I’ve been back for several days, and I’ve been busy. And now I’m worried.
I have to say, being on the road for two weeks was in many ways a relief. When you’re staying at a motel somewhere in Arkansas you don’t have to think about spirits knocking around underneath your room. But you always have to come home, eventually. Did I hope that maybe they’d just leave while I was gone? Maybe a little. But they didn’t leave. Nope.
The camera I ordered from Amazon arrived while I was away. It’s a Wyze Cam 1080p HD indoor wireless smart home camera with night vision, about four inches square and comes with a detachable base. It streams directly to my phone and turns on when it detects motion up to 30 feet away even in total darkness. It records sound and has free rolling 14-day cloud storage. All for the magnificent sum of $25.95. That’s one hell of a deal
I studied the directions for the camera until I got bored then went ahead and set it up. It worked fine while I was sitting on the front porch. I recorded several minutes of boring footage of my neighbors walking their dogs on the street in front of my house. I then crawled under the house, about five feet in and settled the camera into the dirt, pointing at the area where I had seen the little girl spirit when she was trying to abduct Sweetie. (See post # 19) Toward one of the dozen or so pillars that hold up the house. I tested it again; all good.
Could I see a show of hands from those of you out there who believe in spirit photography?
I had originally planned a post about the history of spirit photography when I ordered the camera, but I’m not going to bother. I emailed my pal Dan Stashower who wrote a book about one of the most famous and credible spirit photographers of all time, Arthur Conan Doyle. My question to Dan was simple: did Conan Doyle — one of history’s supposedly most rational men — actually believe one could photograph ghosts and fairies? Really? Dan’s answer: yes.
So I’m going to give it a try, as a number of you suggested I do. Or rather, I gave it a try. Remember earlier in this post I said I was worried? Well, here’s what happened.
I set up the camera. I tested it, it worked. I went to bed.
In the morning, this morning, I got up early and the first thing I did was look at the camera app on my phone.
Nothing. A series of black screens. Fifty of them, one after another. Something triggered the camera, a sound or motion, to take a picture, but nothing was recorded. Well, I didn’t really think it was going to work the first time. I needed to check out the camera and see how I screwed up. Is this what’s worrying me? No.
After I looked at the camera phone failure, I dressed, went downstairs and had breakfast on the side porch. After, I went back upstairs to my studio. Now you’ll see why I’m worried.
Sitting on my computer keyboard was the detachable base of the camera. Dirt was scattered around my desk. I had to look hard and think about what it was that I was seeing. I needed to process what I was looking at. It took a few minutes.
Let me say it again: the base of the camera that I had carefully set up to record any activity under my house was now sitting inside the house. INSIDE THE HOUSE!
I stood there like a mute fool, I don’t know how long, until I worked up the courage to pick it up. It seemed intact. Just like it had when I took it out of the box, except it was dirty. And there was no camera.
The next step was obvious: I was going to have to go look under the house and see if the camera part was there.
By now I was running on autopilot. There was no use in mentally asking the obvious questions (how did it get upstairs, etc.) It was inexplicable, and would be until I had more information.
It wasn’t 7:00 AM yet and Sherry was still sleeping. I went downstairs (bringing the camera base with me) and went outside. It was sunny; the skies were clear with nary a single ghost or malevolent spirit to be seen. I walked around the side of the house; the low wooden door to the crawlspace was open. I sank to my knees and squeezed through the door, dragging myself along on my elbows. I was trying to keep my mind blank. I could have easily stopped and backed out if I gave what I was doing a minute’s rational thought. It was dark, or rather darkish under the house, but there was plenty of light coming in around the edges of the crawlspace to see.
I pulled myself over to the spot where I knew had planted the camera; I could see the shallow depression where I had buried the bottom of the base. The ground was dug up a bit.
I lay there, trying to keep my head up so I wasn’t sucking in a century’s worth of dirt. I was breathing kind of hard. After a few minutes, I noticed something odd about the pillar that was another ten feet in front of me. I had pointed the camera at this pillar when I set it up, so I would have something solid, something real in the pictures if the camera was triggered.
There was something white in the side of the pillar, three-quarters of the way up the base. The rest of the pillar was made up of the usual: old bricks, stone blocks, all of it covered with the grime of a hundred plus years. I crawled slowly toward the pillar.
Halfway there I could see that the white object was the camera I had bought and set up the night before, even though it was impossible to believe. I kept crawling.
This was the furthest I had ever come. I was right at the base of the pillar. I took out my phone and used the flashlight. The camera was buried in the pillar; its front, the lens side, was flush with the stone block above and below. I wondered if this was where the inspector had found the old bottle jammed into the pillar. I couldn’t see any way this four-inch cube of plastic could have been crammed into where it was. I reached up and touched the camera to see if I could remove it.
When I put my hand on the camera, the pillar seemed to shift, as if I had pushed a critical block, a key. The entire pillar shifted away from me and a thin cascade of grit sifted down on my head. I could hear a grinding noise. I was convinced it was coming down.
I scrambled backwards faster than I thought I could move. I had a vision – was it a vision? – of the entire house sliding forward and crashing down on me; for just a second I imagined the scene from the Wizard of Oz, the one with the Wicked Witch’s demise, but this time it was my family and friends standing and looking at my legs protruding from beneath the house. Cue the munchkins.
I made it out. I stood up, trying to brush the dirt off my body. It was quiet. No grinding and groaning foundation, no falling bricks and stones, no teetering house, no spirits laughing at me. Just the bright sunshine of a North Carolina summer day. Had I imagined it?
I went upstairs, quietly. Sherry was still asleep. If the house really did teeter it hadn’t knocked her awake. I took a shower and changed clothes.
Now I’m sitting here typing this. I’m numb.
My phone just made a little buzz, indicating some function. I looked at the screen. There was a picture of me, looking into the lens, under the house, a terrified expression on my face. As I watched, the picture faded away. The screen went black.