The Houston Photograph
In Houston, Texas, on January 24, 1950, an amazing photograph was taken by the Douglas Studios. In the photograph, there appeared a halo-like Light above the head of Rev. William Branham. The negative was taken to George J. Lacy, Examiner of Questioned Documents (who had acted as an external specialist for the FBI). George J. Lacy was asked to determine whether or not the light could have been the result of improper exposure, developing or retouching. This investigation served to completely authenticate the fact that the unusual brightness was definitely caused by a light striking the negative.
An interesting question is: "If the Halo photo is the Pillar of Fire, why didn't anyone see it in the audience when the photo was taken? If the light struck the lens, people should have been able to see the light.
Because of this, some have suggested that the out of focus light over the head of William Branham could have been caused by a floodlight in the auditorium that would have showed up as blurred in the photograph if the depth of field was narrow. Cameras in the early 1950's would have had a lot less dynamic range than those of today.
According to WMB, the building was dark and there were not really any lights on the platform area. However, newspaper articles about the Coliseum around that time show that there were flood lights in the building.
If the pillar of fire was directly over William Branham's shoulder, it would have cast light on top of his head and the pulpit. Instead, the top of his head is not lit as it would be if the light was coming from over his head. It appears to have been illuminated primarily from the flash of the camera taking the picture.
Facts surrounding the picture
It was about midway in the Houston campaign in 1950, and God was moving in a very powerful way. None could deny that there was an element of the Supernatural moving in the Sam Houston Coliseum. Most were convinced that it was Almighty God, but a few were skeptical.
One of the skeptics was Rev. W. E. Best who opposed divine healing and became hostile against Rev. Branham and F.F. Bosworth (who spoke during many of the day services) teaching on the subject of divine healing. The hostile clergyman issued a public challenge through the newspapers, to debate with Rev. Bosworth on the subject of "Divine Healing Through the Atonement." Rev. Bosworth asked and received Bro. Branham's permission to accept the challenge. Bro. Branham cautioned Brother Bosworth against being argumentative over "the Word". The whole matter was given front-page publicity in the Houston newspapers. The January 24th, 1950 issue of The Houston Press hit the news stands with the headline: "Baptist Cleric To Challenge 'Miracle Man'".
As the debate got under way, it was quite apparent that the sympathy of the vast audience was almost entirely on the side of the visiting evangelists. Large numbers of members from the same denomination as Rev. Best stood to their feet as witnesses that they believed in Divine healing and had in fact been healed. This sentiment became increasingly evident throughout the service.
To record what he thought would be a great milestone in his career, the opposing Rev. Best secured the services of Mr. James Ayers and Mr. Ted Kipperman, professional photographers from Douglas Studios in Houston. They were to take a series of pictures of him while he was speaking. After taking several photos of Rev. Best, the photographer snapped only one picture of Rev. Branham, who spoke briefly just before the service closed.
Immediately following the meeting Mr. Ayers went to the darkroom of his studio to develop the negatives that had been exposed. To his surprise every one of the negatives turned out to be absolutely blank with the exception of the one which had been taken of Rev. Branham. His surprise turned to amazement when he noticed that on this negative, immediately over the head of Rev. Branham, was apparently a supernatural halo of light. Mr. Ayers called the others of the studio to look at the negative; but when they did so, each was equally puzzled and no one could explain the presence of this halo.
The following morning the photographer sent word to Rev. Branham to inform him of the strange phenomenon that had occurred in connection with the photograph he had taken the night before. Rev. Branham explained to the young man that he was not greatly surprised. He testified that just before the picture was taken he heard the Pillar of Fire descend into the building with a sound of rushing wind.
Local newspaper reporting
The same morning that the photographer brought the news of the halo of light in the picture above Rev. Branham's head, the Houston newspapers carried full reports of the service on their front pages. Of course, the newspapers had heard nothing yet about the photograph. And it is interesting to note that Mr. Ayers, one of the photographers who had been secured by the opposing clergyman, himself had made skeptical remarks - which remarks were included in the reports by the newspapers. That the picture should come from this same photographer makes the whole matter the more astonishing, and confirms its absolute authenticity, if indeed any more evidence were needed.
Below we include some greatly condensed reports of the meeting as they appeared that morning in the Houston newspapers:
THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE - JAN. 25, 1950 (Abridged)
After conferring with Rev. Branham, Gordon Lindsay arranged for the negative to be turned over to George Lacy, considered the greatest authority on questioned documents in that area. Mr. Lacy then submitted the negative to exhaustive scientific tests. Rev. Branham was certain that the negative was genuine but considered it wise to have absolute scientific proof of its genuineness.
After a most thorough examination, Mr. Lacy gave a certified statement indicating that every test showed that the negative was absolutely genuine, and had not been "doctored" or retouched or been given a double exposure of any kind. Today, the picture remains in the U.S Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.