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).

Ghost Hunting  

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…

The Wrath – A Paranormal Gothic Romance
I Shall Return – A Paranormal Gothic Romance