This was originally posted to Xanga on Halloween 2002, under my old account JJDavis… This is not fiction. These pictures are real, though I can’t say for sure what it actually shows. I’m reposting this specifically for Frazzle.
I was a teenager going to Delta College in Stockton, California when I took this picture. It was around 1978 or ’79. My friends and I would go out to spooky places at night and take timed exposures hoping to catch something unexplainable, just like in movies and horror stories. I had shot dozens of rolls of film with nothing more interesting than a star-streaked sky in the background. But I remember the moment clearly when I developed this roll of film and saw the proofs for the first time…
I took this at a small, rural cemetery in Lodi, California. It was a very quiet place next to a small trailer park. When I was actually out at the cemetery taking this picture, neither my friends or I heard or saw anything unusual. I didn’t see any lights or movement around this gravestone, nor did I realize it was leaning to one side. Remember, it was dark out there. We could barely see anything. I think the shutter on my camera was open for at least 40 seconds when this picture was taken.
Some of my friends were skeptical when I showed this to them, because they knew I could have easily faked it. It’s true, I could fake it. I can even tell you how to get this exact effect. The point is, though, that I did not fake this shot. It is real. If I wanted to fake a ghost photo, I would do something a lot more dramatic.
After this photo was taken, we went back to the same spot and took more photos (see below).
Nothing strange showed up in the second set of photos, nor did anything strange ever show up in any other shots I took at this cemetery. The reason these shots were so much brighter is that there was a moon out at the time.
The above is a close up of the gravestone in the same picture. There’s no swirls, and the stone itself is sitting squarely on its base.
I don’t know if my strange photo is actually a picture of a ghost. I only half-believe in them. Sometimes I do, and sometimes (when I’m in my very rational mind) I don’t. Nevertheless, I can’t explain my strange photo.
But here’s a little ghost story for you… On one of the subsequent nights when I was out there with my friend Jeannette, taking more pictures in the hopes of capturing another interesting image, I somehow lost the keys to my car. I’d dropped them somewhere, and we looked all over and couldn’t find them. It was about 1:30 AM and very, very dark — and yes, we were a little spooked. Fortunately I had a spare key in one of those magnetic boxes clamped to the fender, so we were able to get home okay. The next morning both her and I went back out there to see if we could find the keys, and I jokingly addressed the spirits, asking them, “If you find my keys, could you put them right here for me?” and patted the corner of a small brick fence.
There was no one else in the graveyard. Jeannette was with me at all times. We searched all over the place, trying to trace our path were we’d been taking pictures the night before. The keys were nowhere to be found. So we gave up, and were walking to the front of the graveyard when I spotted the keys. They were sitting on the corner of the small brick fence, exactly where I’d asked “the spirits” to put them.
Totally freaked out, I grabbed the keys, said a quick thank you to whomever it was that put them there, and Jeannette and I ran like hell back to the car.