Ben N. Keys, Jr.

Now to really get down to the ‘nitty gritty’ and discuss a subject close to the heart of every Ghost Hunter! What the heck are ecto-mists or ectoplasm as they are sometimes called? They are definitely the most beautiful of all the paranormal entities and as plentiful as grass! After years of constantly being amazed at how they seemed to be so reliable when all else fails, I began to study and photograph them every chance I had.

Early on I used to believe, like everyone else, that they were a product of nature resulting from swamp gases, methane or naturally occurring fogs in low lying areas caused by changing atmospheric conditions. After studying and taking scores of comparison pictures, I finally accepted the facts I had initially determined to be correct. They were merely spent electrical energies being given off into the atmosphere through natural processes in Nature! After continuing and extensive research I have never able to find any other information that would prove differently! However, on many occasions, I did bear witness to some strange manifestations that sometimes ‘hitched’ a ride on these spent energy beams as they rose into the ether above. Another enigma to solve!

As I reside in the midst of one of the most historic and ghostly areas in Virginia, I often heard tales from the locals about ghostly apparitions that often accompanied Astral Fire! Eventually, one particular tale surfaced that I had often heard about down in another county. It was about the ‘ghost light’ at the old 17th Century Lawne’s Creek Parish Church near Bacon’s Castle in Surry County, Virginia, circa 1619. Supposedly, there were plenty of Astral Fire and ghost lights always present , in fact too many for the local inhabitants. They were reputed to be the most predictable for any ‘ghost hunter’ to study! As the old church was located only a short distance from my house, I had to see for myself if the tales were true and so, to Surry County and Lawne’s Creek Church Graveyard I went!

The anticipation of going there had been terrible on my psyche but the ‘big day’ finally came. I managed to make contact with many of the locals in the area who had at one time or another had been witness to one form or another of the strange happenings there. The one incident they all agreed on as being the one for me to see was the eerie ‘drifting orange light’ that came out of its grave and passed through the old church ruins and then proceeded on to Bacon’s Castle a mile across a large field. I followed the instructions to the letter, when both the moon and the time was day would be right! Once I arrived at the cemetery, I found a good place a short distance from the grave of Arthur Allen, the one time owner of Bacon’s Castle circa 1659.

Several times I thought I saw something move in the immense boxwoods surrounding the grave laid it on an overactive mind. I thought I saw a glow in the boxwoods one time and set the camera in action. I took a picture but would not bother to review the picture I had taken until I got back home. When I got home I was in for the shock of my life! I had photographed the most awesome head and face rising up from his grave through the massive boxwood grove that surrounded the grave. After much research both my buddies and I concluded I had indeed taken a picture of the Ghost of Arthur Allen as he came forth from the grave for his routine nightly jaunt! That picture has become my most favorite picture of a Ghostly Entity and astounded everyone worldwide who has seen it!

In those days, when you inquired about a good place to look for ghosts, you would rarely find anyone who would give you anything more than a dirty glance and walk off! The next night, with the fortitude of a diehard I covered every area in that cemetery that might provide me an encounter with another ghost or at least an ecto-mist of some sort. My luck had either run out or I had scared everything away with my flash!

Enter the nineties and the introduction of better designed digital cameras! Considering myself an experienced ghost hunter now meant I needed a more advanced camera in order to be able to pull out all the ‘stops’! I had heard how the new cameras could invade both the gamma and infra-red sectors of the color spectrum and therefore rarely failed to get extraordinary results. That fact soon proved a very true statement! This past year alone I have taken hundreds of the most awesome and incredible pictures possible and I am still using that camera! It is twenty plus years old now but still going great. Some of my latest pictures taken with it have really scared me and that is a rather hard thing to do!

Most of my success has been on old nearby Indian burial grounds. When the big ‘Hoopla’ started at the Pocahontas Parkway in Richmond Virginia, I took off running. The newspapers had printed extensive articles relating to the unfortunate encounter of Indian Spirits by some commuters on the newly opened expressway. They encountered the spirits of Indians on the hill tops along the highways carrying torches and beating drums. Some had even sailed across the highway and passed through vehicles! Several passed through the collection booth at the expressway!

I later learned that the expressway had been built right through the heart of ancient Indian burial grounds dating back 3500 years BC. No wonder the Indian spirits had rebelled! No rest for the weary after all those years and now their bones were scattered all over the place.

My first encounter after arriving at the site was with ecto-mists! They came swift and fast and were everywhere! Then for some strange reason the Indians began their at actions around 8:30pm and they waned around 10:00. Then, around 1:30am, the time when had commuters reported most of the sightings to the State Police, all Hell broke loose! One of the most spectacular pictures I have ever taken of an ecto-mist anywhere was taken that night as the spirit mist of the Great White Wolf, an Indian entity I later learned was the Protector and Guardian of all the spirits of the Indians buried there! Ecto mists arising from the graves of some of the Indians contained the faces of eagles, foxes, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, beaver and many other ‘critters’ too numerous to mention. I was told by an old Indian Medicine Man who accompanied me one night, that Indian legends are quite clear in as much as how and when Indian Spirits can revisit this realm! They can only visit if they assume the form of animals. Later research proved this statement to be extremely accurate! In some of these my pictures, if you turn the picture around, you can also see what appears to be the faces of many other animals as well as an occasional face of an Indian!

I recently got the scare of my life when I went back to the area late one night by myself. It was a rather cold night and the sky was clear. The place is extremely large, lonely and quite foreboding at any time and when I think back now, I had to have been a fool! Anyway, I stopped my vehicle on the roadway near the oldest of the burial grounds but due to the heavy rains that had just ceased, I had to walk through mud in the recently plowed field before reaching the edge of the main burial mound. Taking my place atop the mound, I raised my arms and greeted the Indian Spirits in their ancient Algonquian tongue. I then got the shock of my life when I saw two strange bolts of horizontal lightning crossed in front of me and touch the ground at my feet with no accompanying thunder! Immediately a large visible crack approximately two feet long opened in the earth right in front of me. I cannot imagine how I managed my reflexes but I did get three incredible pictures of this ‘lightning’ as it hit the ground! Out of this crack arose an incredible fog of the First Order. It began swirling until it completely surrounded me. Then all shades and hues of colors began to faintly fade in and out of the fog which by now had become so dense I could barely see my feet. Then a swirling black vortex began to spin at the end of the fog. I convinced myself that it was past time for me to leave if I could get my feet started. Another though! In all the confusion, which way was I to go? I was completely disoriented! The only thing I could make out with my pen-light was my tracks in the mud. I back-tracked as fast as I dared and almost missed the rear of my truck. I lost no time in crawling in, locking the doors and heading for home! Only when I was up the road a good distance did I dare look back but was not able to see anything where I had been. Had I has a illusion of some sort?

All around the sky was still as clear as it could be with no other fog or clouds in sight! I got extremely mad at myself for being there alone and vowed never to do that again. If someone had been with me I might have been daring enough to find out what was in that ‘black vortex’. Hell, I probably missed the chance of a lifetime for it could have been one of those ‘worm holes’ that time travelers come through at times, according to scientists! Now however, I would never know. One thing I do know for sure and NO ONE need ever try to tell me different. Ecto-mists are real and they are something else!! View my pictures carefully. Everything you see there is real and nothing has been faked. Look for the three pictures of the horizontal lightning as it strikes and cracks the ground. Also study the pictures of the ecto-mist fog with its weird swirling colors! What would you have done? And to think I actually managed to take some extraordinary pictures. I must have done it using some unnatural reflexes!

Worthwhile suggestion to any who follow my actions, whether you go alone or not, always carry an extra change of underwear! Maybe even two!

©BNKeys, Paranormalplus.com2003

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©BNKeys, Paranormalplus.com2003

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