Brown Lady Ghost Picture

Let’s be honest – the Brown Lady ghost picture is probably the most famous piece of paranormal photography ever taken!

I can still remember glaring wide eyed at this picture in one of my ‘Unexplained Mysteries’ books as a child – it’s pretty awesome!

Brown Lady Ghost Picture

These days the internet has taken the Brown Lady picture and ripped it apart from every angle – some experts say it’s a trick of the light whilst others claim it is the real deal.

Nobody ever claims it to be a fake…………….

Raynham Hall

The Brown Lady picture shows us the image of a ghostly lady walking down a staircase in Raynham Hall. It was taken by photographers Captain Provand and his assistant Indre Shira.

The two men had been commissioned to take various pictures of Raynham Hall for Country Life Magazine. The Brown Lady picture dates to the afternoon of the 19th September, 1936, when both men were inside Raynham Hall taking the pictures.

Both men were well respected and not many people have second guessed their story because of this reason.

They reported seeing a lady in a misty form descend the stairs slowly and they were lucky enough to be prepared for an exposure (photo).

Captain Provand And Indre Shira

As I touched on above – both of these men were very well respected in life and their field of work. They did possess the knowledge to double expose this picture in hoax format but why would they do this?

Would they really risk their social standing on something as trivial as a hoax?

The one thing that makes the Brown Lady ghost picture stand out is the fact that the entity was spotted BEFORE the picture was taken.

Most (if not all!) ghost pictures are taken without the knowledge of a ghost being present – it only shows up after photographic printing (developing)!

Who Was Dorothy Walpole?

The entity that appears in the Brown Lady picture is thought to be that of Lady Dorothy Walpole. Lady Walpole was born way back in 1686 and used to live at Raynham Hall. She ‘apparently’ died of smallpox in 1726.

She was the sister of a man named Sir Robert Walpole who is well known for being the first version of a prime minister in England.

Lady Dorothy Walpole

When she finally married, her new husband (Second Viscount Townshend) found out about an old affair she had been involved in with a well known Lord (Lord Wharton).

At once he ordered her to be separated from her children and locked away in the apartments at Raynham hall. She died in these apartments at the age of 40 without ever seeing her children again.

The Brown Lady

There have been many sightings of The Brown Lady since her death in 1726. Major Loftus and a close friend came across her apparition in 1849 as they retired towards the bedroom areas.

Loftus also spotted the entity the following night and decided to call in the detectives – nine members of his staff resigned due to these sightings!

Almost all of the sightings claimed that the Brown Lady bore resemblances to the portrait of Lady Walpole that hung in the house.

In 1936 Captain Marryat asked to stay in the bedroom which is said to be haunted by the Brown Lady. It was all a bit of a joke really used to impress two young guests that were also staying there.

The joke turned pretty sour – as they walked back to their bedrooms that evening they encountered a ghostly female figure carrying a lamp.

The Ghost

She turned and looked straight at the three men with a terrifying look on her face. It was more than Marryat could take and he fired his gun at the entity with the bullet passing right through it!

He was later to admit that the ghost looked the spitting image of the Lady Walpole portrait that hung in his bedroom!

So what are your views on the ghost image of the Brown Lady?

Are you a believer or not?

Skeptics argue that the image captured does not show a paranormal entity, but rather was the result of mundane causes such as camera vibration, afternoon light from the window above the stairs catching the lens of the camera, and double exposure.

Personally I think it’s the most majestic piece of paranormal evidence I have ever come across. Even now I think it would fit straight into a Hollywood movie…even though it was taken so many years ago!

One thing is certain – the Brown Lady ghost picture will always capture our imagination no matter what the truth is behind it….


  1. I dunno, Chris. That sure looks a lot like a Madonna statue superimposed over a staircase.

    • LOL don’t worry about that Chris – opinions are opinions! This is one of the most famous ‘ghost pictures’ in the world and it has continually divided opinion…and probably always will! 🙂

  2. I’m feeling all eerie and having goosebumps after reading your article and looking at the pictures, Chris. However, I was so intrigued to read on at the same time. I definitely agree that there was a paranormal entity on the picture taken as it looked too scary, coupled with your research on the history and background of the Brown Lady.

    • Glad you enjoyed the article Kenny! Yeah I’m a bit of a believer as well – I go for this image big time, always have (since I was a kid). There’s something about the age of it, and the fact that nobody has been able to prove it as a fake…yet. 

      Cheers for stopping by, and leaving your opinion with us! 🙂

  3. Chris, interesting article and the background work researching add a lot to finding the truth.  I do believe in ghostly apparitions and have seen several in my lifetime.  I was not aware of the Brown Lady before this and as you stated, it has not been disputed and just reading about her gave me some chills.  Nice job on informing us.

    • Hi Joseph,

      You’ve seen several in your lifetime?

      You can’t leave it at that – if you have the time, tell us more!!! 🙂

  4. Hello there and thank you for this interesting article. I really enjoyed reading it. Heard about many of these cases. Never knew if it was true to be honest. I am always opened for new knowledge and expanding my views.

    I know that in most of these pictures, entities can be seen only after editing the film and creating photos. This can be a sign that can not be faked. Also, I do not think that in 1936 someone had the technology to photoshop this photo :).

    Thank you.

    Was fun.


  5. Hey Chris,

    I believe the brown lady exists because I have had encounters with  the paranormal. I am a true believer. Catching an entity on film is even better although skeptics will always make excuses for why it is not real.

    I have a couple of questions –  Was the brown lady trying to harm the people?                                                                     Or trying to get a message out?

    If the guy shot his gun, then I guess the brown lady was trying to do harm? 

    I have a couple of stories to tell and these are one time encounters.

    Once when I was at a funeral and they were about to bury a good friend of mine his saying was “don’t worry” and standing next to his coffin without his lips moving I hear “don’t worry”. I looked at him no movement, then I looked around,  saw no one and I thought was I dreaming, no I actually heard it. I was waiting for him to say something else, never happened.

    My wife’s best friend was in a coma, in the hospital for a month and they decided to pull the plug because her condition was not getting better. So she died. A couple days later my wife was sleeping and I went into the bedroom, I saw her friend in the hospital gown standing by my wife, I am thinking she wanted to say goodbye, as I walked over to touch her she disappeared.

    I woke up my wife and let her know that her friend was standing there,  she was surprised but not shocked.  

    Enough of me rambling.

    Thanks for the Brown Lady Ghost picture story.

    • That’s a really good question there Jimmy – I really don’t know?

      Personally, I don’t think any ghost like this is setting out to do harm, I think that type of thing is more in line with poltergeist activity. 

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