Glowing green glitch or ghost?

A photographer finds something odd in his snapshots of an official event.

Look: Was a ghost spotted during Irish President’s visit to Coventry?

Telegraph photographer Joe Bailey had quite a shock when he went though his pictures taken at today’s Irish President visit to Coventry.

For in those images he found a ghoulish green ‘ghost’ hanging out behind Michael D Higgins when the leader was addressing the city’s Medieval Guildhall.

He didn’t notice it, they didn’t notice it. Ghost? Or how about a camera malfunction? Let’s go to the history of the place: St Mary’s Guildhall once held Mary, Queen of Scots as a prisoner. It has a reputation for being haunted by a ‘grey lady’, a little girl, and a monk that supposedly appeared during a meeting of Freemans several decades ago.

Here is the photo

Supposed ghost appear during the Irish's President's speech at Medieval Guildhall.

Supposed ghost appear during the Irish’s President’s speech at Medieval Guildhall.

Note that this photo shows a reflection in the floor (and is a different photo).


Can anyone with some expertise help with an explanation?

No single photo or probably any amount of photos these days can be good evidence of ghosts. There are too many other options for explanations. If you can’t seriously investigate all the normal explanations (and you probably can’t reproduce the event to test it), then you can’t conclude “ghosts” or paranormal. Besides, since when are ghosts green?

Here is the historic picture of the hooded monk. Yep, looks weird, but again, there is no way to discern what this is by just one picture. The details are lost to time. We cannot reasonably concluded ghost just because it fits with the reputation enhanced by the location. There is still no solid evidence of ghosts in any form, hooded or not.

A hooded monk appears during a meeting of the Coventry Freemans.

A hooded monk appears during a meeting of the Coventry Freemans.

  20 comments for “Glowing green glitch or ghost?

  1. Nos482
    April 12, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    “Besides, since when are ghosts green?”

    Since 1984… June 7 to be precise.

  2. April 12, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    >Besides, since when are ghosts green?

    Duh, Ghostbusters.

    I say this is a reflection from a flash photo taken from a different angle. Notice the flash reflection on the chair frame of the woman on the left of the photo. It takes on a vaguely human outline because humans are blocking part of the light. The green cast may be in the background. Is there a sheet of glass in front of the tapestry on the right? The light appears to be coming from the lower right foreground. Notice that the curve of the “ghost” matches the curve of the chair back and the mayor’s left arm.

  3. Michael Polich
    April 12, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    It’s a reflection from the Irish President’s shirt and tie. Notice he has on a green tie and the reflection is a mirror image of his tie.

  4. Lagaya1
    April 12, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    The man directly behind the president thinks he got away with silently farting. Not so, apparently.

  5. Lagaya1
    April 13, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    Here’s my real guess…

    The tapestry behind them was made between 1495 and 1500. I’m guessing that it is now covered with a plexiglass or glass cover to protect it. (There seems to be a visable seam behind them, that would not be part of the tapestry itself, perhaps a part of the plexiglass.) If this is covered with glass or plexiglass, it would be reflective.

    Just a guess…

  6. Lagaya1
    April 13, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    Here is a photo of the tapestry. They are located right in the center of it. There are no visible seams in the tapestry where they are sitting.

  7. Bo Gardiner
    April 13, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    Sigh. The desperation is real. The tapestry is behind glass, as is described and seen in photos at this link:

    Another photo of the tapestry with reflections on the glass:

  8. Corwin
    April 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    The empty chair matches
    the green shape (right side of shape/left shoulder of chair). Not sure about the source of light. There is lots of stained glass and even a crystal pitcher of water on the table. Camera flash filtered through the pitcher maybe?

  9. AlEck
    April 13, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    I think Mike Polich had it right with a reflection of his tie. They are almost mirror images.

  10. cre8tivewmn
    April 13, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    It is the wrong shape for his tie, but it could be a reflection of someone’s shawl or scarf.

  11. Mark Richards
    April 13, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    It’s very obviously the photographer’s own flash: you can see other artefacts of it in the blown out highlights on the empty chairs and the hard shadow thrown by the bald head in the front row.

    I’m frankly appalled that a professional photographer should get ‘quite a shock’ from such a rudimentary lighting effect.

  12. Frederick
    April 13, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    And you can clearly see the shape of the tie, I guess you nailed it.

  13. Gary
    April 14, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    I see a bit of green reflection of stained glass in a photo at the top link. It’s obvious in the original photos that its a greenish light coming from outside the room reflected in the clear panel. It’s blocked in part by someone standing out of frame.

  14. Joni
    April 14, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Dark room, want to highlite the target (in this caes the speakers face)… what to use?????? Oh, I don’t know… how about a focused beam flash attachment?


    Obviously the shiny table top behind the speakers is helping a lot too.

    Rocket science is my specialty. Joni

  15. Lee
    April 14, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Also look at the green in the coat of arms in the front of the podium. That caught my attention also.

  16. Sockatume
    April 15, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    It’s a reflection of the photographer’s own flash. The tapestry behind them is very clearly in a large frame, and that’ll be museum-grade antireflective glass in front of it. When antireflective glass throws a reflection it usually has a green or purple hue.

  17. Sol
    April 16, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    I agree with Jim Bell and Corwin: The right side of the green blob is definitely the shadow of the empty chair, and it’s exactly the same in every shot. The left side of the green blob, then, certainly appears to be the shadow of the mayor’s arm (or perhaps the man behind him in one or two shots), and it is different in every shot. I agree that the most likely light source is the photographer’s own flash, but these shadows are coming from a light at the lower right, well below the camera, whereas the predominant light in the photo is coming from the left, so it could be a different light. I think it would take more info than these photos provide to completely solve the mystery, but since it’s just a reflection… who cares.

  18. James Wright
    April 16, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    I’m agreeing with the comments that it is obviously some form of reflected light. You can clearly see the chair’s shadow cut into the green. There is even a highlight showing on the chair. The same green light can be seen shining on the floor at the base of the stand holding the water.

    Does anyone think light is refracting through the water pitcher?

  19. David Parker
    April 23, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    OK, here’s what I’m noticing/figuring.

    We don’t know much of the room geometry here, beyond that which is documented by the photo. There is no mirror-imagery going on, at least not from the POV of the camera. The green shape on the wall and the green shape on the floor don’t really match at all–look closely at the curves, angles and proportions, Same with the more unlikely tie, which is also the wrong hue of green. The mechanism I propose is 1) sunlight through stained glass which is 2) projected onto the tapestry AND reflected by its protective (plexi?)glass, the latter of which phenomena projects it onto the floor. What the camera records includes a segment of green-lighted flooring, not a reflection like the legs of the immediately visible chairs.

    If there is a time of day associated with the pic, one could return to the scene of the crime at about that same hour to check for a green sunbeam lighting up the tapestry, and its reflection’s lighting up a patch of floor.

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