A Rather Unconvincing Haunting

Very recently The Sun Newspaper ran a story titled ‘Mum and baby son are forced out of their house by ghosts’. This, however, wasn’t a typical story about a family fleeing their home because of weird things happening there and asking for help. This was the story of Vanessa Mitchell who is so scared of her haunted house that she started to do ghost tours around it. The article in The Sun said:

She is still shackled with the mortgage on the £147,000 two-bed cottage — once a prison for WITCHES in St Osyth, Essex. In a desperate bid to make ends meet she is opening it up to ghost tours.

It sounded like this was a new venture of hers, but a little digging around online revealed that such events have been taking place at the house – known as The Cage because of its notorious history – for years. Olympia Paranormal charged their customers £35 a head to visit the house for a ghost hunt in August 2011 and the aptly named ‘Investigators of Paranormal Phenomena’ group charged people £25 to attend a ghost hunt there in October 2011. The Facebook group for ‘The Cage’ has posts dating back as far as mid-2010.

Mitchell told The Sun that some quite shocking activity had been witnessed at The Cage in the time she’d lived there,

Terrified Vanessa Mitchell, 37, told how weeks after moving in the spooks started: Sneakily HITTING her from behind, PULLING her hair and trying to SHOVE visitors down the stairs. They also invisibly MOVED objects around, RATTLED doorknobs and TURNED ON taps. Then they made BLOODSPOTS appear in the hall. The final straw was after she gave birth — and when son Jesse was four months old she saw a male apparition standing over his cot.

Paranormal investigators who have visited the location and conducted ghost investigations there have never turned up substantial evidence, instead just providing orb photos and EVP recordings, both of which have perfectly rational causes that cannot be ruled out. I’m not ruling out that Vanessa has encountered these strange occurrences because to do so would be naive of me, but there was little evidence to be found online other that personal testimony, which I think is poor considering people are being charged £230 to £300 to visit the location to conduct investigations.

Ciaran O’Keeffe of Most Haunted fame had been on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ show to talk about The Cage and Vanessa’s experiences. A photo had been shown during the program to demonstrate the haunting. I hadn’t seen the show because I was at work and it wasn’t made available online but I had seen Steve Parsons from Para.Science post on Facebook that he thought the photo was a possible fake made with an App for Smartphones. He posted up his own demonstration of this and I made a mental note to look into this further when I had the time.

Although I didn’t see the show I believe the photo Steve was trying to replicate is the one included below that I found today on the Facebook group for The Cage.

I do not believe that this photo was faked using an iPhone app as Steve suggested – though it certainly does resemble the ghosts available from the App and I can see the logic in Steve’s thinking. The reason I don’t think it’s from an iPhone App is because photos can be found here on the Facebook Page for ‘The Cage‘ that set alarm bells ringing in my head because of their appearance. I emailed some people whose opinion and insight I trust on such matters and they agreed that there was something extremely odd with these photos. For example, a lot of them look as though they have been created using a smudge tool in an editing program. Deborah Hyde, editor of The Skeptic magazine, pointed out that the picture below looked out of proportion which I hadn’t noticed, Deborah commented

…People who can’t draw do this. The camera is at about windowsill height, the ‘person’ is about a metre or so into the room? It’s a very wide midget.

Another oddity was noted with This photo and this photo which are suspiciously alike, especially when you overlap them like Bob Dezon did below:

I agree with Bob that it looks as though a piece of plastic or glass has been held in front of the camera in these photos, which was something that Karl commented upon too. Ash Pryce agreed that there was something decidedly odd about the way in which this photo, this photo, and this photo taken in 2010 are all 100% identical as he demonstrated with this:

Everything about these photos provided by ‘psychic photographer’ Rob Bowers stinks of trickery, but this is something I cannot be 100% sure of because I’ve never been present when these photos have been taken. My initial reaction was that something has been painted onto a piece of plastic or glass and held in front of the camera lens to create the images as seen above (as others also pointed out) which would explain why they are so identical in different shots. This is more likely than the idea that the same spirit is striking the same pose in every shot taken considering the leap of logic such a conclusion would require. I asked an old college friend of mine who studied Media Studies what she thought of the photos and she explained that some of them looked as though they had been edited badly in photoshop using the smudge tool to create a warped effect.

I did some research into Ron Bowers and discovered he had a book out about psychic photography and that I wasn’t the first person to think that his photos looked a bit dodgy.

Christina Schumacher, with whom Bowers authored the book I linked to above came to his defense when people started to question the authenticity of his photos. She states:

I asked how they knew this and the response was that it was easy to tell just by looking at the photos. That’s when I began to fill them in as to who Ron Bowers was, how he takes his photos, the witnesses he has had standing behind him as he took the photos, etc. The response to what I shared was that they didn’t know me so could not believe what I was saying. Even Angie Christie, this site’s Spiritualist Medium, wrote on the forum as she was one of the witnesses to several of Ron’s photos, seeing them in the camera’s viewfinder over his shoulder as he snapped the photos. She was not accepted either as they stated they didn’t know her so could not believe her. This is when I offered them the names of other witnesses to contact for themselves to allow them to make an “informed” decision. This was not accepted either – no one wanted to actually do the leg work to determine if Ron’s photos were actual apparitions or fake.

This is totally a testable claim and so I would like to place an open invitation to Ron to get in touch and arrange for this claim to be tested. If one can stand behind Ron as he takes these photos and see the apparition appearing in the view finder of the camera then I would like to see that and be proven incorrect. If Ron and his colleagues think that having a skeptic on scene would make this impossible due to ‘negative energy’ then I would suggest that they train a camcorder on the viewfinder of the camera at all times so that they can film these amazing occurrences. This would, once and for all, prove to everyone that the photos are genuine.

I was incorrect as I was not aware of a trick that can be used to create these sorts of effects in photographs that isn’t obvious to those in the room with you. Watch the video below to see how Ron could be creating the effects in these photos while bystanders such as Christine watch on in amazement. I don’t know for sure that this is the method being used, but it would certainly explain a lot…

It seems that these photos are the best evidence that anyone can provide (other than orbs, EVP and testimony) that ‘The Cage’ house is haunted, and I’m not at all convinced. I’m quite saddened that so many paranormal investigators have been clambering over themselves to get into this house to look for its alleged ghosts, given the lack of supporting evidence there is to suggest that it is worth the money they hand over for the privilege of sitting inside and speaking to the twelve ghosts said to roam there. I know that if someone wanted me to pay for the privilege of conducting a ghost hunt in their premises I’d want some assurance that I wasn’t wasting my time.

I’ve been caught out by people who made up stories just to cash in on them before.This wouldn’t be the first time and it won’t be the last time that this sort of thing is attempted. Until evidence is provided then ‘The cage’ is just another unconvincing haunting in my eyes. I’d implore any paranormal researchers out there to think twice before handing over money to visit a location.

A big thank you to Deborah, Karl, Bob, Ash, Jess and my anonymous informant (regarding the magic trick ‘ghost vision) for their help with this. It’s always great to have another opinion on such things.


About Hayley Stevens 420 Articles
Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

46 Comments on A Rather Unconvincing Haunting

  1. Your excellent analysis of the picture presented on This Morning is entirely correct as to the technique used. The same technique which I used in the later facebook pos i.e. That of drawing the figure upon a thin acetate sheet held in front of the camera lens.
    During the show, I stated on Twitter and Facebook that the image was the result of an ‘App’ a spontaneous comment but one meant only to convey the fact that the picture was faked. In fact, the pictures from this photographer and others using this same technique were examined by me over a year ago at the request of the SPR and the method identified. Immediately following the show, Ciaran & I briefly discussed & identified the actual method in the Bowers photographs
    In my later comments on the same facebook thread I did state that the image I presented later on Facebook was not an App and was created entirely in camera during the following exchange:

    “@steve the photos where taken by ron bowers, ive worked with ron a few times and seen him take a photo and show me strait away, i am an open minded medium and im very suspicious with what people show me from camera, orbs ect, but when a man takes a picture then shows you strait away then i cant question it, if vanessa is doing it for finanical reasons then shes doing it to keep the house and the thing is you can go to any haunted location and they charge a fortune, and also when children are off school on holidays everything goes up in price, the point im making what vanessa is doing is nothing to what everyone is doing to, and those places that had most haunted in , i wont even bother ? so yes i see your point and your concerns but people will pay £90 to go with a company or a tv medium and walk around a house for a few hours, so there is allot out there doing it and the genuine people miss out…”

    “@Paul I’ve no doubt the pictures were shown straight after taking. The image I’ve recently posted is also straight from my Fujifilm digital camera using no apps or processing. If I can do it then I guess Ron can ?”

    My decision not to reveal the actual technique was based upon the knowledge that currently there are several others making claims about photographs that are also produced using the same technique or variations of it. In order to discover as much information about these variations and the claims of those using them – I decided to keep knowledge of the method ‘veiled’ and not reveal or alert those using this method for the time being.
    I commend you and those assisting you in producing an excellent expose of the technique.

    • Ah, sorry Steve, I hadn’t seen the later exchange of yours. I think the glass method has been around for a long time though, even before you were born. You can trace it all the way back to William Mumler, for example. Variations include Peppers ghost too. Hardly top secret.

    • I am not particularly a believer, but as a relative of Vanessa I can testify that I heard about all these things that happened her long before she moved out and started tours in an effort to make ends meet. Why else would she move out of her own home into rented accommodation while still having to pay mortgage? She must be out of that house almost four years now. I know nothing of photos and apps, but know that I heard these stories from her while she was living there.

  2. Are these the first ‘colour’ images of ghosts? I’ve only seen grayscale(black & white) images in the past.

  3. I don’t want to reveal who I am but I can assure you that the cage is most defiantly not that haunted. There might be a ghost knocking around but when our team went we got NOTHING. And we usually go away from a location with some sort of evidence to suggest that there may be a haunting.

    Ron Bowers goes around with a big box around his camera, did you know that? I have had a few people tell me this. He is a big fake! He adds colour into the photos afterwards too. You can use photoshop and an iphone app to create half of the photos he gets.

    If you try and argue whether or not that the photos are fake with Vanessa, she just gets really angry with you and defensive.

    She took me around for about 20 minutes before the investigation, telling me about everything that happened, and this made me suspicious because locations don’t usually do that.

    She would get about £500-700 a month rent from that place and instead she is getting about £300-600 a week from ghost hunts, so yeah now do we all get the picture?

    All this hype is going to ruin her and she doesn’t even know it!

    • Hi John, thanks for commenting.

      I am struggling to trust your opinion of this case, to be honest, because you assure me it isn’t haunted, and then in the next few lines talk about ‘not finding evidence’ when you visited there and how you always leave a location with some sort of evidence that there might be a haunting there.

      I’d suggest that was a product of your approach to your research, rather than an indication of whether or not the locations are haunted.

      You can read my thoughts and findings about rational paranormal research via the Ghost Guides page of my site.

  4. Hi everyone, i must say your comments made for very interesting reading…i do understand everyone has a right to their opinion and i always take on board eveyones veiw regardless if i agree or not.. i can only, and have only given an honest account of my experiances living in the cage. The truth is i ended up leaving my dream home with a 5 month old baby shutting up the house and moving in with a friend a long way from my job and sons nusery because of the constant activity i and many other people where experiancing in the cage..that in no way is a normal thing to do for a single parent with a good career no matter what anyones says. After leaving i did rent the house out on a few occasions but my tennants didnt stay longer than a few months on each occasion due to what THEY said that the house was haunted. The cage was then left empty for years… whilst of course i still had to pay for rent at my new accomadation and the morgage on the cage.
    The paranormal groups interest came alot later when people like john who i know, wanted to come in and investigate the property..I then did advertise by way of a website to give people the oppertunity to come and make up their own mind, to which the charge was £30 to £35 a head and still is now!. john has come twice and i can only say that his methods of contacting spirit are clearly not the best to say the least as to date he is the only one with such complaints and feels the need to try and discredit the cage and myself..I have no real opinion on his thoughts because to be honest i really dont care what he thinks, especilly as i had a message from him saying he would come back to investigate for a 3rd time if he didnt have to pay…I do though have an issue with the comments about Ron Bowers pictures and methods of photography, i have seen Ron taking some pictures in the cage and i have never ever seen any box attachment to his camera, that is just a lie, and think if people have comments on Rons work, good or bad you should ask him yourself on his website or facebook page and give him his fare right to reply, ime sure he would answer any queries openly and honestly (if the comments affected him in any way).I am not an expert on photography, but would like to think ime a fare judge of character, of which ive found Ron to be a good honest man.
    Ime not sure where all your information has come from but i stand by everything I said…not the exsagerations of the english media ie (vanessa says theres 12 ghost there!!!) that was one of many things i did NOT say. Ide also just like to make the point that you can go on many many haunted tour ghost sites and investigations and pay in acsess of £60 £100 per head per investigation, even after all this quite accidental media attention my prices are still the same…i dont think thats the actions of someone trying TO CASH IN!!
    Also to address another point made by john, When paranormal groups come into the cage i say the same to everyone…WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW ANY HISTORY..YES OR NO…i have only ever given information of my own experiances off the back of the request of the group, which to be honest 99% of groups say no they would rather no nothing and find out for themselves.. anything els said diffrent is again a lie. There have been many groups who have come away with photos, evps, and diffrent types of evidence and personnal experiances, i dont know everything coz ime rarely there, but ime sure all theese genuine paranormal investigators would be more than willing to share any evidence they have if requested. I have also never ever been even slightly hostile or agressive to ANYONE coming to investigate the cage!! why would i?? wouldnt that defeat the object of having people back!!
    All i am, is someone who moved out of a haunted house years ago quietly and without drama or media attention…i since then responded to the request of paranormal groups who wanted to come..word spread and more wanted to come..i do not profess to be a meduim or ghost hunter myself, i am just a normal person who owns a medieval prison which has become a place of public interest….ime sure my experiances wont change any skeptics mind and i wouldnt want to, everyone to their own, i know because i struggeled to come to terms with it myself years ago, let alone convince anyone els…and oh!!! befor i go the biggest laugh of all…£300 to £600 a week from ghost hunts!!! IF ONLY….I COULD ONLY WISH FOR SUCH A HUGE INCOME!!!
    So i will leave you to your debates and wish you well, ime sure the question of “do ghosts exsist, and life after death” will be rageing on after we are all dead and gone….so only then the skeptics will discover the truth…for me, ime convinced beyond a shadow of a dought that THE DEAD COME BACK

    kind Regards

    Vanessa Mitchell
    owner of THE CAGE MEDIEVAL PRISON st osyth

    • Hello,

      Thanks for visiting my blog. The post you’ve commented on did not call into question whether the haunting was authentic or not – I simply wrote critically about the photos presented on your Facebook group that are faked. I even commented in the post

      I’m not ruling out that Vanessa has encountered these strange occurrences because to do so would be naive of me, but there was little evidence to be found online other that personal testimony,

      Personal testimony is difficult to count as evidence unfortunately – I’ve no reason to think you’re lying at all, but I just cannot accept the testimony of you and others at face value as evidence of a haunting. Things like EVP phenomena, ghost photography and other related investigation techniques demonstrated by ghost huntera at your premesis have very rational causes that are nothing to do with ghosts. People often mistake the results they get from such methods as being paranormal when this isn’t the case. This is another reason I find it hard to accept the alleged haunting at face value.

      That doesn’t mean I don’t believe you and others have had very strange experiences, I just don’t accept that it’s ghosts doing it based on the ‘evidence’ provided.

    • At £250 to £350 per group investigation and I have it on good authority that two investigations a week is normal, plus the other daytime viewings, it does not leave much to the imagination that a yearly income of around £20,000 is quite easily achieved. Where did I get this information….. From the horses mouth! Then take a look at this POOR woman’s other house, nicely fitted out with all the mod cons, hmmm, I think somebody is leading a lot of people on here, add to this the farce of the new webcam at £25 per person per year, somebody is onto a winner

  5. Hi Im an experienced investigator of Essex and Suffolk paranormal and also work at the cage from time to time doing public tours I have also investigated many other places Im not easily scared but the cage scares me my partner is a photographer and has had various spirit photos from the cage which are on the website an have been analysed by various people and are unexplainable also when it comes down to research has anyone other then myself spoken to Vanessa or actually been there if you contact SPR they them self’s have researched an investigated the place and it is rubber stamped by which in my eyes are the leading society in paranormal research an I as experienced investigator will say no investigator should slate a place till they have been I have various files of EVP and EMF recording that prove the cage is well and truthfully haunted

    • Hello,

      Thank you for visiting my blog – I had a bit of a hard time understanding your comment due to a lack of punctuation, however what I did get from what you wrote is that you’ve had experiences at the venue in question which is something I have no reason to doubt, and did not call into question in this blog post.

      I did comment in this post:

      I’m not ruling out that Vanessa has encountered these strange occurrences because to do so would be naive of me, but there was little evidence to be found online other that personal testimony,

      Personal testimony is difficult to count as evidence unfortunately – I’ve no reason to think you’re lying at all, but I just cannot accept the testimony of you and others at face value as evidence of a haunting. You can find more about why personal testimony is untrustworthy in this video from Quliasoup

      Also, Things like EVP phenomena, ghost photography and other related investigation techniques have very rational causes that are nothing to do with ghosts. People often mistake the results they get from such methods as being paranormal when this isn’t the case. This is another reason I find it hard to accept the alleged haunting at face value.

      I have written guides to such topics that can be found here: http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/a-guide-to-ghost-research/

    • Amy – You used the word “unexplainable”. I think what you meant is “as yet unexplained”.

      These things are not the same. (Also I have no doubt that many people could come up with many plausible possible explanations for your photos. The fact that you haven’t suggests that you haven’t done enough research)

  6. I apologise for bad grammer as am slighlty delexic I agree that people also associate things to paranormal but however I dont me and my team are sceptics and I have various scientific quilifications including a degree as you can see im not your average investigator with my scientific back ground an on of my studys is forsenics I do believe that a body on the earth plan shall we say is just a vessal an is proven that energy doesnt die just changes there for the energy we create as people must go some were when we are bodys die but on the haunting side of this unless u r there and look at the evidence as it happens u can not call it allegde or fake and you cant dismiss anything untill it is anylised at least twice an seen it for yourself

  7. hayley im not sure if its me that doesnt understand it is a well talked about fact in the science world we as humans are made up of different energy and as the body dies the energy is reliesed there for not dieing it is one of the basic’s of science energy stays as energy an matter stays as matter it is primary school science energy transforms from one state to another but does not cease existence an has been the topic of discussion amongist sciencest for yrs


    • You confused me in your initial post because you said

      I do believe that a body on the earth plan shall we say is just a vessal an is proven that energy doesnt die just changes there for the energy we create as people must go some were when we are bodys die but on the haunting side of this unless u r there and look at the evidence as it happens u can not call it allegde or fake and you cant dismiss anything untill it is anylised at least twice an seen it for yourself

      As you didn’t use punctuation it read as though you were saying the energy transference was somehow linked with the haunting.

      Also, you say I cannot call it a fake which I haven’t done. Just the photos which I believe look as though they’ve been faked using the techniques I’ve outlined in the blog post.

    • Amy, you’re right energy and matter are interchangeable. However, I think you’re implying that you believe when someone dies the energy stored in their body must go somewhere …. hence paranormal phenomena. If I’m wrong I apologise: because, like Hayley, I find it difficult to follow your posts.

      Sure, the body is made up of matter. We take in food and fat is burnt (using oxygen from the air) to produce energy. I have looked for figures for what a dead body could generate if the total body mass was converted to energy. Crematoria are interested in that and are using recovered energy for district heating instead of letting it all go up the flue!

      If you take one figure I saw and use 360M Joules total energy value of a human adult corpse. (Other size corpses are available)

      I make that about 100 KW Hrs. That’s quite a bit of energy but remember that not all the matter in the corpse, by any means, will be converted into energy. Some of the mortal remains will just change its chemical state.

      Amy, if you are suggesting that part of that energy “hangs about” to disturb people in darkened rooms then please postulate where/how it could be stored. If 10% (quite generous on my part) were somehow (by paranormal means) liberated as “Woo Energy” that would be 10KWhrs total. As a rough conversion that would be 400 Watt days or just over 1 watt year. If a “ghost” existed for 200 years then on average, it would be having to “run off” about 5.5mW for a full day. If only 1% were “liberated” then it would be just 500µW/day. Not much power for throwing things, like stones, about!

      Amy, as someone with a scientific training, could you please suggest A) How and Where the energy is stored, B) By what mechanism is it released & C) What happens when all the “Woo Energy” is used up. Or is it all just blind faith on your part?

  8. A few questions…when you say..PARANORMAL GROUPS WHO GO TO THE CAGE HAVE NEVER TURNED UP SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE….Ide like to ask to which groups you are prefering to?..to be qualifyed to make such a comment you would obviously have to have done your research???? , apart from of course johns group, they never turned up anything… doh! lol!!!, so what groups and when are you refering to?, and what do you class as substantial evidence?
    This blog and the contents for the most part are to discredit the cage and the evidence gained from it…at no point have you asked me personnaly to make comment, or Ron Bowers,or sent me the link to look at this blog and have a say myself..you obviously know my details as you have said, so why not envite me to give my side for a FARE debate on this subject as you are publicly discussing me and my property and my morals…wouldnt that have been the rite thing to do…. this page basically says rons a fake and ime in it for the money, what ever way you dress it up…both of which are LIES. hayley your point of veiw doesnt make it fact..yours is just another opinion out there with millions of others,and its no more important than all the others ..hayley you say you cannot take the testimony of others, you dont belive Rons photos your ruleing out evp and other footage i assume youve seen from your exstensive research on this matter!!… and of course ime in it just for the money…many of your comments on this blog are not correct.
    Your comment to Amy, that she hasnt done enough research lol!!! well how would you know what research she has done..you havnt asked her..yet again very one sided and if i may say hayley, for me this just got BORING..petty comments on punctuation and little put downs isnt what this blog is here for, not a very professional responce from you hayley to someone who is trying to join in the debate in an honest, open and friendly way . I wont be back on here again, its not the type of site i would like to spend anymore time or thought on, a good healthy debate is one thing but unqualifyed statements, petty insults, and the use of professional photographers photos, with, may i add copyrite all over them without their permission or given their rite to reply just isnt my thing….Its just a shame when people can put much time and energy in burying a place they have never been to, and people they have never met or spoken to.

    • Hello,

      Those claiming the building is haunted carry ‘the burden of proof’. I’m simply commenting on how unconvincing it seems when you look at what is made public.

      I didn’t rule out individual EVP’s and footage – just EVP as a research technique overall for reasons I’ve written about elsewhere on this site. I also made a comment about the punctuation – not as a put down – but to indicate that I wasn’t sure what points were being made as a separate sentences ran into one another in Amy’s comment.

    • I was recently with a team at this property and to be honest, my garden shed is more haunted. I found the place dirty and had a rather nasty smell about it. The noise outside went on until the early hours and not ideal for an investigation unless you like the sound of fast cars speeding away from the takeaway. The price charged was extreme for this poor location, not enough room for everyone to sit down and the carpets were so dirty, nobody wanted to sit on them. It’s the kind of place you wipe your feet on the way out.

  9. Interesting comments… After spending an evening at The Cage and witnessing the fiasco of the haunted wardrobe, (which would probably be better cleared out to discourage any more obviously fraudulent activity), I would like to say that although I saw lots of orbs on the cameras, I didn’t feel in the least bit ‘spooked’ and actually found the place had a comfortable atmosphere if you shut your ears to those trying to freak you out…choose your fellow investigators carefully is my advise. I don’t dispute there is something there but everyones experience is individual to them, so why people have to resort to silly stunts is beyond me, ah well i guess they’re only human lol. Oh and if Vanessa is using thi s to her monetary advantage, why the hell not lol I would as I suspect would many others so good luck to her 🙂

  10. I learnt that discussion the paranormal is like discussion religion , politics or football. You do it at your own risk. Everybody has their own opinion and sometimes you just cant make people see sense. If you believe you believe , and if you don’t you don’t. I have been to the cage and experienced nothing that I consider paranormal, but likewise I have been to many reportedly haunted locations and not experienced anything paranormal.

  11. I have to say, I find the claims of The Cage being haunted rather amusing.
    My mum owned the cage before Vanessa and we found it to be a beautiful, quirky but cosy cottage and had some great times there.
    The history of the house is so interesting so can understand wanting to capitalise on this, but it certainly isn’t haunted.

  12. I have read through all of the comments regarding ‘The Cage’ and paranormal activity and the conclusions that can be drawn from them is an issue far more worrying than ghosts or spirits. SPELLING!!!!

    • @JC: As a poor speller I depend heavily on my spell-check and can’t understand why other people like me don’t install a spell-check ad-on to their browser.

      However, what really annoys me are people who lie, cheat and fool gullible people and worst of all make money from this duplicity.

      The photos by Ron Bowers, the subject of this page, are a case in point. How anyone can believe these to be genuine is beyond credibility.

      People who ‘confirm’ that they have seen such images on the screen of Ron’s camera as photos were being taken are either complicit in his shenanigans or lack the basic intelligence to have a second person witness what’s happening on the lens side of his camera.

      Surely that’s an issue far more worrying than spelling mistakes or poor grammar? …. GULLIBILITY!

  13. Hayley, just curious, have you tried staying overnight in this house. Maybe you have, I don’t know, but I watched a tv doc about it recently and folk that rented the place say they had some real scary experiences.

    It’s easy to criticise from outside. As from making money from the place I see nothing wrong with that. If no on will stay in it by all means it makes sense to rent it out for any interested in visiting a haunted house. I’d gladly pay for a night there, though can’t promise I’d last very long. lol

    • You don’t have to visit somewhere to be able to comment on what is being presented as evidence. I see no problem with them charging money for people to stay there, and throughout this post I have only criticised this because of the weak supporting evidence. I haven’t visited The Cage because they charge you to do so.

  14. I just came here via Google, having seen these photos by Ron Bowers on the TV. They looked so unconvincing amd handmade I had to see if there was more information about them on the web. I’m glad I’m not the only one who smells a rat. To me they look just like spray paint, possibly photographed out of focus, and the shapes of the figures look very naively and unrealistically rendered…

  15. I have just watched a programme with Michaela Strachan (sp) presenting ‘great British Ghosts’. This episode featured ‘the Cage’. Incidentally, if I owned it, I’d change that name, as that alone would give me the creeps 🙂

    Anyway, I don’t know about life after death and hauntings, but I have lived in a house in which *unexplained* things happened. I did find most of it very disturbing. Though, not as scary as watching a ghost film, strangely enough. I think because when it happens in front of you you are more fascinated than freaked. After a few years I needed a break from it though, and moved. So I do know that strange things can take place in a house, unexplained. I just haven’t decided what to make of them.

    I found the programme interesting, and I enjoy hearing other people’s experiences. I usually find myself nodding and remembering my old house!
    HOWEVER, I just couldn’t believe the photo’s by Ron Bowers. I’m sorry, I know I should maybe ‘keep the jury out’ because I don’t know him etc., but to me the shadows in the pictures didn’t seem authentic. They seemed far too dark, deep and clear. What it made me think of was the filters you can get to screw onto the lens of an SLR camera. I had one back in the 1980’s. Some of them made me think of the way I would rub a little Vaseline round a filter over the lens to get a ‘soft focus’ effect. I applied too much one time and it looked really spooky!

    However, I don’t know if he uses an SLR camera. You can get them now as digital cameras with a screen on the back (mine came out of the ark and is very basic!). He did say on the programme that he used to use a very basic Practika camera, but that now he used a Fuji. But he didn’t show the camera. So is it a pocket camera, or an SLR? If an SLR you could put a filter on, no trouble. If you’re not used to seeing an SLR you might not even know how to check for a filter. A filter could be easily screwed on and off, switched with another in the pocket, even with others present.

    I’m not being disrespectful to others who accept that the pictures are genuine in this thread, nor wanting to join an argument. The blog post was about the photo’s, and asking what method *might* be used to get a similar effect. This is my two-pence-worth on that.

    I Googled “Ron Bowers” and found some of his photo’s online, and they just don’t seem possible, many in a ‘too good to be true’ way, and others, well I’m afraid they actually made me laugh, they just looked so silly.

    I have seen a photo with a completely unexplained image on it, and it wasn’t like these. That’s not to say that all ghost photo’s would be the same of course. But these don’t look right. OK call it a hunch. One can only have a hunch one way or the other, and mine is to think, um, no, I don’t think I believe these photo’s. I shouldn’t come down on one side of the fence or the other without evidence, I know. But as a hunch only, as one who has experienced unexplained ‘spooky stuff’, I’d have to say my hunch is that they’re not real.

    • That’s the same show I watched. Michaela was very polite but seemed a little skeptical about the photos. Of course she didn’t want to say they look fake because she would be criticising her own show.

  16. I’m an avid enthusiast of all things paranormal and are well aware of people faking so called spirit photographs since the first era of spiritualism. I feel this is no exception!

    Having worked in the digital arts field for many years I have become accustomed to many crude effects which can be used, some to great advantage, in the manipulation of photographs. One of these effects known commonly as ‘blur’ will make a target area appear as though out of focus. Another effect is ‘smudge’ – similar to blur but with a more directional appearance. Both effects can be utilized by simply clicking a mouse button and are available in any half decent photo editing software on sale today.

    Looking at Ron’s photos I feel they fall into this category (crude manipulation). The image which lead me to believe this more so than other images I’ve studied is one on the Cage website


    This photo is a perfect example of the execution of such an effect as ‘smudge’ and has all the hallmarks of an inexperienced person trying to create some sort of realistic artefact.

    All this goes to show is there are people out there who are going to muddy the waters and make it more difficult for people who are trying to find out the real causes for such phenomena by creating cheap fabrications of ‘real evidence’ and are besmirching the good names of others in doing so.

    • @James – I doubt that the photos above are digitally manipulated as they, and similar others, are produced in an instant while other people are present. It’s more likely, as has already been pointed out, the ‘ghosts’ are no more than crude images on a piece of transparent material. As such, with a camera set to focus at distance, they will automatically be blurred. It’s more sleight of hand than anything else. However, the photo you link to is obviously just digitally manipulated. —- Hayley, you may remember the fake German soldier ‘ghost’ photo where the image was cut from a book and still exhibited shadows of the soldier in front. I think Trystan had it on his blog at one time.

  17. @David- I’m not disputing the method by which other photos have been created by Ron. I was merely making a point of how easy it is to fabricate so called paranormal evidence

  18. Another quick point I’d like to make, which has even been said by Ron Bowers himself is this; he takes his photos in complete darkness so, even with a person standing behind, how could anyone possibly say he doesn’t put a box over his camera or put a simple etching in front of the lens?

  19. I watched the Great British Ghosts programme with interest and immediately Googled ‘The Cage’ I thought the lady who owns it might want help, that if there are any or many ‘spirits’ still there, that they might want help too. But a look at the website for The Cage soon convinced me that it had turned into a money making venture for the owner. Paranormal Investigators and mediums by the dozen. A quiet home and resolution was not on the agenda. Ron Bowers photographs are a little suspect I think.

  20. Having investigated “The Cage”, I am somewhat unconvinced about the claims that have been made. The CCTV system showed a snowstorm of orbs in the upper bedroom, yet our professional camcorders and digital cameras captured just the odd one. It leaves me rather bemused!

  21. I can find little that explains in any detail how or why Vanessa came to purchase the house in the first place. I’d be particularly keen to discover whether it had been up for sale for a long time or even if it was proving impossible to sell – the previous owner committed suicide in there and apparently (allegedly?) it had a history of hauntings. If this was the case, then please excuse my suspicious mind but if thought I could make some good money by buying a supposedly multiply-haunted house at a favourable price and then opening it up to the paying public as some kind of ghostly ‘attraction’ well, this would be the property to own ….

    I apologise to Vanessa if this truly wasn’t the case, but I have to agree with other comments on this blog – her ‘Cage’ website does come across as opportunistic. commercial, amateurish (that spelling and punctuation again!) and displaying a noticeable lack of hard factual information. And the silly sound effects do her no favours at all if she really wants her story to be taken seriously.

  22. I’ve been a pro photographer for some 40 years and I know how Ron Bowers gets those pictures. The people saying that things are stuck in front of the lens are on the right track, but he has witnesses saying he doesn’t do that.
    He’s right there, there isn’t anything on the FRONT of the lens as it would be too far out of focus to register as a shape at all, but you can bet there is a little man-shaped cut out, stuck INSIDE the camera, on the back of the lens.
    I have two of his pictures where that shape is identical and does not move as you flick from one exposure to another, a sure giveaway if ever I saw one, and furthermore I’ve stuck shapes on the back of the lens and reproduced what he gets with nothing visible to an observer.
    Here you go, the first 2 are Ron’s with the shape identical in both exposures, the rest are my reproductions of his technique ~ http://www.avantiphotographics.com/fakes/

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