While in York, England, during June of 2000, I took a picture in a local pub named "The Hole In The Wall" with my Olympus D-460 ZOOM digital camera, previewed the picture, and discovered the "ghost." I have included the complete true story here for those that may be interested in how this picture came to be. One thing I ask is that my picture not be used by anyone without my permission since it is quite rare to have such a picture, and my kids are part of the picture. If your are interested in using the picture in a non-profit way, just send me some email telling me the details and we'll see what we can do. Otherwise, this picture is not to be copied, manipulated, or used in any way without my written permission. Thanks for your understanding.
Update: It wasn't enough that this original picture of the "ghost" was taken in June of 2000, I returned again in June of 2006 and took another picture from a different area of the pub and found another "ghostly" image after taking a picture with a newer Canon Powershot SD500 camera. The new picture and details are at the end of this narration.
How It All Started
My family and I were staying at a local B&B named Feversham Lodge in York, England. This excellent B&B is about a 15 or 20 minute walk from downtown York. We had decided we would take a coach tour that included going throughout the nearby countryside as well as an old steam train trip up in to the mountains. At the conclusion of the trip we decided we would also go to the local Railway Museum to check out their old steam trains.
The coach left at about 9AM from near the Roman wall ruins in York and Chris decided she would really like a Starbuck's coffee (yes, they even have Starbucks in this old medieval town) before we left. As we entered the main gates (called a "bar") in to the city headed for Starbucks, we were walking along and I suddenly had the urge to stop for a moment. I looked around out of curiosity to see what it was that made me feel like stopping (by the way, I forgot to mention that I am known by my friends to be quite psychic and even believe in Spiritualism - well, somewhat anyway). I didn't see anything but then had the urge to look up overhead. What I found was a sign that said "The Hole In The Wall" pub. I told Chris to remind me to check out this pub since we usually eat dinner in pubs and this one had attracted my attention for some reason. We continued walking to the Starbucks which was some distance away and eventually we went on the coach trip that included the trip on the old steam train.
We returned from the coach trip that had lasted several hours and decided to go to the Railway Museum as planned. Once there we spent quite a while walking around and looking at the old trains and decided we had enough and it was time to return to York for dinner. While there we noticed a "train" that was motorized and had little cars trailing behind it. I asked where the train went and the "conductor" said it would take us to the Minster (the famous old church in York). We thought that would be great since our feet were really tired and eventually the train took us to the Minster and dropped us off. We started walking from the Minster in no particular way since we really didn't know the city that well, but while walking we were discussing where we would eat. We got to a main street with people walking around during the discussion and stopped while we were discussing where to eat. Low and behold, I look up and see the sign of The Hole In The Wall again and reminded Chris that this was the place I saw in the morning so we should check it out.
We entered the pub, looked around and saw a sofa bench type of seat in a darkened area of the pub off to the side and I told the kids to go sit down while I ordered Chris and I a couple of pints and got the kids a Coke. I went to the pub and ordered the Cokes for the kids, returned to the table where Chris and the kids were sitting and then went back to the bar to order Chris and I a couple of pints. As I stood there I was making casual conversation about the walking we had done and the different beers they had and eventually got the beer and went back to the sofa bench area.
The kids were sitting at the end of the sofa bench and I was sitting on the end of the other sofa bench which was perpendicular to theirs (kind of an "L" shaped bench) with Chris sitting next to me. As we were drinking the beer and joking about how I was the only one that really liked the Railway Museum (since the rest of them don't particularly care for seeing old trains) and our feet were killing us, I looked over the kids' head and noticed a brass sign. I stood up and looked closer at the sign and it said "The Original Hole In The Wall" plus some other stuff I don't remember. I told Chris that "whooooaaa, I just got a chill while reading that sign." I told the gang "hey, that is where the Hole In The Wall name comes from, it's actually a hole in the wall that dates back a long time ago." I asked Chris for the digital camera since she had it in her backpack (Chris is often the pack mule on these trips), and told the kids to let me take a picture of them in front of the hole in the wall.
I took the picture of the kids with the hole in the wall behind them and as usual, Steffie started bugging me to show her the picture via the preview mode screen that is on the back of the camera. I have grown so tired of this, that usually I tell her no, that we'll look at it later, so I told her maybe later. She persisted in wanting to see the picture, so I said OK, hit the preview button and there it was - a ghost that looked like it was angled up to the side! This area was rather dimly lit so I knew it wasn't a light nor did I believe it was a flashback from the window behind them since the window area was also dark. Turns out there is a very small alley with another building close by to the Hole In The Wall pub. No way for sunshine to really go through the window. Especially at that time since it was after 6PM and there simply isn't any sunlight that comes through the window.
I said that it looked like a ghost and we all got pretty excited. Then I got up and walked over to the pub and asked the bartender (his name is Andy) if they ever had any reports of ghosts in the pub. He said yes, that the owner's little girl often sees one, saw me holding the camera, and then I turned the camera to show him what I had. He immediately found it very interesting and a guy sitting off towards the end of the pub came over to see it too. His name is Terry Moran and we began talking about this rather strange picture.
I went back to the table and told the kids and Chris how the folks at the bar said that there had been reports of ghosts. I had Steffie go to the end of the sofa bench seat where I was sitting and take a picture of me, Derek, and Chris to see if anything would show up with us sitting in front of the Hole-In-The-Wall sign, and then we swapped places and I took another picture of the kids sitting as they were to see if I was lucky enough to capture yet another ghost. A ghost didn't show in the other pictures, but it did illustrate the area and its appearance to us (although brightly illuminated as a result of using the flash). Terry came over to talk to us and asked if we minded if he joined us. We said no, and spent some time talking with Terry about a bunch of stuff. Andy came over later and I showed him the picture again as well as a couple of other people that worked at the pub. The owner's wife (she's the owner too) came over and I showed her the picture and she began telling us how her little girl had seen the ghost of a woman upstairs in the bathroom. There was also some mention of seeing a man after hours when they were cleaning up the place and upon further investigation, he was gone although there was nowhere for him to leave short of walking through a wall. Remember that the pubs in England close around 11PM to 11:30PM, so it isn't like here in America where you can stay until 2AM and be tired.
It seems as though this pub is ripe for ghosts. Turns out that York in general has some history of ghosts in the downtown area. They even have a couple of ghost tours where a speaker takes you around town and talks about York's more famous ghosts. I'll get some more info about the pub and add it to this page as I find out some more info so you can understand some of this pub's history.
We came back to the Hole In The Wall and met Terry there every night after that night, hearing about the differences between how we Americans and the British talk, and really enjoyed out evenings there discussing the cultural and language differences. Each night someone would want to see the ghost picture since that became the local buzz and I would hit the preview button and show the interested party the picture. It was a lot of fun being there in York and we especially enjoyed the gang there at the Hole In The Wall pub.
That's about it. If you would like to see this ghostly place, be sure and check them out while you are in York. They aren't too far from one of the main gates going in to the city (the city is surrounded by a medieval wall) and be sure and tell them you heard about them from me. I'm sure they will all remember the night the Americans came in and took the Hole In The Wall Ghost picture. You should have a meal while there, and throw down a couple of pints as well. You will probably find Terry there too drinking his Guinness and perhaps if you buy him one he can tell you about that eventful night. Who knows, maybe you too will get a picture of a ghost in this wonderful old place.
I've included the original digital picture of the ghost below for your observations as well as another picture I took of the same area with no ghost. Let me know what you think. I would caution you to really look at the picture carefully. Some folks look at it very quickly and jump to the conclusion that it is a flashback from the window behind the kids. If you look at it closely you will notice that the ghost is between the kids and me, it isn't coming from behind them as a flashback would occur. I've had many other people (including professional photographers) look at this picture and after really doing due diligence, many folks believe that the black "shadow" is not a shadow at all, but is also part of the ghost. I've listed below just a couple of the topics that have generated the most discussion followed by some of the more thoughtless statements I've heard.
Observations Of The Picture
Statements By Observers
(click any picture to enlarge)
New Ghost Picture
As mentioned in the intro update to this rather strange story, we once again went to the Hole In The Wall pub in June of 2006 where I took the picture below showing some more "ghostly" images. For those that believe the first camera had a defect, I guess the second camera (a Canon Powershot SD500) also has similar problems? Funny that I've only seen these ghostly pictures show up in the Hole In The Wall out of the literally thousands of pictures I've taken with both cameras. I've taken a few other pictures in the Hole In The Wall that didn't turn out strange, but the fact that two of them did is more than just a coincidence.
The first picture with the ghostly images was taken first, the second picture was taken right after it (within the same minute according to the time and date stamp on the digital picture). I took the first picture and looked at the preview and decided that my glass of beer was in the picture so I moved it out of the way and immediately snapped the next one. I took these two pictures when wondering if I could capture a ghost in the picture as had been done in June of 2000. Looks like I was right.
To those that suggest the ghostly image was cigarette smoke - NO, it wasn't. There were no lit cigarettes in the area when these pictures were taken, and for it to be cigarette smoke, I would have had to take a picture with smoke in it (and not notice the smoke while holding up the camera and pointing it towards the bar), then smoke would have to completely disappear, and then I would have to take another picture. All within seconds of each other. Since my back was against the wall, there was no one next to me, and there was no smoke when I took the pictures, I don't see where the smoke could have come from and then suddenly disappeared. So for those that would like to explain the "smoke" being cigarette smoke, there would have had to be cigarette smoke for this to be the case. There was none. I was cognizant of the beer glass being in the way and yet wouldn't notice cigarette smoke? Come on, does that seem realistic? Could cigarette smoke disappear that fast in a room with no breeze? There wasn't any cigarette smoke so maybe another explanation?
These pictures have been resized for the web since they are about 2 meg each in size, but that is all that was done to them. No coloring or cropping or other corrections were made in any way other than to resize the pictures to 800x600 pixels for the web (just resized the width to 800 pixels and the height was automatically set to 600 pixels). I have the originals if someone is truly interested in this rather strange picture.
This is the "ghostly picture that I took
This is the second picture I took right