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24 September 2014

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Is this a photo of the Wem ghost?
Copyright Tony O'Rahilly / Fortean Picture Library
Copyright: Tony O'Rahilly / Fortean Picture Library
This photograph was taken by local resident Tony O'Rahilly on 19th November, 1995, as Wem Town Hall burned to the ground. When O'Rahilly took the photo, neither he, nor other onlookers, saw the little girl in the doorway.

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O'Rahilly claims there are no special effects on this picture.

It was taken with a 200mm lens from across the road.

At the time O'Rahilly and other onlookers were stopped by police and firefighters from approaching the burning town hall.

It was only after the image was developed that O'Rahilly saw the little girl.

He immediately sent it to the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena.

They, in turn, sent the photo and the negative to Dr. Vernon Harrison, former president of the Royal Photographic Society.

Dr. Harrison analysed both the photo and negative and reported that he was satisfied that the picture had not been doctored.

"The negative is a straight forward piece of black-&-white work and shows no sign of having been tampered with," said Harrison.

However, Dr. Harrison, still considers himself something of a sceptic and suggested that the image of the girl may just be a convenient trick of the light - with smoke, flame and shadow creating an optical illusion at the moment the photographer took his picture.

Who is the Ghost of Wem Town Hall?

Fire ravaged the town hall once before, in 1677. The historical record shows that the 1677 fire was caused by a young girl called Jane Churm, who started the fire accidentally when she dropped a candle.

Since that date, it has always been maintained that the Town Hall is haunted by the ghost of Jane Churm.

Despite the international publicity and visits from teams of 'ghostbusters' the image of a woman's face on the pictures has never been properly explained.

Question is - which is the most unbelievable? An extraordinarily coincidental trick of timing and light - or the vague possibility that spirits roam the earth - and one just happened to be caught on film?

The Wem Ghost (Copyright Tony O'Rahilly / Fortean Picture Library
Does this photograph prove the existence of ghosts?
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