The Cooper Family Photo

The Cooper Family Photo

I’ve wanted to post an article on the Cooper family photo for quite some time now but I’ve been put off by a private message sent to me from this site.

You see, ever since I first set eyes on the picture, I’ve had the feeling that something was not quite right – the whole setup of the resulting picture was just too good to be true (from a believer’s point of view).

So, the only way I could post this article with my piece of mind in tact…was to research the information sent to me…and then create the work you are about to read below.

I think it’s quite an interesting outcome…

The Photo Enters The Public Domain

Before we go any further, here is the (now) famous Cooper family photo…

The Paranormal Photo

The image you see above first hit the information superhighway in 2009 – it was thought to have taken some time during the 1950’s.

The story is that the photo was taken as a family portrait by Mr. Cooper the day they moved into a new property – they were attempting to mark the occasion with an image they could look back on in years to come.

Mrs Cooper, grandma Cooper and both of their children posed for the shot.

When Mr. Cooper finally managed to get the image he snapped developed, he was shocked by what he saw. None of the family members were aware of the fifth trespasser when the photo was being taken.

The resulting image seems to show a male figure either falling into, or hanging in the living room.

Who is Sam Gowan?

Sam Gowan is the guy, or pen name, of the photo’s original uploader. He apparently posted the image to the web on the 14th of November 2009.

Within weeks it appeared on a fan website for author Thomas Ligotti with the title ‘A Family Gathering’ applied to it. This resulted in an investigation by it’s members who concluded that Sam was not responsible for the image’s creation.

From here the photo really took off – numerous paranormal websites got hold of the image and believed it to be true. Within weeks it had been posted all over the web.


The first red light linked to the image arose from photographic ‘experts’ having problems with the poorly framed result. The family were the center of the picture’s ‘meaning’, yet for some reason they were set to the right side of the photo.

Was the original photo cropped off in this style to allow room for the ‘hanging man’ to be added?

Why were the family not centered in the picture?

My own research of the message sent to me, led me to an article on a rather eye-shattering lime green website which had links to a Facebook page set up to cover the paranormal photograph.

It was here I found a simple forum post from a guy who claimed to be one of the kids from the Cooper photo…

When my older brother sent me this link I was floored. We are the two boys in the picture. Well we were back in 1959. I have many picture like this one, but not this one. My mother had a habit of throwing away pictures that she didn’t like. Eventually the ones she kept were passed along to me. What annoys me is that somebody got hold of a family photograph. The story is almost entirely fiction. Our last name is Copper, not Cooper. Does anybody know who did this?

This really was an eye-opener for me – is the famous Cooper family photo nothing more than a discarded snap that has been ‘photoshopped’ into this paranormal monstrosity?

Here is a photo he sent in with the post to attempt to convince the public he was telling the truth…

The faked photo

Of course, I can’t really be sure that the forum user, ‘Robert C.’, is legit in any way – some people like to get attention on themselves in any way they can!

So now it’s over to you – fact or fiction?

This photo regularly does the rounds on YouTube ‘list videos’ that cover the world’s creepiest photos – are they including a fake?

Please leave any thoughts or opinions on the subject, in the comment section below.

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