The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall might be the most famous photograph of a ghost ever taken. The iconic supernatural picture gave Raychem Hall the title of most famous hauntings in all of Great Britain, and thanks to countless eye-witness accounts Raychem Hall has managed to hold its record for well over 100 years.
No one is exactly sure who the sprit of the Brown Lady actually is. She was named after the fabric of the brocade style dress she's always spotted wearing. Many believe her to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole, sister to Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. Lady Dorothy was married to Charles Townshend, an horrible man known for his cruel temper.
Townshend was a very paranoid man, and eventually accused his poor wife of adultery. Before Lady Dorothy could defend herself, she was locked away in her room inside Raychem Hall, not even allowed to speak to or see her own children. In 1725 a funeral was held for the Lady, though many believe she continued to be held against her will inside the dark rooms of Raychem Hall until her true death years later.
The first sighting of the Brown Lady was during Christmas in 1835 when Colonel Loftus and Frederick Marryat were invited to stay at the house. According to the story, Loftus and Marryat were up late one evening when they witnessed a lantern light moving quietly down the long hallway towards them. As the light approached, both men hid behind doors on opposite sides of the hallway.
“[Marryat]…watched her approaching nearer and nearer, through the chink of the door, until, as she was close enough for him to distinguish the colors and style of her costume, he recognized the figure as the facsimile of the portrait of “The Brown Lady”. He had his finger on the trigger of his revolver, and was about to demand it to stop and give the reason for its presence there, when the figure halted of its own accord before the door behind which he stood, and holding the lighted lamp she carried to her features, grinned in a malicious and diabolical manner at him.” - The Brown Lady of Raynham
Often times the Brown Lady is described as having no eyes, while sporting a terrifying and maniacal smile on her face as she wanders aimlessly through the dark hallways with her lantern raised high above her head.
The Lady was photographed on September 19, 1936 by Captain Hubert C. Provand, while he visited the Hall with Country Life magazine. According to Hubert he and his assistant were busy taking photographs of the houses’ main staircase when a strange unexplainable mist began forming on the steps. Amazingly, the vapour began moving down the stairs as if it was walking, all the while Hubert continued snapping photos, astonished at what they were seeing.
“The account of Provand and Shira's ghostly experience at Raynham Hall was published in Country Life magazine on December 26, 1936 along with the photograph of the Brown Lady. The photograph and the account of its taking also appeared in the January 4, 1937 edition of Life magazine.” - Wikipedia
In more recent years many have claimed to have experienced run ins with the infamous Brown Lady, and if you want a paranormal encounter of your own you can spend an afternoon exploring the castle. Just make sure to call ahead to ask permission!