2014: The Sixth Swimmer
On March 4, 2015, the Toowoomba Ghost Chasers received an unusual picture and story posted to their Facebook page; and within days the story went international as it was spread through internet news services. The post came from a woman named Kim Davidson, and showed five people swimming with an anomalous bright object in the middle of the group.
The white shape in the middle shouldn't be there. [Larger version here.]
Davidson stated that there were only three children there that day, and that when the photo was taken "there was nothing between us," meaning that Davidson herself is one of the adults in the photo. Counting the second adult swimming and the person who took the photo, there were six people there that day... yet the bright object was not seen until the photo was later examined.
The picture had been taken about a year previous to Davidson sending it to the Toowoomba Ghost Chasers, though an exact date was never given (hence I set the date as '2014'). The family was playing in Lockyer Creek, in southeast Brisbane, Australia, at a location called Murphy's Hole. After the strange object was found in the photograph, Davidson thought back to that trip and remembered that one of the older girls "had trouble in the water on two occasions that day"... and found herself wondering if that could be related to the strange photograph. Davidson and Jessie Lu -- the other adult in the photo -- "had two IT specialists look at this photo." A viewer of the Facebook post posted a reply that included a clipping from an old local newspaper which told of a 13-year-old girl who drowned in Murphy's Hole in 1915, which the viewer felt might be related to the strange photograph.
Six days later, on March 10, the story was published in the Toowoomba Chronicle's online news service, who presented it pretty much as I have here. One day later, the story had gone international... but with a few spectacular alterations. The headline in the Irish Mirror on March 11 was "Family photobombed by ghost of little girl who drowned in 1915." Readers were told "some observers have claimed" they could discern either hair buns or horns on the strange figure; and that unnamed "paranormal experts claim it is the ghost of a girl who drowned there in 1915." Davidson's comments regarding one of the girls having trouble in the water that day was transformed into a claim that she "said there were a series of unexplained incidents on the day that could have been caused by an angry supernatural presence." The paper added that a person named Max Meara theorized the object might just be sunlight reflecting off water that was splashed up by one of the children's arms just as the picture was taken... which would be interesting timing, and a very compact splash.
Perhaps not surprisingly, after the story got international circulation the original post by Davidson at the Toowoomba Ghost Chasers Facebook page was pulled down by Davidson herself, due to a large number of 'negative replies' that appeared after the questionable rewrites of the story directed people to the site.