The Chilling Ghost Story From The Set Of Three Men And A Baby

Stories of paranormal phenomena on film sets have been around almost since the beginning of Hollywood. "Haunted Hollywood" tells of the former Stage 28 at Universal Studios that was reportedly home to a cloaked phantom. And who could forget all of the eerie events that occurred on and off the set of the 1973 film "The Exorcist?" (per Entertainment Weekly). From widespread beliefs in cursed films like "Poltergeist" and "The Amityville Horror" to the on-set deaths that happen in films like "The Twilight Zone," there's no shortage of spooky lore that is sometimes even more horrifying than the tales that are being produced.

Occasionally there will be an image caught during a film's production that will send chills down a person's spine. There was such an occurrence in 1987 during the filming of the hit film "Three Men and a Baby." From the title, it's obvious that the Leonard Nimoy-directed movie wasn't in the horror genre (per IMDb). But in between all the humorous banter of stars Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Tom Selleck, there were rumors of a movie set that was haunted by the ghost of a young boy. 

According to Box Office Mojo, the film would go on to gross nearly $170M in worldwide box office receipts off of a budget of only $11M, making it quite the financial success for the studio. But in the decades since its release, it seems like the only buzz about one of the biggest films from the 1987 holiday season is the "ghost" that was caught on camera and in the final cut of the movie.

There is an image of what appears to be a young boy in the background

During a scene that features Jack (Ted Danson) and his mother (Celeste Holm) fussing over the baby that was unexpectedly left for Jack and his two roommates to tend to, the camera follows mother and son across the room of the loft apartment that Jack lives in. In several frames of the film, you can make out what looks to be the figure of a young boy peering through an interior apartment window. 

The stories about who this boy was and what he was doing there became the stuff of a Hollywood rumor that has followed the film for decades. Snopes reports that the most pervasive rumor is that the film caught the ghost of a boy. Who the boy was and how he died varied from source to source over the years. In one version, the boy that lived in the house where the scene was filmed had died by suicide, and his ghost was known to haunt the residence. 

If you pause the film during the above-mentioned scene, you'll see what all the buzz has been about. Above Danson and Holm on the left, you'll see the window in question. And the outline of what appears to be a boy is certainly visible. But when the players involved in the film were later asked about that scene, the truth would finally come out.

The ghost was a cardboard cutout of one of the film's stars

Snopes helps put the rumor of the ghostly child to rest. The image that looks like a boy peering in at Danson and Holm is nothing more than ... Ted Danson himself. A cardboard cutout of the "Cheers" actor, that is. The cutout was created as a prop for the film, and used in a scene where Danson's character (also an actor) was promoting pet food for a commercial. Though references to this were axed from the final cut of the movie, the cardboard cutout can be spotted at the end of the film. Danson's character can be seen standing next to it when the baby's mother (played by Nancy Travis) arrives to reclaim her child.

As for the location of the filming being haunted, Snopes casts a bright light on that rumor, too. "Three Men and a Baby" was filmed largely in Toronto, Canada. The interior scenes of the movie were all shot on a sound stage at the studio. The production company did not use the interior of anyone's home at any point. 

Even though the ghost mystery has been solved, it's still a pretty creepy thing to watch. The camera angle and the relative distance of the Danson cutout DO make it seem like a creepy kid is leering at Danson and Holm. For those who want to take a look for themselves, viewing the clip online is a fun way to kill 45 seconds of your time.