Wednesday, October 28, 2020

52 Ancestors - SCARY STUFF: Do You Believe in Ghosts?

In the days when cameras operated only with film, people paid for the processing of the entire roll regardless of the quality of the picture. It did not matter whether the photos turned out perfectly or a head was cut off or what should have been a precious memory was out of focus, they all cost the same.

Forgetting that a roll was complete, sometimes people took pictures on top of pictures resulting in photos like these:

Aunt Helen and maybe Aunt Mae
about 1919

My grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker recognized that her photo-fail looked like a ghost.

from album of
Violetta Davis
early 1920s

When I first saw this photo from my grandaunt Violetta Davis’s camping trip, I did not realize it was a double until I saw a clear set of legs under the top half of the man on the left.

Getting to the subject of ghosts, not of the photo-fail kind but encounters with the Dead kind, I have never seen a ghost or felt the presence of one the way some people claim to have experienced. My aunt “Scoop” told about her encounter with a ghost.

Aunt "Scoop" and Uncle Orvin Jr.

She and my uncle lived in the house built by my great-grandfather Walter Davis. One afternoon when Scoop was sick in bed, she felt someone gently rubbing her forehead. She said it was Mary Frances, my great-grandmother. Now, was this just the imaginings of a sick woman? I don’t know. I can’t make myself believe it was true, but I hope it was. 

I would LOVE to have a FRIENDLY encounter with the ghost of an ancestor.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. That was cute with the pictures with the extra person in it. Photography sure has come a long way! Don't know what to believe about ghosts or visits from the departed. Haven't experienced much in that way thankfully.


  2. I don't know that I have any "double" pictures but I'll be on the lookout now!

  3. Great blog! I have a few "double" photos and they make for good conversations.