Sceptic Diane Toman is not one to jump to conclusions.
But the 42-year-old non-believer has been left baffled after an apparent apparition was caught on camera in her Percy Street terraced home.
And the spooky sighting has thoroughly shaken her daughter Cheryl, 21, who refuses to stay over at her mum’s home any more.
Diane, 42, a mum of three, said: “I’m not sure what it is. We think it’s a ghost.”
The picture was taken by Diane’s son, Matthew Toman, 19.
Diane, who was eating crisps at the time and does not smoke in the house, said: “My son bought a new phone and he was playing with it.
“Then, when he looked back at the photo, he said ‘look mum, look at that’.
“I was quite shocked.”
The image appears to show a skull shape on the wall behind Diane, who is also mum to Stephen Fawcett, 24, and has been living in the house for two-and-a-half years.
Diane, who is on the sick from her job as a shop worker, was so taken aback she asked her partner, 40-year-old HGV driver, Andrew Brayshaw, to find out about the house’s history.
“My partner phoned the landlord and asked if anybody had passed away there and he said, as far as he knows, there is not.
“But he said the house is 100 years old so you never know what’s gone on,” she said.
Cheryl, who lives in Thornaby and is unemployed, said: “I’m not really a believer but it’s freaky. I’m not staying over any more.”
Looking at the picture, Cheryl says she is convinced.
“You can see everything that a skull has. It’s definitely a ghost. There’s no way that’s going to come from a reflection,” she said.
And Bob Woodhouse, a semi-retired history teacher who has written various books on local ghost stories, said it did look “most convincing”.
But the 67-year-old, who also contributes to the Gazette’s walking features, added: “My own inclination, when visiting the lady, would have been to look where light was coming from, for example behind the photographer.
“This is in case an object or image - on a window ledge, shelf or wall - was being reflected on to the wall above the lady’s head.”
Bob, who is the author of Haunted Stockton, said he has come across such reflections in churches where shadows have been cast through a partly opened door or window, showing figures.