Have you even run across a photo and something seemed odd? You know, where everyone looked fine except for one person in the shot, that person looked as though they were dead. Well, oddly enough, taking photos of the diseased was fairly common in the Victorian age.
I ran across several photos, purely by accident online and it reminded me of the tales I had heard long ago about this practice. It seems that when a loved one died, the thought was that it would be the last time the family could be photographed together. In our time, this seems a bit odd. At least to me it does. My family does not take photographs of anyone dead. I do know of others that do on occasion.
In the past many parents would ask for a photograph of their beloved child, but as it goes with children, it was not always easy. Photographers tried to be clever and shroud the mother’s in fabric to hide their appearing in the images. At times it actually worked, but during others it just looks odd. If you didn’t know that was what they were trying to accomplish, you would just think the photographer was not great with backdrops.
You may also find in that box of old family photos, some that show “ghosts”. Remember in the 1800’s Spiritualism was the rage. Spiritualism is a belief that spirits of the dead have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. Many charlatans would take a photo of someone that had lost a loved one. They would then add the image of the person’s loved one or a random spirit, while developing the images. The poor grieving person would of course buy the print and usually give money to them as well. Many of these tintype photos are still around. Families have passed them down through the generations. Such a sad practice!
I have seen photos that also show a person wearing every valuable item they own. Jewelry, clothing, whatever, it doesn’t seem to matter. I was informed that it was to show the person’s net worth. Wow. Could you image any of us dressed in all our valuables today? I have more “things” than I should actually say. Today our value on material items would certainly make this interesting to say the least.
Do you have photos that would be fun to share? It is always entertaining to look in the old photo albums or shoe boxes to see what treasures.
For some time now I have been mentioning the fact, I am writing a book about the Sweetwater County Library ghostly reports. Since 1993, I have been the keeper of the official Ghost Log. It all began in 1992, when I first started working at the library. The staff would tell amazing stories of “things that go bump in the night, and day”.
One of the first stories I remember hearing was from, the then, Library Director. She walked me into the Multi-Purpose Room. Once there, she proceeded to explain how she had just close the mechanically run stage curtain. Next she turned to leave and hear something, which made her turn around. To her amazement, the curtains on the stage were once again wide open. One other staff member also told of this happening to her. I was in no doubt they thought this to be paranormal.
Because of continuing stories being told, I approached the Head Librarian and asked if I might read more about what goes on here. She stated that nothing has been written down. They just share stories as they happen. I then asked permission to start a “ghost log”. Logging the reports slowly caught on. At first the staff were nervous about reports. They did not want others to think them crazy.
The Ghost Log has gone from a slim three ringed binder, to two four inch think binders. We now add newspaper articles and photos. Many patrons have been sending in information and reports as well. Once the Ghost Walks were started in 2006, the amount of reports has risen dramatically. The Ghost Walks allowed us and the patron to do actual paranormal investigations. Along with this came many photos and digital recordings. The digital recordings are also known as EVPs or electronic voice phenomenon.
Because of interest that public has shown for the reports, photos, EVPs and general paranormal finding about the library, in 2011 I asked permission to start a book about our findings and the history of the library and the property it sits on.
I had not planned on telling anyone outside the library about the book at first. Somehow the information was leaked and soon, it seemed, everyone knew about it. Because I am first and foremost a librarian, my work has to be done before I am allowed to work in the book. It is for this reason we are now in 2015 and I am still working on the book. If the planets are all in alignment and all goes well, the book will be out this year.
I have been working very hard to have time to finish all that needs to be done. I’m sure you will guess, this is a huge amount of checking and double checking. My wonderful editor, our Public Relations person, Lindsey Travis now is working on the edits. Reports and photos, along with personal stories, have been added. My hope it you will find this book educational as well as informative. For those that love the paranormal, I hope you find it inspiring and transforming.
Words can’t say how excited I am to be this far. By my calculations we are now about 85% complete. I would like to thank those of you that have supported this project, as well as those that have contributed information, reports, photos, EVPs, etc. Without you this book would not be happening.
Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to the books completion.
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