Saturday, June 26, 2010

The ghost girl returns

She hasn't made an appearance in a few years, but now she's back, wandering through 1907 Dublin. I was in Book Depository looking up O'Connor's latest novel when I caught a glimpse of this familiar figure. She must have quite a backstory, floating between different countries and eras, convincing many art departments that she deserves the spotlight.

Here we see her on the sidewalks of New York in 1841. Hmm, if this is her earliest appearance, her ghostly wanderings may have begun after her sad demise in this historical mystery. (Her body was dumped into the Hudson River. Not a pleasant end.)

She reappears during South Africa's Boer War, circa 1899, definitely no place for a lady:

Then on to the Canadian prairie in the early 20th century, where she gained quite an infamous reputation.

She spent some time delivering babies in early 20th-century West Virginia, then moved on to parts unknown.

And that's not all. At She Reads and Reads, Avis has spotted her at sites outside of North America, and she's been known to make appearances in fantasy fiction. Have you seen her? She's not all that elusive, so if you come across another sighting, please let me know.

Edited to add: I've found the original photo (which is black and white) at Getty Images. It's titled "Woman in Lane Holds Birdcage," and the photographer is Lorraine Molina. Keywords include Nostalgia, Spooky, Women, Time, Outdoors.


  1. Wow, she's been quite busy! I think I also saw her on the hardcover of A Reliable Wife about a year ago...

  2. She definately looks familiar- and I may have to check out some of these books!

  3. I'm very curious what the original photo looks like. I also wonder why she's carrying a birdcage in half of them. So strange.

    I couldn't find her on A Reliable Wife, but there may be an edition I haven't seen.

  4. She's a well traveled girl, for sure.

  5. Someone give that poor girl a chair!

  6. Jeannie12:19 AM

    If I were the author of the next book to get her on the cover, I--would--scream. And they would hear me in the editorial offices.

  7. There was a near-miss a few years ago; she almost made it onto one of Robert Goddard's covers, but it was changed after the catalog came out.

    If you aren't writing a novel set within a 75-year window, you're probably safe!

  8. She's even made it Downunder! Here she is on the cover of a historical novel by Aussie aurhor Jessica White, called "A Curious Intimacy"

  9. Hmm, so that's where she was in the 1870s! Thanks, Annis, I never would have caught that one.

    She picks some great-sounding books to latch onto, that's for sure. I've only read the Laskas, but the rest sound equally fascinating.

  10. Although my work is about the American, not the Canadian, prairie, still this ghostly girl gave me a start because in your first sentence, I thought you were saying that while in the library you had seen a (real)ghost!

  11. Ah, now that would have been very creepy!

    Book Depository is an online UK bookstore I buy from a lot.

  12. Here's another one:

    The weird thing about this photo is that I look like the woman in it. It's uncanny. I've had to cover the photo with a post-it note just to read the book without giving myself the creeps.

  13. That's funny - especially since that woman is everywhere!

  14. Just spotted her on the cover of The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace.

    1. I'll be adding that one to my gallery! I wonder why it's so popular... it may be the most popular example of stock art for historicals (which isn't a painting).