In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Tulip Staircase

Ancient footfalls often resound in the Queen’s House at the Naval College in London. Nothing is known of the hooded figure climbing the steps aside from his apparent grief and the glimmer of a ring on the first or second finger of his right hand.

Taken in 1966, Reverend Hardy and his wife used time-lapse photography, perhaps in an effort to capture an image of the ghost, on the unused staircase. Off limits to the public, the staircase was barricaded to prevent visitors from wandering about; I guess no one thought to tell the ghosts… After the photo was developed and the images found, it was examined by photographic experts, including Kodak, for its authenticity. Further attempts to duplicate it using props and actors yielded disastrous results, leading experts to conclude that the photo is genuine and there’s some creepy thing crawling up the stairs at the Naval College.

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