A Ghost in the White House!

I received the following photo from a gentleman named Bob Martin. A few years ago, Martin was reading David McCullough's book Truman, and a photo of construction in the White House caught his eye. It was taken during remodeling around 1950 by National Parks Service photographer Abbie Rowe. The apparent apparition is clear and startling. Compared to the other men in the photo, its size scale is accurate. And if this were due to some motion or long exposure effect, the rest of the photo should be affected, as well. 

Here's a closer look at the area containing the figure:

Here's a close-up of the figure:



August 22, 2008 at 3:58 AM

Looks like somebody sat down or stood up during the exposure. If you look, you can see the arms in the seated position and the legs are solid, as they never moved.


August 22, 2008 at 6:01 AM

If it was a long exposure as another poster says, then you'd expect to see blurs in the other objects and people in the image, which we don't see.

It may not be a supernatural cause, but movement during exposure seems a problematic explanation given the obvious potential for movement in other objects in this image.


August 22, 2008 at 6:56 AM

What you want to see is a close-up of the image to the right (where the person exited) to look for motion blurring. I thought at first that it might just be a simulacra of a human form due to variations in the earthen wall behind... except for the highlight where the "head" is. Clearly, that highlight must be far forward of the background and I think best explained by someone seated, getting up and quickly leaving. Or a ghost... who can say that's not so. :-)


August 23, 2008 at 8:08 AM

I agree with allen. Check everything in the picture that had movement at the time for motion blur. Rule out all the possibilities before.....AH GHOST!!


August 23, 2008 at 8:43 AM

I am not saying yea or nay, but I don't think those are arms. If he was sitting on that low pile, they would be at more of an angle. The "shoulder" is not in a logical place either. I think the "arms" are just some wood running parallel.


August 23, 2008 at 9:06 AM

THAT is Abraham Lincoln


August 23, 2008 at 9:39 AM

It's the devil making sure everything is running the way he wants it to =)


August 23, 2008 at 11:32 AM

The torso is too long and the shoulders too wide... I wouldn't consider a normal human form unless it is a very tall man taking a golf swing...


August 23, 2008 at 12:09 PM

It's look like Abe to me


August 23, 2008 at 12:15 PM

looks like a guy playing golf to me. I can see his arms coming together as if holding a club, his legs are spread apart at the proper distance for a putt, can even make out a straight long dark line which could be the club.


August 23, 2008 at 2:14 PM

It's just a long exposure. Everything else in it is staged, and one guy moved too soon. Nice try, though.


August 23, 2008 at 2:40 PM

The man walking down the hill behind the dump truck is multiply exposed note the double right arm. What would cause the the white disk with the black ring around it that the "ghost" appears to be standing in?


August 23, 2008 at 2:53 PM

I think it's one of the slaves that built the presidential palace in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

  Pastor Swope

August 23, 2008 at 7:28 PM

This comment has been removed by the author.
  Pastor Swope

August 23, 2008 at 7:29 PM

If a motion blur, the legs would appear to be more solid. But you can see the background behind it. If the legs moved a tad between the time sitting and standing you would have an overlap of where the legs joined...you do not.

Great real photo of a mysterious apparition.


August 23, 2008 at 9:27 PM

I think it's a ghost jacking off


August 23, 2008 at 10:02 PM

It looks like a ghost of an alien killed Roswell crash


August 24, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Sat down or got up from what? There's nothing behind the "ghost" for anyone to sit on, unless someone is suggesting he, she or it was sitting in the middle of what appears to be a thru-way. Perhaps it's the spirit of some poor schmuck who was run over while resting there during a busier time that day.
Behind the figure is what seems to be some ground level debris, and then a wall at least 10 feet further back.
So, sat on what?


August 25, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Pastor Swope: It is proposed that the subject moved out of frame during the long exposure. It looks to me that he either
a) Was sitting, stood, exited quickly. (most likely to me)

or b) Entered, looked up, sat down... exposure ended. That seems less likely to me unless the photographer immediately caught his attention because the posture is facing the camera. Someone entering unknowingly would have tried to address the first people he saw and he would have been standing sideways to the camera before sitting.
No, I think it is someone not understanding the instructions and leaving too soon.

  El Pollo Vengador

August 25, 2008 at 11:47 AM

THAT is Gort from the original The Day The Earth Stood Still with its cloaking device on...


August 25, 2008 at 8:47 PM

It must have been a slow shutter speed to get a pic in low light conditions:- look at the burned-in lights.Everyone else has pale skin tones and dark clothes but the figure is uniformly grey. It's a shade, if you pardon the pun!


August 27, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Enough silly talk of shutter speed and other such nonsense. Its a haint. Just accept it.


September 2, 2008 at 11:13 PM

Looks like an alien with arms crossed standing in a cloaking device.


September 8, 2008 at 6:36 AM

Long exposure? Did they really do "long exposure" in the 1950s? Maybe the 1850s, but in 1950 they did what we do now - point and click.


September 28, 2008 at 4:51 PM

I'm a great believer in ghosts because of an experience my cousin's teacher had when she went to stay in a haunted hotel with her boyfriend. In my opinion, ghosts are not evil like the media portrays them. They're just like us only they have a spirit but no body. So never think of a ghost as wicked just think of it as a person who was alive but passed away.
For example, my father's cousin passed away a few years ago of a heart attack when I was 7 and if he appeared to me now as a ghost form would I scream and run? No certainly not! He'd just want to see how much I've grown since the last time he saw me


March 4, 2009 at 6:16 PM

Judging from the haze coming from the window. It looks like the exposure was left open. Even if nothing else looks like it was moving or blurry that just means nothing spent enough time in the frame to become slightly exposed and blur. But the guy in the back spent enough time to be exposed and then moved before the lens was closed. Back then it took several seconds for film to be exposed.


March 5, 2009 at 4:02 AM

looks like photoshop fun.


March 5, 2009 at 1:30 PM

why does the picture look so modern with such high quality on the close up?


March 5, 2009 at 1:58 PM

The White House is full of spooks.


March 6, 2009 at 4:20 AM

In my work as a real estate photographer I work all day taking photos of apartment interiors. In most of my around 5000 photoshoots there is at least one photo with "ghosts" such as this one. When taking a photo in a fairly dark environment such as an interior you use a tripod and a long exposure. If anyone walks in to that photo they will always make a blur or a less defined shape. This photo is just a very normal interior photo where some people focus on the photographer and pose whereas others have moved. One good indication of a long exposure is the star effect around light sources, indicating a small camera aperture. By using a small aperture you get maximum depth of field and the result is a long exposure with motion blur for moving subjects. Anyways, all this is old news to any photographer and most people.


March 7, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Its just some guy takin a piss

  D H

March 8, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Maybe everyone was told to stay still for a long exposure, and that guy didn't listen.
It's not like the camera was hidden or anything, the guy in the bulldozer is looking at the camera and the people who are talking are too far away to see any fine details, and there doesn't seem to be anyone else there.


March 8, 2009 at 8:29 PM

its a double exposure. first picture was taken with all the men in the shot, then on the same piece of film using a very short exposure time another one was taken of the man standing in the ghost position. either the men posed for both shots or just one, but it looks like both, seeing as how they are in full opacity


March 9, 2009 at 7:00 PM

I think it's more realistic to just view it as a long exposure...


March 9, 2009 at 7:40 PM

It's a predator


March 10, 2009 at 1:55 PM



December 24, 2009 at 5:14 PM

another anomoly in front of truck and buldozer, on the second gerder,above and tucked against vertical gerder.


October 25, 2011 at 2:44 PM

its nothing. if u r looking for spirit pics then ur mind will think that a unde construction wall is an image of a spirit. but the fact is that if it is really a spirit then how can its image came in the photograph when u can never see a spirit by ur naked eyes if it is in front of u.....