Monday, January 10, 2011

Professional Analysis of King's Tavern Photos

Tim McCary is an award-winning photographer and is simply the Natchez area's best, hands down. He has graciously agreed to be our photography consultant, and will occasionally be reviewing interesting photographic evidence and rendering his professional opinion.  We are extremely excited about having him help us in that regard. We recently asked Tim to do an in-depth forensic analysis of two photographs from King's Tavern to see if they are consistent with being the same person. That analysis is the subject of this post.  He next will be doing an analysis of our startling Myrtles apparition photo which was taken in early November.

The King's Tavern Photographs & Their Background:

The photo above left was taken in the upstairs bathroom in 2007 by a guest staying at King’s Tavern. To every single one of our Investigators, it bore a striking resemblance to Elizabeth Morgan Postlethwaite, whose portrait is to the right. She is the woman who first owned the Tavern after the original builder - Richard King, and it was she who converted it into a residence (and enclosed the north porches to make bedrooms out of them).  These are the two photos we asked Tim to analyze. Many observers feel that the apparition photo is of a younger Elizabeth, and ghost theory supposes that ghosts manifest in appearance as to how they view themselves. It is difficult to make an exact comparison due to the fact that one is a profile and the other is a straight-on portrait. However, while one has to be careful of matrixing (seeing faces in clouds) it is undeniable that they are strikingly similar. One has to wonder who the real spirit is that haunts King’s Tavern. Is it a servant girl of Richard King someone decided to name Madeline? We can find absolutely no record of such an event, nor even any record of remains being found in the 1930’s in the chimney! We did find the Spanish dagger. So is that all just an embellished folktale? Or, is the female spirit that haunts the Tavern one of the Postlethwaite women who owned and lived in the Tavern for 148 years? The first mention on record of any female ghost or spirit at the Tavern is from a Natchez Democrat article dated Saturday, February 23, 1974, in which Thomas Young (who grew up in the Tavern) states, “My mother Hilda died when I was 2 years old and my grandmother has told me many times of the misty figure of the veiled woman in a cloak, with head bowed and hands folded, which stood at the foot of her bed at night after my mother’s death.” With no historical evidence whatsoever of there ever being a “Madeline,” it makes far more sense as paranormal investigators, that a Postlethwaite is more likely the true identity of the spirit that haunts the Tavern. The evidence we have collected seems to substantiate our theory, including what Tim says below.

Tim's Expert Analysis:
Tim advised me that he took both photographs and uploaded them into Photoshop. He next sized them appropriately, and subjected them to a measurement grid, making comparisons to such items as pupil to bridge of nose, pupils to lips, etc. He said in every measurement it was a match. His written analysis:

"I loaded both the portrait and reflected profile in Photoshop. In a side-by-side comparison, it is very likely that these images are of the same subject."

Tim's Bio (From His Website):
Timothy G. McCary, a native Mississippian has spent his lifetime immersed in the visual arts. His creative spark was ignited when attending summer art camps at the University of Mississippi at the age of 6. He was bitten by the photography bug in high school and started an apprenticeship with S.J. Parham, a local portrait photographer in Oxford, MS. During this apprenticeship he learned the basics of photography, composition, and lighting as well as the use of incorporating a variety of media such as oils and pastels to enhance the final appearance of the photograph.

Tim received a degree in Photography from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1984. While attending Southern MS he received the Outstanding Photographic Student Award. He attended seminars, participated in workshops and studied with several successful photographers while in college. During his senior year at USM he joined the Mississippi-Alabama Professional Photographers Association and won the prestigious "First Timer's Award" given to the highest scoring photograph entered by a beginning member. He has won over 40 print awards as well as being named the Mississippi Photographer of the Year in 1989.

Upon graduating from college, he and his wife Penny selected Natchez in 1985 as the perfect place to call home. Many of his portrait commissions come from the Natchez area, however his work is commonly found in homes throughout the South-Eastern United States as well as several foreign countries. He currently has an exhibit in the Arts Natchez gallery that features not only portraits, but landscapes and still-life.

Tim is a firm believer in continuing education and attends several intensive workshops a year, studying with the top photographic artists in the world. He is a member of the Dead Artist's Society, a fellowship of 21st Century artists that is dedicated to discovering their own artistic voice. "We are a small but very passionate group that continually strives to push our artistic abilities beyond the common perception of what is a photograph and what is a work of art. I feel that when I look at a photograph I have made, it's only the starting point, much the same way a potter looks at a lump of clay, or a sculptor looks at a block of stone".

©2010 T.G. McCary Photography       Website:

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