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.


How Did I Miss This Orb?

I don’t know how this one slipped by…

This photo was taken back in 2006. I was doing a performance of my living history character, “The Tombstone Storyteller,” for a YMCA convention in Phoenix, Arizona. The Tombstone Storyteller presentation is a 3rd person narrative that covers many of notable events in the town’s history, including the sequence of events leading to, and resulting from, that famous shoot out Fremont Street, later known as “The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” I do this presentation for schools, associations, convention groups, etc. (In fact it was the enthusiastic feedback I kept getting from school kids that inspired me to write Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: Luke and Jenny Visit Tombstone.)

Anyway…as stated before, orbs are a bit of a controversy in the ghost hunting community. Orbs can simply be energy fields. Or they can be evidence of ghosts or paranormal activity. Or they can be dust or insects. However orbs commonly appear in locations known to be haunted. What is interesting to note is I very rarely get orbs in my photos, and this particular photo was taken with my old 35mm point and shoot.

If you look at the upper corner of the room, over my shoulder and to the right, just below the ceiling, there is one mother of an orb! And, just to the right of it is what appears to be a small cloud of mist.

What is also interesting is the fact that I was in a modern hotel in Phoenix which, in all likelihood, not haunted. However I am doing a presentation about Tombstone, and that speaks for itself. Is this orb a ghost? I couldn’t say. But it sure is an interesting coincidence.


Tombstone Motors Ghost

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

Photography has always been one of my favorite hobbies, and when a friend in Tombstone, Arizona, opened up a new business called Tombstone Motors, I couldn’t resist taking some photos of the cool replica of a 1930’s gas station.

I wanted to take night photos, which I do using an old-fashioned manual 35mm camera and doing timed exposures. Of course, some of the locals, who are also into photography, warned me that the spirit people might really take the opportunity to mess with my pictures. So I asked them to please refrain, and they mostly did. I shot an entire roll of film and only had one anomaly show up, and it was on a test shot that I took at sundown. As usual, I got a bending light beam.

All my other ghost photos were taken with my 35mm point and click camera. This photo, however, was taken with my trusty old 35mm Nikkormat that I bought new back in 1978. So those of you who thought all the weird stuff I was getting before was because my camera was somehow broken need to come up with another way of debunking it.


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.


John Tunstall Murder Site

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

I took a trip to Lincoln, New Mexico to do some research for my latest book Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War: a Luke and Jenny Adventure. As usual, I brought along my trusty 35mm to snap a few research photos for later use. As I was heading down the highway from Ruidoso to Lincoln I stopped at the roadside historic marker indicating the spot where John Henry Tunstall had been murdered.

The brazen 1878 murder of rancher and shop owner John Tunstall by corrupt lawmen, loyal to Tunstall’s competitors, Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan, sparked a violent and bitter feud called The Lincoln County War. It ended five months later with the death of attorney Alexander McSween, who tried in vain to seek justice for the murder of his good friend, John Tunstall.

I took these two photos within a minute of each other. They were taken on a clear day with no breeze blowing. The first photo appears normal. But in the second photo is a strange, brown mist. It almost looks like a dust devil, but there is no shadow underneath it. One of my friends swore she could see the top half of Mr. Tunstall’s face on the top of the ‘cloud,’ but perhaps this was just matrixing, or our mind’s way of creating familiar shapes. Either way, it’s another accidental ghostly encounter


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.


High School Graduation Ghosts

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

These have to be the two strangest photos I’ve ever taken.

My (now ex) husband and I had been invited to a friend’s daughter’s graduation from Tombstone High School in Tombstone, Arizona. This was the final graduation from the old high school, which was located on Fremont Street, just a few blocks away from the O.K. Corral.

We had parked next to the tennis courts, which are on the corner of 6th and Allen Street, caddy-corner from the infamous Bird Cage Theater. After we parked I decided to take a few family photos with a 35MM camera. Nothing out of the ordinary was going on that night other than the graduation, and everyone around us seemed to be in a festive mood.

I couldn’t believe my eyes it when I got my photos developed. I’ve never seen bending light rays, nor have I ever seen light rays with varying luminosity. These anomalies also appear on the negatives. I just have to write it off as another accidental ghostly encounter.