Creature Feature Friday: The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

It’s time for another Creature Feature Friday, and today we’re taking a quick look at The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall! The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England is one of the most famous ghosts in Great Britain, and the subject of one of the world’s most famous ghost photographs - despite criticism that the image could very well be a hoax! Check out these 5 fast facts about The Brown Lady’s legend:

Dorothy Walpole.

Dorothy Walpole.

1) The Brown Lady who stalks the floors of Raynham Hall is said to be the ghost of Dorothy Walpole, the second wife of Charles Townshend. According to the legend, the violent Townshend discovered his wife had been unfaithful and imprisoned her in her own rooms until she eventually succumbed to smallpox in 1726 - although some versions of the legend contend her death was faked and Lady Dorothy was held prisoner for much, much longer.

2) Although Dorothy died 1726,`sightings of her ghost did not begin until over 100 years later, in 1835, when two guests at a Christmas party witnessed her gliding along a corridor wearing a brown brocade dress - thus generating “The Brown Lady” moniker.

3) The historical portraits of Dorothy in life reveal a beautiful young woman, but the The Brown Lady who haunts Raynham Hall is much different, often seen with a glowing face, evil grin, and empty eye sockets.

The famous image of The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall.

4) A score of Brown Lady sightings were reported for 100 years following her very first appearance. One sighting of her ghastly visage upset a guest so badly he shot at her with a pistol in the hallway. While the bullet unsurprisingly passed right through her ghost, the bullet hole left behind is still visible in one of Raynham Hall’s doors.

5) The infamous photo of The Brown Lady was snapped in 1936, when a photographer and his assistant visited Raynham Hall on an assignment for Country Life magazine. They claimed to see a misty vapor form on the staircase and descend as though walking. They quickly took a picture, and later developed it to discover the now-famous image of The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. Despite becoming one of the most well-known ghost photographs of all time, there are some who contest the photo to be nothing more than a composite image created as a hoax for the magazine. It may never be known for certain if the ghostly image is staged or genuine, but curiously, there have been virtually no sightings of The Brown Lady since her notorious picture was taken.

For more stories of creepy creatures in Britain, check out The Confessionals Episode 40: Andy McGrath and the Beasts of Britain and Episode 83: Bigfoot in Britain! Happy Friday!