A retired policeman claims to have captured a picture of a ghost carrying the body of a witch on a stretcher.
Chris Halton, 55, was visiting one of Britain’s most haunted houses – called the Cage – and took the picture on Coffin Alley which runs behind the property.
It was there he claimed to see a hooded figure clutching a stretcher and two fainter figures following after him.
Chris Halton took this picture along Coffin Alley in St Osyth, which he said showed a man carrying a stretcher
The ex-policeman took this picture, which he claimed showed two figures following the man with the stretcher
The Cage, in St Osyth village in Essex, served as a prison for those convicted of witchcraft in the Elizabethan era.
Fourteen women were imprisoned while awaiting trial, including Ursula Kemp who was executed in 1582.
She was reportedly the most powerful and notorious of all the women, making her living as a midwife and a healer.
She had a reputation of removing spells from locals who thought they were being attacked by black magic and many would go to her for medicines.
The building was still being used as a jail right up until the early 20th century.
In light of this, Mr Halton – who retired as a police officer to investigate ghosts full-time – paid a visit to the house dubbed one of the ‘UK’s most haunted houses’ by TV series Great British Ghosts.
He left the property around midnight and walked down Coffin Alley, which was said to have been used to remove the bodies of witches who died while held at the cottage.
The outline around the spooky figures appear to show the ‘ghosts’ carrying a stretcher
The former policeman now investigates ghosts full-time and so paid a visit to The Cage in St Osyth
The Cage carries a plaque on the wall stating how Ursula Kemp was imprisoned there before being ‘hanged for being a witch in 1582’. It is believed 14 witches were kept in chains there in the 16th century
Mr Halton said: ‘I left just after midnight and visited the alley as I had heard stories about how the alley was used to carry away the bodies of these supposed witches in the dead of night so no one would notice.
‘The alley was really dark and completely empty. It was very creepy, silent and still as there was no traffic or people about.
‘I just took a couple of pictures with the flash on just to document it like I had throughout the house. As soon as I looked at one of them I saw there was some light distortion on it but I just thought it was something wrong on the picture.
‘It was when I got home and looked at it properly that I saw the clear shape of a hooded figure wearing Elizabethan clothing and carrying a stretcher.
‘Behind him were two other, much fainter, figures following after him, wearing what looked like late medieval peasant clothing, one carrying a stick or staff.
‘I was shocked. I have seen a lot of ghost pictures but it is very rare that anything significant is caught on camera. This was quite extraordinary. There was definitely no one there when I took the picture.
‘I think they are residual apparitions, replays of an event that happened a long time ago, which is why they didn’t see or interact with me.’
He added: ‘The reaction I have had from people was mainly astonishment – though some were shocked and even terrified by it.
‘It is a remarkable picture and a chance moment. The odds of capturing something like that are very slim.’
Mr Halton took the picture while visiting the Cage, which has Coffin Alley running behind the property
Author Micky Rawlings is currently staying in the Cage after owner Vanessa Mitchell, 37, moved out in 2012 amid claims she had encountered 12 ghosts at the two-bedroom cottage.
She claimed the ghosts tried to hit her from behind, pull her hair and tried to shove visitors down the stairs.
She said the final straw was when she spotted a shadowy figure lurking over the cot of her infant son, Jesse.
Mr Rawlings, who is currently researching a documentary about the supernatural, said: ‘I’m not a religious man and yet I go to bed every night clutching a crucifix for my own safety.
‘After a few days, I got to learn the natural noises of the house. Now the non-natural noises keep my awake at night.’
Mr Halton stands next to the plaque which he said was ‘so important as it validates a lot of the stories that circulate as the area has a long history of alleged witches being imprisoned’