Famous Ghost Photo: Mabel Car Ghost!

Like many ghost photos, this one is only intriguing when you know the back-story.  The story goes like this:  Some time in 1959, a woman named Mabel Chinnery visited the grave of her mother.  While doing so, she turned around and snapped a photo of her husband waiting in the car.  When the film was developed, a face resembling her dead mother was visible in the back seat.    You can see it just to the left of the man in the front seat.   A narrow face apparently wearing glasses with a white scarf or shirt collar visible at the neck.

This photo has appeared in print for decades along with variations on this story we recounted above.  Some note that the Mabel was British.  Some suggest that she took the picture to finish off a roll of film.  There have also been claims that the photo has been examined by experts and deemed the face was  neither the result of double-exposure or a reflection.

More thoughts after the jump …

It is a creepy story.  And a creepy photo.  But we find it odd that despite its appearance in many books and websites, very little information is known about the photo.  We are given the name “Mabel Chinnery”.  But we nothing else about this woman.  Perhaps she’s British.  We also know nothing about the location of the photograph.  Again, maybe it’s in the U.K.  Even the car make, given how the photo is cropped, is difficult to identify.  Though we think it might be an MG Magnette.  It does resemble several of the fifties models.  But we’re not car experts.  So even that may be wrong.

We don’t even have any direct quotes from Mabel.  Or the names of her mother or husband.

We did a little poking around and found that there were a handful of Mabel Chinnery’s born in the United Kingdom around the right time.  But “Chinnery” is undoubtedly this woman’s married name.  So birth records aren’t the place to search.   Marriage records are a nightmare to search given this amount of information.  So we haven’t even tried.  There are some potential hits in phone directories of the period.  But, again, with nothing to cross reference we can’t go further.  And there you see how the information accompanying this photo, which initially appears to add verisimilitude,  just provides a quick dead end to further research.

3 Responses to “Famous Ghost Photo: Mabel Car Ghost!”

  1. I know all about this photo, Mable Chinnery was my Great Grand mother. If you would like to know more please email me, thanks.

  2. Choccacino Says:

    This image and story was featured in the series ARTHUR C. CLARKE’S MYSTERIOUS WORLD. They actually interviewed the husband and wife who took the photo. Would be worth finding the show in TV archives and finding the episode about “ghosts”.

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