top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Photographer captures ghost-like figure in Gironde

One could be forgiven for mistaking this apparition on the Dune of Pilat in the Gironde (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) for a ghost - but it is actually the surprising result of a naturally-occurring phenomenon.

In a phenomenon known as “the Brocken spectre”, the ghostly figure appeared Sunday January 28 on the dune, when local photographer Florian Clément began capturing these images and video, reports explained.

Rather than a supernatural being, this is actually a natural phenomenon that takes place when bright sunlight on one side hits a cloud or fog on the other, and an object - such as a human being, for example - is positioned in the middle.

The object or body then appears as a huge, ghostly figure with a rainbow-like halo around it.

The halo is actually a separate phenomenon again, and a result of the fog or cloud itself. It is often known as the “Ulloa's ring”, or - as its appearance might suggest - a “fogbow”.

The Brocken spectre does not only appear in the Gironde; indeed, the name itself comes from the highest peak of the same name in the Harz mountain range in Germany (and is known in German as the Brockengespenst), and is often seen in mountainous or especially high-up places.

This is not the first time the phenomenon has been witnessed on the Dune of Pilat (which is the tallest sand dune in Europe, and found in La Teste-de-Buch in the Arcachon Bay area, 60 km from Bordeaux).

A “spectre” was also seen there in 2016, according to Mr Clément himself, whose experience was recounted on the Météo du Pays de Buch Facebook page.

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now