Summit Spirits: Are orbs caught on camera evidence of spirits?
Editor’s note: This column is the second of a four-part series by Gail Westwood, local author of the recently published book, “Haunted Breckenridge.” The column will run every Saturday with the last one on Halloween, Oct. 31.
No ghost tour is complete without attempts at capturing orbs with our cameras or cell phones. Believers in the spirit world are convinced that the white spheres caught on camera are evidence of spirit energy. Skeptics believe they are merely specks of dust or the reflection from the camera’s flash on a droplet of water. Actually, it is vital that you do NOT use your flash when taking pictures and we always advise our guests of this fact. In my opinion, it is quite evident when you see dust particles on your screen in comparison to the single, bright light of an orb.
The excitement of finding one is very contagious and spreads quickly from one person to another, whether it is on a tour or just a small gathering. Sometimes an orb is not noticed at the time it is captured but found when examining our photos afterwards. Orbs can vary in size and color — pink, purple, grey or black can appear. It is thought that the latter is most disturbing as it denotes “dark” energy. More unusually they also appear as streaks of light moving across your screen.
We expect to find orbs on our visits to historic places — famous homes, old hospitals, morgues, cemeteries etc. — but occasionally orbs are caught when we are least expecting them. On a recent visit home for a holiday, I found two separate orbs taken on my camera on two different occasions. The first one appeared on the body of my mother-in-law who has always insisted that her deceased husband is always near her. The second one was captured on my sister-in-law’s lap. When asked who my sister-in-law thought it might be, she nonchalantly told me that working in a retirement home she often encounters the spirits of the deceased residents she looked after before they passed away. She believes they come to her to say goodbye.
In some cases, guests on our ghost tour find just one orb in their photograph but at one of the most haunted stops on the route, Apres, we often encounter multiple. On a recent tour of the old hospital in Fairplay, the dowsing rods, EMFs (electro magnetic frequency readers) and IPAD we used revealed that the old morgue was still occupied and full of spirits, as evidenced by the quantity of orbs we saw.
Just like UFO sightings, there is just too much evidence to dismiss the existence of orbs.
Here is another story from “Haunted Breckenridge.”
The old Prospector restaurant on Main Street, currently Apres, was built in 1886 as a boarding house. It was a popular residence for the miners of the gold rush days but there was also another type of occupant — widows. Those wives who had arrived with their husbands, and were now left alone, had very few ways of supporting themselves. One option for them was to find a new husband to look after them and what better place than a boarding house full of miners!
Sylvia was one of the widows who moved into this building. She didn’t plan on being there very long but unfortunately that came true, for the wrong reason. Her plan didn’t go the way she hoped because Sylvia contracted one of the deadly epidemics that was going through the town. She died shortly afterwards. However, she didn’t leave the building and Sylvia remains as one of those ghosts who has unfinished business to deal with. In her case we believe she is still looking for that new husband and may not even know that she is dead.
Sylvia’s ghost has been seen and felt by many people ever since. Tenants who used to live in the apartment above the Prospector have reported her as being a clean freak who loves to tidy up after them, even folding laundry. Female residents state that they would get a visit from her, often at night, when they would feel the weight of someone unseen on the bed with them. Whenever seen, males report that she appears as a figure in a long white robe, with flowing black hair. The many sightings of her, including the longtime owner of the building, Gary Reno, include a report of her whispering into their ears.
Orbs of all kinds have been captured at this boarding house on numerous occasions, most commonly in the windows of the apartment. Is she watching the tour as we try to capture orbs of her?
Gail immigrated from England to the U.S. in 1999 with her husband and two daughters. Originally a personal assistant, she had always had a passion for history and put this to good use six years ago by becoming a historical walking tour guide. She currently operates Breckenridge Tours with her partner Jamie, offering Ghost Tours, Strange but True and also living history tours.
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