Yesterday, during a meandering and somewhat aimless road trip with my sweetheart, we came across “Snake Alley” in Burlington, Iowa.
It reminded me so much of Lombard Street in San Francisco that I had to do some research. Which came first, and which one is more crooked?
Well, having been built in 1894, Snake Alley existed 28 years before Lombard Street. And below I’ve put together the two using Google Maps images. I will let you be the judge of which one is more crooked.
As teenagers, my friends and I liked to take our cameras out to spooky places in the middle of the night and take timed exposures. It was just for fun, like a dare, to be out in ruins or graveyards at one in the morning. We never saw a thing, and nothing ever showed up in any of the pictures…
…except this one time.
This is from a rural cemetery in Lodi, California, a very quiet place next to a small trailer park. When we were actually out at the cemetery taking this picture, neither my friends or I heard or saw anything unusual. I didn’t see any lights or movement around this gravestone, nor did I realize it was leaning to one side. You see, it was dark out there. Really dark. We could barely see anything. I think the shutter on my camera was open for around 40 seconds when this picture was taken.
So what’s weird about it? May I direct your eyes to the strange swirl around the leaning tombstone? That’s what’s weird about it — that and the fact that the stone itself is tilted up onto one edge with nothing underneath it.
Some of my friends where skeptical when I showed this to them, because they knew I could have faked it. It’s true, I could fake it. Easily. I can even tell you how to get this exact effect. The point is, though, that I did not fake this shot. It is real. If I wanted to fake a ghost photo I would do something a lot more dramatic.
After this photo was taken, we went back to the same spot and took more photos. Nothing strange showed up in the second set of photos, nor did anything strange ever show up in any other shots I took at this cemetery.
I don’t know if this mysterious photo is actually a picture of a ghost. I only half-believe in them. Sometimes I do, and sometimes (when I’m in my very rational mind) I don’t. Nevertheless, I can’t explain my strange photo.
But here’s a little ghost story for you…
On one of the subsequent nights when I was out there with my friend Jeannette, taking more pictures in the hopes of capturing another interesting image, I somehow lost the keys to my Subaru Brat. I’d dropped them somewhere, and we looked all over and couldn’t find them. It was about 1:30 AM and very, very dark — and yes, we were a little spooked. Fortunately I had a spare key in one of those magnetic boxes clamped to the fender, so we were able to get home okay. The next morning both her and I went back out there to see if we could find the keys, and I jokingly addressed the spirits, asking them, “If you find my keys, could you put them right here for me?” and patted the corner of a small brick fence.
There was no one else in the graveyard. Jeannette was with me at all times. We searched all over the place, trying to trace our path were we’d been taking pictures the night before. The keys were nowhere to be found. So we gave up, and were walking to the front of the graveyard when I spotted the keys. They were sitting on the corner of the small brick fence, exactly where I’d asked “the spirits” to put them.
Totally freaked out, I grabbed the keys, said a quick thank you to whomever it was that put them there, and Jeannette and I ran like hell back to the car.