Henry Yau says he had no intention of photographing a ghost. But when looking over a smartphone shot he snapped last week at the Stanley Hotel lobby in Estes Park, Colo., he saw a ghoulish-looking woman at the top of the stairs, the Oregonian reports. "When I took it, I didn't notice anything," says Yau, a PR director at the Children's Museum in Houston. So he posted it on Instagram along with the message, "By golly! I think I may have captured a #ghost at #StanleyHotel." The image has since gone viral and given Yau some media attention. "I am terrified of ghosts," he tells the Denver Post. "I grew up in a very superstitious culture, my mom is Chinese and Buddhist, and I was born and raised in Venezuela. But I never imagined that I would capture a ghost."
Paranormal investigator Kevin Sampron says Yau actually captured two ghosts, the woman and a barely visible child, KHOU reports. "You see the child's head clearly outlined over the top of the stair railing," says Sampron. The Stanley Hotel was already known for inspiring Steven King to write his haunted-hotel classic The Shining. The hotel also gives a 90-minute ghost tour and has a history of supposed sightings. Founder Freelan Oscar Stanley, his wife Flora Stanley, and a chambermaid who survived a gas explosion there in 1911 are all said to haunt the place, Conde Nast Traveler reports. Still, readers don't seem too impressed—leaving comments that Yau's image looks Photoshopped or designed to create publicity. "Oh look someone forgot to put away the department store mannequin," says a reader at Click2Houston.com.