You’ve probably seen a number of fake or questionable photographs in your lifetime. Photo manipulation is a sophisticated art form, and anyone with a bit of experience and a few hours to kill can create images that defy imagination in programs like Photoshop.
There are dozens of examples of fake photos that have captured the world’s attention before being debunked by experts, including the infamous “Tourist Guy” 9/11 shot, and many more examples that continue to be debated. Just Google Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, for example.
Still, there are photos that defy our collective doubt; shots that haven’t been staged or faked that are capable of running a chill down your spine.
Here are 12 mysterious photos that still can’t be explained. #4 is the creepiest thing I have ever seen!
12. The 13,000-year-old “Black Knight” Satellite
This mystery photo shows what some claim is an ancient satellite of alien origin orbiting the Earth and broadcasting a strange, foreign signal. Conspiracy theorists claim that the infamous “Black Knight” satellite is a known quantity to NASA, and entirely top secret. The official story is that it’s merely a thermal blanket that was lost in space during a space mission, or just a random piece of junk. But some believe the object is 13,000 years old, and with man only being a space-faring species for the last 60 years, there’s no way it came from us if it indeed is that old.
11. The Ted Danson Ghost
This photo is a still taken from the 1987 comedy 3 Men and a Baby starring Ted Danson. The scene occurs a little over an hour into the film, and features this … cameo … from a little boy watching the scene from the curtains. Problem is, that’s not an actor. Urban legend holds that it’s a ghost of a boy who was killed in the house the film was shot in.
The official explanation is that the “ghost” is a cardboard cutout of Danson’s character. Seems like a “flimsy” (pun intended) explanation at face value since the cardboard cutout doesn’t appear elsewhere in the film. However, a scene cut from the final film establishes that the cutout is a prop used by the character in a commercial. Still, an actual photo of the cutout shows it’s wearing a top hat, which is mysteriously absent in this photo …
10. The Phoenix Lights
The Phoenix Lights are the subject of a famous photo in ufologist circles. The photo shows lights from a stationary UFO in the sky over Nevada. The official story is that the lights are flares dropped by passing A-10 fighter jets, but numerous eyewitnesses claim otherwise, and the photo is still popular and controversial to this day.
9. The Solway Firth Astronaut
This creepy photo was taken by Jim Templeton, who was simply taking a few pics of his daughter at play. He didn’t notice the figure in the background of this photo until he had the roll developed. He claims that no one else was with them when they were taking these photos, and according to Kodak, the photo wasn’t manipulated or otherwise tampered with. Urban legend states that this is some kind of alien astronaut who may have teleported into the shot for a split second, but others say the guy’s wife just wandered into the frame.
8. The Cooper’s Uninvited Guest
This one will make your blood run cold on sight. The story goes that in the 1950s, the Cooper family (pictured) moved into their new Texas home and wanted to take a quick family photo. When the film was developed, the family was horrified to see an apparition of a distorted figure falling from the ceiling. The rational explanation is that this is a simple image overlay; the photo of the dangling body is from a previous photo, and the new Cooper family photo was taken over top of it. It happened a lot with film back then, but even so, that’s only a potential explanation here.
7. The Hessdalen Light
Here’s one that will really mess with your head. We’ll start off by saying that this photo is unexplained to this day, and any explanation is only one of a dozen possibilities. Mysterious lights over the Hessdalen valley in Norway have been sighted numerous times over the years, and are most often described as bright yellow light that floats just above the ground. It’s hardly a flash in the pan; Some say that the lights have lasted at times for over an hour before dissipating. What are they? Could be some kind of gas pocket, scientists honestly have no clue.
6. The Skunk Ape
The infamous “skunk ape” is the stuff of nightmares. Two photos taken back in 2000 are all we have to document the cryptid. The photos were sent to the Sarasota County, Florida Sheriff’s Department by an anonymous woman along with a letter explaining that the creature was photographed in her backyard. With literally nothing else to go on, there wasn’t much of an investigation and the Skunk Ape presumably remains at large. Non-believers say it’s just a black bear in the
5. Dead Husband Visits Wife In Retirement Home
Like the Solway Firth Astronaut example, the person who snapped this photo claims that no one else was in the shot when it was taken. The old lady in the photo claims that the figure behind her is her deceased husband, watching over her in the retirement home. Sure, could be that someone just walked by and no one noticed him, but the subject in the photo was adamant that there was no mistaking the man she had spent her life with.
4. Whatever This Thing Is …
Back in the mid-90s, a couple of hikers entered a cave in Ras el Khaimah in the UAE and took a couple of photos. Both say that they heard a blood-curdling scream after taking this exact photo, even though the “demon” in it didn’t show up until they actually developed the film. The scream was enough to freak them out, and they went for the authorities. They returned to find a mangled human body. Is it possible this thing was just part of the rock formation? Sure. But it’s an eerie coincidence nonetheless.
3. Girl Hanging Out By Her Own Grave
In 1945, an Australian mother visited her deceased daughter’s gravesite and took a photo. When she developed the film, she noticed an apparition of the baby sitting near the gravesite. During an investigation of the photo in the 90s, a paranormal researcher found that two infant girls had been buried near the grieving mother’s own daughter, which could explain the “ghost” in the image. Then again, skeptics are in-bounds to think it could be another example of image overlay.
2. Norfolk Healer
In yet another “I swear I didn’t see that other person when I took the photo” example, Peter and Diane Berthelot visited a church in Norfolk, England and took a few photos. The pic in question shows Diane praying, and a spooky woman in white sitting close behind her. They showed the photo to the local priest who said that the “White Lady” in question was actually a pretty well-known local curiosity at the church. Supposedly, the Lady was a healer in life, and Diane held that she had felt blessed since the encounter.
1. The Hook Island Monster
This horrifying sea abomination was photographed in Queensland, Australia and gives every grainy Loch Ness monster photo you’ve ever seen a run for its money. French photographer Robert Serecc captured what appears to be a massive sea serpent lurking under the surface of the water, and experts have been scratching their heads about what it could be ever since. Some say it’s some kind of oil spill while others maintain that it’s a submerged tarp. No one really knows, as no consensus has been reached about what exactly this photo portrays.
Numerous unexplained phenomena apart from those listed here have kept believers and skeptics guessing for decades. Dozens of photos have defied explanation for years only to be famously debunked as new technologies emerge, and only time will tell whether these photos will yield rational explanations or maintain their mystery for generations to come.