2007 (ca.): One Too Many in the Coffin

The Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast, Ireland, was constructed between 1843-1845 and is the only remaining Victorian Era prison in Northern Ireland. It was closed as a prison in 1996, but in 2003 it was decided to renovate and re-open the prison as a tourist attraction. Of course, it needed some fixing up before that could happen... razor-wire had to be removed, rooms needed painting, and numerous other repairs and changes were needed to prepare the old prison for a touring public.

        Around nine months after the Crumlin Road Gaol was officially re-opened to tourists in September 2007, a strange photo was shared by the Ghost Study website with an odd story. Ghost Study posted the photo and account they had received in June 2008. According to the author of the account, who only identified themselves as "Chris" in Belfast, they had received the photo from a woman connected to the man in the picture, who remains unidentified. Chris stated that the man was a painter who was working with the crew doing renovation work at Crumlin Road Gaol. He and some others were in cell 13, where condemned prisoners had to wait for execution, when he hopped into the coffin as a joke. His friends took pictures with their phones. The reason the picture was sent to ghost study was simple... there is an extra face in the coffin with the painter.

A humorous picture...

... except. [Picture sources here]

        Chris gives no information on when the anomaly was first noticed, or if any other phones took pictures of a similar nature... we have just the one photo, and Chris' story.

        Chris went on to explain "There have been many terrible things that have happened in the prison. Many people feel a sudden coolness come over them when they enter the execution room and many have even heard cries." To be honest though, I have not found a single claim for the prison being haunted that pre-dates this photo. If the photo was indeed taken during the renovation, then it could range anytime from 2003-2007... but I suspect 2007 would be the most likely, because painting work would be among the last things being done to open the prison for tourists.

        Given the amount of missing details in this story, there is a lot of room for the photo to be a fake. I'm not saying it necessarily is, but I'm bothered by two details. First, the ghostly face is larger than the actual man's face, though it could be argued that it is just closer to the camera than the man is... after all, we can see through it. More bothersome to me, however, is the lack of granularity in the face. The rest of the picture has a very rough dot pattern to it, but the ghostly face is much smoother; this could mean it was introduced after the fact in a photo editing software.

        The Crumlin Road Gaol added a convention center in 2012, and this appears to be when their official website opened as well; and certainly from the start of the website, they've advertised 'paranormal tours' alongside their more standard tour packages... but they don't seem to have ever featured this image on their website.

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