1972, October: The Extra Foot

On April 4, 2009, an unnamed user posted two strange pictures and a story to the Science of Ghosts website. According to this poster, the picture below depicts himself (on the far left), his wife, and two other guests attending a wedding reception in October 1972 in the town of Paisley, Scotland. Pictures were taken of all the guests by a professional photographer as the arrived at the wedding reception; but after the pictures were received, this image was found to have something extra hiding in it.

Wedding Fun
Peek-a-booAn unexpected extra... [Picture sources here]

Behind the tall man on the right, a white leg and foot can be seen... and by the woman's hand near him, a person's face appears to be peeking at the photographer. The leg appears to be a full sized man's, and yet if the man was there -- and certainly if he was bent down to peek out -- more of his body would be plainly visible, and the tall man would likely have noticed since his own hands are behind his back.

        On inquiring with the photographer, the strange extra figure was found to exist in the negative of the shot as well; the photographer had no way to explain its presence in the picture. There had not been a fifth person crouched down in the shot at the time, and no one was there when the group left. The poster had a friend arranged with police to have the photographed examined by a 'police photographer' who declared the photo was "genuine and not faked."

        The poster then further explained that a Glasgow medium had predicted he would receive such a picture, and that two other mediums were able to confirm his possession of a spirit photo without seeing it.

Theories and Questions

       In the comments to the posting, it was immediately suggested that the image was a Photoshop alteration based on the fact that the top image -- the shot of the whole group -- has surface damage next to the tall man's leg that is not seen in the closeup shot... but the original poster of the pictures could have gotten an enlargement of the suspicious features made by the original photographer and, since each picture is literally a different copy of the original image, they could have different damage shown over time.

        Interestingly, one of the respondents to this initial accusation of possible photo alteration -- a user called "Jack hayes" -- claimed that the police examined the photo "over and over, and found no real evidence that it was fake"... which makes me suspect the police had some evidence (hence the thorough examination), and that 'Jack hayes' is likely one and the same with the unnamed original poster of the pictures and account.

        Many of the people commenting on the page came to one of two conclusions for a mundane explanation of the extra figure in the photo. The first proposed idea was that the man was holding a scarf behind his back for his wife, which is what looks like a leg, and that his hand and ring are what looks like the face and eye. I don't see it myself; I see a foot and an eye... but that's not proof either way. This theory assumes that either the photographer and the poster (who was in the picture) both either failed to note the tall man was holding a scarf or just plain forgot about it later, both of which seems unlikely.

        The second guess on the matter was that it could have been a child standing behind the man, and that the leg just looks adult size because we see the front of one leg and the back of another... and the eye peeking at the photographer is exactly that. If true, however, not only did the child have a very large head -- the eye looks adult sized -- but neither the photographer nor the poster (who, once again, was in the photo) noticed a child hanging out, which sounds very unlikely.

        In both cases, there is an unstated assumption that the person posting the story was either wrong or lying about the strange details in the picture; and, strangely, there is also an unstated assumption that the poster was telling the truth about the origins of the photo to begin with!

        Unfortunately, though the pictures -- and to a lessor extent, the story -- have spread to many websites, there is nothing positive that can be said. Due to the fact the picture has no public display I can trace earlier than the 2009 website, it is very possible that it could have been produced with Photoshop... some 'ghost photos' can be traced backwards far enough to predate the existence of the software. It's equally possible that the photo is perfectly real and vintage, but completely staged. And with no actual information about the person who posted the story, these suspicions are hard to ignore.

        This is the ongoing problem with all 'paranormal' photographs: they are only actually worth as much as the story and confirmable details that come with them, no matter how interesting they look. So for now, this account is marked as "Unreliable" until such a time as either more is known of the person who posted the story, or until evidence of the original event and investigation that can be dated back to around 1972 appears.

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