Weird News, Ghosts and the Paranormal.

Ghostly Pics: Wem Town Hall Ghost

There are many famous ghost photographs in the world, like the Amityville Ghost Boy or the lady sitting on a grave marker captured at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Illinois, but one of the most famous ghost pictures of all time is the one purportedly of the Wem Town Hall Ghost, which shows a little girl staring out from a building that is ablaze.

Taken by part time\ amateur photographer and sewage farm worker Tony O’Rahilly in November 1995 as he was standing across the street from the blaze at the Wem Town Hall.

Later, after the picture had been developed Tony and other noticed the strange girl in old clothing standing among the flames. Coincidence or one of the best pieces of evidence for life after death?

Tony O’Rahilly sent his amazing image to the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), a research group that investigates the unknown in the United Kingdom, and was founded in 1981.

Although the ASSAP would not confirm nor deny the photo’s authenticity, they did  label the photo a Simulacrum, a kind of odd labeling that made one unsure what the ASSAP was saying about the photo.

Tony O’Rahilly

Later, the ASSAP did pass the picture on to Dr. Vernon Harrison, who was a former president of the Royal Photographic Society. Harrison found the pic to be genuine, but remained skeptical of the photograph none the less, offering up such explanations as a trick of the light or a pattern of smoke forming a recognizable pattern.

Although many paranormal publications and skeptics alike remained unconvinced about the photograph, it did gain a story and life all of it’s own.

The Girl Who Burned

Possibly what is so unsettling about this photo is the look and stance of the little girl, it almost appears to be a mixture of keen observation and sadness.

But who was the little girl in the photo and how did she manifest in Wem‘s Town Hall?

The answer was supposedly found in the tale of fourteen year old Jane Chum, who is reported to have  started the Great Wem Fire on March, 3rd, 1677.

No one was killed in that fire besides a few cattle caught in the blaze and one Richard Sherratt. The fire destroyed more then five-hundred buildings.

Although Jane did not die in the terrible blaze that she started, some still felt that the image taken at the Wem Town Hall fire in 1995 was Jane Chum, returning to see another tragic fire that would deeply affect Wem.

Postcards From the Past

Although this photo was always the subject of skeptical attitudes, it did gain popularity with the rise of the internet and for years found itself contained in many ‘best ghost photograph’ lists and was featured on many a paranormal website, blog and radio show.

However, fifteen years after the photo was taken, seventy-seven year old Wem resident Brian Lear spotted the little girl from the ghost photograph; in a nostalgia piece a local newspaper was running.

The busy street image that contained the almost identical little girl was a postcard from the year 1922.

Many state that the postcard was proof positive that one of the world’s most famous ghost photographs was indeed a fake.

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3 responses

  1. I love this photo!! It reminds me of the original Carrie movie.

    November 30, 2012 at 11:10 AM

  2. Actually, O`Rahilley was still alive when this postcard was discovered. The link I`m sharing with you shows him being confronted about this, and even more, I don`t think everyone that has “officially” debunked this have looked at the big picture. I explain why I`m skeptical of this debunking in my article here http://www.ghosthauntings.org/Wem_Fire_Ghost_Girl.html

    April 12, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Blair.

      First of all, thanks for the slight correction in this post, always like to be able to present as many facts of these matters as possible.

      I read your article and agree with the push for release of whatever evidence there might be.

      Personally I still think it is a hoax of some sort, just based on my gut feeling and the fact that when something looks too good to be true it probably is.

      I find the idea of it being a hoax “debunking” pretty interesting however and as with all of these ghosts pictures, I would absolutely love one of them to turn out to be the real deal.

      April 15, 2013 at 4:11 AM

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