On the shores of a remote Scottish loch, a group of women pose for a series of snaps. Props in hand, they are celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of their friends. But when the photographs make their way online, a sinister figure is spotted in the background. Could it be the ghost of the infamous Blue Boy?
In summer 2017, a pair of strange photographs went viral across social media. Apparently, they depicted a party of young women who had traveled to Scotland for a hen party. While there, they allegedly stayed on a remote estate somewhere in Argyll and Bute, a region in the far west of the country.
While in Scotland, the friends appear to have celebrated in style. Dressed in matching jackets and equipped with cut-out masks of characters from Harry Potter, they braved the notorious weather and posed for some photographs. Apparently, they used a digital camera and timer to capture a series of shots.
With a picturesque loch and mountains in the background, the group of friends posed first with their masks held at their sides. Then, moments later, they raised their hands in the air. Afterwards, the automatic timer had captured two different images, taken merely seconds apart.
However, when the women took a closer look, they apparently discovered that it hadn’t just been the pose that was different. In a terrifying twist, it’s claimed that they had spotted the sinister figure of a young boy, crouching in the background of the picture. In one frame, there was no one there, but in the next one the boy had appeared.
Apparently, there were no other people around who could have found their way into the shot – let alone an unaccompanied young boy. But that wasn’t the end of the story. Allegedly, the women began investigating the location online, only to be petrified by what they found. According to the story doing the rounds, the women discovered that the loch was in fact haunted by the ghost of a young boy.
Apparently, the story – which also inspired the 1994 movie The Blue Boy – tells of a boy who fell into the loch while sleepwalking and drowned. For the group of women, this appeared to be the final straw. Allegedly, they were so spooked that they abandoned their holiday early, fleeing the property in fear.
Meanwhile, the two photographs found their way onto the internet, where speculation about their spooky origin began to grow. That summer, users took to social media to express their feelings about the mystery boy. “I’m fully shook,” one tweet read, while a Reddit user commented that the image would be keeping them awake.
By January 2018, the mysterious photographs had made their way into the mainstream press. There, commenters continued to speculate on the nature of the image. Was the “boy” really one of the women’s masks, or were altogether more sinister forces at work? Meanwhile, journalists began to dig a little deeper into the story of the Blue Boy.
Soon investigators began to link the strange photographs with Loch Eck, a seven-mile stretch of water located on a peninsula near the town of Dunoon in Argyll and Bute. Recently, the loch made the news when two dogs died after swimming in the algae-filled waters. However, its tragic history gets far worse.
According to the Scottish filmmaker Paul Murton, he first heard the gruesome tales while visiting the Coylet Inn, a remote hostelry on the shores of Loch Eck. Apparently, it was the owner of the inn who told him about the area’s spooky past. “I was talking to the hotelier about it and he mentioned the Blue Boy,” Murton told The Herald back in 1994.
“This, he said, was a young child who had been on holiday with his parents in the hotel and he had been sleepwalking during the night,” Murton continued. “He had strayed outside, fallen into the loch, and drowned. When they found his body it was blue with the cold.” And according to the owner, the boy’s spirit continues to haunt the Coylet Inn.
Apparently, the ghost has been known to move items, such as plates and cutlery, around the rooms. According to some sources, he has also been spotted running through the halls. And, perhaps most terrifyingly, staff have reported finding wet footprints leading along the floor – with no apparent culprit in sight.
Clearly, the story made a lasting impression on Murton. Before talking to the inn’s owner, the filmmaker had been working outside the property, where he had captured a mysterious blue fog. Now, the idea of the Blue Boy was imprinted firmly on his mind. Years later, he would dramatize the legend into a movie starring Emma Thompson.
Even today, the Coylet Inn is considered one of Scotland’s most haunted locations, and the story of the Blue Boy is widely known. So perhaps it is not surprising that journalists, while searching for some background on the strange photographs, found their way to the tragic story that unfolded on the shores of Loch Eck.
However, recent evidence has emerged that suggests that things aren’t quite what they seem. In fact, just one day after the photographs appeared in news outlets such as the Mail Online and Mirror Online, a woman named Bethan Weir took to Twitter to express her own views on the matter.
Apparently, Bethan was one of the women pictured in the photographs. And according to her, the story accompanying them was completely made up. In her tweet, she accused the original poster of stealing the images without permission – and even offered a journalist an exclusive interview with the bride.
According to Bethan, none of the women has any idea who Holly – the Twitter user who first posted the photographs – is. And furthermore, she claims that none of them was aware of the ghostly figure. “We don’t know,” she responded when asked about the mystery boy. “We didn’t notice him at the time.”
The same day, Rebecca Davies, another woman from the photographs, sent a tweet to the Mail Online protesting their coverage of the story. In it, she also claimed that the facts attached to the photographs were completely fabricated. However, the paper declined to issue a response. Then another Argyll and Bute pub, the Holy Loch Inn, weighed in on the drama. According to them, the photograph wasn’t even taken at Loch Eck – making its connection to the Blue Boy somewhat weaker.
So if the photograph didn’t show a ghost, what was really going on? Now, it seems clear that none of the women present believed that anything paranormal was occurring. So was the boy a real, flesh-and-blood visitor or merely the result of masks and a trick of the light?
While the truth might never be known, it certainly isn’t the last time a mysterious and somewhat eerie image has captured the public’s imagination. When a girl started flicking through her cousin’s vacation snaps, for instance, she noticed a creepy figure in the background. And it was enough to make the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.
The image in question was taken at Dundas Peak, a popular viewpoint that overlooks the city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. Reached via a 2.4-mile circular trail, the area is a favorite spot with hikers, birdwatchers, walkers and cyclists. Impressively, it also features Hamilton’s tallest waterfall, the 135-foot Tew’s Falls.
However, these days it isn’t just outdoors enthusiasts who flock to Dundas Peak. With its rocky peaks and stomach-churning drops into Spencer Gorge below, the vantage point has become a popular spot with those seeking the perfect social media pose.
Yet in their desire to capture an Instagram-friendly shot of themselves conquering nature, many visitors are putting themselves at risk. Indeed, authorities report that the number of hikers who needed rescuing from the peak rose sharply over the course of 2016.
Still, despite the risks, Dundas Peak is more popular than ever with adventurers. In 2016, in fact, as many as 140,000 people are thought to have visited the area. And in the midst of these crowds was one man whose photograph would spark one of the most bizarre chapters in the history of the peak.
At first glance, the man’s souvenir snap doesn’t look like anything particularly special. Indeed, there seems to be little to tell it apart from the thousands of other Instagram images featuring visitors posing at Dundas Peak – of which there are currently some 10,000 online.
Wearing jeans and a dark jacket, the man poses on the edge of a rocky outcrop, and like many of the thrill-seeking visitors to Dundas Peak, he sits with one foot dangling perilously off the edge. In keeping with tradition, furthermore, he subsequently uploaded the snap to his Instagram account.
Soon, the man’s cousin noticed his post and the seemingly death-defying pose. And just a few days later, she and a friend made their own way to Dundas Peak. When they arrived, the pair took it in turns to step out onto the rocky ledge and recreate the original photograph.
After successfully taking their souvenir photos, the two friends then headed home. For the next month, life carried on as normal, with neither of them suspecting that there was anything unusual about their trek. Then, something truly strange happened – an unnerving incident that would put Dundas Peak more firmly in the spotlight than ever before.
At some point in 2016 a reddit user known as SlicedUpBeef made a fascinating post on the social news site. Apparently, they had accompanied the unidentified woman on her quest to recreate her cousin’s photograph. What’s more, they had a fascinating story to tell.
According to the reddit post, about a month after their visit to Dundas Peak, the woman was again looking at her cousin’s Instagram images. Suddenly, moreover, she noticed a striking difference between his photograph and the corresponding ones that she had taken with her friend.
In the original photo, a mysterious figure could be seen on the steep hillside beneath the trail. According to the poster, the terrain where the individual was standing was impossible to navigate on foot. So, how could a person be standing there? And why was the figure so strangely thin?
If that weren’t creepy enough, the poster additionally noted that the figure was standing in a bizarrely straight posture – and also appeared to have no face. “I know you’re probably thinking that is probably just a brave hiker,” they admitted. “But trust me, that spot is completely inaccessible.”
Because the poster’s friend’s photographs did not show the same anomaly, it seemed unlikely to be a naturally occurring phenomenon. So, just what did the original image show? Well, while the poster was prepared to admit that the figure might not be human, they appealed to the internet for suggestions.
Soon, the comments came flooding in. Some were quick to point out that people often went missing in and around Dundas Peak. Could, then, the mysterious figure be the ghost of an unfortunate hiker who met with a grisly fate in these hills?
Although some posters seemed to find the photograph frightening, the majority were sure that there must be a logical explanation. In fact, one claimed that it was an illusion created by holes in the rock. Another, meanwhile, said that melting ice was to blame.
Disappointingly, others also came forward to dispel the notion that the location was inaccessible to hikers. “Sorry to burst all your bubbles,” read one comment, “but there’s a trail that leads up to that area and goes around the escarpment just under the rocks. That is, most likely, a person hiking around.”
In fact, reddit user tharchitect42 went so far as to claim that they themselves might be the source of all the confusion. Apparently, they often went hiking at Dundas Peak – including on a date that tied in with the original poster’s timeline. Interestingly, they also recalled wearing dark jeans and a gray top – an outfit whose appearance would match that of the mystery figure.
However, these explanations didn’t satisfy everyone. As the story grew more popular, it was picked up by news outlets from around the world. Then, in the comments section of the MailOnline, one user brought up another hypothesis. Apparently, one Christmas Eve, there was a fatal train crash below Dundas Peak.
In total, 15 people lost their lives on that fateful day in 1934. So, could some of their tormented souls still be haunting the rugged landscape where they met their deaths? Although most locals seem to have taken the story with a pinch of salt, the mysterious photograph continues to send chills up many people’s spines.