while the accused was eventually found not guilty, the hit to his reputation meant he never practiced as a spirit photographer again.
An eerie prediction
Meanwhile, the man who reportedly features in the wedding picture has claimed that he was warned about the snap before it was even taken. He told Science of Ghosts, “One Glasgow medium predicted that I would receive such a photo. Another well-known Glasgow medium was able to tell me without seeing the photo that it contained a spirit extra.”
The wedding guest said, too, that clairvoyants had had an opinion on why the phantom had appeared in the way it did. He added in the comments section of the blog post, “One explanation given by psychics for the impossible pose is that the ‘extra’ is a spirit in the process of ‘building up’ while the photo is in the process of being taken.”
So, did a ghost truly haunt the Scottish wedding reception? Or is the whole thing just a clever hoax? Well, it’s up to you to decide…