The medieval city of Carcassonne in the South of France is a pretty spooky place with its sightings of a little girl walking through walls, transparent guards standing on the rampart and a torture museum (showcasing tools actually used). It’s the setting for a good old fashion ghost story. But horror wasn’t the item on my tourist agenda while visiting this creepily interesting fortified town; fantasy was.
My family and I visited Carcassonne this August. One night in the hotel after a day of sightseeing I went through my photos. A couple of pictures caught my eye. I had taken two shots of the same pedestrian alley, at least a few minutes apart. Take a look at the first one just below here.
Notice anything? The blond woman with the sunglasses has some kind of gold, round ornament on her blue bag, right? Not really. Take a look at the second one.
Unless the ornament fell off of the blond woman’s bag, that’s an orb; and quite a distinct one at that. A lot has been said about these things popping up in people’s pictures: ghostly apparitions; dust particles in the air directly in front of the camera; or, sunlight reflecting off of the curvature of the lens. In my photos, a couple of photographer friends confirmed the latter. Judging by the shadows of the tourists on the street (the sun was in front of me) and the color of the orb (gold), this is a classic case of sunlight playing tricks. However, both my friends acknowledged that that was the most distinct sun spot they had seen.
But you know what? I’m sorry. Let’s zoom in on this thing. Take a look below.
Do you see what I see? Is that a neck line? This thing has a head. And the appendages pointing to the sides look like what happens when you capture a hummingbird flying. They look like wings. Was I being followed by a fairy? Was it trying to get my attention or did I catch it off guard trying to remain clandestine?
Whatever you believe about how or why fairies cross over onto our plane, many agree that these little buggers can be mischievous if not downright mean. Showing up front and center in my photos of a city I drove 10 hours to visit is frickin’ mean! The forecast had called for limited periods of nice weather and we had packed our schedule with numerous sights to see; it was flyby shooting at each tourist spot. I couldn’t afford to waste shots and this gold, flying human-shaped bug was making me do just that.
I guess the reason I flew off the handle is because I felt harassed. This wasn’t my first encounter with very distinct fairy-like orbs. Two years ago my wife and I did a driving trip through Scotland in July during some uncharacteristically beautiful, clear weather. The photo opportunities were bountiful and I didn’t hesitate to bring our rental car to a screeching halt on the side of the road to take pictures. Two-hour trips turned into five-hour hauls between destinations. The only problem with our camera breaks was the midge feeding frenzy that occurred every time I stepped out of the car. They were everywhere we went on our trip. I felt like I was suffering from chickenpox for a second time the night after we waited in line for an hour to get fish and chips in Ullapool. Regardless of this sanity-testing swarm, not one midge appeared in my shots. There was not one speck in my photos.
Near the end of our trip we stopped at the mystical Faerie Glen in Uig on the Isle of Skye. The geological phenomenon going on there was a must see on our list. Immediately, the first thing we noticed while walking among the spiraling, cone-shaped hills was the absence of man-eating midges. It was true peace. And guess what? That was where I captured this (look at the photo below).
Two weeks on the read suffering through speck size bugs flying in front of my camera and entering all my orifices and the only place I catch an orb is at the only midge-less location we visited. If you’re not convinced, take a look at another picture I took at Faerie Glen.
Did you see the winged shaped orb in the bottom left corner? If you zoom in again, you’ll notice that it’s another distinct shape. I have plenty of photos with the classic orbs that make it obvious that the picture was taken in a dusty room. But the orbs I’ve shown you here and the stories that accompany them paint a damning picture of pain-in-the-ass pixies following me around; kind of like local punks purposefully appearing in the background of every one of your family holiday photos.
I know that fairy fans will contend that it’s good luck to be in the presence of fairies and that it’s a privilege or blessing to have one reveal itself to you. That’s nice. I must be blessed; fairies keep popping up in my pictures. Or maybe it’s just the one that’s lost on our plane and keeps trying to get my attention. I’m just too disgruntled about my precious vacation photos to take the hint.
Your humble writer,