Queen Mary Ghosts

Today’s post is courtesy of guest blogger, fellow author and accidental ghost hunter  David Lee Summers.  Thanks David for contributing.



PHoto by David Lee Summers

These photos are from a ghost tour my daughter and I took during Her Royal Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach California on Friday, January 13, 2012.  The strangest incident that happened was when we went to the first class swimming pool aboard the ship.  It’s a noted “hot spot” for ghost sightings.  The first photo shows the pool.  Off the upper balcony, we went into the women’s dressing rooms.  I snapped a photo of the corridor. 

Photo by David Lee Summers

When I took the photo, I thought I saw a person in the flash and indeed, there is a strange, almost human-shaped shadow in the photo.  I assumed it was one of my fellow tourists, but when I walked up the hallway, I didn’t pass anyone or see any other people ahead of me in the corridor or the dressing rooms.  I did get a serious case of the willies as I walked further down the hall and the hairs raised on the back of my neck.

PHoto by David Lee Summers

When I downloaded the photo onto my computer, I assumed the shadow I captured was some strange trick of the light.  However, I then did a simple brightness/contrast adjustment and adjusted the color curves a little in Adobe Photoshop and the image below popped out.  I should note, the hallway was completely dark.  The only illumination came from my flash.  If this was a fellow tourist, they were standing in the dark with this apparently non-nonchalant pose.  They had no flashlight and the flash didn’t seem to illuminate them. 

Photo by David Lee Summers
Photo by David Lee Summers

Another place that felt very eerie to me was the old boiler room.  The top photo was taken just outside the boiler room.  Inside, the boiler room, I took several photos.  I kept feeling like I was seeing something move outside the corner of my eye.  The one thing that I may have captured is the green glow in the lower left hand corner of the bottom photo.

I’m a professional astronomer and writer.  I’m also an admitted skeptic.  I’m hard pressed to say these photos serve as hard evidence of ghost encounters.  Despite that, these photos do raise questions for me—especially the one taken in the dressing rooms.

For anyone who would like to read more about Her Royal Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium, I posted a guest blog about the event at: http://darkcargo.com/2012/01/22/her-royal-majestys-steampunk-symposium-2012/

My regular blog is at: http://davidleesummers.wordpress.com

Thanks, Gayle, for letting me share my ghost tour experience!

Is This an Orb? No.

Yes, the Accidental Ghost Hunter is alive and well, but the economic reality of the times has sharply curtailed my travel budget, so I’m not traveling historic places as often as I once was.

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved.

That said, last weekend I had a book signing at an event at a historic place in southern Arizona called Empire Ranch.  It’s an old cattle ranch dating back to the 1860s, currently undergoing restoration and is now being used for educational purposes. I’m not aware of anything sinister in it’s history, nor did I get any kind of a creepy feeling while I was there.  If anything, it felt like a happy, positive place. About the only scary thing I encountered was having to deal with porta-potties.

I did however, get one anomaly that, to an untrained or overly excited eye, might be mistaken for an orb. However it is not. It’s simply a lens flare, and a lens flare can look similar to an orb. That’s why orbs are a controversy in the ghost hunting community. Sometimes an orb truly is an indicator of paranormal activity, but oftentimes they’re not. That’s why those ghost hunters who want to be taken seriously are skeptical of orbs.

Another one debunked.


Tucson Depot Orb

Photo by Thomas Carter

One of my friends and fellow Tombstone Vigilante member, Tom Carter, gave me his permission to post this photo.

A few years ago the Tucson railroad depot underwent a major renovation and Tom took a few pictures of the construction. He was using a 35mm camera, and much to his surprise one of his photos came out with an orb.

Orbs are something of a controversy in the ghost hunting community. Sometimes orbs can be balls of energy which may indicate the presence of paranormal activity. And sometimes orbs can simply be dust or even insects that are in the right place to reflect light back into the lens of the camera.

This site does, however, have an interesting story behind it. In the months after the infamous shoot out on Frement Street in Tombstone, known today as the gunfight at the O.K. corral, enemies of the Earp brothers took their revenge. In two separate attacks both Virgil and Morgan Earp were ambushed. Morgan was killed. Virgil survived but permanently lost the use of his left arm.

In March, 1882, Wyatt Earp, his brother Warren, and their friends accompanied Vigil and his wife, Allie, from the town of Contention to the depot in Tucson where they would be stopping for dinner before continuing on to California. Shortly after Vigil and Allie reboarded the train Wyatt spotted two cowboys, Ike Clanton and Frank Stillwell, laying prone on a nearby flatcar, with shotguns pointed at Virgil and Allie. Wyatt gave chase. Ike Clanton escaped, but Frank Stillwell was gunned down by Wyatt Earp.

Today the Tucson railroad depot is still a working train station. It has a few shops, a restaurant, and it is also the home of the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum. And some folks say it is also haunted by the ghost of Frank Stillwell.


Creepy but Debunked

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.

I’m still trying to get the hang of this new digital camera. Recently I was back in the Bird Cage Theater, and snapped a few photos before I was able to figure how to turn the flash on. Later on, after downloading them on the computer, I noticed something really odd. It appeared to be a really creepy looking clown’s face in the background.

The next time I went to Tombstone I showed a copy to the Bird Cage staff. I learned that indeed clowns had performed at the theater back in the 1880s. I also decided to go back into the auditorium and take a closer look at what I had photographed.

Sure enough, I was able to debunk it. The “clown” appeared at a small screened opening to another room. The “hair” was actually a piece of torn brown paper that must have been used to cover the screen at one time. One the other side of the screen was a white table and other items displayed in the adjoining room.

Professional ghost hunters talk about “matrixing,” or our mind’s ability to form the shapes we see into familiar objects. In layman’s terms, this means that things are often not what they appear, and it is always important to check the facts before coming to any conclusion.

While many of the photos on this blog may defy explanation, this one has been debunked.


Whoops It Happened Again

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved

After much resistance I’ve finally joined the digital age and purchased a digital camera. And, just like with my trusty 35mm, I’m experiencing oddities on this new digital camera when I visit Tombstone, and particularly in the Bird Cage Theater.

As has happened a couple of times before, I’m once again getting the strange bending light phenomena associated with the stage area. When is really strange is that there is a rather large piece of glass on the theater box to the right of the stage, and the bending light beam does not reflect on the glass. Rather it goes right through it, and seems to loop itself around items within the box.

All I can say is this is Tombstone,and the Bird Cage Theater is reportedly one of the most haunted buildings in America. Check you concept of reality at the door.


An Accidental Ghostly Encounter at the Tunstall Store

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

The town of Lincoln, New Mexico has a reputation for being haunted, and after researching the history of the place it’s no wonder. In 1878, during the Lincoln County War, the single road that runs through Lincoln became one of the most dangerous streets in the entire county.

Ground Zero in the Lincoln County War would have been the Tunstall Store. Its very presence ended the economic monopoly held by shopkeepers Lawrence Murphy and Jimmy Dolan. And it was the murder of shop owner and rancher John Tunstall by lawmen loyal to Murphy and Dolan that ignited the Lincoln County War.

The Tunstall Store is now a museum, and today it looks very much the same as it did in the 1870’s when Billy the Kid walked the streets of Lincoln. But when I took this photo I had yet another bending light beam appear. It seems that I’ve had yet another accidental ghostly encounter.


The Wallace & Ladmo Orb

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2007. All rights Reserved.

In the world of ghost hunting, orbs have become a controversy. Some say that the presence of orbs indicates paranormal activity. Others say they can be simply be balls of energy but not necessarily a ghost. And sometimes orbs can be nothing more than dust particles in the air.

I rarely find orbs in my photos. Bending light beams yes, orbs no. But here is one photo with an orb and an interesting story behind it.

The Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tempe, Arizona, was having a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Wallace & Ladmo Show. This Phoenix TV show aired from 1954 to 1989, and I believe it still holds the record for the longest running television show in history. After ‘Wallace’ retired in 1989 the show’s collection of memorabilia was donated to the museum, where it is now on permanent display. By 2004, the time of this tribute, two cast members of the show had passed away – ‘Ladmo’ and musician Mike Condello.

This photo was taken with my 35mm camera in the museum auditorium during a musical tribute. When the photo was developed, I discovered a large orb appearing over the stage. For what it’s worth, museums strive to keep their facilities as dust free as possible as dust can damage fragile artifacts.

Maybe it’s just coincidence that this orb showed up. But if one believes that orbs can be evidence of ghostly activity, then perhaps Ladmo and Mike decided to join in the festivities that day. Or maybe it’s just Fred, the museum’s resident ghost.


More Accidental Ghostly Encounters in the Bird Cage Theater

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Once again, the historic Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Arizona lives up to its reputation. This time the Accidental Ghost Hunter caught several strange things all in one photo, taken with a 35mm camera. In the upper left corner there appears to be a misty figure of a woman in historic clothing. Next to her is a strange shape that looks like an arm, and below is a strange red light beam.

On the corner of the game table, just behind and to the right of the sewing machine, you can see a face. When I showed this photo to the staff at the Bird Cage they recognized it, and said they have seen that same face in other photos taken in different places in the building.

And finally, the “light beam” behind the curtain isn’t an anomaly. It’s a table sitting backstage.