|Twin gravestone for a husband and wife.|
First off, I’m a writer of paranormal gothic romances, so it’s pretty obvious I love all things spooky and strange. Lately I’ve been posting photos on my Facebook and Twitter sites relating to the paranormal, romantic, gothic, and the haunted. I thought I’d like to do a little more from the paranormal angle so I tried coming up with ideas on what to post.
It wasn’t hard. Having lived in New England for 17 years now, I’ve noticed this area has a LOT of graveyards. Just within a couple miles of our house, there are five that I know about. Our yard even has one! Believe it or not, that was a selling point in its favor when we bought the house.
So I grabbed my cell phone and traveled to the various graveyards, five in all. I took numerous photographs of gravestones, stone entryways and walls, wrought-iron gates, and the like. It was a nice time – graveyards are so peaceful – and I looked forward to going to others another day.
Then I found something.
To be clear, I wasn’t looking for paranormal activity – the thought never even crossed my mind, actually. I just like graveyards and they, of course, are often considered places linked to the paranormal. The last graveyard I visited was the largest and I spent some time there, wandering in and out amongst the tombstones, snapping pictures and enjoying the sunny day (though, being me, I would’ve preferred a dark and gusty one).
When I got home, I downloaded the photos onto my computer and scrolled through them. About 10-12 photos into the last graveyard, I noticed two photos, one taken right after the other, that seemed to be washed out. I was disappointed, since those photos are the only ones I took of that particular tombstone. Thinking I would probably delete them, I scrolled farther down and noticed another photo of a different gravestone that had the same effect, though more localized. Hmm…. That was odd. The first two photos I figured were from a sun effect. The strange thing was, my back was to the sun. You can actually see my shadow on the tombstone.
|Gravestone Monument – Photo 1|
|Gravestone Monument – Photo 2|
I have to admit I kind of think the first photo looks like a fish – see the eye and mouth on the right side of the monument? Had I caught a ghost fish? Weird, which brings me to another weird thing – what is that open space (the eye) where there isn’t any blue/purple? A head? A smudge? I really don’t know. But I know it ain’t right. Ha.
With the third photo, the sun was more to my left and the tombstone was in shadows, though I think I was standing in the sun when I took the picture. This stone was on the opposite side of the graveyard and much closer to the entrance. Note the two ‘open’ spots on the far right.
|Gravestone With Odd Blue/Purple Streaker|
Having a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, I’ve had a lot of training on how to be a scientist. Some would call psychology a ‘soft’ science because it’s a nebulous subject to study – how do you measure behavior or personality in a standardized fashion when humans are so unique? But because of that bias, I think at some level we are trained to be even more rigorous and untrusting.
So naturally I had to set about debunking the pictures. I looked up blue/purple streaks on the Internet for camera phones and found nothing for my particular phone. I think an apple phone might have had some pinkish-blue effect, but it didn’t look like what I had and I don’t have an apple phone. Not finding anything obviously doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem with the camera on the phone, but as far as I could see, no one else had posted any of those problems on the Internet. I have never had this issue before, and haven’t had it since (though it’s only been a few days).
Was it a sun effect? Well, I had to be sure. The next day was gusty and gray and I took my boys along with me to do a little ‘ghost’ hunting. We’re amateurs at best, but we tried our best to go in with open, scientific minds. We had 3 different cameras going, 2 camera phones and one regular one. We took a lot of pictures, my youngest tried to entice the ‘ghost’ with promises of fame if it showed itself, then headed back home, the rain starting before we’d gone ten feet.
|A Family Affair|
We got nothing. No blue streaks, no faces, no strange forms, no odd experiences (though I didn’t have any strange experiences the day before, either). The youngest was very disappointed, but he has learned how hard it is to be a ghost hunter.
Did I do something to the camera? Maybe I touched the lens and created the streak. It was quite possible with my fumble fingers. So this morning I tried my theory out. I took two pictures with my back to the sun and two facing it. Before each shot, I rubbed my finger over the lens, quite thoroughly, and took the picture. Nothing. All four were clear as a bell. I’d like to say that eliminates that theory as an explanation, but maybe not. Maybe it depends on the angle of the sun and I wasn’t at the same angle as I’d been with those 3 photos. Who knows?
|Our Graveyard on a Dark and Windy Day|
In the end, I had a fun time taking pictures of the old graves around the area and I plan to write another blog talking about the ‘stories’ behind a few of the stones – stories derived just by reading the tributes.
So what do you think? Ghost or camera malfunction? As much as I’d like to think I was visited by someone or something from a different realm – a haunted realm – I also am not someone who wants to deceive others or myself.
But it is fun to believe, if only for a little while, isn’t it?
Update (8/2/14) ~ A friend of mine who knows photography said that what I was experiencing was a color banding issue. Okay. Makes sense. Well, my family and I were out and about yesterday, visiting several different sites around Portsmouth. One place we stopped was a cemetery, and guess what? I got two more photos here (of the same object – an angel) with the coloring issues…but nowhere else. What we can’t figure out is why this ‘issue’ happens only in cemeteries! Here’s one of the angel photos:
|Angel Statue in South Cemetery|
You be the judge…
For more Mischief, Mystery, and Magic…
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