The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

The photo of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall has never been debunked since it was first taken. Raynham Hall, a manor house near Fakenham, Norfolk, England, has been haunted for more than 250 years by the Brown Lady. The ghost’s identity is not certain. According to legend, the "Brown Lady of Raynham Hall" is the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole (1686–1726), the sister of Robert Walpole, generally regarded as the first Prime Minister of Great Britain who lived there in the early eighteenth century. Her ghost is called the Brown Lady because she appears in a brown dress. She was the second wife of Charles Townshend, who was notorious for his violent temper. The story says that when Townshend discovered that his wife had committed adultery with Lord Wharton he punished her by locking her in her rooms in the family home, Raynham Hall. 

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

Lucia C Stone recorded the first reference to the ghost in 1835; the sighting took place at Christmas of the same year. Lord Charles Townsend had invited a number of guests to the hall for the Christmas festivities. Among them was a man called Colonel Loftus, who, with another guest called Hawkins, witnessed a figure in a brown dress. He also ran into the apparition on the main stairs. He described her as an aristocratic looking lady with one horrific feature: where her eyes should have been there were only empty sockets, highlighted in a face that glowed with an unearthly light. The captain drew a sketch of the apparition, and others also said that they had witnessed the ghost.

In 1936 the Lady Townsend of the time hired a  photographer to take pictures of the inside of the manor house. The photographer, Mr. Provand, was taking flash photographs of the main staircase when his assistant, Shira, suddenly saw the Brown Lady coming down the stairs. Provand could not see the ghost himself. He pointed the camera where the excited Shira directed and snapped one of the most celebrated ghost photos in history. The photo shows a filmy form of a woman in the middle of the staircase. Many experts have examined the photo, but no evidence of fraud, or a natural explanation, has ever been determined.

Mysteries, Legends, & Unexplained Phenomena: "Ghosts & Haunted Places" by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Pic Source:
Mysteries, Legends, & Unexplained Phenomena: "Ghosts & Haunted Places" by Rosemary Ellen Guiley page 95

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