2017, October 31: A Surprise at the Museum

On November 3, 2017, the Belfast Live website posted a story that was apparently submitted by a 45-year-old man named Jonathan Hanna, who had a strange experience on October 31, 2017, Halloween Day. That day found Hanna touring the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, Northern Ireland. Hanna took a lot of photos during the visit and, at one point, Hanna took a nice shot of the interior of a train carriage. After getting home and reviewing the shots, Hanna found this:

A not so empty carriage...
A not quite empty carriage... [Larger version here]

A close-up of the strange figures.

        Hanna stated he was alone in the carriage when the shot was taken, and he appears to have only really noted the figures in the carriage after he posted a number of shots from the museum to his Facebook profile. Belfast Live quoted Hanna: "It spooked me, I could not believe it. A few people have asked if it was photoshopped but I don't know how to do that."

        The two figures are odd indeed. While the one on the left looks pretty classically spooky, down to the hollow eyes, the figure on the right is very sharply defined and has a reflection on the floor, as well as apparently wearing modern sneakers. Overall, the picture looks very similar to the results of a long exposure photo with people moving in and out of the shot; being that it was Halloween, then a child wearing a mask could explain the figure on the left, and the sharpness of the figure on the right could simply be because they sat still longer. Newer iPhones are capable of long exposure shots; though the general lack of blur would also indicate the use of a tripod... but that would also all mean that the shot was purposeful, not a surprise discovery made later. So it is a very curious shot, if the event really does just come down to taking a picture and then posting it online.

Curiouser and Curiouser...

        I looked up Jonathan Hanna's Facebook page to confirm he actually existed -- it has to be checked -- which also confirmed he had in fact made the trip and taken the photos, all of which were posted to his profile on October 31, 2017. In the comments on the photo above, Hanna told his friends that he didn't know how the figures got in the picture, and that he planned to run it by the local news; and the fact that Hanna also posted pictures of a newspaper featuring his ghost image on November 3 -- the same day that Belfast Live posted the story to their website, remember -- shows that he succeeded in getting the attention of journalists.

        While I was looking at the original post for the strange photo I also took time to inspect the other photos Hanna had posted from the museum, just in case there were any other oddities to make note of... which is why I found the second picture, below. When I spotted the odd figure, I first gave it a good close-up look -- then I sent Hanna a message to let him know it was there, noting that he had either caught a second strange figure at the museum, or his camera was having problems with moving figures. Here's the second shot -- look near the benches:

Another oddity...
Another odd figure in a different shot... [Larger version here]

Details shot
A close-up of the odd figure.

It's hard to tell if it's an incomplete figure of a woman, or if it's a fog or shape obscuring her; I'd rather hoped Hanna would have some recollection about this second shot that might help clear up the question.

        Instead, shortly after I sent Hanna the message about the odd figure in this second photo -- less than a half-hour, actually -- all of the pictures from the museum that day vanished from public view; so Hanna either removed them, or made them private. This seems an odd reaction to having another figure pointed out when Hanna purposely advertised his other photo to newspapers, implying he didn't mind the public attention. So either we have another strange object and Hanna doesn't want more attention, or we have evidence of practicing camera tricks that didn't work out and that wasn't supposed to be seen. Unfortunately, that's where the matter stands for now.

        It's a good thing I document everything and save copies of pictures before I ask people questions, huh?

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