Saturday, January 16, 2010

Self portrait and ghost stories, about 1982

I took this photo at sunrise. I wish I still had that Opel. And check out those enormous eye glasses. In those days the thinking was the bigger the lens, the greater the field of view. That was probably true. The huge lenses were made possible by advances in plastics technology. And by golly we were going to take advantage of those light-weight lenses by making them big. I recently got a new pair of glasses, and they did not even ask if I wanted plastic or glass lenses. Now it's assumed everyone wants plastic lenses.

I took this photo in the "haunted" valley near Cedar Hill, Texas. The valley was home of the Goat Man, who had the legs of a goat and a man's body. He would attack teenagers and anyone else foolish enough to go into the valley after dark. He could throw a tire a hundred yards, and was often spotted running among the tombstones at the cemetary. I may have seen him myself.

One time on a Halloween night, I was among a bunch of teenagers waiting at the cemetary for a church hayride to pass by. We were dressed as zombies and vampires and the hayride coordinator had asked us to hide in the cemetary and jump out and scare the kids. While we were waiting for the hayride, I saw a person or phantom or something run across the back of the property. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I said to someone nearby, "Who's that?", but whoever or whatever it was had dissappeared. I counted everyone, and we were all accounted for. I kept checking back there, but never saw anything else. When the kids came by we scared them pretty good. But I always wondered what it was I saw.

Another time, while working at a summer camp located just up the hill from the cemetary, I went for a walk with one of the girls I worked with. The two of us stayed late after dinner to mop the floor, and when we finished, we had about 2o minutes to kill before having to report to the snack bar. It was fairly dark by then, but we decided to take the long way, and headed out down a dirt road, and as we rounded a corner, about 40 yards away, we saw a creature, moving in and out of the brush. I guess it could have been a wolf or a coyote, but it didn't look like one. It was very large, on all fours, with short hind legs, like a hyena, and no tail. We were whispering to each other: "What is that?" and "I have no idea!" and "Let's get out of here!" And about that time, it raised its head and looked right at us. We took off running back to the dining hall. Maybe it was a wolf or a dog with oddly matted hair. I still don't know. It was too big to be a dog.

When I took the photo above, my goal was to get a shot of a Cedar Hill sunrise from the valley. I had set my alarm for 5 am so I could get out there before dawn and take a photo from the west, of the sun coming up behind "The Hill" of Cedar Hill. I slept fitfully waking up every hour or so with a sense of foreboding and doom. At one point I decided to skip it, just chicken out. But I couldn't sleep due to the realization that if I skipped it, I was going to be a coward. That was worse than not being able to sleep due to fear. I decided I was going to go no matter what, and then fell asleep again. I soon awoke once more, my heart racing and feeling more agitated than ever. In the closet, above the hanging clothes, I saw two red eyes. I thought, "is there a live animal up on the shelf?" As I focused my gaze the eyes started moving toward me, floating into the room. My spirit cried out "Jesus, protect me!" The eyes zoomed to the left and exited through the wall. I immediately felt at peace and soon fell asleep. I awoke when the alarm sounded and still felt at peace. I drove out to take my photos. I set up a tripod, took a few shots as the sun came up. I couldn't find a copy of that sunrise photo, but if I come across it, I will post it here along with a second photo I will take from the same spot. Back then there were about 5 television towers in Cedar Hill. Now there are about twice that. It would be interesting to see then-and-now shots side by side.

I think what I saw in my room that night was a demonic presence. I'm not sure what I saw in the other two incidents related above. You don't have to live in fear if God is on your side. If I ever find myself awake at night and can't sleep, I pray for people I know, who are sick or in distress. I rest peacefully. I breath a prayer of thanksgiving "Lord, I'm just resting in You." God is more powerful than the Devil or his demons. Here's a Bible verse for dealing with fear: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon You. Isa. 26:3.