Monday, December 23, 2013

Ghosts in the cemetery

Last week I talked to a visitor from Texas for a very long time. For one, we weren't very busy, and two, he said I had pretty eyes. There you have it; that's all it takes. When you're more than sixty and a half.... well, you can guess how rare those kinds of comments are.

He told me about his ghost-hunting exploits all over the world. Ancient ruins, cemeteries, old houses, battlefields - anywhere spirits might be hanging around, he's there with his camera and other recording equipment, documenting what he says is evidence of their presence. He showed me lots of them on his cell phone and they all seemed to manifest themselves as orbs. Circles of varying sizes and colors, and all totally or nearly opaque. I'm not smart enough to know if these things exist, so until there's some proof to the contrary I'm keeping an open mind.

Fast forward a couple of nights to a full moon and clear skies, when I had the idea of walking over to the cemetery to see what moonlight could do to the atmosphere of the place. My little camera doesn't let me keep the shutter open more than four seconds. This is one of those times I've really missed my Nikon, which let me keep the shutter open (and therefore let more light in) until the battery ran out, but it's gone and I make do with what I have.

What I got was a lot of meh photos, not nearly as impressive as I'd hoped. This one made me think I'd picked up the Milky Way behind the statue but I really doubt that's what it is.

Because I was limited to just four seconds' exposure, I was using a flashlight to add some light to the area  and all it did was make everything look fake. Too bright, too hard a light.

Now this one maybe had some potential, with the arc of light across the bottom... I fiddled around with it and moved the moon to center over the highlighted area of graves, which was pretty good until I realized that the moon, shining behind the tombstones, wouldn't be casting light on their fronts. Duh.

I was about to delete the entire mess of them when I noticed a circle on the left side of one of the photos, almost covering two tombstones. I enlarged the image and there it was, looking like a penny. I moved the image around the screen, thinking it could be a reflection from outside. Maybe it was lens flare. Maybe it was this, maybe it was that. Maybe it was a ghost. But you're now saying, I don't see anything and you're right! I continued to process the rest of the pictures from that night and when I went back to the only interesting one, I could not find it. I looked in the recycle bin, in other folders, I re-imported every picture on the card, and the one with the ghost was nowhere to be found. I have a witness, someone who was sitting in the same room and saw the same thing; someone much more skeptical than I.

I guess you'll just have to take my word for it. All I know is I went back to the cemetery for a walk the other night and dark was seriously settling; I was hoping to see a copper disc shining over the tombstones. Then an owl hooted in the trees and I almost jumped out of my skin. Maybe it was an owl.

Thought of the day:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. (Albert Einstein)