The Tulip Staircase Ghost (1966)
“Rev. Ralph Hardy, a retired clergyman from White Rock, British Columbia, took this now-famous photograph in 1966. He intended merely to photograph the elegant spiral staircase (known as the “Tulip Staircase”) in the Queen’s House section of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. Upon development, however, the photo revealed a shrouded figure climbing the stairs, seeming to hold the railing with both hands. Experts, including some from Kodak, who examined the original negative concluded that it had not been tampered with. It’s been said that unexplained figures have been seen on occasion in the vicinity of the staircase, and unexplained footsteps have also been heard.” (http://paranormal.about.com/library/blclassic_ghost_on_stairs.htm)
The above photo is one of my favorite anomalous pictures. There is something so melancholy, so desperate, so tragic in this figure’s abandoned gesture. If we are to take this as a true representation of a spirit, then there is a tremendous sadness to the afterlife, or at least to the life-in-death that this soul is experiencing day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
In the previous post, I touch upon the research that defines people in search of their past lives as tending to be depressives with problems sleeping and an active imagination. Perhaps that research would say the same thing about ghost hunters or paranormal investigators. Do we tend to be depressed? Are we prone to insomnia? Do we exaggerate our findings due to lively imaginations? I have no idea; I rather doubt that we are all that different from the general population, although I would like to know what other investigators think about this issue.
During the most difficult time in my life–watching my ex-husband drift away and eventually move out–I started to devour books on life after death. I had so many tomes on the spirit world that they formed a huge column by my bed. They gave me comfort, solace, for reasons that I didn’t understand at the time. Now, when my life is stressful or sad or difficult, I still turn to those tomes–although now, I am choosing to disentangle difficult theories that seek to add scientific backbone to the quest for the afterlife. However, perhaps the emotion that drives this passion of mine is the same as it was then–an unresolved depression and dissatisfaction with the circumstances of my current life. I am not unhappy with my family or my job–quite the contrary–but I have emotional wounds that never healed from years, decades ago. Is it that pain that drives the obsession with life after death? Am I thinking, albeit not always consciously, that the next life will be better? Do I hope for enlightenment and optimism after the transition?
I think it’s a valid question for all of us who work in this field or find ourselves tracking ghosts with fervor. Do we do this because we hope to find something to inspire us in the next life? Is there angst and sadness that we work out through the spirit world? Of course, I don’t mean to suggest that this is the case for everyone, or even the majority–but I have to wonder. Contemplating the above picture, I start to think that perhaps the afterlife is only a reflection of our current life, and that any thought of future happiness in the spirit world is doomed to failure if we don’t find that happiness in the here and now.
As we sow, so shall we reap. If we see through a glass darkly now, that glass will become none the clearer after we exit this world and enter the next.