Let’s start this blog off with something a little personal.

The University of Oregon is not well known for being a supernatural hotspot. In fact, Eugene, while having a few stories of its own, is not well known for that either. On the 9th of January, however, I came up with a photographic anomaly. As this is my first post I wanted to put it out there that I am fully concerned with accuracy and not making speculation into something more than it is. Investigation is absolutely necessary before saying one way or another whether something is a paranormal phenomenon or just some trick of nature or the eye. Having said that, here we go with my anomaly.

I am taking a black and white photography class this term and was out shooting some of the campus that night. Villard Hall has some interesting windows. In one of the frames I have come up with a light emitting anomaly. I did not notice this until the 28th of January when looking at the contact sheets. Looking at the original negatives the anomaly is clearly documented in the emulsion, eliminating the possibility that it was a speck of dust on the negative or the enlargers. There are no other such spots on any other negatives for that roll suggesting that there was no screw up in the film development process. What makes this more interesting is the fact that, two frames before, I had taken a wider angle of the same building in which the anomaly does not appear (hence the word anomaly, I suppose). The shots aren’t great, it was fairly dark and to get enough light to register anything I had to have the shutter open long enough that there is some camera shake. Despite all of that, however, quite clearly, there is some type of light emitting anomaly on the roof of Villard in frame three that was not there in frame one. I’m certainly not calling it an orb but I’m not calling it an apparition, yet. It is simply an anomaly. (See scans of the pictures below. No picture has been edited. Click for larger views)

I went back on January 29th, once I realized what was there to see if there was something that could explain the light I photographed on the roof. While there are what appear to be smokestacks on the roof, they do not put out any light and they are also not in the frame of the photograph. On the building there are actually three of the circular windows you see in the pictures above and what is pictured are the left two. There is no possibility of the light from the window on the right causing that light on the roof because the arched sconce above the window actually comes out over it and goes the roof ledge which would block that possibility. I also took some pictures with my digital camera to see if it would happen again or if I could recreate the frames at least.

Alright, enough about the pictures and on to the fun stuff. Researching Villard Hall it turns out it is the second oldest building on the University of Oregon campus having been finished in 1886. Two things have happened there that have anything to do with death and potential ghosties. The first was the funeral of Samuel Friendly, a well loved store owner and eventual regent of the University. While this is interesting it really isn’t that compelling. Continued research led me to this interesting tid bit. On the spot where Villard Hall was built used to be the cabin of one of Eugene’s oldest residents, Hilyard Shaw. Shaw operated the sawmill and was integral in creating the “Millrace” that runs through Eugene in order to create power for other industries as well. Well, the information about Shaw is sadly sparse, but the Lane County Historical Society put out a book called “The Story of Eugene 1846-1946” in 1995. In it they had short biography of Hilyard Shaw which is as follows:

There is little factual information about Hilyard Shaw. Perhaps for that very reason his story interests us. He was in a very literal sense a builder, putting up the first house [actually the house built for Judge Risdon, not his own cabin] and erecting and operating, with William Smith, the first sawmill in Eugene. His own log cabin, one of so few, stood almost underneath the Condon Oaks [a nickname for the Oregon Oaks on the campus] that shade the north side of the University campus, facing northward from the spot where Villard Hall stands. It is said that Hilyard Shaw was a “lovable gentleman” and that he stuttered. One of his promises was when he d-d-d-d-died he would c-c-come b-b-b-back to haunt the shad-shad-shadows of those oak t-t-t-trees.

By no means is any of this conclusive, quite obvious from reading this. It does however suggest there is potential. Now, I am what is known as a broke-ass student, so aside from a tape recorder, I don’t really have any equipment a proper investigation would bring to the table. For now the pictures and the story about Shaw coming back to haunt the shadow of the trees is all I have. After midterms I’ll keep up with this line of inquiry and update my post. What do y’all think about these photos? Trick of the light somehow or potential spectral?