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The ghost of Stewart Bale

30 May 2008 by Sam

Anne Gleave, our curator of photographic archives, has had an interesting phonecall from a sharp-eyed lady, who discovered a mysterious presence in the Stewart Bale photograph of the Anglican Cathedral under construction from the current Metropolis exhibition.

In the middle of the photograph there is a figure walking along the street, but only their legs are visible. Anne says this is probably the result of somebody walking past during a long exposure photograph.

Update 23/06/2008: After further examination of the image Anne has this update: “It could be that the figure was standing approximately in one place with the top half moving more than the lower half and a slightly long exposure only captured the lower half as the legs were more still. It is also possible that a dye may have been used on the negative to obscure a figure that was not wanted in the photograph; however, examination of the negative does not show any obvious signs of dye use. The detail of the image on the website does indicate a certain change of tone, as if a dye may have been used to remove the top half of the figure but then the question is if a dye was used, why wasn’t it used to remove the feet; it does seem to be a bit of a mystery.”

However there could be a more eerie explanation – after all, the mysterious figure is walking past the graveyard…

See what you think in this picture.

detail of photograph with a pair of legs walking along street

The camera never lies – but sometimes it only captures half the truth!

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