Solved: The Last Photo of Charlie Noonan

A blog post I published last year called The Last Photo of Charlie Noonan has proved to be one of my most popular (along with The Cooper Falling Body Photograph and The Mystery of Elisa Lam and the Cecil Hotel). And I’m not surprised, as it features an eye-catchingly weird photograph with a chilling tale attached.


Supposedly, early last century, folklorist Charlie Noonan travelled the US chasing down bizarre and mysterious tales. One of these jaunts involved an old woman who had been described to him as not quite human. Always escorted by a large dog, she lived alone and a disturbing sense of unease seemed to accompany encounters with her. Intrigued, Noonan set off to find her—and was never seen again.

Sometime later, Noonan’s missing-person story was printed in regional newspapers and, as look would have it, his camera (it still had his name on it) turned up in a pawn store. A single photograph was waiting to be developed from the film (see above).

This, apparently, was Charlie Noonan’s final photograph: a strange scene in which one can observe an angry dog beside a peculiar woman with eyes that seem to glow. It’s an unnerving photograph and its veracity and origin have been hotly debated. Well, I can reveal that it’s actually as some already suspected: a good ol’ fashioned fake.

It appears that the original was posted in late November, 2009 on a blog called Always Becoming. The subject of the photograph is a real woman, named Virginia Romero, a Tiwa Indian from Taos Pueblo, New Mexico:

“Virginia weighed all of 90 pounds and stood four and a half feet tall on days when she wasn’t hunched over with a bundle of some kind on her back. Her long black hair never left the tidy knot at the back of her head and on days when the task at hand was especially dirty and laborious – plastering with mud or tanning a hide – she wore a blue and white bandanna. Virginia spoke little English and rarely traveled beyond the reservation. From the moment this wiry workhorse of a woman woke up until she went to sleep, Virginia worked and she worked hard.”

The blog entry was about strong women and went on to describe more details of Virginia Romero’s life. This is the image that accompanied the text:

Noonan original pic

As you can see, our photo of Charlie Noonan is clearly copied from this, with some details erased, the dog and the glowing eyes added and the image reversed to confuse search engines. So there we have it. I’m sure, despite the proof here, most people will still continue to post the doctored photograph around the internet regardless, but it is not often that we get the luxury of confidently drawing a line under any of these stories and my sincere thanks go to the anonymous poster who got in touch to tell me about their research.

Case closed.

For more research into real-life cases please check out my ebooks.

About MBForde

Writer. Excels at staring blankly, having bad hair and storing food in cheeks. Wrote Eerie Britain, amongst other things.
This entry was posted in Bizarre, Blogging, Books, Debunked?, Ebooks, Hoax?, Horror, Legends, Paranormal, Urban Myth?, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Solved: The Last Photo of Charlie Noonan

  1. Pingback: The Last Photo of Charlie Noonan | MB Forde

  2. Juan says:

    Excellent research I started researching to find the truth of this story, but at last I found

  3. Pingback: Ghostly Pics: Charlie Noonan’s Ghost Woman | News From The Spirit World

  4. Tracy Lucas says:

    Great to see an honest, thourough follow-up. Well done!
    This is my first visit to your site — subscribing for more.

  5. Tracy Lucas says:

    Great to see an honest, thorough follow-up. Well done!
    This is my first visit to your site — subscribing for more.

  6. daniel says:

    OK, but like, Charlie is still missing though, right?

    Case open?

  7. Cassia Winters says:

    Exactly, what happened to Charlie?

  8. Sergio Jiménez says:

    Buena investigación¡¡¡

  9. Edin says:

    SOLVED: That Hospital-Bed Demon Photo was my first visit this is the secound. And i really think you are the best in this with the best explenations. Thank you.

  10. Pingback: 【靈異照片】詭異女子造成民俗學家失蹤?查理.諾南的最後一張照片 | 黑色酒吧


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