A ghastly photograph that appeared to show a sultry spectral siren wearing a low-cut top in a dimly-lit Torquay museum has been dubbed Britain’s sexiest ghost since it emerged in 2015.
In the half-light, it shows a pretty young woman, in the style of a serving wench, as it appeared beside a fire in the Old Devon Farmhouse exhibit from 300 years ago.
The girl also seemed to be rising from the floor and cast her eyes down towards a light, Devon Live reported.
She was captured in a snap during a ghost-hunting “Night at the Museum” event organised by paranormal investigators who insisted that no one else was in the room at the time.
The apparent spectre appeared during a spate of ghostly goings-on – fingerprints were discovered on the inside of a locked mummy case, the Agatha Christie books were seen on CCTV mysteriously flying off bookshelves and a 300-year-old crib rocked of its own accord.
It drew the attention of paranormal investigators from around the world an eventually one of the researchers, Hayley Stevens, came to Torquay to carry out her own in-depth visit – and she has come up with a theory of her own.
At the time the photograph was taken during a Real Investigators of the Paranormal event in May 2015, museum spokesman Carl Smith told the Herald Express: “It appears to be a woman, and from the angle of the photograph, it looks like she is submerged into the floor, almost like she is below floor level.
“We were very excited about the picture, as we were taking photos all over the place, and it wasn’t until afterwards when we examined them more closely that we noticed it, which was quite spooky.
“There was no one else present when the photo was taken, so we are at a loss to explain it. It is a bit of a mystery, and there seems to be no other explanation.”
Carl added: “Most of the equipment in the Old Farmhouse was left to us by a benefactor, and the oldest chair in the collection has been dated at around 300 years old.
“All of the furniture and equipment has had a lot of human interaction, and maybe this is where the energy has come from.”
Disturbingly after the story of the attractive ghost was published she became labelled ‘Britain’s Sexiest Ghost’ because of her online admirers.
One fan said: “This blonde bombshell certainly sent a chill up my spine.
“Who knew ghosts could be so sexy? She could haunt my house and give me nightmares any day of the week.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to see her busted.”
It was also claimed shortly afterwards that strange handprints were found inside the coffin of a mummified Egyptian four-year-old child (pictured above) housed in a different room of the museum.
“During the night on the inside of the glass case, we saw what we believe were handprints. It was a pretty clear two fingers and a thumb,” Carl added.
“The case had not been opened for seven years and last time it was opened, it took seven men to open it. It was impossible for it to be opened by someone else.”
But US paranormal researcher Ben Radford was sceptical. He told the Huffington Post that he suspected the image of the woman was likely to be a reflection on the glass around the farmhouse exhibit and he asked British investigator Hayley Stevens to take a trip to the museum to find out.
In an article titled Investigating Britain’s Sexiest Ghost Hayley written about her findings in 2016: “After a long discussion I agreed to visit Torquay to have a look at the room and to take detailed photographs so that a cause might be established once and for all.
“There was certainly something in this photo which made it stand out in my mind.
There are times when an investigator can work out what is happening without an on-site visit, but more often than not actually being on location is beneficial and eye-opening.”
She said she was able to rule out the suggestion that it was a reflection: “One thing became apparent straight away.
The ghost was not caused by a reflection as many had suggested. I found all of the reflective surfaces in the room and took photos of the fireplaces through them from different angles to try and replicate what is seen in the original.”
But Hayley came up with a new theory: “As I inspected the area I saw that there were small benches next to one of the fireplaces that were in the right position for the ghost to have been seated on at the time.
“Therefore it is my conclusion that Britain’s sexiest ghost was actually a living person sitting in the dark next to one of the fireplaces. It almost looks as though her face is lit by the screen of an electronic item such as a camera or phone.”
This week Hayley told DevonLive what she really thinks happened: “I think the person running the ghost events probably got sent the photo by someone who attended and sent it on to the museum.
“As we all have camera phones or digital cameras these days, we take photo after photo after photo, and we don’t always check them straight away. So quite often people attending a ghost hunt event will only check their photos sometime after they’ve been taken.
“When checking them, the context of the moment the photo was taken is forgotten or misremembered.”