The Goodwill 'Ghost' Video from Nuke's Top 5, Explained

For more than a year, viewers were puzzled by a "downright creepy" woman who appeared in a video on the ThriftSchool YouTube channel.

Published Aug. 2, 2021

Image Via ThriftSchool/YouTube

A "ghost" seen in a video shot inside a Goodwill thrift store has been captivating viewers. Who was she? How did she disappear when the camera turned around? This is what fans of the Nuke's Top 5 YouTube channel were asking after a new episode was posted in July 2021.

However, before we get to that, let's go all the way back to July 30, 2020, the date the original video was posted.

The Beginning

The video first appeared on the ThriftSchool YouTube channel, where its owner, Jesse Durfee, shows viewers how to resell thrift store items on the internet. The video in question showed what appeared to be a normal shopping day at a Goodwill store. The location of the shop was not identified.

Right after the video was posted, YouTube user Polaris 4227 commented: "Who else saw that lady in the background of the cd at 2:06?"

The commenter was referring to a moment when Durfee showed the back side of a copy of the 2001 PC game "Gorasul: The Legacy of the Dragon" and the reflection of what appeared to be a woman could briefly be seen in the shiny CD case.

A ghost woman seen in a Goodwill thrift store video from the ThriftSchool YouTube channel was posted by Nuke's Top 5.
The woman's face appeared behind Durfee. (Courtesy: ThriftSchool/YouTube)

When Durfee turned the camera around to show other shelves in Goodwill, the "ghost" was gone. There did not appear to be anyone standing nearby, nor was there a cardboard cutout on the floor. "Even more creepy is that when he turns there is nothing behind him," Polaris 4227 commented.

Durfee, commenting as the ThriftSchool channel, remarked: "Holy shit.... thats honestly pretty scary." Commenters mentioned that maybe someone was stalking him or that it was a "ghost." Delta Knight Vlogs said: "And you know what makes it stranger? She's not in the reflection when the front of the CD is facing us. I only saw her when he flipped it around."

Nuke's Top 5

Almost a year later, the strange video was featured on the Nuke's Top 5 YouTube channel. On July 21, 2021, the mystery appears at the beginning, at the 6:20 mark, in the following episode:

Durfee's original video was played more than 30,000 times over a year. By comparison, the Nuke's Top 5 episode was seen by nearly 1.5 million viewers in less than two weeks. The Nuke's Top 5 episode was also reposted to TikTok, where it was viewed an additional 1.3 million times in five days.

The Explanation

YouTube user SannaKD figured out what the "ghost" woman in Goodwill really was. It wasn't a ghost, a stalker, a prankster, or another shopper.

After the woman's face appeared in the reflection of the game's CD case, Durfee turned the camera around. For a brief moment, the bottom of a poster on the wall could be seen at the top-left of the frame. The woman's face was just that: a poster on the wall.

A ghost woman seen in a Goodwill thrift store video from the ThriftSchool YouTube channel was posted by Nuke's Top 5.
The top-left of this screenshot shows the bottom of the poster that showed a woman and child. (Courtesy: ThriftSchool/YouTube)

A different poster also appeared in the distance at the beginning of the video when Durfee was walking through the front doors. Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed similar stock photography on the pricing and sale signs at the 4:47 mark in the video. This seemed to be a common thing in this Goodwill store.

In sum, the mystery of a "ghost" woman seen in a Goodwill video was nothing more than a poster on the wall. The clip captivated viewers for around a year until it was featured on a prominent YouTube channel, which led to at least one person figuring it all out.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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