Fortean Photography: Our Haunted Wedding

This blog was originally published on The Singular Fortean Society.

Image credit: Sarah Mielke

Image credit: Sarah Mielke

This month’s installment of Fortean Photography hits close to home as it took place at our wedding. We had a mysterious--and somewhat spooky--guest appear at the reception.

We decided to have our wedding and reception at the haunted AL. Ringling Mansion on Friday the 13th in October. After all, how else would people like us celebrate our spiritual and legal union?

A guest and trusted friend was taking casual photographs on her iPhone as most do at weddings. Tobias and I had either just started or finished our first dance when the picture was taken. Our guest couldn’t help but notice a strange, white figure wearing black appear behind our ring bearer in a photo. Naturally, she sent the image over to us to look at.


I’ve been examining and trying to debunk this image since I received it. Since it is from a trusted source, I know it is not a hoax. I brought the image into photoshop and inversed the image, since I felt the figure was much paler than any of the other people in the photograph. When inversed, regular skin tones turn bluish--the figure turned solid black indicating he was pure white.


Now, the first logical explanation is that this was one of our guests or a mansion employee that was older and had white hair. The owner of the mansion confirmed that he did not have any employees of that appearance. He estimated that the height of the figure was 6’0” based on his knowledge of the space and where the figure was in the photo. We compared these thoughts with our guests and no one of that description came to mind. 

In a “live photo” version of the photograph you can see the figure cross the room from behind us over to behind the ring bearer. Our guest who took the photo also mentioned she does not remember seeing the figure standing behind Tobias and me before getting to that side of the room. Update: Our good friend and fellow fortean Allison Jornlin has converted the live photo to a video, which she posted to Facebook.  We've added it below. The idea that our guest did not see the figure and it suddenly appeared and moved across the room is puzzling. The photograph and live photo are not of the best quality as it is an older version of an iPhone (pre iPhone 7) and it was captured in a dark room.

I asked a fellow photographer, a ghost tour guide, and the mansion owner for their opinions on the photograph for the sake of being thorough--no answers came from my inquiries. The mansion owner asked a medium friend who seemed to believe it was a lost relative visiting. Other thoughts were that it could be a butler given the dark “suit-like” clothing the figure is wearing. All of these are speculation, of course, as we truly do not understand ghosts. If we knew what they were, they would not be paranormal.

It’s still possible that our ghost is a guest, but when it comes down to it I cannot know for certain. I will say that it's fun to think we had a ghost pay a visit at our wedding. They weren’t invited, but they were more than welcome.

Unusually Yours,


Image credit: Sarah Mielke

Image credit: Sarah Mielke