We may not mention it too often, mainly because we’re busy goofing on silly paranormal stories, but we here at The Occult Section have out own paranormal group, the New York Paranormal Society. And, we’re lucky enough to have a professional photographer in our group. Laura Pennace, who is our case manager/photographer/historian, is also the owner of Pennace Photography, where she does amazing shoots for weddings, engagements, trash the dress, boudoir photos, and more. Laura often likes to combine her love of ghost hunting with her talents in photography, and we manage to get lots of awesome photos from our investigations and adventures, and we’ll be showcasing a photo of hers every week.
This week’s photo is from Quaker Cemetery in Leicester, Massachusetts. The cemetery is also known as Spider Gates Cemetery, because of the spider-like wrought iron gates. It was originally a family cemetery owned by the Southwick and Earle families, and it later became the property of the Worcester Friends Meeting after the families joined the local Quaker community.
I know I usually tackle the UFO and monster sides of the paranormal and leave the ghostly stories to Laura, but I had to comment on this story after watching the accompanying video. Being a professional paranormal investigator for the past four years, I have seen many things, and many of those things have been extremely strange. But many of those extremely strange things, upon closer examination, could be explained rationally. And perhaps the biggest thorn in the side of any serious paranormal investigator with half a brain is the orb phenomena. Orbs are little round objects, usually semi-transparent, that show up in pictures. This basically happens when the flash of the camera illuminates tiny objects that usually can’t be seen by the naked eye, like dust, water droplets, pollen, bugs, etc. But there is a certain segment of people out there, and many of them calling themselves serious paranormal investigators, who think these are ghosts. So they’ll take a picture in a cemetery at night, or in a building where lots of construction is going on, and see all the little dust particles or raindrops and say “Look at all the ghosts we caught! I can see faces!” These people are seeing what they want to see. And the media is not doing anything to help. Witness this story from WHNT News:
TUSCUMBIA, AL – Something eerie may be lurking in the Colbert County EMA office. On the surface, his office appears normal, but EMA Director Mike Melton is convinced that he may be sharing his office space with the paranormal.
“It appears that there’s some type of dimension or something that a flash of the camera can pick up that we might not be able to see,” said Melton.
That’s because of a photo taken of Mike’s office during it’s renovation several years ago. The original image is covered in blurry white spots with faint outlines of human figures in the background. EMA employees agreed it looked peculiar.
John McWilliams, a local historian, enhanced the clarity of the image, revealing what appears to be a line of ghostly figures.
“When I saw it, I didn’t realize it was a saloon scene,” said McWilliams, of Tuscumbia. “I could just see the people. It was not until I started processing it that I saw that it was a saloon scene.”
That prompted McWilliams to do a little homework on the building. After looking at old maps, he determined what’s now the Colbert County EMA office was a saloon and bowling alley back in 1884.
“I have records here to find out what was in those buildings at that time during that period,” said McWilliams. “The picture meets that criteria.”
He said that explains why the figures appear to be waiting in line, while others appear to be perched at a bar.
Photos snapped at the EMA console reveal what appears to be three figures in the foreground, wearing microphone headsets. Mike suspects they once worked in the building.
“Evidently, we’re sharing their space and they’re not sharing ours,” said Melton.
Photos taken since the construction work suggest there could still be some sort of supernatural activity in his office.
We wanted to check it out for ourselves, so we posed for the camera after our interview with Melton. John processed the image for us and revealed nine ghostly figures after enhancing the photo clarity.
Ghosts or not, Melton and other EMA employees aren’t spooked.
“It is something to be lighthearted about,” said Melton. “It’s just an unknown, something creepy you can try to figure out and try to understand what it’s about.”
Melton and McWilliams both joke they know it sounds crazy, but can’t help what they see.
Again, the fact that these pictures were taken during renovations to the office says a lot. Tons of dust and debris is bound to be kicked up during those times, and that is going to be captured on camera as “orbs.” But it’s just dust and particulate matter. And are they serious about the “faces” wearing headsets? They look like the ghosts of Muppets, if anything. I’m all for investigating the paranormal, but people need to do their homework first, and remember to always look for rational explanations before jumping to ghostly conclusions. Unfortunately, even paranormal investigators who claim to be scientific don’t always stick to that philosophy.
Real or not? This image is said to show two ghostly children at the rear of the photo. The photographer says they weren't there when the picture was taken.
A picture posted on couriermail.com.au yesterday prompted plenty of reader cynicism, and in Sydney – where the cemetery photo was taken – the Daily Telegraph’s website was flooded with hundreds of comments.
But Renee English, who took the photo on January 9 while on a ghost tour for her teenage brother’s birthday, stood by her claim no one was in the cemetery at the time.
“Let them say it (it’s not true), I know I took that photo and I know those kids weren’t there,” she said.
“But if it hadn’t been me (who took the photograph) I’d probably be saying the same thing.”
Meanwhile, more details have emerged about Blanche Moon, the 11-year-old girl who died in 1886 and whose ghost is rumoured to play in St Mark’s Cemetery at Picton.
She was the daughter of Henry and Fanny Moon and her father is thought to have once been a timber worker and may even have helped make the railway sleepers his daughter fell off while playing with other children, sustaining fatal injuries.
She shares a headstone with her younger brother Alfred Henry Moon who died the year before Blanche when he was two years old.
An article in the Sydney Mail dated June 26, 1886, stated Blanche was taken to the Sydney Hospital after suffering a compound fracture of the leg but “expired in that institution”.
“The child (slipped) while stepping over and a number of the sleepers came upon her,” it read.
The City Coroner was satisfied her death was a “pure accident” and an inquest was never held.
What do you think? Do you think this image is real? Do you think other “ghost” photos are real?