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Picture of a Ghost at Old Burying Point Cemetery (Salem, MA)


Greetings ghosts and ghouls. Before heading out to the arctic circle this week, I wanted to leave you with an inexplicable picture I took a few years back that will chill your bones.

But first, a macabre (and brief) history on Salem, MAss to frame the picture.

Back in the late 1600’s, Salem had a little boredom problem. I should say, specifically, the area around Salem (Salem Town, at the time) including Salem Village (now, Danvers, MA), Ipswich, and others. For simplicity’s sake, Salem is Salem.

Salemites were stringently oppressed governed by the church —at the time, a Puritanical Calvinism —with a strict no dancing, singing, rapping, skin showing above the ankles, and no twerking, existence. Children weren’t even allowed to have dolls or toys, considered pagan relics above “God”, begetting such riveting games as ‘stare at the wall’, and ‘count the hours’, ‘walking’, and ‘rub grandpa’s feet’.

As we’ve learned throughout our limited “civilized” existence, when you oppress people, silence them, strip them of simple freedoms —said people will inevitably act out. And when the culture lacks logic, and/or scientific methodology, looking to superstitions and fairy tales for answers, weird shit happens. Case in point: the Salem Witch Trials.


She’s doing ‘the worm’ wrong! Burn her!

Without going into the twisted weird history of the Witch trials, just take a look at the event timelines below:

February 25, 1692: Tituba, at the request of neighbor Mary Sibley, bakes a “witch cake” and feeds it to a dog. According to an English folk remedy, feeding a dog this kind of cake, which contained the urine of the afflicted, would counteract the spell put on Elizabeth and Abigail. The reason the cake is fed to a dog is because the dog is believed a “familiar” of the Devil.

Fido preferred deviled eggs over the urine cakes.

March 23, 1696: Salem Marshal Deputy Samuel Brabrook arrests four-year-old Dorothy Good

… for being Dorothy Bad.

September 19, 1692: Sheriffs administer Peine Forte Et Dure (pressing) to Giles Cory after he refuses to enter a plea to the charges of witchcraft against him. After two days under the weight, Cory dies.

His mother was crushed.


September 1993 – Kirsty Alley plays Sarah Good. Co-stars have a problem with W’s, get the line ‘She’s a witch! Burn her!’ wrong on many occasions. 

Whether you believe in energies, or haunting(s) of a place, there’s no doubt some bad voodoo resides in the Salem area.

Picture of a Ghost

Late one night, back in autumn of 2006, my ex-fiance and I were heading back to our B&B in Salem after a day of kitschy Halloween fun. Along our walk, we noticed a small, very old cemetery, with super creepy, moonlit gravestones. Naturally, we went against every horror movie rule and walked through the old iron wrought gates inside.

What happened next is something I still can’t explain to this day. I’m not a religious person, at all, and I’m fairly logical, but as we were walking towards the middle of the cemetery, the temperature dropped twenty degrees.

My skin broke out in goose-flesh, and my hair felt statically charged. My Ex, gripping my hand, whispered she couldn’t breath, and she felt like something was pushing her. She fled out the gate, without me.

I snapped off a quick pic with my Nikon before running after, and watched my battery go from full, to dead, instantaneously. I sloughed it off as some sort of glitch, and caught up with Ex.

We joked about the experience sipping Brandy in our room at the B&B, pretending to have English accents.

“Oooo it ’twas the ghost of Sarah Good.”

“To the stockackes with you, wench!”

We joked until I looked at the picture upon returning from the trip. (I did not doctor/or add anything to this photo).

Picture 4


We both saw “it”, peeking out of the ground in the lower right corner of the picture, just in front of a tombstone: a very strange torso wearing a suit/tie, mutton chops, shoulder height out of the ground. There are orbs everywhere in the frame, possibly bugs, or reflecting dust, but nothing in the composition to create/reflect back the distinct shape of a human.

There’s a discussion about patternicity here —seeing what one wants to see —but that night, something weird happened at Old Burial Point Cemetery in Salem. Somethings are best left unexplained – so I’ll just leave you to decide.  What do you see?

Picture 6


Happy Halloween


44 Comments Post a comment
  1. I see it. And, just so you know, I photograph cemeteries a LOT. They are very difficult places for me to be in. They don’t like being photographed…. spirits HATE cameras. In Quincy, Illinois where there are a lot of the graves are from the Civil War, I was poked on the shoulder and saw the swirling “smoke” of a spirit dart behind a tombstone. And it wasn’t because I wanted to see it… Anyway, I believe you. And Happy Halloween!

    October 31, 2013
    • Spooky! I’ve also had a similar experience in Santa Fe – old church cemetery.
      Do you have any good photos?
      Thanks, Merilee!

      October 31, 2013
      • Yes, if you look on my blog under “Miscellaneous” there is a category for “Cemeteries”. There is one in particular called “Spirit” that will interest you ;-)

        October 31, 2013
        • Ooooo I will definitely check it out!

          October 31, 2013
  2. OMG! Scary Stuff!

    October 31, 2013
  3. Seriously, you went into a graveyard, in Salem, at night. No way, no how. I went to Salem years ago during the day when they were doing all that harmless, campy Halloween stuff.

    I can’t even watch the Exorcism of Emily Rose or any of those kinds of things anymore. I see something in your pic and now I’m not going to look at it anymore. This is scary. If my battery had gone instantly dead and those little hairs were standing up, I know it would be time for me to GET OUT.

    October 31, 2013
    • I did indeed, Brigitte. Because I’m a crazy person. Yeah, the campy halloween stuff really wasn’t my cup of tea, but the cemeteries…yes.

      Haha! I’m sorry to scare you. It’s probably just pure coincidence. No spirit…or maybe it’s the friendly ghost of a 1600’s fire chief. :)

      October 31, 2013
  4. Laura Hilger #

    Amazing! So much history with cemeteries; they are creepy places even without your picture, but I love it!

    October 31, 2013
    • It was by far the oldest cemetery i’ve been in. Totally creepy, especially at night.
      Thanks, Laura!

      October 31, 2013
  5. This is great! Just the image of twerking Puritans has kept me entertained all morning. As for the ghoulie image… I can’t quite see it (but my monitor is really dirty), but I believe it! I’ve had some “experiences” myself, and watched every season of A Haunting (check it out on Netflix when you’re in the mood for terror) so I have no doubt that stuff is out there. And sometimes we capture it on film! How did I not know you’re going all Arctic?! Wow. Really?

    October 31, 2013
    • Haha – twerking pilgrims. We should start a website.

      Oh I’ve seen A Haunting. I’m a horror maniac, and watch everything paranormal/horror-ish. Especially around autumn.

      Heading to Iceland tomorrow. Will try to post from Reykjavik – keep you updated.

      October 31, 2013
      • So, you’ve seen A Conjuring? That scared the bejeesus out of me AND Isabella…
        Have fun in Reiki!

        October 31, 2013
        • I did, but I made the mistake of reading up on the “exorcising” couple before hand. Seems they had something to do with the Amityville horror thing as well, which, it was almost a carbon copy of.
          Overall, a good flick, but it was no James Brolin…James Brolin, right? I get him and Matthew confused.

          Thank you mucho!

          October 31, 2013
          • Ok, one last note on this conversation… now that I know you’re a horror maniac: I can’t vouch for this personally, but a friend just recommended it as the most terrifying movie she’s ever seen. Trailer seems to back it up. Maybe you’ve already seen it, but if not…. wooooooooo!

            November 1, 2013
            • Oh yes, I’ve seen it. One of the more disturbing (and awesome) horror films out there.
              The director and writer is Japanese, (Takashi Miike) and has no filter. He’s one of my favs.

              November 1, 2013
  6. I must be very dense or spiritually challenged but I don’t see anything except raindrops on your lens and dark and shade of the ground in poor light. But then i don’t believe in ghosts so maybe they are like Santa and you only see them if you believe!

    October 31, 2013
    • Exactly!
      Have you ever read Michael Shermer’s ‘The Believing Brain’?
      Pretty good book on why people believe (or don’t believe) the things they do.

      Thanks, hermitageno

      October 31, 2013
  7. Coyote Peterson #

    Great post…Ive had my share of experiences with the supernatural…In the photo I definitely see something…as a believer in the other side I’d say you captured some curious fellow. Kind of looks almost like a goblin…which is even creepier! I think you should do another adventure into a “haunted” location to see if you attract spirits! Either way great post…bring me back a viking skull from Iceland!

    October 31, 2013
    • Huh – i’m interested. What sort of experiences.
      He is a curious guy – mustachioed, wearing some sort of cap, and does look like a goblin.

      One viking skull and puffin coming up!

      October 31, 2013
  8. I believe in supernatural things, and I also believe in people having special abilities. I would NEVER go into a graveyard at night. I live near one, and when I drive by it at night I hold my breath. Not sure what I’m trying to accomplish by doing that, but I just know that I feel more safe when I’m holding my breath.

    November 1, 2013
    • It was a creepy situation – I love cemeteries at night, but in this particular instance, things were not okay.

      Huh…wonder if holding your breath is like hiding. Like the ghost can’t find you if you’re breathing.

      November 1, 2013
  9. Where is the ghost?

    November 4, 2013
  10. I’m a believer in all things that most people don’t believe in – and it’s NOT just the picture that makes me believe – it’s the whole experience with the draining batteries, goosebumps, etc. People can make pictures like that with apps now, but combined with the whole thing I believe you saw a conjuring spirit. Call me crazy.

    Some day I’ll tell you about the UFO I saw as a kid. HONEST! And I’m a pilot so know what ‘things’ in the sky are supposed to look like.

    November 4, 2013
    • I won’t call you crazy!
      Whoa – I want to hear about this UFO story.

      November 4, 2013
      • I was about 12 years old on a cold winter’s night in Indiana. Laying in bed. My dad was taking the dog out for a final crap, and i heard him call my mom to come out and look at something. For some reason, I got out of bed and went all the way downstairs and went out in my PJs also (something I normally would NEVER do. Anyway, there was a cigar-shaped object with absolutely no sound – BIG – coming directly over the house. It went over our heads and as soon as it got over the city lights it completely blinked out and was gone. We had airplanes go over all the time and i know what an airplane/blimp/balloon looks and sounds like. This was other-worldly.

        We still talk about it 40 years later.

        November 8, 2013
        • Whoa. That is crazy, Battle! Secret russian spy plane? Extra Terrestrial?

          November 9, 2013
  11. If Kristie Alley believes it then it must be true.

    That is one of humanities greatest maxims.

    November 4, 2013
    • Everything she says is true. Her and Tom Cruise are truth machines. :)
      Thanks, Pinot

      November 4, 2013
  12. Love the picture. Rules are meant to be broken unless you say ‘I’ll be right back’ no, no you won’t.

    November 5, 2013
    • Ha! Even I’m superstitious about that phrase.

      November 9, 2013
  13. I still don’t see it. Laugh out loud. Please don’t blame me. I gotta poor eyesight!

    November 8, 2013
  14. Nik #

    I found the ghost! (I am Actually NikhilRoy999)

    November 8, 2013
  15. Interesting. It’s definitely a creepy feeling when you take a photograph and get it developed to then find something in it that wasn’t there. Or so we think. Creepy

    December 29, 2013
    • Very creepy, nevrmor – or is it…?

      December 31, 2013
      • Definitely creepy simply because our minds make it that way :) I enjoy the mysteries and secrets the world has. It’s part of what makes life interesting :)

        December 31, 2013
  16. These kinds of creepy photos inspire me to write short stories that involve bad spirits and demons, which make me think that there is a demon in the room, and so I run outside.

    January 12, 2014
    • Ha! it’s a vicious demon writing cycle – thanks, Luna

      January 13, 2014
  17. Not to discredit your physical observations, but the “spirit” is just an airborne particle. You can see many particles floating around, this is just one that is lower in the photo and obscured slightly by the similarity in colours with the grass.

    November 15, 2014
    • Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s patternicity. Or maybe it’s a haunted particle. Scary!

      November 15, 2014
  18. Cathie #

    I have taken a couple different pictures in Salem that have weird images. I think they are ghosts, like yours. Would love to send them to you.

    October 17, 2015

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