Sunday, July 15, 2012
My wife and I traveled along the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2007. We stopped at the Jesse Brown cabin along the way. I never intended to write about what I saw there, but I've been informed that it something that needs to be shared.
The first time I looked at this photo - the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Susan and I had both felt there was something eerie about this location. We were so spooked that we searched the area for signs of other people. Even though we didn't see anyone, we felt like we were intruding and vulnerable so we left after taking a few photos. According to the data embedded in the photos, I only took photos for 2 minutes.
Months later, I thought about making a print of the cabin, so I gave it increased scrutiny. That's when I noticed a man in the photo He is also in a second photo that was taken 32 seconds later.
If we hadn't searched for signs of another person, I would have assumed that I just didn't see him in the fog. He was moving. Over the years of nature photography, I've learned to notice moving things in front of my lens. I would have noticed him.
Who is he. A tourist would have a car in the lot - we were alone. He didn't live there. The cabin was built in 1840 - before the Civil War. Jesse Brown and other tenant farmers lived there before the park was created. It has been abandoned for years.
I've enlarged the figure as much as possible. He is carrying something. During the 32 seconds between photos, he has moved it from one shoulder to another. I'm not sure what he is carrying. The closer photo may show two legs over his shoulder. I hope is isn't a dead person!. He isn't dressed like a hunter. It could also a little girl wearing a long dress.
Many years ago, I met a European photographer who made frequent trips to America to photograph the Southwest. He confided that he sometimes found images of native Americans in his photos. He was convinced that they were ghosts from the past. I listened politely and didn't believe a word of it. Now, I'm not so sure.