On July 14 2021, a Facebook account shared the following image and explanation to a Facebook group; it purportedly showed an image taken in 1925 of a girl at a cemetery visiting the grave of her deceased twin sister:
This picture was taken in 1925. Its of a girl visiting her twin sisters grave. The twin sister had died the previous year in a house fire. Parents saw her many times talking and playing with her twin sister after she has passed away. They thought it was just part of the grieving process, that is until this was developed …
An appended image showed a young girl in a white dress facing a reflecting pool in a cemetery; behind her were two monuments. However, two identical girls were visible in the water’s reflection, purportedly showing the living girl in 1925 and her dead sister’s apparition.
A reverse image search turned up versions of the image shared as far back as 2012, but no mention of the expository backstory appeared in that iteration. A 2016 tweet appeared to be a screenshot from a listicle, and featured the same 1925 backstory seen in the Facebook posts:
— Lauren Tom (@LaurenTom9000) November 16, 2016
It also appeared in a larger 2016 Imgur post titled “Explaining famous hoax photos from around the internet …” Once again, the book was mentioned in the context of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children:
Hoax: “Photograph, taken in 1925 of a girl visiting the grave of her twin sister who died in a house fire the year before.”
Truth: This image, along with many others, is a picture used in the book series “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” to help tell the story, usually edited to help the effect.
A May 2011 Los Angeles Times blog (“Jacket Copy”) included the image in a piece profiling the photography of the book, titled “Found photography drives ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.'” That explained the inspiration for the book, which as the headline indicated was called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which was in part “found photography”:
The best part of the new novel “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” (besides that deliciously gothic title) is a series of black-and-white photos sprinkled throughout the book–a young woman carrying a black parasol with a net over her face; two little boys in eerie clown make-up, one of them with a streamer coming out of his mouth; a little girl standing over a pond in a cemetery, her image reflected in double in the water below … The book came about when Riggs started collecting found photography at flea markets and swap meets about three years ago. He kept coming across strange creepy pictures of kids and felt like he wanted to do something with them. “I was thinking maybe they could be a book, like [Edward Gorey’s] ‘The Gashlycrumb Tinies,’ ” he said. “Rhyming couplets about kids who had drowned. That kind of thing.”
Of note is that when the image initially appeared in 2011 through 2014, it was either mentioned in the context of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children or with no explanation. Dated posts on Facebook and Twitter suggested the image departed from its literary context at some point in 2015, possibly plopped into a “creepy” listicle with a fluffed-up backstory for “engagement” purposes.
Posts about a purported picture of a girl from 1925 visiting the grave of her twin sister and seeing an inexplicable double reflection were popular across social media from 2015 onward. However, the image’s earliest iterations were due to its use in the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and the backstory was apparently added to (and screen captured from) a listicle published in approximately 2015. From there, its association with the novel in question was buried under shares of the likely invented “creepy” backstory.