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

  1. There may actually be part of the ghost in front of Steffie's head.  You will see a misty area that appears to be in front of her hair with an oval of mistiness over her head and to the right.  Very faint, but it's there.
  2. Look at the very concentrated brightness in the center of the "ghost" and notice that towards the edges it is misty and you can actually see through and behind it.  This gives the perception of depth behind the ghost and is why many folks think the ghost is between the kids and me.
  3. Why the very dark area towards the right?  It almost seems as though it is a shadow that is cast as a result of a bright light coming from the left towards the right.  But how can this be?  I'm using a flash and shooting straight on towards the kids. You can see the "red-eye" in both of their eyes as a result of the flash pointing straight towards them.  My light would have obliterated any shadows that would be cast as a result of a light source from the left, so how can this be a shadow?
  4. Speaking of the black area to the right of the brighter "ghost" area, how is it that you can actually see through some of the fringe areas of the blackness and see the wall behind the black area?  Once again, this gives the perception that the "shadow" is also between the kids and me rather than being back at the glass in the window.
  5. As you look at the black area, doesn't it also appear that the black area is behind the brighter area as though there is some depth to this "ghost?"
  6. Look at the shapes of the brighter area.  They look like circles that are not very geometric in shape.  Some of the circular areas are different sizes and at different angles.  Also note that there even seems to be some depth to the brighter areas of the "ghost."  It is as though one particular area of the picture was very close and got washed out by the flash while other areas were not as close and ended up being bright, but not washed out.
  7. Notice the brightness of the picture in general when compared to the other picture with no ghost.  It is as if something consumed the light energy in the ghost picture and didn't in the non-ghost picture.  The non-ghost picture really shows the illuminated room and you can get a good idea of the various things that are behind the ghost. Notice that the core area of the black shadow completely obliterates everything behind it yet in the non-ghost picture there is no problem seeing everything very clearly.
  8. Compare the two pictures at the window.  The window shine looks virtually the same in both pictures.  The glass in the window is rather opaque and the window is about one and a half feet behind the kids heads.  I defy anyone to tell me exactly where a flashback would be originating if it emanates from the window itself.  I think the window is illuminated, but not unusually so.  Besides, how would a flashback emanate from a point on the glass and be viewed as though it was between the kids and me on a rather flat vertical plane rather than originating from behind the kids and probably having geometric shapes?  Wouldn't it be coming off of the glass at an angle since the picture's center of focus is on the kids, not the window.

 

Statements By Observers

  1. Looks like a shadow on the right, the flash must have bounced from the left off of something.  Note: there was nothing to bounce off from the left.
  2. Looks like a flashback off of the glass.  Note: this is, of course, the most common statement by people that don't really look at the picture closely and who have never actually seen a flashback and understand how it would appear.  Some folks just turn off and don't want to even look at the picture closely since their mind is made up that it is flashback.
  3. Your camera must be defective.  Note: I used this same camera and continued to take over 150 more pictures using the camera while in York and Ireland. No other pictures exist like this one.
  4. Perhaps it is a flashback similar to what one would see off of a shiny surface.  Note: The only somewhat shiny surface would be the window behind the kids but you can clearly see that the ghostly image is between me and the kids.  Besides, there wasn't any flashback on the other pictures at all.  I actually have some flashback pictures that appear in other pictures on my website.  Check them out.  They aren't narrow and off at an angle, instead, they are rather round-ish and you can clearly tell they originate at the shiny surface. I've included a picture below that I took in the Louvre in Paris that shows flashback.
  5. The software in the camera may be defective.  Note: what can you say to this?
  6. Maybe you jiggled the camera as you took the picture.  Note: yeah, that's why everything else came out crystal clear except for one area of the picture.  Probably one of the most dopey comments I've heard.
  7. Was your lens cover partially on?  Note: why would I know someone that would say such a dopey thing?
     
  8. Maybe your strap was hanging down in front of the camera when you took the picture. Nope, I always slip my hand through the small strap before I take the picture because I'm concerned that I will drop the camera. Even if I forgot (which I didn't), don't you think Chris or one of the kids would tell me that my strap was in front of the camera?  I always put my hand through a camera strap no matter which camera I use. It's just a habit for steadying the camera to take a picture and to ensure that my camera doesn't get snatched or that I don't accidentally drop the camera.

 

The Picture

(click any picture to enlarge)

Ghost Picture
"Ghost" Picture

 

Normal Picture
"Normal" Picture

 

Louvre Painting Flashback Picture
Here is a picture that
includes flashback. Is
there any question where
the flashback originates?
Note: taken at the Louvre

 

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
before the picture below.

 

This is the second picture I took right after
taking the previous picture and removing
my pint glass. I didn't know that
the first one had some ghosting in it, just
noticed that my pint glass was in
the picture and I thought I should retake it.

 

 

 

 

All Graphics & Text Steve Corley

The pictures you see were created by Steve Corley unless otherwise noted.
Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited