This photo was taken in a property
called Brockley Court, Somerset in 1908, which had a reputation of being
haunted and involved one of the more well
known supernatural investigators & authors of that era, Elliot
O'Donnell and the even more well known author and supernatural investigator Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle.
take a look at the background of the photo first and then how Elliot O'Donnell
got involved with the person who took the photo and the repercussions of the
you may have seen this photo before (pre internet) as it appeared in the book
'Ghosts' by Janet Bord, which was published in 1974 ( you can a copy from
https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb ), It was taken in a property called
Brockley Court, Somerset in 1908 and caught the attention of Elliot O'Donnell.
photo was taken by Arthur Hugh Spencer Palmer (who was 20 years old at the
time) and previous to taking this astonishing photograph, he had written to
Elliot O'Donnell, asking if O'Donnell would spend the night at the property to
conduct an overnight vigil with him. O'Donnell politely declined due to being
too busy but for Spencer to contact him if anything did occur at the property.
It was a few weeks later that O'Donnell received the photo in the post. With
the photo, was a letter, which outlined what had happened during the overnight
vigil. Palmer explained that he had gone to the property with an army officer
friend and the house remained quiet until around 2.45am when both men attending
the vigil said they saw a light in the darkness of the room and it was then
that a photograph (with flash) was taken and the result is the photo you can
see. O'Donnell's opinion on the photo was asked for in the letter as well as
another invitation to attend an overnight vigil at the property.
had serious doubts to the photograph being one of a ghostly image of some sort
of Monk being captured on film, as O'Donnell felt, through his own
experiences that ghosts couldn't be photographed. But despite this, he agreed
to accompany Palmer on the next vigil.
the next overnight vigil happened, there were 4 people in attendance;
O'Donnell, Palmer, the army officer who was with Palmer on the first vigil and
a previous footman who had previously lived and worked at the property. Along
with these 4 people, a dog also attended. The property was searched from top to
bottom before the vigil began.
group of 4 men and a dog, sat in the room where the photo was taken, in total
darkness. At around 2.45am a faint light was seen. The light seemed to be
coming from the wall of the room. As it further emerged, O'Donnell asked if
there was a spirit in the room and was then asking it to make contact by
tapping or saying something but got no response. The light slowly dimmed and
there were no further incidents during the vigil.
was several months later that O'Donnell became aware of a report in a psychic
news publication that indicated that at the time the photo had been taken,
himself, Palmer and the footman had witnessed the ghost itself. The woman
writer of this article stated that those 3 that were present actually saw the
ghost and that it had been very tall, emitted a glow from its person and that
all 3 had agreed it had been a genuine ghost!
sent a letter to the publication to say it had been written about without his
consent but O'Donnell felt Palmer had told the woman about this account but had
failed to tell her that O'Donnell hadn't been present at the former vigil when
the photo was taken.
undertook 3 more investigations at Brockley Court not long afterwards. The 1st
revisit was conducted with 3 local young males and a dog. One of the males was
quite frightened and wanted the vigil to end but as he was saying this, he
shrieked "There it is!" as he saw some weird looking human figure in
the corner of the room. No one else saw this and for the 2nd time, the young
man said he saw the figure again. O'Donnell said he saw "What appeared to me was some
sort of red glow but felt this was due to eyestrain". Nothing
else was reported that night.
his 2nd revisit, it was just O'Donnell and a friend, Everard Fielding, but
nothing was reported happening. On the 3rd revisit, it was O'Donnell, Fielding
and a friend, again, nothing happened.
was to return for 3 more vigils at the house in 1913. During the 2 vigil in
1913, someone in the group spoke discreetly to O'Donnell about the supposed
ghost photo and how it had possibly came about. This would lead to O'Donnell to
suspect even more than he had, that the photo had been faked. Despite this, he
would go on to attend 2 more vigils that year. On the last one, 2 of the 4
attending, sat in the room where Palmer was said to have taken the photo and
they saw moving lights in the darkened room, which they took a photo of. The
photo showed some anomalous marks but O'Donnell felt this could be due to
something that happened during the processing of the film or simply a natural
There's now a twist in this tale!