Ghost in Highgate Cemetery, or trick of light?

12:40 06 December 2012

James Dobbin

James Dobbin's image of Highgate Cemetery, with the suspected ghost captured at the bottom right of the left-hand tree.

Archant

Highgate Cemetery is best known as being the resting place of such illustrious souls as philosopher Karl Marx and novelist George Eliot, but now there are reports of another figure at the site - a ghostly apparition flitting among the gravestones.

A close-up of the suspected ghost in James Dobbin's picture.A close-up of the suspected ghost in James Dobbin's picture.

James Dobbin captured the suspected spectre on his camera as he toured the historic Grade I-listed cemetery, which dates back to 1839.

Mr Dobbin, of east London, was visiting the graveyard, off Swains Lane, with his girlfriend last week.

Although “not personally a believer in this sort of thing”, he was taken aback by the image.

He said: “We took a lot of photographs and, reviewing them on my laptop, I noticed what looks like the apparition of a late 19th century or early 20th century nurse in the background of the photograph.”

It is not the first time that the cemetery has been associated with paranormal goings-on.

In the early 1970s, there were rumours about a so-called Highgate Vampire, while Audrey Niffenegger’s novel Her Fearful Symmetry, a ghost story about twin sisters, is set in Highgate Cemetery.

And, earlier this year, ghost-hunter Leonard Low came forward after capturing a spectral image of a young boy’s face in the basement of nearby Whittington Hospital, off Highgate Hill.

But after poring over other photographs of the cemetery, Mr Dobbin felt he probably captured one of the graveyard’s many statues – rendered ghostly and semi-transparent by a trick of the light.

“I’m now convinced the shot shows only a statue or monument and not something other-worldly,” he said.

This thought was echoed by paranormal investigator Gary Boulton, who runs Spectrum Paranormal Investigations from Hartland Road, Chalk Farm.

Mr Boulton said: “The light makes it looks like there is something walking behind the tree but, to me, it looks like a statue.

“There is not enough transparency for it to be a ghost. I think the light is just making it look a little bit ghostly.”

The mystery was finally cleared up by the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, which owns and operates the cemetery.

Members revealed that the “ghost” was none other than a memorial to an Eliza Jane Ellis.

Chief executive of the group, Ian Dungavell, said: “There are no ghosts here at all. Ghosts are things of fiction – so we can be 100 per cent sure that it’s not a ghost.

“Highgate Cemetery is a place of quiet reflection for people who are mourning. There are people buried here, people who were loved and remembered for their contributions and that is what a cemetery is about.”

Mr Boulton, however, will still be checking out the cemetery himself.

“Although people do go there hunting ghosts,” he said, “no-one has actually caught one on camera.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

More Quirky London

Friday, April 17, 2015
(Pic: Theo Cohen for London Pet Show)

Man is responsible for some terrible acts of nature. But dog yoga - or ‘Doga’ as it’s known - might just take the biscuit for the most ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Researching pictures of full English breakfasts for this article was a hard task for a hungry journalist... [Photograph by Ewan Munro]

A woman from Greenwich has started up a cooked breakfast delivery business - and hopes to expand across London.

Friday, April 10, 2015
Alisan has had its premises licence suspended (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

A restaurant in Wembley has been forced to close after it had its premises licence suspended following a serious of violent incidents including an attempted murder.

Friday, April 10, 2015
The fox cub trapped in the football net.

A fox cub, only a few weeks old, nearly scored an own goal when it caught its neck in a back garden football net.

Thursday, April 9, 2015
The sign was spotted by Emily Power

This intriguing sign was spotted in east London offering the princely sum of £50 for completing a 1000-piece jigsaw.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The final piece [Photograph by @CandieBandit]

A Parisian man proposed to his girlfriend last week in the most east London way possible: with a graffiti mural in the tunnel near Shoreditch High Street station.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...