UPDATE: I didn’t get this quite right but Bryan and Baxter did a recreation here.
Someone has sent me a link to the video that you can watch below and I smell a rat. It seems too good to be true, and when it seems too good to be true that’s usually a good indication that it is…
For those unable to watch the video, a camera is filming a section of the bar at Ye Olde Man & Sythe Pub in Bolton. There’s some flashing light from behind the camera that scatters throughout the room (initially I thought it was from passing traffic, but I think it might be from an independent light source of some kind) and suddenly what appears to be a cloaked or hooded figure flickers into view before quickly fading away. There are stills below.
Some people are getting a bit freaked out by the nature of this video, but I don’t think it is anything remarkable. I think the effect we are seeing could be caused using a Pepper’s Ghost illusion or a similar set up. Who knows for certain? It has familiar features of such though and I sincerely got that impression after watching the video a number of times. Especially when I noticed that before the figure appears it looks as though the flashing light is reflected in something in that area of the room suggesting there might be something there for it to be reflected off of…
What is a Pepper’s Ghost illusion? The BBC Learning Zone website has a great explanation, view it by clicking here, but in a nut shell it is a simple-yet-effective illusion created by using a piece of glass to create a semi-transparent reflection of someone out of view by illuminating them. It makes them seem as though they’re stood somewhere when they’re not and because the light is reflecting on the glass you can see through them.
I had a quick dig around online and found that the account that uploaded the video to Youtube belongs to Richard Greenwood, the current manager of the pub who took over in 2012 after it closed down briefly. In a 2012 article about the reopening, The Bolton News quoted Greenwood as saying he wanted to capitalise on the history of the pub which dates back to 1251 and is thought to be one of the four oldest public houses in the country.
The paper reported that ‘Mr Greenwood, aged 37, has worked as a consultant for bars and hotels all over the world and said he wants to make the pub better than it was before. Mr Greenwood said he wanted to capitalise on the pub’s history and is talking to council chiefs about how to promote it as a tourist attraction.’
It has a reputation with ghost hunters but Greenwood denies that this video is the product of trickery. I’m still suspicious though… See, Richard Greenwood is also Managing Director for Consult Greenwood Ltd, a consultancy firm supplying creative routes to market for new products and technologies. With this in mind I am drawn to question whether this ghost video is a ‘creative route’ for marketing the history of Ye Olde Man and Scythe to help it become more of a tourist attraction. I could be completely wrong though, and would love to hear the thoughts of others in the comments below.