WEIRD NEWS
05/26/2016 02:34 pm ET

Ghostbusters Capture Spooky Image In Ruins Of Queen Isabella's Castle

"There is a clear figure that, from the clothing and the shoulder pads, looks like someone wearing medieval dress."
Enhanced image of an alleged ghost at Castle Rising in Norfolk, UK. Longstanding rumors suggest the ghost of Queen Isabella h
Essex Ghost Hunting Team
Enhanced image of an alleged ghost at Castle Rising in Norfolk, UK. Longstanding rumors suggest the ghost of Queen Isabella has haunted the castle for centuries.

Ghost hunters at a 12th-century English castle snapped a photo of a milky white image of a woman in a dress and, a year later, it's scaring up a lot of interest in British tabloids. 

Of course, something that looks like a ghost could be a lot of things -- a hoax, a trick of shadows or some other anomaly, and that's sparking a good deal of conversation.

The fact that this was taken in a spot with a beguiling history makes it so much more interesting, especially for people who believe in ghosts.

In April 2015, the Essex Ghost Hunting Team visited Castle Rising, a famous fortress in Norfolk, England. It was once the royal residence of Queen Isabella, the wife of Edward II, who was the king of England during the 1300s.

It was there they snapped this strange picture. The Daily Mail asks if this is "the ghost of the she-wolf of France," as Isabella was once nicknamed. The Sun and The Mirror chime in similarly. But even the ghostbusters who took the picture aren't quite sure what caused the anomaly. 

The photo had lived on the team's site for more than a year before it began making the rounds.

Castle Rising, in Norfolk, England, allegedly haunted by the ghost of Queen Isabella.
Getty Images
Castle Rising, in Norfolk, England, allegedly haunted by the ghost of Queen Isabella.

The Essex Ghost Hunting Team was looking into longstanding rumors that Isabella's alleged ghost haunts upper portions of the castle.

To get a real sense of what Castle Rising looks like from inside and out, check out the following video:

"I was in the White Room, which is a lovely room thought to be where she spent a lot of her time sewing and so on," team leader Andy Radley said, according to The Sun. "There were around seven of us in the room at the time. My friend turned to me and whispered, 'Can you hear anything?' So, I listened carefully and it sounded just like the sound of a long dress swishing over the stones coming up the stairway outside."

Radley decided to snap a picture of the room.

The ghost hunters use a full-spectrum camera that allows them to get better image results, like those obtained with night vision optics technology.

Here is the original full-spectrum pictured captured by Radley.

Original full spectrum image of the alleged ghost of Queen Isabella who reportedly haunts Castle Rising in Norfolk, UK.
Essex Ghost Hunting Team
Original full spectrum image of the alleged ghost of Queen Isabella who reportedly haunts Castle Rising in Norfolk, UK.

"When I looked at it on the small lens, I didn't initially think much of it. It was definitely interesting and I showed everyone, but it wasn't until later when we looked at the picture on a computer that I realized just what I had caught on camera," Radley said, in The Sun report. 

"There is a clear figure that, from the clothing and the shoulder pads, looks like someone wearing medieval dress. They even look to have something on their head, like a queen might wear." 

Isabella of Valois, 1389-1409. Second wife of King Richard II of England
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Isabella of Valois, 1389-1409. Second wife of King Richard II of England

In addition to a possible human apparition, the picture reportedly shows a canine-like shape next to the larger figure.

"I was not scared by what I captured on the camera," Radley said. "My aim with our paranormal investigations is to find proof of life after death. At the end of the day, this is just a picture. It is evidence to a degree, but it is not clear, so I do not take it as the proof I'm looking for.

"However, it is a very exciting image to capture and has provoked a lot of debate among the ghost hunting community, so I was very pleased to get it."

Isabella and Edward had a famously tumultuous relationship, and when he lost his crown to his young son in 1326, she had Edward thrown in prison. There, he was murdered by his jailers, reportedly under Isabella's orders. The grisly sequence of events is likely where she got the "she-wolf" nickname.

We reached out to Benjamin Radford, deputy editor of the Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He's currently writing a book on ghost hunting.

"Radley took the photo a few moments after hearing what sounded like a swishing sound from outside the room, which he interpreted as being from a dress, but could have been another sound," Radford said in an email.

"And if it was a ghost making those sounds, why wouldn't they have continued inside the room?

"People will take dozens (or hundreds) of photos basically of empty rooms and hallways, even though they see nothing there at the time. They later pore over the photos in detail, looking for any odd shadows, 'orbs,' lights, blurs or other 'anomalies' as possible ghostly evidence."

Radford, who has written on ghost-hunting mistakes, is critical of Radley's assertion that the photo in question shows a clear figure who "looks like someone wearing medieval dress" with "something on their head, like a queen might wear."

"It's certainly not a 'clear' image of anything," he said. "Those details exist, not in the photo, but in the minds of the hopeful ghost hunters. People see faces and human forms in clouds, Rorschach blots, coffee stains and blurry images. This phenomenon -- called pareidolia -- is well known in psychology, and it is the cause of many supposedly mysterious photos."

On the other hand, Radford isn't saying these folks have tried to pull a fast one on a ghost-hungry public.

"This doesn't prove conclusively that ghosts don't exist or that the spirit of Queen Isabella was not captured in Castle Rising. But the evidence really isn't there. I don't suspect any hoaxing or trickery. Instead, this is a fairly common photographic artifact created by the camera that people mistake for a ghostly image.

"It's not surprising that ghost hunters who have spent considerable time, effort and money to conduct an investigation might succumb to wishful thinking."

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