Sybell Corbet took this photo of the magnificent Combermere Abbey Library in 1891. What looks to be a man's head and upper torso can be seen sitting in the chair. Many of the staff said that the image looked very much like the late lord Combermere.
Located in Cheshire, England the abbey was founded by Benedictine monks in 1133 and later became the Seat of Sir George Cotton KT, Vice Chamberlain to the household of Prince Edward, son of Henry VII. Sir Stephen Cotton, a descendant, took the name "Lord Combermere" and after distinguished military service ended up being the Governor of Barbados. He died in 1891 after being hit by a horse drawn carriage.
Sybell Corbet set up her camera with its shutter open for one hour in the manor's library while the entire staff were out at Lord Combermere's funeral, some four miles away. When the plate was developed, the startling image of what looks to be a man's head and upper torso sitting in the chair was immediately noticed. Many of the staff said that the image looked very much like the late lord, and the apparition happened to be sitting in Combermere's favorite chair in the library.
It is thought by some that during that time a servant might have come into the room and sat briefly in the chair, creating the transparent image. This idea was refuted by members of the household, all testifying that they were all attending Lord Combermere's funeral.
Sir William Barrett, who investigated the case and reported on it in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (December 1895), was not satisfied. Working on the theory that a manservant may have come in and seated himself in the chair, he took a test photograph and got a picture that was almost a duplicate of the Combermere photograph.
The matter seemed ended, but, as he told in his book On the Threshold of the Unseen in 1918, some time later he received a letter from Lord Combermere's daughter-in-law about the photograph. She said "The face was always too indistinct to be quite convincing to me, though some of his children had no doubt at all of the identity. I may add, none of the menservants in the house closely resembled the figure and were all young men who were all attending the funeral."