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Horror Writer’s Workshop day 3: Torture chambers and ghostly photos

Transylvania Horror Writer’s Workshop, Day 3.

Here’s something I don’t say very often.

I’m scared.

And I don’t scare easily.

DSC_6463

This secret passage was once hidden by a fireplace.

Finally got inside Bran Castle, and it has it all–a secret passageway, a connection to Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes (who was imprisoned there for two months), and a torture chamber–what more could one want?

In spite of the many items of cruelty (don’t worry; they’re all replicas) that are tucked away in a series of small rooms, the castle is a cheery place, with its bright white walls and sunshine pouring through a multitude of windows. I didn’t feel the slightest bit unnerved during our tour. There wasn’t even the mildest flutter of a bad vibe.

Until I looked at my pictures.

Once we were back on the bus, I quickly scanned through my photos until some movement caught my eye. Something had jumped between the two photos I’d taken of an old medieval door with a heart-shaped mesh window. Usually when I’ve seen a jumping effect like that, it was because I’d taken multiple photos of an animal or person that moved slightly between the frames. I’d definitely moved slightly in the seconds between taking the two photos, but in that case, the whole door should jump, not just the small mesh window. And it didn’t always jump as I scanned back and forth, only about half the time. It looked like something passed behind the window.

The pictures unsettled me, and I must have had a concerned look on my face, because Richard Thomas, the writer who is running the workshops for us, asked me what was wrong. I handed him my camera, and he too saw the mesh window move as he looked at the two photos.

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So many creative ways to torture people.

 

After dinner, I took out my camera, determined to discover what was causing the strange result. This time I zoomed in on the window, which made me nearly drop my camera. There was a face in the mesh window! And not a friendly face, either. It was still there in the second photo, but had moved slightly. Two women from the group were with me and saw it as well. To say we were all creeped out would be an understatement.

Close-up view of mesh window in both pictures. One in focus and one not.

Close-up view of mesh window in both pictures. One in focus and one not.

 

Now, there could be a rational explanation for this. I know humans are conditioned to see faces in everything, for instance. I’m hoping my photographer boyfriend will be able to figure this out.

In the meantime, though? I’m spooked.

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14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Maybe you captured the soul of the ghost in your photo. Now, you carry it with you wherever you go.
    dun dun da! Ahhh!

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, that would be just wonderful. Thanks for putting that thought in my head! 😉

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    ooooooooh, boy. Perhaps no more visits to the castle.

    Reply
    • JH

      I’m actually tempted to go again for a closer look!

      Reply
  3. Avatar

    That is cool as I do see something but is it a profile?? I would be a little freaked also as well as excited to catch something. This is a castle on my bucket list

    Reply
    • JH

      I see a full face, but it’s open for interpretation. The castle is amazing, Birgit! Well worth the trip.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  4. Avatar

    Ooh, so creepy, and yet such a wonderful story for you to tell from your trip. I’m enjoying reading about Romania in your posts. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Sara! I really appreciate the comments. I promise to catch up with you when I get home. xoxo

      Reply
  5. Avatar

    I’m spooked, too!

    That secret passageway looks terrifying but also really awesome. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      It was the coolest thing about the castle, I think. I love the idea of secret passages. It would be even cooler if you picked up a book and that doorway opened.

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    lovin’ the maiden. such barbarism in a pretty package.

    sorta feels like a metaphor for modern life.

    Reply
    • JH

      True enough!

      Reply
  7. Avatar

    This is my favorite post from Romania so far. How cool! And, at the same time, so spooky…

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Jaime! I was pretty proud of myself that day, because if it hadn’t been for me asking, we wouldn’t have gotten to see the torture chamber. You had to pay an extra admission, but they let our group in for free.

      Reply

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