Death of My Camera in the Old Cemetery

Old cemetery in Lewes, Sussex, England

I was in a charming little English town in Sussex named Lewes for a friend’s wedding years ago. I’m not even sure you could call it a town it was so tiny, but there was so much to photograph.

We stopped off at this small stone church that I’m sure was built in the 1300s, not much later. It was a cool day and the light was perfect as it seeped through the windows of the cool stone interior. There were maybe only a few pews on each side of the church. Beautiful, but what I really wanted to photograph, of course, was the cemetery behind it.

As I walked into the quiet, small cemetery, I shot one photo of the side of the church and then this one of the crypt. My film ran out after the second shot, or so I thought. So, I sat on the crypt you see here in this photograph, to reload my camera with a fresh roll of film.  In retrospect, that probably wasn’t a good idea as my brand new camera battery seemed to die. My photographer friend generously offered her brand new camera battery and I tried that one. Alas, my camera was refusing to shoot any more photographs on these church grounds or cemetery. This photograph and the other in this portfolio of Lewes are the only 2 photographs I was able to shoot there.

When we got back to our flat, I grabbed yet another fresh battery and STILL, my camera wouldn’t work.  It wasn’t until we flew back home to New York that my camera finally worked with a new battery. I’m still perplexed to this day.

Word to the wise: Don’t sit on crypts while photographing in cemeteries; your camera may not make it back alive.

Note: You may buy this photograph by clicking on the photo which will lead you to the gallery with this and the other photo of the church I was able to capture before the death of my camera.

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Spirits of New York Bar Crawl

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New York is one of the best places in the world to spend Halloween.  Not only do you get the watch the most fabulous Halloween parade ever, but you can follow up with a bar crawl of some of the east coast’s most haunted bars and pubs.  Here’s your Halloween night bar crawl strategy after the parade – my Top 5 favorite haunted pubs in New York City (ps. make sure that you watch the parade from the west side because most of the bars are in the west village).

1.  Ear Inn-(circa 1817) 326 Spring St
One of my favorite pubs in the west village and the oldest working bar in NYC.  It’s been a speakeasy during Prohibition and the upstairs apartment was a boarding house, smuggler’s den, as well as a brothel- all the makings of a proper haunting. Say hi to a few ghosts that call this place home, namely Mickey, a sailor who lived in the Ear Inn, when it was a boarding house. Mickey was killed in front of the Ear Inn by a car.

2.  White Horse Tavern– (circa 1880) 567 Hudson St.
Another old haunt of mine, particularly for the spirits you drink, not the ones that haunt (badabum tsch).  Dylan Thomas used to frequent this tavern.  “They say” that in 1953 he decided to try and beat his record of 18 shots of whiskey and after he finished those shots of whiskey, he stumbled outside and collapsed on the sidewalk. Soon after that he was taken to the ridiculously haunted Chelsea Hotel, were he slipped into a coma. The next morning he was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he passed away.  People have reportedly seen his ghost sitting in his favorite spot and walking around outside.

3.  One If By Land, Two If By Sea– 17 Barrow St
If you have time to dine here, do it.  Just make sure you have reservations. The food is phenomenal and the atmosphere is as romantic as it gets.  It also used to be Aaron Burr’s carriage house.  Apparently, Mr. Burr really loves his carriage house because he’s said to have scared employees by throwing plates and chairs amongst the tables for two. His daughter also supposedly makes appearances around the building. She mysteriously disappeared while traveling from North Carolina to New York to visit her father.  Daddy dearest, indeed.  They aren’t the only ghosts that haunt this fine establishment, though.  It’s reported that at least twenty ghosts have permanent reservations here.  Waiters have actually attempted to serve entities who are sitting at a table and then mysteriously disappear.   A few notable ghosts include a woman who dresses in a black gown who has been seen walking down the staircase, but never up, a Ziegfield follies girl, and a man who likes to linger by the fireplace.

4.  Pete’s Tavern– (circa 1864) 129 E. 18th St., at Irving Place
Pete’s Tavern claims to be the oldest “continuously” operating restaurant and bar in NYC and has the ghost to prove it.  Remember that Christmas tale Gift of the Magi  that you read in school?  No?   Maybe you need to have a pint with the author himself, O Henry.  It’s said that he can be found sitting alone and unkempt in a booth, sipping his beer in between scribbles of his latest novel.  Maybe that will inspire you to read his classic tale for the upcoming holiday season.

5. McSorleys (circa 1854, but debated)- 15 E 7th St,
(between Cooper Sq & Taras Shevchenko Pl)
Poet E.E. Cummings described McSorley’s as “the ale which never lets you grow old.” He also described their brew as he described the bar -as “snug and evil.”  With a description like this and a patron list with the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Peter Cooper, Boss Tweed, and Woody Guthrie as well as literary figures like Hunter S. Thompson there’s got to be ghosts right?  Right.  But it’s not haunted by just any ghost… Harry Houdini is one of the many ghosts that is said to haunt this place.  Read more about its interesting history and how women were not allowed to drink there until 1970 here.

mcsorleys

The Old Ballard House

The Old Ballard House

As I walk around Queen Anne here in Seattle, there is one house that always intrigues me- the Ballard House. It’s slightly down Highland Drive from Kerry Park and worth admiring if you are in the area.

According to History.org, “Martin D. Ballard (1832-1907) arrived in the Northwest across the Oregon Trail in 1852. After living in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, Ballard settled in Seattle in 1882. In 1885, he organized the Seattle Hardware Co. and he helped found the National Bank of Commerce.

Ballard built his home on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill where other prosperous Seattle residents were taking advantage of the sweeping views of the city and of Elliott Bay. The house was designed by architects Emil deNeuf and Augustus Heide in the Colonial/Georgian Revival style. One of Ballard’s neighbors was Seattle Daily Times publisher Alden Blethen (1845-1915).

Ballard died in 1907. His widow sold the house in 1911 to U.S. District Court Judge George Donworth (d. 1911). The judge remodeled the house, but died before he could move in. His law partner, James B. Howe (1860-1930) bought the house for $25,000.

Howe’s widow was devastated by the Great Depression and she was forced to sell the house in 1932, for $5,000. At that time, the building was converted into five apartments (a 6th apartment is in the carriage house). Architect H.A. Moldenhour took care to blend the new wings into the existing structure. The front of the house remained much as it did in 1901.

The house was declared a Seattle Landmark on May 14, 1979, because it embodied distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style. It was one of the few remaining examples of the grand colonial style homes built at the turn of the twentieth century.”

If you would like to see it up close and personal,
Martin D. Ballard House – 22 West Highland Drive, Seattle.