It has to be said, I am in no way superstitious. As a man who has always been described as an enduring cynic, I have zero belief in ghosts or goblins and even less tolerance of reality TV shows which I heartily laugh at depicting supposed paranormal activity.
However, such cynicism has been sorely challenged in recent weeks following a recent trip to Spain. Whilst there, I filmed an old, dilapidated farm warehouse that at one time processed barley or wheat. I found myself genuinely spooked by the experience. I had not expected to come across an unprotected, deep concrete pit that measured approximately 25 feet deep, let alone witness hundreds of bones lying there at its end. God only knows how long the bones had been there at the bottom. One would assume they are all that remains of rotting carcasses from hapless large animals that were unfortunate enough to come across the pit in the dark. They either fell to their death, or died there shortly after from starvation. Who could tell if any of them were human?
I was first attracted to the unpretentious beauty of the neglected structure which sits just outside the small provincial Spanish town of San Miguel de Salinas. A long, abandoned building from a forgotten era. On my day of filming, the wind was mighty and it vigorously struck my camera as I attempted to fortify it to the ground upon a heavy tripod. It was difficult to gain steady shots – But the day was a beautiful one, as many of them are in Southern Spain. Magnificent clouds would race across the April skies in the ferocious wind, fused with breaks and blue skies with striking sunlight gushing through the cracks at many intervals, giving me a perfect opportunity for stunning timelapses through the ruined roof.
All this time, my lovely wife and child were in our car, stranded on a lonely farm road some 500 yards away as the structure was in the middle of a field and I had to approach the ruin on foot. For the timelapses, I would set my camera up to start shooting every five or six seconds apart and then leave the camera alone for twenty minutes whilst I went to check on my family. I’d then return to the camera, set up an alternative position, change filters and leave the camera alone once more.
The footage was eventually downloaded off the camera back at my London edit suite and it sat there on my computer’s hard drive for a few months. The footage was shot in April, but it wasn’t looked at until September 2013. As I brought all the photo frames together for the timelapse and lay it on the editing timeline, I scrubbed through the clips. As I attempted to link and edit them together into a story, I immediately noticed something odd about how the clips were holding together. There seemed to be a glitch between the cuts making my edit look jarred.
As I investigated why the cut looked jarred, I noticed that one of the frames had dirt or an unexpected light leak in the top left-hand corner of the frame. It was only the one frame, mind. Shots taken either side of that one had no such ‘light leak’ (as I thought it must be at first). After playing around with the exposure and saturation settings on that one frame to see what it was that had ruined my timelapse footage, I became unsettled by what I discovered. It came as a shock to notice that there was no such light leak after all, but something – physical in the frame… Very clear, very prominent, very odd, for I have never seen anything quite like it before.
To view the single frame within the main clip shown above where the ‘demon’ visibly appears, you need to stop the film on the second frame of the second timelapse segment. As a rough guide, it appears during the 21st second of the film in the top left corner. Look for a tiny blue flash. Although the video does have some glitchy FX added for dramatic effect, this particular frame in question has not been altered in any way apart from some light colour grading which has been applied equally to the entire timelapse segment. I realise it may be difficult to stop the film at the exact point, so I have reproduced a close up, cropped image of the exact frame below.
To me and others who I have shown it to, it looks like what can only be described as a “furball” with a blue cat-like eye staring out onto the same scene that my lonely camera was automatically capturing. Whatever it was left just as quickly as it arrived – Just the one frame – And it happened whilst I was some 500 yards away. There must be some kind of explanation for sure… But to this day, I am none the wiser as to what it could be. This is no video trickery, the one single frame with metadata intact is available for examination at any time.
Paranormal activity one could speculate. Thus, I named the short piece, ‘The Demon of San Miguel de Salinas.” I’m not one to start a ghost story amongst the locals there, but if ever there was a case to answer for one, my experience and videographic evidence might deem it reasonable after all!