Archive for the orbs Category

calling fink finley

Posted in Florida, orbs, photography on October 14, 2009 by Pat Padua

tampa theater, originally uploaded by a nameless yeast.

The most notorious haunted spaces are almost always associated with crime or tragedy – murders, hanging, disease, insanity. But sometimes a space is haunted simply by habit; the office worker who showed up diligently to work every day for decade after decade and finally passed away quietly, but whose spirit still lives on in these hallowed halls and such. Fink Finley’s is one of these spirits.
The Tampa Theater was built in 1926 and is one of the oldest continually-running movie palaces inthe country. The place has gone through changes over the years but was declared a Tampa landmark in 1988, and to judge by the sold-out audience at a vaudeville/silent movie program in August, when I took this picture, support is strong. Every town should have an old movie palace like this.

Foster “Fink” Finley was the projectionist at the Tampa Theater for over thirty years. He did not, as legend has it, die of a heart attack in the projection booth. According to theater docents, he succumbed at home. He is just one of the visitors said to haunt the Tampa Theater – a ghostly patron is said to be seen appearing and reappearing in the balcony.

We were walking around the theater before the vaudeville show was about to start and stopped in this hallway between balcony tiers. I saw a red figure down the stairwell moving through the viewfinder in my camera phone. But I didn’t see it with my eyes.

incident at spook hill

Posted in Florida, orbs on August 25, 2009 by Pat Padua


I normally don’t take much stock in orbs. There are any number of ephemeral round things that can come between a camera and its subject: dust, lens flare, distant lights you didn’t realize were there when you took the picture. But I was processing pictures from Lake Wales, Florida, the other night when I noticed something I couldn’t explain at all.

About the dolls. V. gave me a Carol Channing ventriloquist dummy for my birthday a few years ago. She wasn’t sure I’d like it but I immediately took to the little star of stage and screen, opening up her mouth with the pull-hook at the back of her neck and making sandpapery hissing sounds at myself. V.’s sister gave her a Carol Channing ventriloquist dummy of her own, and the next time I visited her, we traveled to the Ozarks with two Carols in tow and posed them in various touristy cut-outs and other scenarios. As it it is our wont to visit supposedly haunted places, we sometimes take the Carols out in haunted places, and sometimes taking out the Carols brings out a weird energy that wasn’t there before.

On the night I took these photos we had been trying unsuccessfully to find Spook Hill, one of Lake Wales most noted tourist spots. The legend goes that an Indian or alligator curses the place, and when you put your car in neutral at a certain point on Spook Hill, the car begins to roll backwards uphill. Signs pointed to it from the road but they weren’t particularly clear, even though we’d found it once before, thanks to a friendly clerk from the Publix grocery store down the road. We’d gone down one long road that turned out to take us around a lake, so it was a long way back to Spook Hill and our hotel, and I really just wanted to go back to our room. And once we found it, I was reluctant to take out the Carols. You’d think we’d be more self-conscious, a young couple taking out two blonde ventriloquist dummies decked in fire-engine red and a gold lame rose. But they’re a good photo op and I look forward to seeing what we come up with next.

But on this night I was nervous that someone would find us. (Note: Carol’s pants don’t stay on very well.) We quickly posed the dolls next to the Spook Hill sign, which is at the edge of some dense woods, and went on our way.
incident at Spook Hill

Two months later I finally processed the pictures. When I saw that red light on the left, my first thought was it’s a tail-light. Except tail-lights come in twos. Could it be a traffic signal? No, it moves from one photo to the next – in the first photo, it’s behind the sign, in the right-hand corner. Besides, there was nothing behind those dolls but woods, and the road was back aways and uphill.



The Carol on the left seems to be flirting with it.