A Special Moment before Digital
This happened some time in the late 70s or early 80s.
I hopped out of the car, in the pouring down rain, and snapped a couple of quick shots of this old building. I didnít know when I would be back in the town again and I wanted to get some pictures of it before it was gone too. The town was rapidly deteriorating. The old hotel was nothing but a cement slab. Across the road the old gas-station was a falling down shambles with "Mad-Dog House" written all over it. Both churches had burned to the ground. One struck by lightening the other catching a spark from the first.
I snapped two pictures when a cloud burst let loose and I got back in the car. I didn't notice anything odd or different when I took the pictures but when I picked them up after processing I couldnít believe what I saw. There in the mist of all the debris seemed to be a hovering image, but an image of what? An angel? (Well it definitely had wings of a sort) Or was it a devil? It certainly was a large dark shadow but it didnít seem menacing, or foreboding actually it looked a little comical.
The snapshots were quite dark and I couldnít get a really good look at what it was so I took the film to Meijers, do it yourself enlarging center. I blew one up on the screen to study it.
"Whatís that?" A male voice questioned behind me.
I glanced around at an elderly gentleman standing a couple feet away.
"A ghost," I said and turned back to adjust the picture.
"Thatís not a ghost," He told me then questioned again what it was.
I told him that that was what I was trying to figure out myself.
He stood for a short time watching as I made it larger by zooming in, smaller by zooming out, then I cut it and re-cut it. He must have become bored because after a while he strolled away.
"Whatís that?" I heard again from behind me.
I looked around to see another elderly gentleman somewhat taller than the first, but about the same age. I didnít say anything and he moved closer for a better look. ďIt looks like Little Bow-Peep," he suggested and wanted to know if the building had been an old schoolhouse.
"No it was a store," I said and started preparing to print the picture.
The first gentleman strolled back. "Was that a church?" He wanted to know.
The second gentleman supplied the information that it had been a store.
"Oh," the first man said, "I thought that if that was a church then maybe it was the image, somehow or other, of a minister."
"It looks like Little Bow-Peep to me," The second gentleman told him.
"No. Thatís not Little Bow-Peep," The first gentleman said with assurance.
Well, at least there were two things that man was sure of the image definitely was not a ghost, and neither was it Little Bow Peep. I had to chuckle to myself.
I went over to the counter and paid for the pictures.
When I left the store the two gentlemen, who were obviously strangers to each other, were still debating as to just what they had seen.
I have often wondered what their conclusion was.