Matthew Hales, 17, took an early-morning trip to Clevedon to take pictures of the incoming tide for his A-level coursework.
He was using a time-lapse technique which captures pictures over a 30-second time frame.
But it was not until the teenager, from Yate, checked the individual frames from his Nikon D3000 camera that he spotted the male figure staring back at him from the pier.
Matthew, who was taking photographs with two classmates, had arrived in Clevedon at 6.30am and captured the photo around 15 minutes later.
But as the pier was closed and not due to open until 10am, questions are being asked about who the shadowy lone figure on the Victorian landmark was.
Matthew, who studies at Brimpton Green and Chipping Sodbury Link Sixth Form, said: “When I went through the pictures I was surprised to see the figure of a man standing on the pier – it was almost like he was looking straight at me.
|Student Matthew Hales|
“However when I checked the frames before and after there was no sign of him or of the figure walking to or away from the location where I seen him.”
The picture continued to puzzle Matthew until he saw a story in the Evening Post about ghosts being spotted on the pier by early morning anglers.
A mystery figure has been appearing in the early morning mists as anglers cast off from the end of the pier.
The suspected ghost has been seen by other fishermen.
Sometimes it is seen halfway down sitting on the side benches or standing mumbling incoherently in the corner of the pavilion.
Matthew added: “It did freak me out a bit when I saw the figure appear on the pictures.
“I then checked the pier opening times and saw that it wasn’t due to open until 10am so there would have been no one on the pier at that time in the morning.
“It was only when I saw the story in the newspaper that I thought I may have caught the ghost on camera.”
Fishermen are allowed on the pier on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week and often fish early in the morning.
But Clevedon piermistress, Linda Strong, is unconvinced the mystery figure is a fisherman. Mrs Strong, 56, said: “Looking at the pictures there is no evidence that this is a fisherman and the figure seems to have appeared from nowhere.
“Having zoomed in on the photograph there are clearly no fishing rods out to sea. Generally if there were anglers on the pier in the morning, there were would be more than one and the rods would be visible.
“This could very well be the ghost which everyone is talking about.
“There have been a few different stories which have come from several people now and you start to think there must be something happening on the pier. A lot of the recent sightings took place in November.”
Matthew and his classmates are heading back to Clevedon to take more photographs around the town for an architecture section of his course. He added: “I am not sure whether I will catch any more ghosts on camera, but I will certainly keep my eye out.”
|Frame #1, Frame #2 Frame #3|
Source: This Is Somerset.