An Italian paranormal investigator has approached Week in Weird with a spooky photograph that appears to show a ghostly entity manifesting on camera in one of the world’s most haunted castles, and after extensive analysis, he believes it to be legitimate. We’re inclined to agree.
Between running a paranormal museum, acting as Editor-in-Chief for Week in Weird, and investigating the paranormal professionally, I get sent a lot of ghost photographs. Most of them can be chalked up to common photographic artifacts (lens flairs, slow shutter speeds, etc), and some to plain old misidentification (bugs, reflections, rogue camera straps), but every once in awhile a photo comes along that makes me scratch my head. The latest submission to hit my desk is definitely one of those photos.
Constructed in the second half of the twelfth century, Italy’s Castle Malaspina of Fosdinovo has a dark history that many believe has been the cause of numerous frightening paranormal encounters over the years. Assortments of torture instruments left their bloody marks inside the castle walls, and during a recent excavation, the bones of a young girl were discovered with those of a dog and a boar, lending credence to a terrible legend:
Young Bianca Maria Aloisia, daughter of Jacopo (Giacomo) Malaspina and Oliva Grimaldi, was a beautiful girl madly in love with a young man whom she wanted to wanted to marry at all costs. Unfortunately, her parents were wildly opposed to the union, going so far as threatening to lock Bianca in the castle’s dungeon. Undeterred by threats, the young lovers continued their affair. Bianca’s rich, influential parents had the young man whisked from the country and locked in a convent, yet he managed to return to the castle, where he was tortured. Still, he pursued Bianca, and as legend tells it, she was soon pregnant. In order to cover up the embarrassment to the family, Bianca’s parents had her buried alive in a cell with a dog – a symbol of fidelity, and a boar – a symbol of rebellion.
Other ghastly legends involve death by trap door, hidden torture chambers, and a murderous woman who lead men to their deaths with her beauty. These tales, some confirmed and some not, have resulted in Castle Malaspina becoming a hot spot for Italian paranormal investigators who have been capturing some truly compelling evidence of the supernatural for decades. The location has gained so much infamy that in 2012, Ghost Hunters International visited the castle to conduct their own investigation.
The latest piece of ghostly evidence captured at Castle Malaspina was sent over to us by Italian paranormal investigator Michele Morettini. The photo was snapped during a 2013 tour of the castle courtyard, and contains a curious “extra” element: a mysterious, silver-haired figure in a monk’s robe. According to the photographer who sent Morettini the image, the figure was absolutely not in the frame when the shutter clicked.
Michelle Morettini has done a bang-up job of investigating the photograph, going so far as to visit the site of the capture himself, cross-reference tales of the ghostly manifestations with local ghost hunters and mediums, personally interview the witnesses dozens of times, and has run the image through a barrage of software designed to check the photograph for digital trickery. His verdict? The photo is legitimate, and very well could show real evidence of the paranormal.
In conclusion, in light of what could be analyzed in the course of these weeks, I certainly do not presume to say that the figure that was clearly evident in the photo sent to me by Mr. Alessandro is the visual representation of a disembodied sentient entity, since the same has not been acquired under controlled conditions through specific research protocol; the fact is that I have seen that: the figure appearing in the photo is not the result of an elaboration or digital manipulation; according to the testimony of Mr. Alexander, whom I believed to be genuine, no external person could be resumed in the picture at that particular moment; the place where the “extra” element has been acquired has a history of paranormal phenomena; the “extra” element has some of the classic features of the apparitional events that are evident in the series of “spirit photography”; and therefore, in relation to the above stated, I consider it plausible that the anthropomorphic figure acquired is due to a PARANORMAL event of unknown origin.
If everything that Morettini has discovered is true, I’d have to agree. The figure clearly shows the left profile of a male figure, though the dress of the figure (and the actual physicality of the entity) appear to be pretty odd. The question is, who is the ghostly apparition? One of the many people tortured within the walls of Castle Malaspina? The despondent lover of Bianca Maria Aloisia, forever searching for the body of his pregnant fiancé? Or someone else entirely?
To see more of Michelle Morettini’s work, including his full breakdown of the Castle Phantom photograph, be sure to visit his website, but make sure you keep Google Translate handy, as it’s entirely in Italian.
EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s not a painting, guys. You’re seeing digital camera artifacts from a photo that’s been cleaned up. Check out Morettini’s link to see the untouched image.