Science is slowly but surely evaporating most people’s belief in ghosts, but every now and then something terrifying happens that makes you think that maybe − just maybe − the spirit world is real. And when there’s a camera around to capture such moments, it really gets you thinking. These 20 photos are the creepy cases in point.
20. Warwick playground ghost
Dad-of-three Scotty Denton is convinced that there’s something creepy going on at his local playground in Warwick, Rhode Island. What’s more, even his kids didn’t want to play when they saw this swing moving on its own, apparently in completely windless conditions. Is someone – or something – pushing it? The millions of people who have watched the spooky footage can’t seem to agree.
19. Ladies’ night ghost
A cellphone picture was taken to commemorate this particularly cheerful ladies’ night. But when the ladies in question checked out the snap afterward, they noticed what looks to be a child’s face peeking out from between their knees. Was it an optical illusion? Or was it proof that the crying little girl had every right to be tearful?
18. Leeds hospital ghost
While walking the deserted corridors of a hospital in Leeds, England, Andrew Milburn decided to take a picture. But the resulting photo suggested that the 21-year-old wasn’t alone. Previously a skeptic, Milburn then thought that there could be something peculiar afoot in the hospital. That view was shared by some colleagues, too, who had claimed to have heard mysterious footsteps in the same corridor.
17. Ritz Hotel ghost
A stay in the famous Ritz Hotel in London was a vacation to remember for Dawn Bark, so she took plenty of pictures. And one snap seemed to show an old Victorian guest who just didn’t want to check out. Unsurprisingly, the Ritz management denied that there was a specter among their guests.
16. Chilean miner ghost
Miners working in the Chuquicamata region of Chile have long reported strange goings-on below ground. And a photo taken in early 2015 seemed to suggest that the supernatural might have followed the miners above ground, too. Could it really be the ghost of one of the countless miners to have lost their lives working the seams here?
15. Stanley Hotel ghost
“Here’s Johnny!” When Henry Yau took a photo of the grand staircase of the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, he got more than he expected. In fact, he snapped what appears to be a ghost gliding down the stairs. Could life really be imitating art? Could the building that inspired The Shining’s Overlook Hotel really be haunted? Many past guests and even the owners, who host a ghost tour there, seem to think so.
14. Ravenna ghost
Paul Sicuro is no ghost hunter. In fact, it was only by accident that he captured what looks like a little girl staring out of the window of his mother Lu Ann’s house in Ravenna, Ohio. According to Lu Ann, the ghost girl can often be heard wandering the corridors, turning door handles and even giggling after dark.
13. Samurai ghost
In 2014 Martin Springall was on vacation in Japan when he took a series of pictures of his little girl standing on the Zushi shoreline. And in one he spotted something that took his breath away. Are those the boots of a spectral samurai warrior – or, perhaps, one of the many Japanese soldiers who died on this beach in World War II? All father and daughter know is that the picture is genuine and that, as far as they’re concerned, they were alone on the coastal stretch that day.
12. Back door ghost
This lady felt that she shared her home with something supernatural. And when her friend took a picture of her and her dog, the occupant’s suspicions grew even stronger. However, when the image was uploaded to imgur, users had various theories for explaining the spooky face at the back door. Yet whether it’s a trick of the light or something altogether creepier, nobody knows.
11. Snapchat ghost
Bethany Harvey, who hails from Northern Ireland, was taking a Snapchat pic with her nephew when her sister bounded into view. But, on closer inspection, she doesn’t seem to be the only one photobombing this shot. Yes, tucked away in the background is what looks like a little girl with her hands on her lap. Harvey insisted that no one else was with them at the time, and to this day she’s still too spooked to go into that room after dark.
10. Bolivian hospital ghost
At first glance, it’s just a picture of doctors at a Bolivian hospital fooling around. But then your eyes are drawn to the floating figure in the elevator. There is, according to the imgur user who shared the picture, no way of explaining it. However, amateur paranormal investigators can’t decide whether the image depicts a ghoulish former patient or it’s nothing more than a photoshopped prank.
9. Lincoln County Courthouse ghost
Lincoln County Courthouse in North Carolina is well known for its strange goings-on. This was confirmed in 2006 when security cameras captured this image of what looks like a lady writing notes. At the time, security guards rushed to the room only to find it eerily empty. Despite the lack of a physical sighting, however, many staff are convinced that the courthouse is haunted – and not just by the doodling ghost.
8. Family album ghost
Ciara O’Callaghan from County Cork, Ireland, was flicking through family photos when she realized that she had accidentally snapped the ceiling of her home – and there was a face looking down. In fact, the face was so recognizable that Facebook even gave O’Callaghan the option of tagging it. Nobody in the family knew who the voyeur might be, though, and O’Callaghan remained open-minded about the apparition.
7. Slenderman ghost
Slenderman was a modern meme dreamed up by online horror enthusiasts. But it turned into a terrifying phenomenon, with stories abounding of a thin, faceless man compelling kids to commit cruel and evil acts. And since the stories have actually been behind several real-life violent crimes, pictures like this – which transpired to be a Photoshop creation – are far from harmless fun. In fact, they’re terrifying.
6. Moundsville Penitentiary ghost
In May 2004 ghost hunter Polly Gear was wandering the deserted corridors of the old Moundsville Penitentiary in West Virginia. Suddenly, she spotted what she called a “shadow person.” And though not an evil spirit, it was, she said, definitely “paranormal.” Gear’s accounts have been dismissed on technical grounds, but she’s insisted that she met a sentient being that night. She seems to have the photographic evidence to prove it, too.
5. Singapore ghost
It was apparently a normal night at CATO, a bar and restaurant in Singapore. But two men were chatting by the bar when, suddenly, a stool wobbled on its own and fell to the ground. CCTV footage also seemed to confirm that nobody had touched the stool, and the patrons were understandably creeped out. Could the culprit have been that strange, goblin-like creature some say can be seen rushing through the bar later on in the same video?
4. Japanese ghost
Not much is known about this modern-day ghost – apart from the fact that it’s creeped out millions of people around the world. To ghoul hunters, though, the creepy apparition is, apparently, the ghost of a young child that floats above the floor, crossing the room twice. And that might be good news for the homeowner, who reportedly welcomed the ghoulish guest. After all, it is said that home ghosts bring luck in Japan.
3. CCTV ghost
London resident Ian Hawke had long been convinced that his home was haunted. But even he was shocked when what resembled the ghost of a child appeared on his own CCTV footage. However, he reckoned that the juvenile spirit is just “confused.” He told the local News Shopper newspaper, “I’m not afraid of them. It’s the living that hurt you, not the spirits.”
2. Bassa Villa ghost
English pubs and poltergeists have always gone hand-in-hand. But even Nick Bevon, manager of the Bassa Villa pub in Shropshire, U.K., was shocked to review CCTV footage from one night in August 2015. Indeed, it apparently revealed glasses being thrown around one after the other, hours after the last patron had gone home. Maybe it was the ghosts of two deceased children – who reportedly died here in the 17th century – just wanting a little fun.
1. Teleceiba ghost
No grainy CCTV footage this time; this ghost was caught live on the air. Yes, according to many viewers of the Honduran Teleceiba show, a ghost was to blame when a glass moved – seemingly by itself – across a table. Even presenter Pablo Zapata had no explanation. Ever the pro, though, he carried on regardless.