James Courtney and Michael Meehan, crew members of the S.S. Watertown, were cleaning a cargo tank of the oil tanker as it sailed toward the Panama Canal from New York City in December of 1924. Through a freak accident, the two men were overcome by gas fumes and killed. As was the custom of the time, the sailors were buried at sea off the Mexican coast on December 4.
But this was not the last the remaining crew members were to see of their unfortunate shipmates. The next day, before dusk, the first mate reported seeing the faces of the two men in the waves off the port side of the ship. They remained in the water for 10 seconds, then faded. For several days thereafter, the phantom-like faces of the sailors were clearly seen by other members of the crew in the water following the ship.
On arrival in New Orleans, the ship's captain, Keith Tracy, reported the strange events to his employers, the Cities Service Company, who suggested he try to photograph the eerie faces. Captain Tracy purchased a camera for the continuing voyage. When the faces again appeared in the water, Captain Tracy took six photos, then locked the camera and film in the ship's safe. When the film was processed by a commercial developer in New York, five of the exposures showed nothing but sea foam. But the sixth showed the ghostly faces of the doomed seamen. The negative was checked for fakery by the Burns Detective Agency. After the ship's crew had been changed, there were no more reports of sightings.
The story may be just the stuff of urban legend, but the accounts were intriguing enough that I wrote an article about the phenomenon, "The Haunted Railroad Crossing." The article included a photograph submitted by Andy and Debi Chesney. Their daughter and some of her friends had recently been to the crossing to test the legend, and she took some photographs. Inexplicably, a strange, transparent figure turned up in one of the photos. "They had no idea that it was in the picture until the next day when I printed out the picture and showed them," said the Chesneys. "It was really freaky. It appears to be a little girl carrying a teddy bear."
Other readers who have viewed the photo think it shows a little girl with a dog sitting at her feet. What do you think?
The Reverend Lord has said of the photo that nothing was visible to the naked eye when he took the snapshot of his altar. Yet when the film was developed, standing there was this strange cowled figure.
The Newby Church was built in 1870 and, as far as anyone knows, did not have a history of ghosts, hauntings or other peculiar phenomena. Those why have carefully analyzed the proportions of the objects in the photo calculated that the specter is about nine feet tall!
Engineer Fred Leuchter was hired by the state of Tennessee to evaluate, modify and update its electric chair, which it used for executions. The heavy oak chair was made from the wood that was once a part of the state's old gallows.
Leuchter offered his services to modify the old equipment to make the chair both more effective and more humane. The state of Tennessee sent the chair to Leuchter's home, where he intended to work on it in his basement workshop. He took several photos of the chair before he started work to document his progress. This is one of the photos.
When the photo was developed, Leuchter noticed several anomalies. Apart from the orb-like shapes, a few ghostly images can be seen.
The orbs can most likely be attributed to the overhead light source reflecting on the camera lens. And the "face" on the back of the chair (enlarged on the top of the photo above) could just be interesting pareidolia.
A little harder to explain, perhaps, is the ghostly hand image at the end of the right-hand armrest of the chair (enlarged on the bottom of the photo above). This, too, could be pareidolia, but its resemblance to a limp hand exactly in the place where an executed man's hand would be is striking.
Could it be the ghost of an executed man?
The above photos are the remarkable result of a picture Guy took of one of the upstairs windows. The image of a vaporous pink ghostly woman is rather clear. Guy did not see the figure at the time he snapped the photo, but saw it only after the film was developed. An analysis of the film determined that the image is present on the film's negative. The bottom right photo is a digital enhancement, which reveals a skull-like appearance for the ghost's face.