Proof of the afterlife? Spooky snaps taken years before photoshop could prove ghosts really do exist

With image editing software and ghost picture apps it’s now easy to fake spooky snaps but these eerie photographs – taken years before photo-manipulation was just a click away – could be proof that ghouls really do exist.

The collection of unsettling images date back as early as 1936 and show enigmatic figures appearing in otherwise innocent pictures, making it hard not to believe in all things paranormal.

One black and white photograph, taken in 1956, appears to show a person sat at church pew in Eastry, Kent, although bank manager Mr Bootman, who took the photo, maintains the church was empty at the time.

Pic by Mary Evans Picture Library/Caters News

Another image shows a figure at an upstairs window of a Victorian house, known as ‘The House of Suicides’ where up to 20 people were believed to have taken their own lives.

Some say it is the ghost of Ann Hinchfield, who jumped from the house in West Ealing, London in 1886.

In the collection, there is also a colour picture taken by Carlisle fireman Jim Templeton in May 1964.

Pic by Mary Evans Picture Library/Caters News

He was photographing his daughter, Elizabeth, on Burgh Marsh, overlooking the Solway Firth in Cumbria when an enigmatic figure, which looked like a spaceman, appeared behind her.

Another picture was taken by Reverend Hardy from Canada, during a trip to the Queen’s House in London in June 1966.

A phantom seems to be resting on the staircase but the photographer saw nothing at the time.

And in December 1981, Sybell Corbet’s photograph of the library at Combermere, taken between 2pm and 3pm, seems to show a figure, resembling Lord Combermere, at the time he was being buried.

A further image, which has since become one of the most famous ‘ghost photographs’ in the world, shows a figure unknowingly photographed on the staircase at Raynham Hall in Norfolk.

Some believe the apparition may be the spirit of Dorothy Walpole, known as ‘The Brown Lady’.

Pic by Mary Evans Picture Library/Caters News

Another picture shows a phantom priest photographed at a church in Arundel, Sussex.

And a final image taken in 1924 appears to show sailors Courtney and Meehan of American ship S.S. ‘Watertown’ who were accidentally killed, then buried at sea.

Their faces are thought to be seen in the photograph following their ship.

The creepy and unsettling images have been released by the Mary Evans Picture Library and are from their paranormal archive.

Hilary Evans, who passed away in 2011, was co-founder of the Mary Evans Picture Library and was also an avid investigator and collector of the paranormal.

Pic by Mary Evans Picture Library/Caters News

Tom Gillmor, head of content at Mary Evans Picture Library, said: “Hilary’s wide-ranging interest focused on what he called ‘anomalous phenomena’ – UFOs, ghosts, alien abduction, parapsychology, magic, out-of-body experiences, Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, fairies, folklore and even so-called ‘street-light interference’ – the unconscious ‘power’ of some people to turn off street lights simply by approaching them.

“He adopted an open-minded, scholarly tone to all his investigations, often concluding that the key to explaining mysterious events lay with the person undergoing those events, rather than with some outside force.

“The range of his scholarship through time and across phenomena meant he was able to see connections no one else could.”