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.



Hotel Gasden Orb

Once again guest blogger, fellow author and accidental ghost hunter David Lee Summers returns to share some photos from a recent book signing in Douglas, Arizona.  Thanks David for contributing.


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Photo by David Lee Summers

On October 13, I was invited to participate in the Arizona Centennial Authors and Artists Weekend at the Hotel Gadsden in Douglas, Arizona. The Hotel Gadsden is a grand hotel first built in 1907. It was a home away from home for cattlemen, ranchers, miners, and businessmen in the Arizona Territory. Visitors to the hotel have included Pancho Villa, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Lee Marvin.

Photo by David Lee Summers

The hotel was designed by famous Southwestern Architect Henry Trost.  Trost designed many buildings in Tucson, Arizona, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.  Arguably one of his greatest accomplishments was designing the University of Texas at El Paso, which he modeled after Bhutan, the last of the three Forbidden Kingdoms hidden deep in the Himalayas.  The Gadsden’s Lobby is a terrific example of Henry Trost’s architectural style.

As it turns out, the Hotel Gadsden is famous for its ghost sightings.  They even have a page devoted to its haunted history here:

Photo by David Lee Summers
Photo by David Lee Summers

During the book signing and our stay at the Hotel Gadsden, we only had one potential incident, I only had one potential encounter, but it was an interesting one.  My wife was taking photos from the mezzanine, which looks down into the lobby and managed to capture the image of an orb right in front of me. Now, I realize that orbs are controversial. Some attribute them to dust or tricks of the light and I certainly can’t write off that possibility. Still, what’s odd is that she took two photos in a row and one had an orb and the other didn’t.

Before I leave it to you to ponder whether this was a real paranormal event, I’ll just note a couple more items. Of all the photos we took at the event, this is the only one that showed an orb. Also, it’s the first time I’ve seen an orb appear in a photo with such bright light.

If you’re interested in ghosts or history and find yourself in Southern Arizona, I highly recommend dropping by the Hotel Gadsden.  The hospitality is fabulous and it’s an interesting look back into days gone by.

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.


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.