Is the spooky figure in the window of Oldway Mansion the ghost of tragic dancer Isadora Duncan?
For sceptics it may be an open and shut case of a person being captured unwittingly on film, but for believers in the supernatural it could explain why the mysterious figure stands perfectly still at the first floor window.
Tragic and controversial in her time, Isadora could very well have watched her own son learning to ride a bicycle from the very window the figure is in.
But who was Isadora?
The legendary but controversial Isadora died horribly in 1927 after a silk scarf she was wearing caught around the wheel of an open top car, pulling her from the open car and breaking her neck.
In an earlier tragedy both of her children had drowned in the care of their nanny in 1913 when their runaway car went into the Seine in Paris.
A bisexual and an atheist, Duncan alluded to her Communism during her final United States tour, when she waved a red scarf and bared her breast on stage in Boston yelling “This is red! So am I!”
It is said Singer Sewing Machine millionaire Paris Singer – son of the man who built Oldway Mansion and involved in a love affair with Isadora – oversaw its rebuilding works in the style of the Palace of Versailles to profess his love.
In 1968, Vanessa Redgrave starred in the biographical film ‘Isadora’ about the tragic woman who defied traditional views of femininity.
Paignton mum Louise Lenton was shocked to see the figure, which she believes could be a ‘ghost’, in the video she captured.
Normally a sceptic on the paranormal, she “cannot explain” the appearance of the woman – who she describes as “wearing period dress.”
“My partner and I had split off, with him going to walk the dogs on the fields and I took our little boy to the car park to practise riding his bike.
“The car park is flat and perfect to do it. I was just filming him and that was it.
“It wasn’t until I was home and in bed watching the film back when I noticed it.
“I was like ‘oh my gosh!’ and my partner could not explain it. Neither of us know what this is.
“When I was filming I didn’t see it at all. I was too busy filming. I screenshotted it and zoomed in straight away.
“It looks like a lady with hair in a bun, with white cuffs around her hands.”
Louise has even approached Torbay Council about the mystery figure, and it said only security guards would have been inside the building the day the footage was taken.
“It’s certainly not a security guard from what I can tell. The outfit the woman is wearing appears to have white cuffs and it looks Victorian,”
She added: “I would love to know who or what it was.”
The History of Oldway
The rich history of Oldway Mansion dates back to 1871, when Paignton’s Fernham estate was bought by Singer Sewing Machine founder Isaac Singer.
A local architect was commissioned to construct a grand and illustrious mansion – complete with its own theatre.
Singer died shortly before the mansion was completed in 1875. Between 1904 and 1907 Isaac’s third son Paris supervised alterations to the mansion.
It would see major rebuilding works to transform the mansion into the famed Palace of Versailles.
The mansion was used heavily during both World Wards.
During the First World War it saw many horrors as an American Women’s War Relief Hospital, with hundreds of wounded from the trenches of France and Belgium brought there.
In the Second World War it housed RAF cadets training to be fighter and bomber pilots. It was even damaged in an air raid in 1943.
The mansion has starred on the silver screen in recent years. In 2004 it doubled as Buckingham Palace for Christian Slater film Churchill: The Hollywood Years.