Before I went on the Crescent ghost tour I never thought orbs were real. I thought they would be too easy to fake so I never thought that much about them. My sister's position on paranormal photography was even stronger since she worked with photography and publishing. She had once commented that anything can be done with photographs today and not to believe anything you see in one unless you taken the picture yourself. I thought that was good advice.
One spring weekend in 2006 I went to Eureka Springs with my sister Judy and my best friend Brenda where we had made reservations at the Crescent. We were put in room 313 - which we learned later had a reputation for occasional paranormal phenomena. After depositing our bags in our room we bought our tickets ($15) for the ghost tour, then enjoyed a drink at the Norman Baker Bar before embarking on our shopping spree downtown.
The ghost tour is very popular and there was a good size crowd for our tour. We began in the basement area where there is now a spa, although the morgue where the autopsies were performed was further back and probably hasn't changed too much. As we sat on the basement stairs and listened to the lecture we were told to start taking pictures and we would get orbs. I didn't believe it, but started taking pictures anyway. After the first couple of photos I noticed my first orb. I was really shocked. The first orbs show up in front of the glass door to the spa and there is a bigger one in front of the sign to the left.
It's really impossible to determine how big they actually are because we don't know their distance from the camera. Next we went through a long hallway which led to several storage rooms in the back. One of which was used for the morgue.
Ghost Hunters have also been to the Crescent Hotel and you can go to their website and watch the episode. Using their infrared camera Jason and Grant caught a full body apparition in front of an old storage cabinet. If it's not staged, then it really is impressive. For more information on this episode go to www.americasmosthauntedhotel.com where you can also see a short video clip of the apparition that was filmed. As you can see in the picture below, I did not capture anything paranormal.
On the second floor is a room that is said to be haunted by Michael, a stonemason who fell to his death as the Crescent was being built and landed in room 213. I didn't think I had anything that interesting in the way of orbs when I took several photos of the hallway on the second floor. What I did not appreciate at the time, however, was that my sister who was also taking pictures of the hallway apparently got a photo of the same two blue orbs that I did. So much for orbs being dust. Anyway, we thought that was interesting and then did not think anything of it because the orbs were small and we liked the bigger ones. We were totally unaware of the controversy surrounding orbs so we had no thought about trying to determine what orbs were or were not. We were just middle aged women on a weekend trip having fun. (And fun we had!) We even made a new friend who also lives in Tulsa and we see from time to time. (We met up with Leslie in Atchison, Kansas and she is in the photo with us and the big orb. See my post on Atchison, Nov. 11, 2011.)
In this photo are the two small blue orbs on or near the floor on either side of the hallway that my sister and I both took a photo of. Not a real impressive picture, but it was exciting for us.
Our room, however, seemed to be a little more active. We heard the story of how some former occupants of room 313 were playing with a ouija board and being loud enough to generate a few complaints to the management. At one point something happened that scared them so bad they all ran out of the room and would not go back in. A hotel employee had to retrieve their belongings. Nothing that scary happened to us, just a couple of odd things. In the bathroom there is a pedestal sink with a shelf above it for toiletries. As we were sitting in the bedroom enjoying the wine I brought along we heard a clatter in the bathroom. Upon inspection I found that my deodorant had fallen from the shelf into the sink. Weird. I replaced it back on the shelf and it didn't fall again. Back to my glass of wine that I was about to finish off when we heard a "pop". The cork that had been placed back in the wine bottle had actually popped out and flown a couple of feet. I don't know if that was paranormal or not, but that has never happened before or since. If anyone else has ever had a cork pop out of a bottle of wine like that I would like to know.
We had more luck getting pictures of orbs in our room. In fact I deleted a lot of pictures from my camera and just kept the good ones. For whatever reason it seemed that I had the best luck getting orb photos whenever my sister was in the picture. I guess they liked her.
Maybe it was her perfume . . .
By the second evening my sister was getting a little annoyed with me taking her picture every few minutes to see if there were any orbs. The next two are taken while she was trying to watch TV and there was another orb around her that seemed to move slowly as it had changed position in the next picture. There was at least 15 seconds between the two pictures - I would take a picture then look at it and if there was an orb in it I would immediately take another one.
In this picture the orb is by the pillow. What looks like what might be a huge fish shaped orb to the left of the bed is actually a weird reflection from the camera. I found that if I covered up the mirror that would not appear. In the next photo the orb has moved from the pillow to right above my sister's head. It is a little fainter so a little harder to see.
My sister hates these pictures.