Monterey Court Orb

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.

The Accidental Ghost Hunter has been upgrading her camera equipment, and the latest edition to my collection is a Nikon D7200. I bought it for night photography, and as I’m working with it I’m finding it’s a really nice camera. However…

Monterey Court is located in Tucson, Arizona, and it has an interesting history. Originally built in the 1930s, it was one of the first of many motor inns along the old highway, which is now a city street called Miracle Mile. Over the decades, however, neighborhood changed. The interstate rerouted traffic, and Miracle Mile went from a resting stop for traveling families to a high crime area known for drugs and prostitution. Fortunately, that began to change in 2011, when Monterey Court was purchased by its current owners, who’ve successfully converted it from a seedy, run down motel into artist studios and a restaurant. They also built a stage in the center court, and it’s become a trendy music venue.

I’ve been going music gigs at Monterey Court for about four years now, and I’ve taken literally hundreds of photos there, with no anomalies, until this past Easter Sunday, when I was photographing a friend’s gig. There, among my photos, was a odd-looking anomaly that, at first glance, appeared to be an orb. Monterey Court just happens to be across the street from an old cemetery, and, according to another friend who had once leased a shop there, odd things do occur there from time to time.

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed the “orb” has a perfect hexagonal shape, which tells me it’s not an orb, but some sort of glitch with the camera. Still, it’s odd nonetheless. I was using a lens that is practically brand new, and another photo, taken at exact same spot a mere second earlier, came out normally, as did all of my remaining shots. The lighting is from stage lights, placed a good twenty feet over the stage, so I think I can safely rule out a lens flare.

While debunked as an orb, and a lens flare, I’ll have to write it off as an odd camera malfunction occurring in an usual location with a checkered past. Another words, it’s all a rather interesting coincidence.



Mesa Verde Mist

Hello everyone. The Accidental Ghost Hunter is alive and well, and even doing a little traveling. Last summer a friend and I took a trip to Colorado, and one of our stops was the Mesa Verde National Park in the southwestern part of the state.

Photo by Gayle Martin Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

Like most of Colorado, Mesa Verde is certainly worth seeing for the scenery alone. It was once the home of the Ancestral Puebloans, who lived in the area for approximately 700 years, roughly 600 A.D. to 1300 A.D. Seven centuries is a long time, with many generations of people living and dying in the area. As my friend as I made our way around I was taking photos with both my iPhone and my Nikon Coolpix digital camera. Then my iPhone started acting up while I was taking photos of some of the cliff dwellings. Well, I figured it was because we were in bright daylight. The sun had bleached out the screen, and I apparently hit a button by mistake, as my iPhone was now taking photos in black and white instead of color. Yes, I was annoyed, but I also took a few shots from the same vantage point with my digital camera, and, as you can see by the first photo, they all came out perfectly.

We eventually made our way to the visitor center, and as we chatted with some of the staff we heard some interesting accounts of paranormal events. Again, this would not be unexpected in a place where people had lived and died for some seven hundred years, and most sounded like residual hauntings, such as claims of hearing the sounds of drumbeats and chanting echoing across the canyon at night.

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2014. All Rights Resersved.

I’m posting two of the photos taken with the iPhone, shortly after it began acting up. The first is for a reference point. This photo also has a distortion in the upper right corner, but I’m going to debunk it by saying it could very well be my finger, since it’s right where the iPhone lens is located, and it’s an easy mistake to make. The one that follows has what appears to be ethereal mist. Both were taken on a bright, sunny day, and there was no wind blowing. I also tried to debunk it by looking through my iPhone lens and trying to place my hand in front of it at the same angle as the mist. It felt awkward, and I would have known that my hand was in the way when I took the shot. I could also  clearly see the details of my hand and they were very solid. This photo looks misty, and, interestingly enough, my finger is not in the upper right corner.

So, is this something paranormal? Possibly. As always, I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.


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.


Book Signing Ghost? Not Exactly

I spent the past weekend in Tombstone doing a book signing at the annual Vigilante Days event.

I’m now in a new location for my book signings. The owner of Doc Holliday’s Emporium, at 6th and Allen Street, invited me to her shop this past June during another event, and she and I hit it off. Doc Holliday’s Emporium happens to be right across the street from the famous Birdcage Theater, which, as we all know, is one of the most haunted buildings in America.

A funny thing did happen at that first book signing. The card table I was using suddenly collapsed. That’s when the store owner’s kids told me that they too have problems with ghosts and poltergeist activity, and they think it’s because of the close proximity to the Birdcage. However one has to approach these things with a little bit of skepticism, and the fact that the table had been rickety to begin with, and that customers had been bumping against it for a good part of the day, is the more likely reason why it collapsed. Either way, nothing was damaged and no harm was done. We picked everything up, I resumed my book signing, and no other unusual activity occurred.

This past weekend I decided to bring my camera with me, and as I was reviewing my photos I saw something in the background, on the t-shirt hanging behind my shoulder, that appeared to be a very bright orb.

Orbs are a bit of a controversy. They can be balls of energy that can indicate paranormal activity, and some in the ghost hunting community really glom onto them. Others, including me, understand there can be more to an orb than meets the eye, and that what appears to be a ball of energy can also be a dust particle, or an insect, or a reflection. That said, I zoomed in on the orb, and sure enough, it was a reflection. There was a glass panel between me and the window display behind me, and when the photo was taken the flash reflected off the glass.

So I’ve debunked another one. For now. I’ll be back doing another book signing at Doc Holliday’s Emporium during Rendezvous of the Gunfighters, this coming Labor Day weekend. I’ll try to remember to bring my camera again. You never know.


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.