Historic Ghost Photograph: The Brown Lady

the brown lady

The Brown Lady refers to a picture taken on September 19, 1936 by Captain Provand and Indre Shira at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England. According to Shira, they were taking photographs at Raynham Hall for Country Life magazine when the following happened:

Captain Provand took one photograph while I flashed the light. He was focusing for another exposure; I was standing by his side just behind the camera with the flashlight pistol in my hand, looking directly up the staircase. All at once I detected an ethereal veiled form coming slowly down the stairs. Rather excitedly, I called out sharply: "Quick, quick, there's something." I pressed the trigger of the flashlight pistol. After the flash and on closing the shutter, Captain Provand removed the focusing cloth from his head and turning to me said: "What's all the excitement about?"

They developed the film and discovered that the veiled form seen by Shira was visible in the picture as well. The photo was first published in the December 16, 1936, issue of the magazine.

Is it Authentic?

To date, no one has proven that the picture is a hoax. The photographers were well-known and had excellent reputations, so it seems unlikely that they would risk ruining said reputations by faking a ghost photograph.

Who is the Brown Lady?

The Brown Lady is believed to be Lady Dorothy Walpole, sister to Sir Robert Walpole (England's first Prime Minister). She was born in 1686 and is said to have died of smallpox in 1726. However, some people believe that she was died from a broken neck after she was pushed down the grand staircase. Another rumor says that she was actually imprisoned at Raynham Hall by her husband after she had an affair.

The first reported seeing of the Brown Lady occurred in the early 1800s and has been seen repeatedly since then. She is called "the Brown Lady" because she is often seen wearing a brown satin dress.