A photograph that supposedly shows the ghost of a schoolgirl standing in a blazing building was copied from an old postcard, it was revealed yesterday.
An amateur photographer, Tony O’Rahilly, took the picture while photographing a fire that destroyed Wem Town Hall in Shropshire on November 19, 1995.
After developing his film, he claimed that he had captured an image of a girl wearing old-fashioned clothes standing amid the flames staring into the camera lens.
Mr O’Rahilly, who died five years ago, always denied doctoring the photograph — known as the ’Wem Ghost’ — which made headlines around the world.
Locals even claimed that it was an apparition of 14-year-old Jane Churm who accidentally set fire to the town hall in 1677.
But Brian Lear, 77, has apparently put an end to the mystery after he noticed a striking similarity between the spooky shot and a girl in a postcard that appeared in his local paper.
The postcard, printed in the Shropshire Star’s Pictures from the Past section, shows a street view of Wem in 1922. A girl standing in a shop doorway in the picture bares an uncanny resemblance to the Wem Ghost.
Mr Lear, a retired engineer and taxi driver from Shrewsbury, said: ”It is interesting to compare the two pictures. I was intrigued to find that she bore a striking likeness to the little girl featured as the Wem Ghost. Her dress and headgear appear to be identical.”
The Wem Ghost led to a plaque being placed on the newly built town hall and Wem was briefly renamed “Ghost Town”, attracting hundreds of tourists every year. …