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The Ghost Under the Bed

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Netlore Archive: Chain letter circulating via email and social media claims a ghost seen hiding under a bed in an attached photo will 'collect your soul' if you don't forward the message to at least five other people.

Description: Chain letter w/image / Ghost story
Circulating since: Oct. 2004
Status: False (see details below)

Example #1:
Email contributed by A. Riner, Oct. 28, 2004:

Subject: FW: Read story first before Looking @ Picture !!

This photo was taken in a hospital after the patient was in an accident where he was responsible for a young woman's death. It is said that when you receive this image and do not send it to at least five people, the woman will look for you during the night to collect your soul. People in Laredo, Texas, received this image and did not send it and were killed outside a bar; it looked as if this woman killed them. Send it to five people or the woman will look for you.

Chain letter
Click to Enlarge


Example #2:
As shared on Facebook, June 21, 2013:

This photo was taken in a hospital after the patient in the bed was in an accident where he was responsible for a young woman's death.

It is said that when you see this image and do not share it, the woman will look for you during the night to collect your soul.

A couple in a western suburb area of Sydney saw the message and ignored the picture without sharing it. This couple was murdered by their 15 year old neighbor who claims to have been possessed by the woman.

A 28 year old woman in Whittlesay Road, Cambridgeshire, England, was run down by a car driven by another female that fit the description of the woman in the photograph, the police investigation revealed that the murdered lady had ignored this picture only 4 hours before her untimely death and did not pass it on.


Analysis: Chain letters promising dire consequences for those who fail to pass them along are old news, but variants accompanied by "ghost" photos such as the one above are a relatively new phenomenon and unique to the Internet, so far as I'm aware.

Another specimen that made the rounds in 2003 featured an apparition purportedly caught on film in Bangladesh. "The Ghost Under the Bed" began circulating just before Halloween 2004.

To those who will inevitably write and demand to know how I can "prove" that the chain letter and accompanying image are fake, I can only respond that if you really believe such proof is necessary, no logic or evidence is likely to convince you otherwise.

For the rest, suffice it to say that: 1) photos such as the above are easily fabricated using double exposure or digital manipulation, 2) chain letters do not exercise magical powers over their recipients, and 3) ghosts — dare I say it? — simply do not exist.

Update: Alex Boese of The Museum of Hoaxes informs me that this image was ripped from a 2003 Thai horror film (see sample DVD cover image at right) known variously as "The Unborn" or "The Mother."

Boese adds that he first received the image attached to a similar ghost story quoted as follows:

"This picture was taken in one of the rooms of 'Our Lady of Charity' hospital in Toluca, Mexico while one of the patients was asleep, the patient had been involved in a multiple car accident and the lady under the bed was the only one person who died in the same accident and taken to the morgue, the brother's patient captured this image with his own camera and the picture has been seen around the world and has been authenticated by the research center in Chicago, Illinois."

More ghastly chain letters:
Carmen Winstead
A Little Girl Called Clarissa
Humans Can Lick, Too
The Clown Statue


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Last updated: 10/12/13


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