Ghostly Pics: The Raynham Hall Ghost
This is another relatively infamous ghost photo which was taken at Raynham Hall in Norfolk in 1936. It was taken by two photographers for Country Life magazine, which made its name highlighting the pleasures of living in the country and used photographs of various stately homes as evidence of this. According to the story, the two journalists were doing just such a photo shoot when they saw the ghost descending the stairs and quickly took this photograph.
The ghost is said to be that of Lady Dorothy Walpole (Viscountess Townsend) who died in 1726 and has been seen several times over the years. She was apparently identified from the portrait hanging in the hall and reputedly died under ‘mysterious circumstances’ which lend a certain sinister air to the whole tale. However, the article referenced above also suggests she died from Smallpox which is not really that much of a mysterious death for someone from that period in history. The ghost is often referred to as ‘The Brown Lady‘ due to the colour of the dress she wears.
The fact that two supposedly objective journalists reported seeing the actual ghost and took the photograph does lend a certain amount of cachet to this shot. If they claim they saw it in the flesh (to use a possibly inappropriate phrase) then, supposedly, one must discount such possibilities as fogged film or double exposure. I have to say that it is certainly difficult to cast any doubt on this shot on that basis, though this does presume that the testimony given by the journalists was accurate. After all, as a profession they are known for their talent for hyperbole and it was journalists who perpetuated the concept of the Curse of Tutankhamun. Well, with a little help from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… So, it could have been a couple of journalists looking to sell a story. We might never know what (if anything) they really saw on those stairs…
Still, from a personal perspective, I like this shot because it has all the features of a good ghost picture. A suitably spooky setting in the shape of the grand staircase, the use of old fashioned photography and a blurry image in the vague shape of a human figure which the imagination can run wild with…
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