Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Things That Go Bump, Special Summer Edition -- An EVP and an Anomalous Photo!

Fig. 1, The Red Chair of Summer
Greetings, faithful readers! I've got a lot to cover today, but before I get all spooky on you, I offer you one of my favorite photos, one I call The Red Chair. Because I'm in literal phase. Took the pic yesterday afternoon.

Is the chair haunted or cursed? Does sitting on it allow one to summon creatures of darkness?

No, but it is a good place in which to enjoy one's favorite beverage.

But on to the spooks!

Tula Cemetery

Yesterday I decided to take my mic and my camera out for a quick tour of Lafayette County's finer boneyards. My first stop was the old Tula Cemetery, located just outside the sprawling metropolis of Tula, Mississippi, famous for, well, anyway, it's Tula.

I tromped about. Invited comments. Made small polite talk with people who aren't there. 

My camera had a battery that showed 2/3rds when I arrived. Immediately upon entering the cemetery, it dropped from that to the small red 'you are SO out of luck, mister' icon every photographer loathes.

But being the fellow of foresight I am, I had a fresh battery in my pocket. So I popped it in, only to find it was depleted.

I put the first battery back in, and it went back to 2/3rds.

Odd. I took some pictures and pressed on.

Tula is an old place, although it is still in use. I tend to stick with the more remote, older areas.

A hand-made resting place, probably dating from the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged the place in the early 19th century.

I remained there for a little over ten minutes, recording audio the whole time. I didn't catch anything even remotely like an EVP voice. If you'd like to listen to the session in all its raw unedited glory, knock yourself out -- the link is below. The bugs and birds were so loud I doubt I'd have heard a whole chorus of ghosts performing AC/DC covers while phantom Stukas dropped ghost bombs about me.


I took a lot of pictures, and this is where things get all mystical-ated and occultified.

One of the pics I snapped is below. Give it a look, and see if you spot anything odd.

Look along the back row of markers, just left of center. I took this image with my 16 megapixel Fuji, so I can blow it up easily. Look below.

Yeah. Now, a lot of people would already be tossing around words such as 'apparition' and 'ghost.' Me, I'm more likely to suggest pareidolia, which is the tendency of out brains to see faces where there isn't really a face at all.

Here's the same cropped portion of the image, rendered in black and white for clarity:

I took this image yesterday, at around 2:00 PM in the afternoon. I'm going to return to Tula today, at the same time, with the same camera. I'm going to stand in the same spot and take the same photo, and then I'm going to approach the marker and take a series of images and we'll just see what the marker really has to say.

I'm betting here and now this is a trick of reflection and shadow. But we will soon see!

Keep reading, I returned to the cemetery at 2:00 PM CST today and located the grave marker. The results are posted at the end of this entry.

St. Peter's Cemetery

I left Tula and headed for Oxford, and the much larger St. Peter's cemetery.

I trudged up the big hill, approaching from the rear, because I'm a master strategist and I hoped to catch the guard ghosts looking the wrong way.

The first oddity I noticed as a trail camera strapped to a tree. I wonder if they've been having issues with vandalism.

I counted four trail cams there, all hung within about 50 feet of each other, all aimed a nondescript patch of ground. Which can of course mean only one thing.

ZOMBIES. Oxford has a zombie problem, and the authorities are keeping it quiet, because if there's one thing Oxonians won't tolerate it's anything that might affect property values. 

Most men would have fled, but I set my manly jaw and held fast. I know how to handle Oxford zombies. You don't have to shoot them in the head -- you just mention the new parking meters around the Square and saunter safely away as the zombie spits and fumes and rants about the injustice of having to feed a meter to eat at Boure.

Now, I didn't get any odd photos at St. Peters. But I had my trusty Zoom H1, and I was recording the whole time. And I might have just gotten something.

The whole unedited session is link below. At around the 8 minutes and 30 seconds mark, as I'm leaving, I catch what sounds a lot like a high shrill 'Hey.' 

In the link below, I make a remark abut my battery being nearly dead, and at the ten second mark there's a very faint 'hey.'

I isolated and looped the 'hey' so you can hear it much better. Click below to listen.

Now, what did I capture?

I'm pretty careful to tag any voices I hear with my ears during a session. I didn't hear this voice. One might argue that it was windy, and I was walking, and one might well have a valid point.  Maybe someone yelled hey in the distance and the wind carried it and my mic picked up what my ears missed.

Could have happened.

Or maybe I got another EVP at St. Peter's. It wouldn't be my first at that location.

Can I say with any sort of conviction that I caught a stray but mundane shout, or an example of a disembodied voice?

Not really. You'll have to decide that for yourself.

But it's images like the one in Tula and voices like the 'hey' that keep me tramping around tombstones. 

2:00 PM Tula Image Update: The Mystery Revealed

I returned to Tula at the same time, so the lighting conditions would be almost identical to the conditions of yesterday. 

Let's have another look at the odd image in discussion.

This was the first image. 

Here's a cropped blow-up of the oddity.

Looks like a face and a white-clad torso, doesn't it, There's even a hint of an ethereal glow about it.

The black and white version:

Yep, that's a ghost.

Or is it?

Look at the pics I took today, just a little while ago. Here's the first image, in which I recreated the original photo.

And there it is again, still looking spooky. I circled it for you.

Filled with noble bravery, I advanced upon the grim spectre, heedless of my personal safety.

The phantom remained. By now my eyes were telling me I was seeing a perfectly natural phenomena, a simple patch of color on a very old headstone. And I was right, there's absolutely nothing supernatural here. The next photos will prove that.

The 'ghost' was a trick of pareidela. The shroud was nothing more than a light patch on the headstone. The face was the same, given further definition by a raised decorative wreath of flowers.

Meet poor little Martha Franklin, who was only ten when she died in 1864. Rest well, Martha.

But she did help teach me a valuable lesson in not jumping to conclusions.

Because what appears to be this:

Is, all too often, simply a trick of light and shadow.

I ran another EVP session while I took the second set of photos today. I'm analyzing it now.

On that note, Ill leave you today with a bit of the Bard.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
- Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

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