On the shores of a remote Scottish loch, a group of women pose for a series of snaps. Props in hand, they are celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of their friends. But when the photographs make their way online, a sinister figure is spotted in the background. Could it be the ghost of the infamous Blue Boy?
In summer 2017, a pair of strange photographs went viral across social media. Apparently, they depicted a party of young women who had traveled to Scotland for a hen party. While there, they allegedly stayed on a remote estate somewhere in Argyll and Bute, a region in the far west of the country.
While in Scotland, the friends appear to have celebrated in style. Dressed in matching jackets and equipped with cut-out masks of characters from Harry Potter, they braved the notorious weather and posed for some photographs. Apparently, they used a digital camera and timer to capture a series of shots.
With a picturesque loch and mountains in the background, the group of friends posed first with their masks held at their sides. Then, moments later, they raised their hands in the air. Afterwards, the automatic timer had captured two different images, taken merely seconds apart.
However, when the women took a closer look, they apparently discovered that it hadn’t just been the pose that was different. In a terrifying twist, it’s claimed that they had spotted the sinister figure of a young boy, crouching in the background of the picture. In one frame, there was no one there, but in the next one the boy had appeared.
Apparently, there were no other people around who could have found their way into the shot – let alone an unaccompanied young boy. But that wasn’t the end of the story. Allegedly, the women began investigating the location online, only to be petrified by what they found. According to the story doing the rounds, the women discovered that the loch was in fact haunted by the ghost of a young boy.
Apparently, the story – which also inspired the 1994 movie The Blue Boy – tells of a boy who fell into the loch while sleepwalking and drowned. For the group of women, this appeared to be the final straw. Allegedly, they were so spooked that they abandoned their holiday early, fleeing the property in fear.
Meanwhile, the two photographs found their way onto the internet, where speculation about their spooky origin began to grow. That summer, users took to social media to express their feelings about the mystery boy. “I’m fully shook,” one tweet read, while a Reddit user commented that the image would be keeping them awake.
By January 2018, the mysterious photographs had made their way into the mainstream press. There, commenters continued to speculate on the nature of the image. Was the “boy” really one of the women’s masks, or were altogether more sinister forces at work? Meanwhile, journalists began to dig a little deeper into the story of the Blue Boy.
Soon investigators began to link the strange photographs with Loch Eck, a seven-mile stretch of water located on a peninsula near the town of Dunoon in Argyll and Bute. Recently, the loch made the news when two dogs died after swimming in the algae-filled waters. However, its tragic history gets far worse.
According to the Scottish filmmaker Paul Murton, he first heard the gruesome tales while visiting the Coylet Inn, a remote hostelry on the shores of Loch Eck. Apparently, it was the owner of the inn who told him about the area’s spooky past. “I was talking to the hotelier about it and he mentioned the Blue Boy,” Murton told The Herald back in 1994.
“This, he said, was a young child who had been on holiday with his parents in the hotel and he had been sleepwalking during the night,” Murton continued. “He had strayed outside, fallen into the loch, and drowned. When they found his body it was blue with the cold.” And according to the owner, the boy’s spirit continues to haunt the Coylet Inn.
Apparently, the ghost has been known to move items, such as plates and cutlery, around the rooms. According to some sources, he has also been spotted running through the halls. And, perhaps most terrifyingly, staff have reported finding wet footprints leading along the floor – with no apparent culprit in sight.
Clearly, the story made a lasting impression on Murton. Before talking to the inn’s owner, the filmmaker had been working outside the property, where he had captured a mysterious blue fog. Now, the idea of the Blue Boy was imprinted firmly on his mind. Years later, he would dramatize the legend into a movie starring Emma Thompson.
Even today, the Coylet Inn is considered one of Scotland’s most haunted locations, and the story of the Blue Boy is widely known. So perhaps it is not surprising that journalists, while searching for some background on the strange photographs, found their way to the tragic story that unfolded on the shores of Loch Eck.
However, recent evidence has emerged that suggests that things aren’t quite what they seem. In fact, just one day after the photographs appeared in news outlets such as the Mail Online and Mirror Online, a woman named Bethan Weir took to Twitter to express her own views on the matter.
Apparently, Bethan was one of the women pictured in the photographs. And according to her, the story accompanying them was completely made up. In her tweet, she accused the original poster of stealing the images without permission – and even offered a journalist an exclusive interview with the bride.
According to Bethan, none of the women has any idea who Holly – the Twitter user who first posted the photographs – is. And furthermore, she claims that none of them was aware of the ghostly figure. “We don’t know,” she responded when asked about the mystery boy. “We didn’t notice him at the time.”
The same day, Rebecca Davies, another woman from the photographs, sent a tweet to the Mail Online protesting their coverage of the story. In it, she also claimed that the facts attached to the photographs were completely fabricated. However, the paper declined to issue a response. Then another Argyll and Bute pub, the Holy Loch Inn, weighed in on the drama. According to them, the photograph wasn’t even taken at Loch Eck – making its connection to the Blue Boy somewhat weaker.
So if the photograph didn’t show a ghost, what was really going on? Now, it seems clear that none of the women present believed that anything paranormal was occurring. So was the boy a real, flesh-and-blood visitor, or merely the result of masks and a trick of the light? While the truth might never be known, it won’t be the last time that a mysterious image captures the public imagination.