2014, March 28 (ca.): Ghost Girl of the Myrtles Plantation

It first appeared on the internet, quietly, on March 28, 2014. The odd photo was one of a group of photos posted to the Paladin Paranormal group's Facebook page, all taken at the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, by a number of different people. Though the photo itself was given in four different versions in this upload -- a full shot, a closeup, and then both of those rendered with a bas relief effect -- not much was actually said about the picture. Have a look:

Porch Window
Something in the window... [Larger version here]

Closer View
A closer view, brightened

        The only relevent comment was on the post of the detailed shot above: "The girl in the window. Notice how the wood goes across her neck but the lower part of her dress is coming out the window."

        It wasn't until around October 7 that a little more information appeared about the photo, when it was posted to its own page within the website of the Myrtles Plantation itself. The plantation is a tourist attraction with overnight rooms available, and has a reputation for being haunted; one they are not shy about advertising. With that in mind, a somewhat censored version of the photo above was posted to the plantation's website, where it was explained that it had been sent to them by Dave Young, founder of the Paladin Paranormal group.

Cropped and 'protected'...
[Larger version here]

        According to the plantation's website, the picture shows a teacher with some of her students who had visited the plantation and later discovered the strange image; the unnamed teacher then submitted it to the Paladin Paranormal group. Dave Young, we are told, sent the photo on to other 'professionals,' including the Society of Psychical Research in England, founded in 1882... and this is then followed by a number of quotes regarding the photo that, as a whole, describe it as inexplicable by normal means, especially for the digital camera that was being used. Here's a sampling:

  • "I see no reason why this type of camera should in any way be responsible for this strange phenomenon."
  • "I wish to get as many experienced eyes on this one as possible which at first glance appears genuinely impressive (and somewhat spooky as well)."
  • "Photographers have looked at it pixel by pixel, and they could not find any doctoring."

It's important to note, though, that the Myrtles Plantation page does not attribute any of their quotes to an actual person or group... nor do they mention if they ever actually heard back from the Society of Psychical Research.

Pixel by Pixel...

        That's an interesting phrase to use to describe an expert being stymied by this photo; because when I look 'pixel by pixel,' I see two distinct things that send up warning flags for me.

        First, if the figure is in fact a ghost, then she suffers from the problem of not knowing if she is behind the window or in front of it... because she's trying to do both, badly. The details of the figure, such as the stripes on the dress, cross over the wood between the panels in the window, placing the figure in front of the window. Yet the actual figure itself cuts off neatly at the edge of the larger wooden border to the window, so it only exists where there is a pane of glass, placing the figure behind the window. The overall effect looks to be that someone introduced the figure to the picture and trimmed it to be in the window, but were too lazy or negligent to also remove the details from the wood between the window panels.

        Second, the ghostly figure is not just hazy and transparent... it's pixelated. The figure of the ghost appears to be at a lower resolution than anything else in the picture, which again suggests it was added after the fact.

        Given that the Myrtles Plantation's website clearly states the camera used was a digital camera means that the picture had to be transferred digitally to reach Young at Paladin Paranormal, either as an email or on a USB drive, so there was an unknown amount of time between the taking of the picture, and the arrival of it at Paladin Paranormal... so there was likely plenty of time for the image to be doctored before it was sent, if we suppose it to be doctored.

        Now, perhaps the actual circumstances of the incident -- the taking of the picture, the discovery, and the transfer to Paladin Paranormal -- would exclude the possibility of the picture being altered... but none of these details were ever revealed either by Paladin Paranormal when first posting the image up, nor by the Myrtles Plantation in their page about the matter. All we have is the picture.

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