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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Analysis of Ghost Photo at Picton

  The News Story (taken from the dailytelegraph)
DOES this photo show the figures of two children, born more than half a century apart, walking in their paranormal playground?

The family who took this picture while on a Picton ghost tour swear there were no children inside the St Mark's Cemetery.

Which begs the question: Who, or what, is out there?

Local legend has it that the two children are David Shaw and Blanche Moon, who died 60 years apart.

Blanche was crushed to death in 1886 when a pile of sleepers that she and a number of children were playing on slipped.

David was the son of a minister who died in 1946 from polio.

Renee English, the woman behind the lens of this mysterious photo, said she was "a sceptic" before undertaking the ghost tour on January 9.

"When we were standing at the bank looking into the cemetery I was just snapping away and making jokes about the whole thing," the Port Macquarie resident said.

"I know that when I took that photo there was no one else in the cemetery.

"The only people we saw were a family of four about 10 minutes later but those kids were clinging to their parents the whole time.

"When we uploaded our photos and saw the children all the hairs on my arm stood up and I just went cold all over. That night I couldn't sleep at all and I'm never watching a scary movie again.

"I wasn't a believer in ghosts but now I'm intrigued."

Local historian Liz Vincent conducted ghost tours in Picton, claimed to be Australia's most haunted town, until her death last year. Since then her husband John and daughter Jenny Davies have taken up the mantle.

"Picton's just so haunted," Ms Davies said.

"We find people always love to see their photos afterwards because most of these things aren't visible to the naked eye."

One of the tour's most popular figures is Emily, a lady who was hit and killed by a train in 1916 while taking a shortcut through the Redbank Range Tunnel, also known as the Mushroom Tunnel, to visit her brother.

Emily Bollard resided near the railway line and was a single woman aged in her 50s. Before taking her shortcut, she didn't check the timetable and was hit in the tunnel by a train coming from Thirlmere. She died instantly.

"She likes to move among the participants and loves to touch their hair and body, particularly their arms and legs," Ms Davies said.

"Those on the tour often say that they've also felt a cold wind blowing through the tunnel."

Points to consider when looking at this photograph:

  • Are the children wearing clothes that would be according to the time period that the "ghosts" are claimed to belong to?
  • The time stamp on the photo says 7.15pm 09/01/2010. The official tour doesn't start until 8.00pm according to the website http://www.lizvincenttours.com.au/ghosttours.php.
  • Could the time/date on the camera be inaccurate?
  • Could these be the children that were seen "clinging" to their Mother and Father earlier and therefore not be ghosts?
  • There is one claim that these are kids cutting through the grave yard on the way home from School and those clothes are their school uniforms.  However, if the date on the photo is correct then there would be no school on that date as its the summer holidays in Australia.
  • Could they have been photoshopped in? Or a simple cut and paste job?
  • Could the photographer be mistaken and there were other people in the cemetery at the time?
From the photo and the information provided there is no way to tell if this photo is paranormal or not. It'd be good to have the EXIF data to see if the image has been altered at all. It would be useful for anyone in the area at the time to come forward to say if it was them or not.  Even if the image hadn't been tampered with there is no way to prove that there were no children in the cemetery that night.

So, the question is, is there any way to conclusively know whether these are ghosts or not? Simple answer is: No.
Will we ever know? Probably not.


  1. I do not think that the children are spirits. They do look like two kids walking through the Cemetery. The images are just too clear. I believe the witnesses are mistaken

  2. Hi Jimheater, thanks for your comment. Yeah, personally I am leaning more towards it being actual living children rather spirits :)