Hiker spots ghostly figure in the mountains that turns out to be rare phenomenon

A hiker thought he had spotted a ghost when he was climbing a mountain in the Lake District, but it turned out he had witnessed a rare phenomenon known as a broken spectre

A man thought he had seen a ghost when he was climbing a mountain and saw a figure looming out of the clouds – but it turned out he had witnessed a rare natural phenomenon.

Thomas Swallow, 39, was hiking with his friends but he’d got a bit ahead so was completely alone when he turned and came face-to-face with a ghostly apparition.

He said he was completely taken aback, but then realised his eyes were playing tricks on him – and what he was seeing was his own reflection mirrored back to himself.

What Thomas had seen, while climbing Great End in the Lake District, was a rare optical illusion known as a brocken spectre – where a large shadow of an observer is cast onto cloud or mist.

Thomas, from Manchester, said: “I was taken aback a little bit. It’s really beautiful. It looks like a figure floating into the sky, it looks quite spiritual.

“It was weird, surreal and a really beautiful moment – I was looking down a gully from the summit, the sun was behind me and shining bright.

“It was a cloudy day so the clouds were moving in and out of the summit. I could see moisture particles in the air when I looked up and I saw my shadow in the middle of a rainbow.

“I was in the moment and enjoying it thinking ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before’.”

In the picture, a figure can be seen hovering high above the ground – as Thomas was on the peak looking over a drop when he took the picture.

He continued: “People have said what an amazing and beautiful shot it is and that it looks like a figure floating to the sky.

“I’m not religious but I’m a bit spiritual and I didn’t think how spiritual it was until I thought about it afterwards.”

After spotting the illusion, Thomas continued his six-hour walk with pals, Adam Maxwell, 27, and Matthew Bick, 39, who couldn’t believe what they’d seen.

Thomas said: “I shouted to my two friends but they didn’t hear so I stood on my own taking pictures.

“They eventually came over and they were amazed as well. It was a really good moment.

“We stood there watching it for 10 to 15 minutes. I’m glad I had my phone on me to take a lot of photos.”