[TX] Columbus, Texas – Ghostly Ectoplasm?

Could this be ectoplasm?

Ectoplasm? I’m not sure what caused the odd misty areas in the unretouched photo at left. (And, to be honest, I’m not sure anyone knows what ectoplasm is.  We usually use the term to mean an expansive area of colorful, translucent energy.)

Look for the whitish, pink, and red areas in the photo.  I have no explanation for any of those anomalies.  They remind me of the colorful orb-ish shapes in the anomalies at New Orleans’ Jackson Square.

The photo was taken with a tripod and a delayed shutter. I stood to the side of the camera. When the flash went off, I could clearly see anything that might have been in front of the camera.

In other words, I didn’t see any bugs to explain these odd, colorful areas.

There was no chance of a camera strap, jewelry, or hair reflecting light on the lens. Also, since I was over five feet away when the photo was taken, it’s not breath.

I took over 200 photos in this cemetery, and none of them show insects. As usual, I’d looked for bugs before taking any photos. I saw none except the mounds indicating fire ants. (I was in sandals and kept my distance.)

The Columbus City Cemetery — also called Old City Cemetery — is on Walnut Street in Columbus, Texas, not far from the middle of town. In 1870, it was deeded to the city as an existing cemetery.

No one is certain how old the graves are, but the earliest headstone is dated 1853.

This wasn’t the first time I’d seen non-orb anomalies in Columbus photos. I’d seen possible ecto in a photo taken during a “Live Oaks and Dead Folks” tour, a popular annual event in Columbus, Texas.

This is an especially interesting cemetery. Many of the grave markers were washed away in a flood at the end of 1913. Disturbed graves could explain the recurring fog-like mist or ectoplasm in photos. There are at least 500 unmarked graves there.

This cemetery also contains the grave of Jonathan W. Sargent (1877 – 1929), who was killed in a car accident near Columbus. He’d assisted Howard Carter in Egypt, and may have been a victim of the famous “curse” of King Tutankhamen’s tomb.

In addition, the cemetery was the final resting place of many Confederate soldiers, as well as victims of the 1873 yellow fever epidemic.

Any one of these could account for higher-than-average paranormal activity in this lovely cemetery.

I recommend this cemetery for ghost enthusiasts, but only during daytime hours. After dark, uneven ground and the possibility of snakes make investigations treacherous.

The cemetery is patrolled regularly by police, who visited while I was there. Day and night, they can see activity in the cemetery from at least three nearby roads, so don’t expect to escape notice when you’re in the cemetery.

Since Columbus Cemetery’s orbs can be photographed in daylight, an early morning or late afternoon visit could be worthwhile.

[TX] Columbus – Daytime Ghost Orbs

Columbus City Cemetery, in Columbus, Texas, is one of the most photogenic cemeteries in southeast Texas, and it may be one of its most delightfully haunted.

In the daytime photo above, an orb appears near the angel monument. The skies were heavily overcast, so this wasn’t a lens flare; the sun wasn’t visible, and no flash was used.

During three separate visits to the cemetery, nearly every photo of this angel shows at least one orb, and sometimes two or three.

The eerie mists in the photo, Columbus, Texas – Ectoplasm are just to the left of the angel.

These graves are almost in the center of a very large field that’s been set aside as the Columbus City Cemetery at 1300 Walnut Street in Columbus, Texas. Only a small percentage of the graves have headstones, but those that do are often extraordinarily beautiful… and haunted.

This cemetery is described in more detail in my book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas. That book contains a full chapter about haunted sites in nearby Columbus.


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[TX] Columbus – Ghost Orbs

Columbus City Cemetery in Columbus, Texas, is a wonderful, photogenic cemetery about an hour and a half west of Houston, where I-10 meets Highway 71. It’s across from the second largest oak tree in Texas.

Columbus is well worth the drive, especially early in November when they celebrate “Live Oaks and Dead Folks,” in the city cemetery.

Ghost hunters should visit the cemetery just after dawn or at dusk. The cemetery is in a large, mostly-empty field, accessed from a dirt path that’s studded with tall weeds. In areas with poisonous snakes, it’s not smart to explore areas like this in the dark.

Because the cemetery is covered with trees that shield the graves, it’s possible to take flash photos after the sun comes up, if you get better results with artificial light.

In the photo above, the sun was up, but I needed a flash photo to see much of anything there.  The tree cover is that dense.

At the center of the photo, the dark object at horizon level is the angel monument that you’ll see in one of our daytime orb photos. (That’s the photo on the cover of my 2007 book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas.)

Even in daylight, you can still capture orbs in photos at Columbus City Cemetery. That’s a rare treat for ghost hunters.

[TX] Columbus – Ghosts of Columbus, Texas

Columbus Opera House
Haunted Opera House, Columbus, Texas

Columbus, Texas, is conveniently located on I-10 at Highway 71, between Houston and Austin, and not far from San Antonio. It’s also a charming and delightfully haunted town.

I first heard about Columbus’s annual Live Oaks & Dead Folks Tour, which gets rave reviews. That event — usually held early in November — takes place in Columbus’ haunted Columbus City Cemetery.

That cemetery is on Walnut Street, not far from the middle of town. Its age is unknown, but the earliest headstone is dated 1853.

The more I read, the more this cemetery intrigued me.

I first investigated this cemetery early in March 2006. My photos revealed several crisp, clear orbs — even in daylight — and a photo that looks like ectoplasm. Here’s what I found:

Related Articles: (These links will take you to other websites.)

  •  Live Oaks & Dead Folks Tour a popular annual event, early in November each year.
  • The Turner-Chapman Gallery features “ghost paintings” by artist Ken Turner.  The gallery has its own colorful history from Columbus’ “Wild West” era, and maybe a few ghosts.

Columbus City Cemetery is one of the
most photogenic graveyards I’ve ever seen.

Columbus has so many interesting ghost stories, I wrote a full chapter about it in my book, The Ghosts of Austin.

Ghosts of Austin, Texas - book
If you’re interested in true ghost stories and haunted places in and around Austin, read Fiona’s best-selling book.

[TX] Columbus – Ghosts Report July 2006

Columbus, Texas has so many haunted locations, it’s like a theme park for ghost hunters. Really.

Columbus is an easy day trip from Austin, San Antonio or Houston. If you’re in the area and enjoy haunted places, it’s a must-see.

On July 15th, 2006, over 40 ghost hunters met at Jerry Mikeska’s Bar-B-Q restaurant (just off I-10 at Columbus). We were all members of Texas Paranormal Researchers, which used to be a Meetup Group. (Organized by Elmo Johnson.)

Mikeska’s is a great, affordable place for lunch, and it has an eerie display of… well, more hunting trophies than you’ve ever seen in one place.

It definitely sets the mood.

From there, we went to the Turner-Chapman Gallery, where artist Ken Turner explained about his famous “ghost paintings” and the history of the gallery. (Larkin Hope died there after being shot during the Colorado County feud.)

Columbus City Cemetery

After that, we visited Hometown Hall Antiques and saw the elevator that was used to transport bodies during the site’s years as a mortuary. The energy is very strong at the back of the store, and we could also detect its history as a “saloon” and gambling hall.

From there, we were invited to a private residence that has a very haunted history. I had a chance to try dowsing rods, and I went from skeptic to believer in a hurry.

I’d seen dowsing rods used successfully to find water when drilling teams had failed but… for ghost hunting? I figured that people were subconsciously influencing the swing of the rods.

Well, even when I tried to twist the rods so that they wouldn’t cross, they pulled so hard that I couldn’t move them. It was very weird.

Next, we dashed back to the Stafford Opera House which features several ghosts. Most of them are connected with the auditorium upstairs.

Finally, after a dinner break, we were given a fabulous tour of Columbus City Cemetery by historian Bill Stein. (We recommend the ‘Live Oaks and Dead Folks’ event that he’s part of, each year. Ask about it at the Columbus visitor center or at the Columbus public library.)

This was an amazing tour in a great Texas town.

If you have a chance to ghost hunt in Columbus, Texas, it’s well worth exploring. Bring your dowsing rods!