A ghost hunter believes he’s captured the famous Black Monk of Pontefract on camera after sneakily “catching him out”.
John-Paul Newlands – who said he was left “almost in tears of fear” after seeing the image – claims he tricked the monk by taking a photo of his reflection in the mirror.
The paranormal investigator visited 30 East Drive, Pontefract, East Yorkshire – dubbed one of the UK’s spookiest homes – last month to contact the ghost thought to haunt its rooms.
The 40-year-old has since revealed an image shot in one of the upstairs bedrooms which he believes catches the dreaded Black Monk’s apparition in its bottom right corner.
He says the ‘frightening’ silhouette shows the monk wearing a long, hooded robe with its arms raised in front of him.
John-Paul has brushed off claims by some that the figure is just a light reflection and not a ghost.
The Black Monk of Pontefract is believed to have caused what some call ‘the UK’s most violent haunting’ where a family say they were terrorised after moving into 30 East Road during 1966.
Parents-of-two Jean and Joe Pritchard claim they saw the monk numerous times – even floating over their bed.
They said lights were turned off and on, pictures were slashed, furniture disappeared and heavy breathing could be heard throughout the house.
Facebook users were left stunned by the discovery and even the house’s current owner Bil Bungay believes the investigator “may have captured something real”.
John-Paul, from Nocton, Lincolnshire, said: “When I saw the picture, my heart sank. I won’t lie I was really taken aback by it and I was at a point where I was nearly in tears.
“I don’t know whether it was because I was happy or whether I was frightened. I couldn’t tell at that time. I just ran up the stairs shouting ‘I found him! I found him! I got him!’.
“It does look like the Black Monk. There is a Black Monk there and there was a film made based on this story. This is what the stir is all about.
“There was a lot of sadness in the room. I felt sad and uneasy. The moment I took that shot we all said that there was just something that was just not right about that room and then bang.
“I think [the monk] has been caught out. I don’t think that he was wanting to show himself. I used the mirror as a false sense of security for him and I caught it that way.
“I’ve never ever caught an image unless I’ve shot it through a mirror or a piece of glass. My team members also took the same shots, through the same mirror, at the same time and got nothing.
“I’ve caught a lot of apparitions or entities, figures or images in the corners of rooms but there was just something about this one. I had a feeling about it.
“Light distortion and lens flares have come up quite a lot at the moment but when you see the darker image it shows more than just this. It’s an amazing moment for me.
“I won’t say that this is a paranormal picture due to the fact I spotted the photo and I don’t like to force people into seeing what they don’t see.
“I will leave it to the imagination at the moment.”
The haunting of 30 East Drive was the subject of the horror mo
vie When the Lights Go Out in 2012 and the property, now open to visitors, featured on Most Haunted Live in 2015 say the town’s gallows were directly across the street and a monk was once hanged for raping and murdering a young girl.
John-Paul claims he managed to communicate with the monk during his 6.30-7pm visit, including through a mobile app that professes to detect low level sound.
He says the baffling image has caused an influx of more than 1,000 followers on his TikTok and Facebook pages.
His post of the snap has earned more than 250 reactions, with opinion split over whether the image captures a white monk or is merely a camera lens flare.
One believer commented: “I think all non-believers should spend the night at 30 east drive.”
Another said: “I see a man in white robe with gold and a big face.”
A third simply added: “Wow fantastic.”
However, a sceptic commented: “It does have a lens flare quality and with proper angles of glass can cause this.”
Another agreed, writing: “In my opinion this is over-exposure from light sources. You can see light reflection from tv and drawers.
“Light is basically bouncing around and Creating what’s known as a variant caustic and multi-iris lens flare.”
A third said: “Interesting picture, but for me I don’t see anything paranormal, but that’s not to say there isn’t.
“If we start with what you said I shot through a mirror, I’m going to say this may have been caused by light reflection. I’m no expert, but this is just my thoughts on what I am seeing.
“If you look at the TV and the handles on the dresser they face in the same direction as what’s being shown in the picture this may have been caused by light bouncing around.”
Owner of the home, Bil Bungay, said: “It is a fascinating image for several reasons.
“Firstly, it is shot during daylight, so if it is anything paranormal, it challenges the convention of ‘ghostly activity only happens when the lights are out’ – which is in fact not the case at 30 East Drive.
“Secondly, it isn’t unusual for a fog to be captured by our guests. This image definitely has a strange fog to the right and one that is hard to explain away in an era of digital photography where chemical anomalies are no longer a factor.
“Lastly, the white monk-like form in the bottom right ignores the general acceptance that the entity in the house is a black monk not a white one, and the hood is Diddy Man tall, not Cistercian Monk at all.
“This makes me feel it could have a little something to do with the curtains on the window where the light source is coming from. That said, it is a very peculiar anomaly indeed, so it’s hard to explain away.
“Thousands of visitors will testify that 30 East Drive is a very peculiar place indeed, and let’s face it – who really knows what the truth is?
“It is equally as plausible in my opinion that John may have captured something real that we have zero understanding of. The mind boggles.”