Archive for the photography Category

under construction: the national building museum

Posted in DC, photography, Washington on June 17, 2011 by Pat Padua

I promised my niece more ghost stories, and I will make good on that promise before Halloween and much sooner. In the meantime, my every camera I own project spawned a spooky tale – or at least hints of one – on the bloggy, bloggy dew.

every camera i own: pingo

Do spectral faces whirl between the columns of the National Building Museum?

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Ghosts of Gettysburg

Posted in Carol Channing, cemeteries, Gettysburg, photography, youtube on October 30, 2009 by Pat Padua
Ghosts of Gettysburg

photo by Veronica Ebert - is that a General emerging stage right?

Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania, especially during the anniversary of the bloody battle, is by far the most haunted place I’ve been. In several days there V. and I both *saw* things we couldn’t explain. She saw soldiers trampling through our room, atop what once was Cemetery Hill; I saw a short figure in a bonnet across from what I later learned was an orphanage.

The abundance of ghost tours in Gettysburg (and the cornucopia of paranormal-themed programming on cable tv) tells you how much of a demand there is for ghost stories and spooky experiences. But the most haunted spots weren’t on the tour, and weren’t even the places named in the vanity press ghost books that prop up the ghost tour industry in this ghost-encrusted town.

As loyal readers of this blog may know, V. and I are wont to take our Carol Channing ventriloquist dummies into the field. Bringing these blonde plastic vixens onto this hallowed ground gave us some pause, but before we knew it we were posing the dolls on the replica cannons that were scattered on the field. If the spirits of any young soldiers were about, perhaps they were intrigued by our play and wanted to play too:

come and take my skull for a ride

I took this video on our second midnight walk on East Cemetery Hill, our last night in Gettysburg. The town was packed with history buffs primed for re-enactments, and the re-enactors themselves, stuck in a strange and devoted cycle of repeated history, so we were periodically met by other late-night ghost hunters. But as we got used to the dark we pressed further on into the cemetery, far from any other people and even free of the sound of the now distant road. I scanned the landscape with my Flip Video camera and didn’t hear anything unusual till I uploaded the video days later.

goodbye east cemetery hill, originally uploaded by a nameless yeast.

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.

gravestone portraits

Posted in cemeteries, DC, Florida, photography, Washington on October 2, 2009 by Pat Padua

click here for my "gravestone portraits" set on flickr

See the full set of gravestone portraits here.

The graveyard is the final resting place of our corporeal selves, but these grounds, however hallowed, are not necessarily haunted places. What restless spirits wander the earth tend to do so in more emotionally charged places: sites of traumatic events like battlefields and murder scenes or the crossroads of horrible accidents, but also mundane locales like the workplace. Someone living or dead has likely shuffleboarded their mortal coil where you are right now; there are echoes of the living and the dead everywhere.

But I come here not to spook the living but to remember the dead. In my years of visiting cemeteries I’ve only this year begun to photograph the memorial portraits built into grave markers. The portraits may be of the deceased in the prime of youth, in a studio setting or in a favorite environment, as a way of taking the accoutrements of their hobby or profession into a hopeful afterlife. Some of the portraits I’ve seen are startling, some absurd, and a few make me wonder if that’s really how the dead wanted to be remembered. I only ask that you show them some respect.

cemeteries of pasco county