A HOLIDAYMAKER got a shock when he browsed through his holiday snaps after finding he had captured the spectre of assassinated Tsar Alexander II.

Les Coates, 63, was on a 10-day cruise when it stopped off in St Petersburg, Russia.

The cameraman took a day-trip to The State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace in the city, and took a photo of the throne room.

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Mr Coates said: "Although it seemed ordinary to the naked eye, when I took my camera back to the ship, I had a look through and was astonished by it.

"I had taken one photo in the throne room, and above one of the thrones was a white orb.

"I zoomed right in, I'd never seen anything like it in my life, there was a face in it. I showed the friends we'd made on the cruise, and one lady, Glenda said 'that's a ghost'."

He added: "I checked over my camera and there were no faults. My wife Sybil persuaded me to ask the the cruise port lecturer, John Lawrence, what he thought.

"He looked at it closely and said 'that's Tsar Alexander II'. He pointed to the face high up in the orb, which had a moustache, like Alexander II.

"There is possibly a larger face below in the centre too, but we couldn't identify it."

The photo was taken on September 18. Mr Coates, of Long Newton, Stockton, was aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship, and also visited Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Poland and Amsterdam on his trip.

He added: "I don't know what to make of it now, there's definitely something there."

Tsar Alexander II ruled the Russian Empire from 1855 until his assassination in 1881 after a bomb was thrown at his feet by Ignacy Hryniewiecki, a member of 'The People's Will'.