“I don’t think it’s a trick of the light. I’m a photographer and I know a trick of the light when I see one.”
A young woman decided to investigate a haunted place with a friend and chose Oxney Bottom, the most haunted place in Kent, England. With the odds in her favor, it’s no surprise that she captured a smartphone image of something in the woods. With the image resembling a woman and the woods being Oxney Bottom, those in the paranormal know think she may have photographed the famous Grey Lady ghost of Oxney Bottom. Is the THE Grey Lady, one of the other local Grey Ladies or a pareidolic mist in the foggy woods?
“In 1967 is was claimed that the ghostly grey lady boarded a double decker bus and made her way upstairs to the top deck. The bus’s conductress followed her to collect the fare but when she reached the top deck it was completely empty.”
Local legends compete for origin stories of the Grey Lady. She may be the spirit of a woman killed by a horse pulling a cart, killed by the plague of 1665-1666, or killed by a broken heart over a lost love. Whatever the cause of her own death, the Grey Lady has been blamed for numerous traffic accidents and fatalities on Kent roads around Oxney Bottoms as drivers claim to see things like “an old lady dressed in a dark grey cloak hobbling along the nearside of the road” and swerve to avoid her. The Grey Lady of Oxney Bottom isn’t the only Grey Lady ghost in the Kent area – her competition includes the Grey Lady of Cleve Court in Manston and the Grey Lady of Ightham Moat near Sevenoaks.
Which Grey Lady did 17-year-old Ellise Begg get a photograph of on her Oxney Bottom walk with her cousin Alice Wantt? As is often the case, Ellise took the photo because she thought “the way the light shone through an arch in the trees was pretty,” not because she saw a ghost. She told KentOnline that they didn’t see or feel anything unusual and she didn’t notice the eerie image until another cousin pointed it out. Under magnification and imagination, one can see what could be the shadowy silhouette of a long-haired woman. Is it? See the photo for yourself here.
“So the Grey Lady could be energy that is trapped in that area but probably it’s a memory of something that happened to her that’s being replayed.”
Wendy Sartain of Deal Spiritualist Church Centre thinks it could be a spirit.
“While I have to agree the image does seem to depict an apparition of some description my thoughts are of a less spiritual nature. Was the phone in a case? I sometimes get a similar reflection if my phone case covers a very small part of the lens or perhaps a small piece of fluff on the side of the lens. Then again I could be totally wrong and it truly is photographic evidence of The Grey Lady.”
That’s a maybe-maybe-not from news photographer Tony Flashman. Ellise Begg obviously thinks her camera picked up the presence of a ghost. There are plenty of skeptics who blame a camera anomaly. Could it have been something else? A history of Oxney Bottom offers this alternative explanation:
“Some researchers mention a sulphurous stream in the area that emits a malodorous vapour, this combined with the natural accumulations of mist in such a low-lying area makes Oxney a somewhat spooky place at night.”
Aw, that really spoils the image. Until Ellise Begg or someone else captures another photo of the Grey Lady of Oxney Bottom, blame that “vapour” and sulphurous odor on one of the other Grey Ladies.