Hayley is a Ghost

A mysterious photo from my past

Posted on: May 29, 2011

I took a moment today to go back through an old photo hosting account online that I hadn’t used in a while when I stumbled upon a series of photos that were taken years ago during a ‘paranormal investigation’ at a Wiltshire location. In the photo is the shadow of a person that we could not find a source for.

I have posted the photos  below with descriptions under each. Click each photo for a bigger version and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, it’s an interesting one that bugged me for ages when it was taken.

Original photo

A lightened version

The photo was taken by Karen, a team member who was sitting on the lower level with Gareth (pictured). In the background Sharon, myself and ‘person 3’ can be seen standing on the slightly higher level outside of the area in which the others were seated. I am sitting on the bench leaning slightly forwards and to the left, Sharon is stood at the other end of the bench and ‘person 3’ is stood next to me at the right of the bench.

There were only three of us by the bench, this is known for sure as Karen noticed the oddity seconds after taking the photo and called over to us while we were still by the bench. There was no fourth person there. What we cannot explain is what the fourth ‘figure’ is caused by and how. It looks to be a mirror image of me as I sit on the bench but we couldn’t work out how that could be caused.

I’ve annotated the picture below to identify the who, what, where etc.

A indicates the curve of the flooring that surrounds the lower area in which Karen and Gareth were seated.
B indicated the difference in floor levels and C indicated where the floor that the bench is sitting on starts.

The ‘First Choice’ shop window is plain panes of glass with hanging displays, none of which had anything on them that looked like a person, or the shape labelled as ‘?’

Please let me know what you think.


14 Responses to "A mysterious photo from my past"

As a first and initial analyses of this picture “A lightened version” you can see the 5 figures of people.
With the testimony of 4 persons stating that there where only 4 persons in the photo gives credibility to the picture. Allowing for full analyses is difficult without a larger version but I can give a short opinion.

My Credentials: Freelance Photographer.
There does appear to be a 5th figure in the picture. This 5th person has a few strange characteristics.
First is the appear to be further back from the 2 persons in the background.
Second the 5th person is leaning to the right of the photo.
3rd They appear to fade out about mid torso.

Looking into the background of the picture I noticed that there is what appears to be plate glass windows along the backside?
There also appears to be a flash used with this shot?
I would believe that this maybe a “dark” reflection of “Hayley” in the glass windows in the background.

I could be wrong but its my best explanation.

I thought this but don’t see how my reflection would be reversed by a glass window.

Being reversed would be a mirror effect on the glass. It would be a reflection not a shadow.

It would be the only plausible non-paranormal explanation. But would require a light source (even a low light source) from the bottom right.

If there is no light source. If you can rule out any light source from the lower right (including non-visible IR or UV light spectrum) then what you have is something totally different.

I don’t know what kind of camera you used. I do know that some cameras can pick up IR and UV light beyond the normal human visibility. I use a Canon RebelXT and can take pictures of IR (appears red) and UV (appears violet) in my pictures. Sometimes and it has happened to me. I get figures that are “not there”.

Some people may or will call these “Ghosts”. I do.

but a mirror reflection wouldn’t flip it…

Mirrored… you “could” be if what the is being seen is a “reflection”. It would be the front of you on the glass and not the back of you. Face a mirror and have someone behind you take a photo. Do it from a 25 degree angle. So actually it would be.

What you could do is return to the spot. Turn on the lights.
Take a few more pictures of someone sitting in that spot.
Make sure you get the angle right. Use an SLR camera if you have one.
You need flash and no-flash pictures.


The size and position of your head and shoulders almost exactly match the “reflection” when I expand the photo. Leaning forward slightly and you appear to be looking downward at a slight angle. Its hard to tell.


The “reflection” is higher (by a head) on the glass compared to where you are sitting and, considering the angles this does bring the “reflection” into question. It also appears to be leaning forward slightly more then you are.

Picture is what I would call “Unexplained” or “Anomalous”.

My issue with it being a reflection of Hayley is there doesn’t appear to be a light source to cast the shadow/ reflection at that angle. Ignoring the flipped issue, there isn’t an obvious light source- surely the light would have to be coming from where the letter “c” appears?

Could it not be something on the desk? Camera flash can create really strong shadows of the simplest things, maybe a couple f items?

Or what about a cardboard cut out? Looks like a travel agent, could it be either an cctual cutout or a shadow of one (remember- photographer blindness is a major factor in “ghost” photos- just ebcause you didn’t notice a cut out doesn’t mean it wasn’t there)

or, its a ghost.

I don’t think it’s a person. The head is the wrong shape and out of proportion for the position it’s supposed to be in. I’d agree it’s unexplained.


Could it not just be part of some form of signage in the shop window?

You didn’t even point out the most obvious part – look at all those ORBS in the photo.

As to the person who said that a reflection “only plausible non-paranormal explanation” – no – it’s one of MANY. This is a Nessie-quality photo…

It looks like an interesting bit of shadow – not likely cast by Hayley. I think it might be something in that shop. It’s really hard to tell at that size.

The JPEG artifacts alone turn that “shadow person” into basically a 4×5 block grid… it could be anything. Is there a seating area in the shop or bank or whatever that is in the background? That shop also seems to have a lot of halogen spotlights – note the devil eyes beside Person 3… spotlights cast pretty harsh shadows. If you have signs hanging from the roof in the shop, odd shadows would be pretty common… they wouldn’t be DARK shadows, but with the help of image enhancement, they might appear darker than they really were.

Considering the darkness and low contrast of the background, thanks to the flash and the near-foreground subject and your lightening, how dark that shadow appears is being exaggerated; Compare to how dark Sharon’s face is compared to the shadow and compared to lighter objects.

Your “Orbs” are reflections of the light off the glass. Including the “Devils Eyes”. These are caused by the lights in the shop. Some of the more forward ones maybe caused by Camera Flash.

I can rule out 99.99% of all orbs as anything but Paranormal. But that is the kind of skeptic I am.

Would you like to see a 8mb pixel photo of a 8 pixel across UFO? I don’t post that one either. Because its 8 pixels across. Most orbs are like that.

I was kidding about the orbs and the ‘eyes.’

Oops sorry. 🙂

I don’t know if this helps at all but the sign that the shadow is showing up on is actually hung right up against the glass of the window, it is one of those signs that advertise holiday deals.

I believe that the ‘object’ is most likely not related to Hayley but to Sharon.

With lots of glass around, the flash will be bounced around and I think we are seeing light reflected and diffused off a surface to the left of the photograph (which we can’t see) and then further reflected back to the camera by the First Choice shop window to the right.

The light arriving directly from the flash is not being reflected back (because of the angles involved) to the camera from this window because there is no sign of a large flare. The window is however acting as a reflector of the ambient light present at the time of the flash. I think that what we are seeing is the shadow of Sharon as she blocks the diffused & reflected light coming from ‘off stage left’. So we see a silhouette of Sharon in the light reflected back to the camera from the First Choice window.

When I increase the Gamma setting of your ‘original’ photo in my software package I notice there are various interesting details around and above the ‘artifact’. What people may first interpret as part of a face is probably created by one of the rectangles I see in the light coming from the shop window. I am presuming these to be postcard size ‘offer cards’ in the First Choice window; but they could also be a reflection of something ‘stage left’.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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