Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beyond Texas: An Aegean Ghost Hunt (Santorini, Greece)

Anyone following this blog might well wonder why I posted to it 10 times in July but not at all in August! The answer is that I took a break from working on this book and spent four weeks making an "Aegean Odyssey" across several Greek islands, in part to do research for a number of projects for Skirmisher Publishing LLC (anyone interested in seeing daily reports of this trip can check them out at my TravelBlogue). 

In the course of this trip I did take the opportunity to do a number of things related to my interest in paranormal investigation, to include studying grave stele and other items associated with graveyards at the various antiquities museums I visited. On the night of August 12, I also ventured out to a small cemetery located near the northeastern edge of the town of Fira on the island of Santorini and, over the course of a couple of hours, conducted a brief investigation of it and took about 220 digital photographs. 

This site was a walled compound that contained two large chapels, a number of mausoleums, and probably fewer than a hundred individual graves. It is probably a private cemetery, appeared to be affiliated with the Greek Orthodox faith, and reflected a certain level of affluence. The gate to the cemetery was not locked and, as always, I showed proper respect for the people interred there and their families and observed appropriate spiritual precautions. 

Above left, a structure that might be a smaller chapel, a mausoleum, or both; above center, a view down one of the few relatively long pathways in the cemetery  compare with the image of the same place at bottom, which has a gray mass of some sort in it; above right, the main chapel at the north end of the cemetery, built in a classic Byzantine style. 

Above left, a fairly significant orb can be seen toward the left side of this image; above right, this gravesite has one of the lamps that can be seen burning at night. 

One thing that can make Greek burial grounds feel kind of creepy is the practice of keeping lamps or candles burning at many of the gravesites (something that indicates ongoing care and, once again, the financial means for doing so). 

Suffice it to say that the Fira cemetery felt very active to me and that I caught what seemed like a disproportionately high level of anomalies in my photographs. Foremost among these is a virtual cloud of orbs in one of the first shots I took, of one of the two chapels from the roof of an adjoining building (top right); my first assumption is that I was seeing some sort of atmospheric effect but this was belied by the fact that no anomalies appeared in any of the other images of the chapel that I took in a series over a five-minute period (the one of the same thing that appears at the right end of the top row of pictures was taken about a minute earlier). I also picked up individual or pairs of orbs in a number of shots and what may have been a vague gray mass in one (at the center of the image at bottom). There was also one place where I felt very apprehensive about photographing some vaults flush with the ground and opted not to do so  irrational, perhaps, but you have to go with your intuition when conducting an investigation and it is better to be safe than sorry! 

Above left, a fairly profound orb appears at the far left side of this image; above right, I was able to see inside of this vaulted mausoleum but did not see anything exceptional in it. 

Above left, this image gives a good sense for the subtropical climate of Santorini, one of the Cycladic Islands of Greece; above right, the second large chapel in the cemetery has a vaulted style that is popular for many sorts of buildings throughout Greece, especially in rural areas; bottom, what appears to be a gray mass that might or might not be indicative of anything appears at the center of this image. 

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