LONDON - Are there ghostly goings-on at Henry VIII's palace, or is thathazy image of a fellow in fancy robes just a bit of Christmas cheer?
Closed-circuit security cameras at Hampton Court Palace, the huge Tudorcastle outside London, seem to have snagged an ethereal visitor. Could it be aghost?
"We're baffled too - it's not a joke, we haven't manufactured it," saidVikki Wood, a Hampton Court spokeswoman, when asked if the photo the palacereleased was a Christmas hoax. "We genuinely don't know who it is or what itis."
Wood said security guards had seen the figure in closed-circuit televisionfootage after checking it to see who kept leaving one of the palace's firedoors open.
In the still photograph, the figure of a man in a robe-like garment isshown stepping from a shadowy doorway, one arm reaching out for the doorhandle.
The area around the man is somewhat blurred, and his face appearsunnaturally white compared with his outstretched hand.
"It was incredibly spooky because the face just didn't look human," saidJames Faukes, one of the palace security guards.
"My first reaction was that someone was having a laugh, so I asked mycolleagues to take a look. We spoke to our costumed guides, but they don't owna costume like that worn by the figure. It is actually quite unnerving,"Faukes said.
The palace, built in the early 1500s on the River Thames about 10 mileswest of central London, is a popular tourist attraction, and some of theguides wear costumes from the Tudor period.
Wood said she was hoping people would come forward with similar stories andtry to explain the figure.
The palace has been the scene of many royal events, and is supposed to havea few ghosts.
King Henry VIII's third wife, Jane Seymour, died there giving birth to ason, and her ghost is said to walk through one of the cobbled courtyardscarrying a candle.
Her son, Edward, had a nurse named Sibell Penn who was buried on the palacegrounds in 1562. Her tomb was disturbed in the 1820s by building work, andabout the same time an odd whirring noise began to be heard in the southwestwing of the palace. When workers traced the strange sounds to a brick wall,they uncovered a small, forgotten room containing an old spinning wheel, justlike the one Penn used to use.
Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was condemned for adultery and heldat the palace before her execution at the Tower of London. A book about thepalace published in 1897 says her ghost was seen, dressed in white andfloating down one of the galleries uttering unearthly shrieks.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times