Can You Spot the Muncaster Ghost in this Picture?

A walk through Muncaster wood. Photo by Graham Richards.

Can you see her? Photo by Graham Richards using a setting that only shows the color green.

I have been on a long and winding road to my ancestral home of Muncaster Castle for nearly 13 years. After dozens of journals, archives, and ghost stories we arrived in Cumbria on 21 August. Husband took this picture while we were ambling up the footpath between Ravenglass and Muncaster. These woods are believed to be inhabited by the ghost of Mary Bragg, a heartbroken 19th century maid murdered nearby. The poor dear was in love with a footman at our castle, but so was one of the castle maids. It did not end well. Love triangles are always sticky, you know.

I will be further exploring the story of Mary Bragg in my book, The Baroness and Fool. It was not until last night that we noticed an extra face in the photograph above. I was having great fun terrorizing my editor, Doctor Bethany, with photos catching only the green (thus my appearance), when my roommate asked the see the picture up close and instantly zoomed to investigate an inconsistent shadow beneath the tree. Upon examination, I have determined to analyze this picture closely. I’ve been studying Hans Holzer, Lloyd Auerbach, and Ghostbusters for such a time as this.

So tell me, do you see her?

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Isle at War: Good Luck, Everyone.

Laxey's WWI memorial -- one of nearly 200 scattered across the Isle of Man. Photography by Graham Richards.

Laxey’s WWI memorial — one of nearly 200 scattered across the Isle of Man. Photography by Graham Richards.

We’ve recently returned from an enchanted holiday on the British Isles, where we ran wild among ruins while I scribbled copious notes on index cards squirreled away in my flesh-tone fanny pack. Many of the notes belong to essays for my current book project, The Baroness and Fool, while others make better conversation pieces for the world at large.

Our arrival coincided with the Island at War events honoring the fallen and brave of The Great War. Now, being a gun-shy American I struggle with any celebration of war. I come from a land where war is endlessly perpetuated both in secret and broad daylight. Still, I was profoundly moved by the love poured into remembering a terrible time that forever changed the people inhabiting this breathtaking landscape. The Manx culture maintains a reverence for the losses of war, one that seems to render them impervious to the fear perpetuated in most other corners of the globe.

Inspired to learn more from the British perspective on WWI, I turned to my favorite history professor, The Black Adder. While I have watched the first three series at least a dozen times each, I’ve never sat down to go through all of The Black Adder Goes Forth. I clearly was not emotionally prepared to end my favorite television program, the single greatest period sitcom of all time. But I digress. The final episode, “Goodbyeee”, is available on Netflix. Once you’ve gone through the entire series for your own delight, grab your favorite sedative and saddle up for a jarring bolt of the reality of war. I was thunderstruck, which surprised me as Hugh Laurie had been wearing a pretty dress not two episodes prior. Biting hilarity is the most effective way to speak truth to power, to embrace satire as a weapon in the battle you know you’re going to lose.

Or, you can watch the last few moments here. Good luck, everyone.