Recently one of our Gralien Report listeners, Sylvana, contacted us about a strange image (above) that appeared in a photograph she took while visiting the Amsterdam Brewhouse, a restaurant in Toronto, Canada. After hearing about a previous Gralien Report Podcast where we discussed mirror gazing and ghosts appearing in reflective surfaces, she reached out and sent along a copy of the photograph, as well as her commentary on the circumstances that led to its capture.

You will see the face near the top of the circular arrangement of glass shards on the artwork featured in the photo. Had a member of the waitstaff been passing by at precisely the right moment? Was this a reflection of something else nearby, which merely resembles a face? Or is there another explanation? Below are Sylvana’s notes about the photo and how it was captured, which detail very thoroughly her research into what may have caused the image. At present, its origin remains undetermined.

I met with a Facebook friend to have dinner (my husband had work commitments so he didn’t attend). We walked along the harbor front taking photographs, and decided to stop and eat at the Amsterdam Brewhouse at approximately 6.50 pm.

It was busy at the front of the restaurant but we were led to the back of the restaurant to a seat in the corner looking out at the water. There were no tables behind us.

We ordered dinner, and I love to share my adventures on social media so I take pictures all the time. I saw the sconce and love steam-punky stuff so I took a picture of it. I was sitting side-on to the sconce, and my friend was facing it. I turned and took the picture.

The only people anywhere near me when the photograph was taken was my friend, facing the sconce, and me side on. No one behind us or around us.

The next day I cropped the picture and placed it on all my social media but didn’t notice the face. I was inundated with private messages asking about the “creepy face” (everyone is describing it like that). When I finally saw it, my stomach turned.

The next night I made my husband take me back the the Amsterdam Brewhouse and I approached the wait staff and showed them the picture on my iPad. Their response was like mine, creeped out. Even though there was a private party and it was busy they led me to the table to look at the sconce. That table was empty despite the crowd. We all sat with the iPad open at the table and tried to reenact the picture. Within seconds, knowing and seeing it was impossible.

Freaked out, I sent the picture to a friend that is a video production specialist. He broke the picture into shards on the screen. He explained that each shard of the sconce was reflecting normally. The centre of it was concave and the images in it were upside down, also normal. The one shard that wasn’t normal was the one with the face…he said it seemed like the face was not reflected but was inside the shard. He could not explain the anomaly.

The sconce mirror is no bigger than a dinner plate. The shards are no bigger than 10cm at the widest part. The face is perfectly centered. The face seems to have a white stripe across the nose and face, and seems to be indigenous in appearance. There was no way we could reenact that reflection due to the size of the shard and the perfect centering of the face. The Amsterdam Brewhouse has offered to review surveillance tape of the night but are at a loss to explain the image. Based on our examination, to recreate the image the figure would need to be approximately 70cm away from the shard.

All the images are raw shots direct from my Nikon D5200. It was still light enough inside for the automatic flash not to activate.

So what was the cause behind the strange face appearing on the sconce hanging near Sylvana’s table? Would an examination of the surveillance video from that night help determine how the image was created, and if not, what could be the source of the face in the photograph?

Below are additional images Sylvana took, which include a photo of the building from the outside, as well as an un-cropped version of the image containing the unexplained face. If you have any ideas about the face in the image, send them along to us at

full-face Amsterdam

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Micah Hanks

Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

20 Replies to “Ghosts in the Mirror: A Reflection of the Past?

  1. I looks like an ET to me. The eyes are perfect for the classic image. That it has been suggested by a “science guy” that the image is INSIDE the mirror, that brings it into the ability of ET to penetrate solid objects [long story] . So I vote for an ET watcher here. Yes creepy – watching through the mirror, invisible – Motivation is the question. The “abduction” word comes to mind. I am going to check a source to hopefully get an opinion. Nameste’

  2. It does seem to have a stripe across the face, under the eyes. But rather than a native American, I get the impression of a person of African descent, or perhaps an Austrailian Aborigine. If it is a ghost, I suppose it could be a warrior type, but I think it’s more likely a shaman.
    If it is a shaman, maybe he isn’t a ghost….

  3. I normally think things like this are easily-faked hoaxes but who knows? It does not look like an Australian aboriginal. My take is African/Haitian or Afro-American.
    Perhaps someone could go to the same restaurant and take another photo – and see what SHOULD appear in that sector of the reflector. Might be some weird reflection off a mirror facing a window into the street outside or something like that.

    Does anyone live nearby who could go and do that?

  4. I did some quick scans of this in photoshop and that panel does look consistent with the lighting and colour in the rest of the pic. It could be a reflection. In anycase it is creepy!

  5. My husband was a professional photographer. I asked him to look at this photo. He thinks the face looks African-American and the white line under the person’s eye is just a highlight on their cheekbone. He said it doesn’t appear to have been manipulated in Photoshop. The person appears to be wearing a black t-shirt and black jacket or sweater. Do you know the origin of the sconce?

  6. It looks like a perfectly normal face, and it is presumably the reason the photo was taken. It may be a self-portrait, or a clever photo of a companion, but my guess is that this is a normal photo to which someone (probably not the original photographer) later decided to attach a story.

  7. Note the angles of the mirror. It is picking up reflections from all over the restaurant. one would have to assume he was in the restaurant.

  8. I am of the opinion that there was a misplaced person behind this seemingly strange photograph… however, the photographer did a fine job trying to determine what was going on here, and we commend her for her efforts to try and recreate the original image. If anyone out there has any similar photos or experiences they would like to share, we welcome those just as well!

  9. In the line of work I do, this isn’t unusual. I am a ghost-hunter, psychic/medium/clairvoyant. I work in Paranormal, and our team has plenty of evidence on the after-life. Not only that, I am able to speak with them directly, and its proven. Everyone has the right to be skeptic, I love it. I always say you are, until you’ve had your own personal experience or have gone on a professional ghost hunt. Until then…skeptic on! 😀

    1. Sorry Bleep, but that is an entirely non-constructive comment. I know that in this Internet age of anonymity it can be tempting to be derisive when posting casually online, but this image was sent to me in confidence by an individual who, if you had read the article, did her best to lay out the timeline and circumstances regarding how she captured image in question.

      Sure, it seems most likely that this is a reflection of something, probably a person who had been in the room, and the photo managed to capture that individual in the shard at this very opportune moment, unbeknownst to the photographer. But to say it’s been “photoshopped”, and to be intentionally rude in doing so, is of no value whatsoever, aside from highlighting that you are someone who has no manners so far as public debate of any kind is concerned.

      I know most moderators of sites like this would never devote so little as the past three minutes I’ve spent here highlighting your poor behavior. But I have no tolerance for people who have to be rude and resort to ridicule in order to make their point. Thus, to put it nicely, I’ll offer that once your cranial capacity has seemingly increased enough that you feel confident that can offer something constructive and meaningful to any discussions presented on this website, and without the snark, I will warmly invite you to try again.

  10. This is CLEARLY not a photoshopped image, the person who took this sent it in confidence NOT to get attention. People should take their unnecessary adjectives like ‘idiot’, and seek further education to come up with a more eloquent way to structure their arguments.

  11. So just to get this straight… It was provided in confidence, but the member here (who hasn’t decided to join in the discussion), was named?
    Only half the restaurant was busy, yet while she was talking to her friend *and* taking this photo she could be sure that no-one else was there..?
    She cropped the photo down to just that light and posted it, without noticing the face..? And her stomach ‘turned’ when she finally saw the face..? (Looks pretty stomach UNturning to me..)
    She took other shots to duplicate the effect – where are those..?
    Why did the supposed video-prod expert not explain how he came to the conclusion that the image was ‘internal’? And given the person making the claim is also the one referring to a supposed expert, forgive my doubts..
    I’d love to see exactly how ‘they’ calculated the 70cm distance and what assumptions ‘they’ made.
    She says she gave you raw shots from a D5200 – why have you only presented reduced size, low quality, UNraw, exif-stripped thumbnails, one in png and one in jpeg format (so they have obviously be processed differently)..?
    I’d be happy to give a much better informed opinion given access to the REAL raw images, straight from the camera. But frankly, I have my doubts that will happen, given all the warning signs I’ve listed above. If this is your normal standards for an ‘investigation’, then I’ll stick to Unexplained Mysteries, where this was brought up and *would* be properly discussed if the claimant (or you guys) got brave and posted the original files.

    BTW, this *would* be trivially easy to Photoshop, so if you haven’t taken steps to verify the originality of the images, and simply reject that idea.. well, I’m sure you’ll get a lot more ‘mysteries’ that way.

    But do carry on.

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