Thanks for trying to help me, Toad . . . The photos were in the same albums I created for them when I imported them into iPhoto from my camera two years ago. (I don't think I mentioned I am using iPhoto 09). Anyway, I followed the same procedure I have always done to delete photos, which is to simply select them in the album they were placed in and drag them to iPhoto Trash (NOT the system trash can.) After I dragged these 20 or so pix plus the one old empty folder to the trash, strangely, iPhoto Trash contained nothing but a gray screen. Weird.
By the way, just a few minutes ago I tried dragging a photo I imported today into the trash and the same thing happened—just a gray screen inside the iPhoto Trash Folder and the "Empty iPhoto Trash" option grayed out.
I hope that answers your question? . . . Basically, I hadn't moved the photos from their original default location, which I assume is all contained in the User/Pictures/iPhoto Library file.
Remember, I you drag a photo from an album, those in the left hand page of iPhoto, onto the iPhoto Trash bin and empty the Trash bin, they are not deleted from the library. The are only deleted from the album.
If you drag a photo from an Event to the Trash Bin then they will be deleted from the library. So lets make sure we're on the same page. Is it an album or event you're dragging from?
If it's an album you're dragging from you'll need to use a key stroke combination to move them from the album to the trash bin: Command+Option+Delete.