The case of the SS Watertown is a classic example of what many believe to be an authentic ghost photograph. The story, as recounted by the eminent and long-time director of the American Psychical Institute, Dr. Hereward Carrington, and as detailed in the house magazine of the shipping company, told of the tanker, SS Watertown making its way through the Pacific Ocean in December 1924.
Seaman James Courtney and Michael Meehan were assigned to clean out a cargo tank. While doing this task they were overcome by gas fumes and died before help could reach them. Following the tradition of the sea, their bodies were committed to the ocean on December 4th. The following day, just before dusk, the entire ship was in uproar when the heads of the two dead seamen were clearly seen on board ship and, later, in the sea. Thereafter the ghost faces were frequently seen.
A snapshot was taken and the camera, with film intact and untouched inside, was handed to Captain Keith Tracy for safekeeping. On reaching port in New Orleans the Captain handed the camera over to officials of the Cities Services Company and they sent it directly to their New York office, where the film was developed and printed by a commercial photographer, and there were the heads of Courtney and Meehan, exactly as they had been seen on board ship!