The year was 1964. A month before the official first day of summer, five teenage boys from Marion County, Kentucky piled into a car and headed out for a night of fun. That fun, however, turned tragic when the car, traveling in excess of 80 mph, blew a tire on KY 49 and crashed into a large hickory tree over 200 feet away killing all of the car’s occupants.
Some of the boys, all students at St. Francis High School, had attended a basketball banquet earlier that evening, according to state police in Lebanon at the time of the accident.
In memory of the deceased 16-year-olds — Stanley Ballard, Ray Clark, Donnie Donahue, David Hamilton and Wayne Simms — concrete crosses bearing each name were erected at the scene of the accident.
On a recent weekend trip to Loretto, KY, I drove past the crosses for the first time. During my visit with friends, I asked about the large white crosses. They said the accident was a tremendous loss for the community at the time and recently family members held a memorial service at the site to mark 50 years since the boys were killed.
I decided to stop at the site on my way back to Louisville, taking more than two dozen photos. Although the site — smack dab in the middle of farm country — was pristine and peaceful, as I read the names engraved on each cross I could sense the presence of death. It filled the air.
The next day when I downloaded my photos onto my home computer, I was floored. Every single image was blurry except for one. I have been taking photos for as long as I can remember and feel as though I’m an above average photographer. I have no explanation for what happened.
When I shared my experience with my friend Sara, who is also an avid photographer, she quickly attributed it to a paranormal event. “A force or spirit was present that didn’t want you taking photos,” she said. I think Sara may be right, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. And take note of the shadows on the crosses.
Until next time…