My First Documented Phenomenon

(I wrote about this over a year ago, but it still baffles and fascinates me)

I won't count the time I was 10 and taped the sound of the booted footsteps in my childhood home. After all, I was immature enough to leave my father's recorder in my room where mother picked it up and put it back on his desk and he taped a lecture over top of it.

This proof, I still have. In fact, it's on a 35 mm negative.

It was 2003 and I had just started ghost hunting with camera in hand (no other equipment yet). There wasn't a lot of helpful info on ghost hunting at the time (this was pre-"Ghost Hunters" show), but I did know enough to nix my camera strap. I clipped it right off before the first time we went out a few months before this shot. Because as a kid no one believed my audio recording of the footsteps of the soldier, I was fixated on having the cleanest and most indisputable evidence. I also tied my hair up behind me. I avoided cold, damp, rainy, dusty, windy nights. Having done all I can to avoid false phenomenon, I decided to go with my ghost hunting buddy and my son to a beautiful cemetery in Phoenix where my son's grandmother was buried.

I admit, I figured a grandson bait might work.

We arrived and were so distracted by over 30 acres of cemeteries all united into one huge one and so many beautiful gothic statues, my hunting buddy and I were taking photos for future paintings we had planned. I didn't realize how big it would be and how hard to find one single grave there. It was getting dark and we were running out of time. The place was highly guarded by men in golf carts. They warned us we had to leave asap because the sun was going down. Damn!

As we were walking through the cemetery back to our car, in my mind I kept repeating over and over again, "Betty, we're here. Your grandson and daugher-in-law are visiting. Please let us know where your grave is. Show us the way." As we were walking, my son out of the blue said, "mom, can you get a photo of me here." It was a statue of praying hands and my son was an artist, so I figured he'd want a picture near one of the amazing creepy statues, but not one so simple. It seemed very odd that he chose this one when we had passed much more impressive and "hardcore" looking anguished statues.

So, we stopped and I had him stand in front of it. He picked the spot he wanted to be in and I picked up my 35 mm thinking this wasn't a ghost hunting shot, only a shot for his records. I remembering thinking we were very close to the car and about to leave and I begged my mother-in-law one more time to please show us where she was before we left. My son posed, I lifted the camera, and took the picture.

I didn't think anything of it as we left, except let down that I couldn't find her grave. We got home and I sent the photos in for developing. In that time, I talked to my father-in-law and said, "where is Betty's grave?" He replied. "It's a few hundred feet from the praying hands statue." He told me.

In this unbelievably huge cemetery that was made up of several cemeteries, covering an enormous plot of land that an amusement park would envy, we somehow managed to be drawn to that statue. At least, my son was. That intrigued me to no end as I awaited the photo developing.

When the photos came back from developing, I sat in my car, staring at this crazy streak on the photo. It was on the negative, as well. It bothered me so much, my son and I went back to the cemetery and found out where the grave was. It was about 300 feet over his left shoulder in the photo--right where this streak appears to be coming from as it comes in a position which appears to be right at me. This might also explain the strange sudden lump in my throat when I took the picture and the anguish that my son wouldn't know my mother-in-law (she died long before he was born).

If you look at it closely, the streak is more sheer at the top and solid at the bottom. As a debunker, I'd say the object if there were an object (which I have absolute certainty there was not) was further away or part of it was moving causing the sheer look and the closer it was to the camera, the more solid it would appear. The problem was that at the time I was absolutely a crazed person when it came to taking any shots. I was terrified of getting something and then someone telling me it was hair, dust, or any other means. The shot was taken with me controlling the situation completely, even the timing of the breeze. Another explanation: whatever was moving had zoomed from the top of the picture towards the camera. Even using all logic and explanation, this picture still baffles me. Perhaps because there was no camera strap. My hair was tied back. There was nothing else of this world I can imagine would have possibly made this streak and yet it shows up on the negative, as well as the photo.

I keep this filed away in an unexplained pile. Every now and then I pull those out and look at them, but even with more experience in the field, some things continue to baffle.

This is one of them.


  1. I honestly believe that was your MIL trying to reach out to you all! How neat! I love your blog and I love your passion for the unexplained. Have a great weekend, Sharon! :)

  2. Great article Autumnforest- the cemetery sounds truly beautiful -sometimes the things in the "unexplained" files are the most intriguing as they keep the mind going -all the best to you !!!!!!


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