Weird News, Ghosts and the Paranormal.

Ghostly Pics: The Back Seat Ghost

back seat ghost 1959 graveyard car

Graveyards are one of those places that you just might expect to capture a photograph of a ghost or spirit. After all, it is the final resting place of our physical forms and has an obvious connection with death and whatever might lay beyond it.

So it might not come as a shock to anyone that one of the most famous ghost photos in the world came from a cemetery.

Even more impressive, the ghost seemed keen to get a ride to some destination in the physical world as the picture itself shows the spirit sitting in the back of a car!

On March 22nd, 1959, forty-four year old Mabel Chinnery went on a trip to the cemetery in Ipswich, England, where her mother, Mrs. Ellen Hammel was buried. Mrs. Chinnery’s husband came along with her for the trip.

It had been about a week since Ellen Hammel had been buried at the church yard cemetery.

After visiting the grave site and snapping a  couple pictures of her mother’s headstone, Mabel Chinnery decided to take a quick snap shot of her husband, as she needed to use the last exposure on the roll:

“I decided to use up the rest of my film by taking a picture of my husband in the car.”

When she got back her developed pictures,it seemed she got more then she ever expected  in that last shot:


“When I showed the developed pictures to friends, one said: ‘but there’s your mum in the back.'”

backseat ghost chinnery close up mabel 1959 mother uk

Eventually Mabel had to admit that the picture bared an uncanny resemblance to her mother Ellen. The figure’s seating arrangements seemed to confirm that:

“It’s my mother sitting where she usually sat for drives.” Mabel would say.

According to the page on this photo, a photographic expert wagered his reputation on this photo’s authenticity.

Others have pointed out the the scarf of the figure in the backseat seems to bled over the metal of the car in one area, a possible sign of a double exposure, although I am not quite sure I am seeing anything like that in the close up of the figure on this page.

The ‘Back Seat Ghost’ is certainly one of the most famous ghosts photographs ever produced. It is also one that is steeped in mystery and has yet to be completely proven as genuine or debunked.

Is the mysterious figure in the photo the ghost of Ellen Hammel, going for one more car ride with her family, or is the photograph of the ‘Back Seat Ghost’ a fraud?

(Modesto Bee)

6 responses

  1. One of my favorites! Although I always thought it was a man in the back. Oops…

    January 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM

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  4. Bill Owens

    First of all, we have a vague story from an alleged incident that occurred many years ago. Obviously, neither the grainy photo nor the story prove anything. So we’re left with the human element of subjective interpretation. The woman could have easily gotten photographs confused. It’s rather odd in the first place to be taking a photo at a cemetery for no apparent reason. Who takes pictures of relatives’ tombstones anyway?

    The photo doesn’t even look legitimate. The lighting and shading doesn’t look right and neither does the position of the man. He’s doesn’t appear to be in any sort of natural seated position behind the steering wheel.

    April 19, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    • I agree that most of your comment is sound and rational, they way I like ’em! 🙂

      However, one thing I can say is people take photos at weird moments not even two week ago in 2014 no less, a friend informed me that she took a photo at the wake with her standing in shot with the person in the casket.

      This is of course an aberration more then commonplace, especially in modern times, I am just saying that it is is indeed possible.

      A lot of these stories/photos have very little info on them that are hard facts and of course as we have seen in the Ghostly Pics section of this website, some are more fake then real…

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, sorry it took so long for a reply, somehow I missed the notification for this one.

      April 23, 2014 at 11:09 PM

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