Masthead header
Heather's Halloween bio picture
  • Hello & Welcome!

    Hi, I'm Heather! My love of Halloween + my love of photography = Heather's Halloween, photo blog about all things haunted and fun!

    Although I'm a portrait photographer by trade, Urban Exploration is part of my hobby photography. I travel a little, so I like to visit cool haunted locations wherever I am.

    I also include the stories I've heard or researched about a lot of locations. If you have any additional or different information about these places, please share what you know in the comments. I and my readers would love to hear what everyone has to say. As long as it's nice.

    Have fun!

Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio

Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio is my favorite cemetery to explore.  As a photography student, I spent a lot of time there for various assignments.  It’s huge, and actually quite pleasant to walk around the various areas on a nice day.  It is the resting place of President Garfield, as well as many Civil War generals and cabinet members for Abe Lincoln.  Other famous names include Eliot Ness (the guy who took down Al Capone) and John D. Rockefeller.  I’ll post more on Eliot Ness and his time in Cleveland, along with photos of his tombstone, in a separate blog about The Torso Murderer of Kingsbury Run.

Among these photos, I’ve includes several abstracts.  Cemeteries are a great place for abstracts because there is so much texture and architecture, and many cemeteries have tombstones from a hundred or more years ago to the present time.

One of the most photographed sites I’ve seen at Lakeview Cemetery is the Haserot Angel, or “The Angel of Death Victorious” as some have called it.  All I know is that the face appears to bleed from its eyes, and it creeps me out!  I’m always nervous to take photos because I’m afraid it’s going to come to life and attack me while I’m looking through the view finder.  It just feels scary around this statue.  But, I certainly have my share of photos of this statue anyway…

|Share|Tweet|Pin

Pumpkin Carving

One of my favorite things to do for Halloween is carve pumpkins.  Here are a few tips:

* Carved pumpkins only last a few days before they shrivel up and mold, so try to wait until a day or two before you do your carving.  If your pumpkin does start to shrivel, try soaking it in a large sink or bathtub to revive it.

* Choose a pattern.  Even if you’re a beginner and expect to do no more than triangle eyes and a zig-zag mouth, you can still find simple patterns that have interesting Jack-O-Lantern expressions.  You can find Pumpkin Masters books of patterns and tool kits at most grocery and drug stores or Wal-Mart.  I’m a big fan of Zombie Pumpkins.  The designs may be intimidating at first, but they’re well worth the efffort!  You can search online for all kinds of patterns, including simple family friendly patterns or fun fall designs from Martha Stewart.  You can even try out other creative ideas to decorate your pumpkins.

* Choose pumpkins to match your patterns or design choice(s).  Is your design round or elongated?  Make sure you find a pumpkin that is the right size and that the flatter part of the pumpkin faces slightly upward when it is sitting on the ground.  Deep ridges in the pumpkin will interfere with detail in your pattern, so keep it smooth.  If you’re doing a simple Jack-O-Lantern face, it’s not as important.  Don’t forget, you can also use a scanner or photocopier to shrink or enlarge your pattern.

* Make sure you have a large working space, plenty of newspaper to cover your surface, and a plastic bag to hold all the pumpkin guts.  Allow plenty of time.  Some carvings can take up to an hour or two to complete.

* Carve your top at an angle so your lid doesn’t fall through.  I often carve an asymetrical diamond shape at a 45 degree cut to help keep it in place.

* Scoop out the guts well.  Use a scraping tool that comes in a carving kit.  Make sure to leave a flat bottom so your light source will have a sturdy place to sit.  Big secret: scrape extra from the inside of the wall that are you are going to carve.  You don’t want it to be weak, but a thinner wall will be easier to carve the intricate details, and those details will show through better when your creation is lit.

* Clean the seeds and find a great recipe online to roast them!

* Line your printed pattern  on your pumpkin, and tape it down.  You can cut slices into the corners of the pattern to help it lie flat on the pumpkin surface.

* If your tool kit doesn’t come with a poker, you can use a toothpick for this next step.  Poke holes about a couple millimeters apart along the lines of your pattern.  They don’t have to be deep, just enough to perforate your design into the pumpkin.

* Work from the center out to the edges, and carve the smaller details first and then carve the bigger parts.  Using the small carving saws in a kit is key.  You can’t carve details with a kitchen knife.  Be careful, and saw back and forth around the pattern.  I’ve heard stories about people trying to use drills and Dremel tools to carve pumpkins without much luck.  A drill is great if you want perfect circles, such as in this Jason Voorhees hockey mask, but I hear those tools don’t help as much as you might imagine.  I think the kit tools work very well.

* Light your Jack-O-Lantern!  I prefer the classic look of a candle burning inside my pumpkin carvings, but if you want to take a safer route, consider lights that are specially made for pumpkins.  I’ve tried dollar store glow sticks in the past, but they didn’t illuminate my pumpkins as well as I had hoped.  Maybe a better brand would work.  Do keep in mind where your pumpkin will be displayed, and prevent fire hazards by keeping a candle lit Jack away from kids trick-or-treating in their long costumes.  If you’re having a party and can’t keep an eye on your pumpkins at all times, you might want to go the light route instead of using a candle.

To take a photo of your carvings, do not use the “auto” setting on your camera.  You want to avoid using your flash so that your pumpkin will illuminate the way it does in the dark.  You’ll need a tripod or a flat sturdy surface to hold your camera.  Read your camera’s manual for using the settings, and expect a long shutter speed.

Pattern by Zombie PumpkinsAwesome alternative to a simple triangle face pumpkin!I carved this for my friend Jason Rocks!

|Share|Tweet|Pin

Rest in Paradise

Cemeteries in Hawaii aren’t like any I’ve seen on The Mainland United States.  Many have rows and rows of Japanese tombstones, all polished perfectly black with writings in a uniform format.  I’ll share pictures of those another time.  But I found this one cemetery that is most interesting to me.  It is a relatively small lot in the middle of urban neighborhoods outside of Honolulu.  I’m disappointed that it’s difficult to find much information about this cemetery online.  The most I learned is that it is called Puea Cemetery, and it used to be called Kapalama Cemetery, as it is on the corner of Kapalama Avenue and School Street.  It is also one of the most neglected cemeteries in Hawaii.  I’ll keep an eye out for more information on this charming little cemetery, and I’ll update if I get more information.

These photos were all taken at night.  You can see many homes on the mountains in the background on one side and then the urban street lights on the other side.  White clouds covered the sky to allow for a brighter sky effect with long exposures.

|Share|Tweet|Pin

Ghost Orb (blog from 9/18/2007)

I am copying my previous entries from the Heather’s Halloween Myspace page.  This was my first one about ghost orbs in my photos.

Hey Guys!  This is my first blog on this page, and I finally have something relative to my purpose and worth talking about.  I was out today taking pictures (photography is my other hobby), and I was at one of my favorite haunted locations.  It’s an area of haunted, run-down cabins that used to be for campers.  I don’t have the background story on these cabins, but they are very close to Squire’s Castle in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland.  Google Squire’s for a good story of how/why it’s haunted.  The cabins aren’t related to Squire’s story, but the supernatural energy is strong in this whole area of the Cleveland Metroparks.

Anyway, I was taking pictures as the sun was going down, and you could feel the energy rise as the night grew darker.  Quite frankly, I was starting to freak out and was ready to bail out of there.  I had been messing around in the cabins for a while, and I didn’t want to disturb any ghosts any more than I already had.  I could just feel that they were ready to start showing themselves.  As cool as that might be to see them, I was just there for the pictures tonight, and I wasn’t prepared to see the ghosts.

As I was packing up my camera gear, I snapped a couple digital shots of the cabins in the dark.  The cabin I had been in is the only one that showed up well enough to see (it was also the closest to me while I was taking the pictures, so that makes sense).  Anyway, I took 2 shots from the exact same spot, same angle, same camera settings, same everything, within a couple seconds of one another.  I just took 2 to make sure one would focus and come out well in the dark.  They both turned out the same….except one thing.

Take a look…

This is the 2nd shot I took, but it’s the one where you can’t see anything special.  Just a cool, old, haunted cabin in the dark.  No big deal.

Here’s the first shot I took.

Notice anything different?  When I first saw this shot, I thought maybe my flash caught something metal or glass on the cabin.  But then when I flipped to the 2nd shot, it wasn’t there.  I zoomed in on the picture, and you can clearly see that there’s nothing there on the cabin.  There’s nothing around to reflect.  And if there were, it would be in both shots.

Here’s a close-up…

Okay, so what is this?  I’ve pondered every possibility, and I’m coming up with nothing.  The only answer I have is that it’s an orb of a ghost.  If you have any other suggestions, or if you agree that it’s an orb, please share your comments.  I’d love to hear what everyone else makes of this.

Thanks!

Love,
Heather

WAIT!  HOLY CRAP!  When I just went to review this before posting, I found another one!!  Look above the cabin, up and slightly to the right of where the bright orb is.  There’s another, fainter orb.  It’s appears in the trees area of the picture, although it looks like it’s actually hovering over the roof of the cabin.

9/24/07 – I’m adding in the full size version of the picture with the orbs.  A few people have pointed out the “smoke” over the chimney (it’s in both pictures), so i want to make sure we have a clear view of it.  I checked other shots from that night to see if that was a fingerprint or blurred spot on all of them, but these are the only 2.  Interesting coincidence that it’s over the chimney.  Here it is…

And just for the fun of it, here’s me hoping I’m not disturbing the peace…

|Share|Tweet|Pin

Dan Weinstein - Where are the additional items described ?