Top 20 Creepiest Unsolved Photo Mysteries



Top 20 Creepiest Unsolved Photo Mysteries

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp & Shane Fraser
Prepare to be shocked. For this list, we'll be looking at creepy, unsettling, or bizarre photos with unexplained backstories. Our countdown includes Tank Man, Grand Canyon Grim Reaper, The Babushka Lady, and more!

Top 20 Creepiest Unsolved Photo Mysteries

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 creepiest unsolved photo mysteries.

For this list, we’ll be looking at creepy, unsettling, or bizarre photos with unexplained backstories.

Do you have an explanation for any of these pictures? Let us know in the comments below!

#20: White Lady of Worstead Church

A couple’s trip to Norfolk’s Worstead Church produced what’s arguably one of the most convincing ghost pictures in modern history. Peter Berthelot snapped a photo of his wife praying alone on one of the church benches. When the photo was developed, it showed that the wife was not alone at all, as there appears to be a whitish figure sitting behind her. Further investigation revealed that the ghost of a 1800s healer, called the White Lady, was long believed to haunt the church grounds, and that the photo apparently captured the entity. Diane Berthelot believed in the validity of the photo so much that it resurrected her religious verve.

#19: The Extra Hand

Back in 2013, Reddit hosted a thread about “Glitch in the Matrix” events that its users had experienced. One of the most popular stories from the thread came from user thfrbiddn1. They included a photo of four young boys, each of whom can be seen making a hand gesture. On the right side of the photo, between the shirtless boy and the one in black, is a mysterious hand giving a thumbs up. The hand obviously doesn’t belong to any of the boys, and the poster claimed to have no idea who it belonged to. So how the heck did that mystery thumb come to be? Or do we even want to know?

#18: Grand Canyon Grim Reaper

This photo surfaced on Reddit in the early 21st century and has been the subject of much scrutiny ever since. The poster claimed that the photo, taken sometime in the ‘70s or ‘80s, shows his uncle standing on a rock ledge overlooking the Grand Canyon. What they didn’t realize—until the photo was developed, that is—was that a figure was standing in the foliage behind him. The person appears to be wearing a black cloak, looks much taller than a human, and very much resembles… the Grim Reaper. The uncle, and his friends who took the photo, claim that they never saw the figure and were the only ones occupying that spot of the canyon. Anybody else have goosebumps?

#17: McMinnville UFO Photos

They’re among the most iconic UFO photos ever taken! In 1950, Paul and Evelyn Trent noticed a mysterious object hovering over their farm in McMinnville, Oregon. Paul was able to snap several photos before it zipped off. The photos caused quite a stir, appearing in Life magazine and newspapers and igniting a debate that’s never really ended. Various explanations have been suggested. Physicist Bruce Maccabee argues that the UFO was a “real, physical” object. Sceptics are nonetheless convinced they were faked. The truth may be out there - but for now, it remains a mystery.

#16: The Hook Island Sea Monster

Located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, Hook Island is one of the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. It made international news in 1964 after a man named Robert Le Serrec released a series of photos he took in Hook Island’s Stonehaven Bay. The photos seemed to depict a massive tadpole-like creature under the surface of the water. A small boat with a human passenger can be seen near the monster’s tail, giving the photo a sense of scale. It’s by far one of the most popular photographs in cryptozoology and has been widely discussed and theorized about for decades.

#15: The Hampton Court Ghost

By the River Thames in the Greater London Area is Hampton Court, a popular royal court palace dating back to the early 16th century. In the winter of 2003, security were continuously called to the palace’s Clock Court, as a fire escape door kept opening on its own. Upon looking at the security footage, they were met with a horrifying sight. What looks like a cloaked and skeletal figure can be seen opening and closing the doors. That very same day, a tourist had reported seeing a ghostly figure in the exact same area. If this is indeed a ghost, then the Hampton Court Palace needs an exorcist.

#14: The Falcon Lake Incident

Canada is home to one of the most documented and convincing UFO stories in modern history. A man named Stefan Michalak claimed to have been burned by a UFO near Manitoba’s Falcon Lake in May 1967. In fact, the supposed attack has become such an integral part of Canadian legend that it was depicted on the Royal Canadian Mint’s $20 silver coin. The famous picture shows Michalak sitting in a bed with numerous circles burned into his skin in a grid-like pattern. One skeptic believes that Michalak was injured while prospecting for ore and that he lied about a UFO to scare other prospectors away. However, that’s just one theory of many. The truth remains unknown.

#13: The Skunk Ape

Every region has its own unique cryptozoological creature, and Florida has the Skunk Ape. As its name suggests, the Skunk Ape is said to resemble a walking ape, specifically an orangutan, and carries a horrible odor. It’s essentially the Sasquatch of the east, and a stinky one at that. The most famous photo of the Skunk Ape is known as the Myakka photo, and it depicts a large, black, and hairy creature with red eyes and sharp bottom teeth. The photo was taken by a Florida woman who noticed that a creature was stealing apples from her backyard. Believing it to be an escaped orangutan, the woman notified the police. However, the creature had escaped by the time they arrived.

#12: The Backseat Ghost

In 1959 Mabel Chinnery took one of the most famous ghost photographs of all time. Chinnery was visiting her mother’s grave and had brought along a camera. She took a spontaneous photo of her husband, who was waiting in the car nearby. When the picture was developed, the couple noticed the eerie visage of a mysterious person sitting in the backseat. The person appears to be wearing glasses, and their white collar shirt is readily apparent. Chinnery claimed that the mystery person looks exactly like her deceased mother. Some skeptics believe this a case of double exposure or some type of reflection or trick of the light, but others aren’t so sure.

#11: S.S. Watertown Haunting

In 1924, two crewmembers of the SS Watertown died mysteriously while cleaning a cargo tank. The deaths were attributed to leaked gas fumes in the closed quarters, and since the ship was nowhere near land, the bodies were buried at sea. In the days following the burial, the crew reported seeing the faces of the dead in the waves, and several photos were taken of the water. All of them came out normal, except for this one. What’s more, this photo reportedly survived several investigations by experts, who concluded it’s never been doctored. While a few articles, like those in The Fortean Times, claim to debunk the photo, conclusive evidence against its veracity has yet to be agreed upon.

#10: Hessdalen Lights

Since at least the 1930s, strange lights have appeared in the skies around Norway’s Hessdalen valley; balls of light of different colors that hover or move sharply across the night skies. Occurring with alarming regularity between 1981-84, the lights attracted tourists, who could see the lights 15-20 times a week on average. One photo captured the phenomenon incredibly, with the lights appearing as a giant ethereal cluster with a prismed rainbow reflected underneath. Though UFOs are often cited as the supposed culprit, scientists have come up with several hypotheses ranging from the combustion of natural elements to the ionization of certain particles. The lights still occur in the early 21st century, but less frequently than before.

#9: Specter of Newby Church

This 1963 photo taken of the Newby Church in North Yorkshire, UK, features an unexpected figure in the right corner. The specter, the supposed ghost of a 16th century monk, appears to have a shroud over his face and his hands in a position of worship or mourning. Experts have examined the photo, and though the figure was theorized to be a case of double exposure, it was concluded that this is not the case and that the photo is genuine. But that’s not even the spookiest part: in relation to the items in the photo, the figure would be nine feet tall.

#8: Goddard’s Squadron Ghost [aka The Ghost of Freddy Jackson]

If you’re a connoisseur of ghost photos, this is your holy grail. Freddy Jackson was reportedly an air mechanic who was accidentally killed by an airplane propeller. Two days after the accident, the squadron of Sir Victor Goddard took a photo together without Freddy, but sure enough Freddy turned up when the photo was developed. In the back row on the left side, the face of the dead mechanic – not wearing a hat - appears behind one of the soldier’s heads. Believers insist that this photo is evidence of the presence of spirits in our physical world, especially considering it was produced in 1919, many years before modern photo tampering software could’ve rendered such a believable fake.

#7: The Babushka Lady

No JFK conspiracy would be complete without the Babushka Lady. Many photos and videos of the assassination capture the lady in close proximity to the attack, including one taken moments after the shooting. Curiously, she does not duck or flee when it occurs; instead she is shown filming from a vantage point that would have provided priceless footage - which is why everyone tried to find her. Despite numerous claims by individuals, Babushka Lady’s identity has never been confirmed. The mystery surrounding her identity, attire, and actions puts her in the center of the conspiracy, with some thinking she might have had a role in the attack itself.

#6: Black Knight Satellite

This photo, released by NASA in 1998, shows a large irregularly shaped object orbiting the Earth. Conspiracy theorists believe this is an alien satellite that’s been surveying our planet for 13,000 years. Their evidence runs all the way back to Nikola Tesla’s 1899 radio experiment in which extraterrestrial sounds were recorded, and the supposed satellite has been the alleged culprit for nearly every unexplainable radio signal in the years since. Space journalist and former NASA engineer James Oberg offers a much more reasonable explanation: it’s a thermal blanket confirmed lost on one of the space missions, or some other type of debris.

#5: The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

For 400 years, Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England has served as the seat of the Townshend family. Within its walls is the purported ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole, the sister of Britain’s first Prime Minister and wife of the violent Charles Townshend. It is also the setting of what’s perhaps the most famous ghost photograph of all time. Taken by Hubert C. Provand and Indre Shira, the photo seemingly depicts the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole descending the estate’s main staircase. It was spontaneously taken after Shira noticed a misty form on the stairs. The famous photo was published in Country Life magazine in December 1936 and became a sensation.

#4: The Deceased Husband

This famous photograph shows an elderly woman sitting on a chair and posing for the camera. Standing directly behind her is an elderly man. The story goes that the woman had been suffering from dementia and had been speaking out loud to her long-deceased husband. The woman’s daughter took a photo of her mother, and upon development saw the ghostly image of her deceased father. She also uploaded a black and white photo of her mother and father from their younger years, and the man in question shares an eerie resemblance to the one seen in the ghost photo.

#3: Tulip Staircase Ghost

In 1966, a former clergyman from White Rock, British Columbia, paid a visit to the Queen’s House in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. Believing he was alone, he took a photo of the historic Tulip Staircase. But, after the development of said photo, a mysterious figure is seen. An unmistakable entity, shrouded and despaired, looks like it’s holding onto the railing and trying to climb the staircase. The section of the museum has long been rumored to be haunted, with strange paranormal phenomena having been reported in prior years. The photo was reportedly submitted for examination, and the findings stated that no alterations had been made.

#2: The Tank Man

One of the most famous photographs in human history depicts an unknown man standing in front of a column of tanks in China’s Tiananmen Square. Taken in June of 1989, the photo remains censored in China, as is all mention of the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which hundreds to thousands of civilians were killed. Despite being an iconic photograph, the fate and identity of the Tank Man remains unknown. Some believe he was taken and executed by the Chinese Communist Party. Others believe that he escaped to Taiwan and became an archaeologist. Yet others believe that he was never in danger and continued to live a normal life on the Chinese mainland. It remains a tantalizing, fascinating mystery.

#1: The 29th Victim

While preparing for a movie about serial killer Dean Corll, filmmaker Josh Vargas went through a box belonging to Corll’s accomplice, Elmer Wayne Henley. Henley, Corll, and a third accomplice named David Brooks were the perpetrators of the Houston Mass Murders, which saw at least 28 young men kidnapped and killed. The box was hidden away by Henley’s mother after he was sent to prison. Inside the box was a grainy Polaroid depicting a young boy. The boy appears to be restrained, and Dean Corll’s tool box can be seen in the foreground. This unknown boy may have been another victim. Vargas visited Henley in prison and asked about the boy, and Henley admitted that numerous victims have not been identified.