2013, September 10 (pre): The Fort Worth Museum Spectre

On September 10, 2013, a Reddit user called 'KRAMERisCRUNK' posted a strange picture that they took at the Fort Worth Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, and asked for other users' opinions regarding what it showed. KRAMERisCRUNK said they had taken their niece to the museum, and the picture was shot in a section that was a play grocery store for kids... it was only after they had gotten home that the niece asked what the odd thing in the picture was. Have a look:

Full Shot
A strange figure [Larger version here]

A closer view [Larger version here]

Very Close Up
An extreme closeup [Larger version here]

The other forum users suggested lots of possible answers -- many jokingly -- including a few accusations of faking the shot with Photoshop software, citing the fact the figure is in the center of the shot as if it was the main point to the picture to begin with.

        Another idea put forward by some forum users (and less suspicious) was that the shot was of a normal person but that the picture was taken exactly as they moved, leading to distortion that makes the figure look strange. It was also suggested by those favoring the camera distortion theory that the figure was either just a blonde woman wearing a parka putting stuff from the cart onto the shelves, or possibly such a woman leaning over a child that was in the small sized shopping cart. It was also suggested that it could be a child standing in one of the carts and covered with a blanket of some sort, or maybe wearing a costume from a costume share area of the museum.

       However, a look at the full picture shows that the child in green is blurred, as are the feet of the child in the blue shirt... so this is the normal blurring caused by kids in motion. The strange figure must have moved very fast at exactly the right time if that is how the distortion was achieved.

        The forum clearly included a lot of people local to the Fort Worth Museum because, among other things, one of the people posting was the parent of one of the other kids in the museum:

"Holy crap! The kid in the green shirt on the right is my son. He laughed when he saw this. He says he remembers someone there, but nobody unusual or memorable. It's just what happens during a long exposure when people move... Things get weird."

This second comment, while a reasonable observation, ignored that KRAMERisCRUNK never stated that the picture was a long exposure to begin with... and if it was a long exposure, then every figure in the picture would show distortion, not just one.

        Another local opinion came from a person claiming to actually work at the museum, who's statement did nothing to clear up the matter:

"Hello, employee of the museum in question here. When we had the Titanic exhibit, our security guards would relay stories about how the 1st class bedroom mockup would randomly have its blankets messed up as if someone had been in the bed. Then the boiler room portion would have some of the boiler doors opened up."

        A second shot taken that day was introduced into the forum, but with no details about if it had been taken before or after the odd shot; it certainly shows three of the same kids in it as the strange picture, so they had to have been taken around the same time.

An earlier shot
An additional shot from the museum [Larger version here]

It's possible that the abandoned cart in the picture is the same one the strange figure was near in the first photo. Not much was ever revealed about the original photo or the conditions it was taken under... and while everyone in the forum agreed it was a creepy image, not much more was said about the story.

        At the time.

        Two years later, on October 8, 2015, the story reappeared as a post in the Week in Weird website... and this time, with a larger viewing audience than the original forum, the story was quickly picked up by various news and entertainment sites. Other than an increased viewing of the photo, a number of skeptic sites and groups chimed in with all the same theories the original forum group had suggested, with most concluding the figure was that of a woman wearing a shawl in the darkened corner and distorted by the digital camera's inability to track her motion. Predictably, the skeptic groups all declared "case closed" or the matter "debunked", and generally patted themselves on the back for having the right answer.

        But it does make me wonder... have a look at the full picture which shows that the child in green is blurred, as are the feet of the child in the blue shirt. If this is the normal blurring caused by kids in motion, then the strange figure must have moved very fast indeed, at exactly the right time, to achieve the distortion that's shown!

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