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From his brimstone bed, at break of day, A-walking the Devil is gone, To look at his little snug farm of the world, And see how his stock went on.... (The Devil's Walk)

The following is the true story behind the most perplexing and disturbing photo that I have ever personally captured. I have tried to record everything that I can possibly remember surrounding the circumstances of the image discussed on this page. Even so, I am no closer to understanding what I captured in this photograph. It baffles me to this day.

The photo was taken in the fall of 2001. I was living in Jackson, New Jersey at the time.


T H E   B A C K G R O U N D
I had decided to go check out this remote & creepy abandoned place that was located off of the wooded road that my apartment at the time was on (I dubbed the place 'Sapphire Woods' due to a sign which hung on a nearby tree) It was a foreboding-looking old house standing alone in the thick shadowy woods of the Pine Barrens, and had been deserted for many, many years... I'd heard a few rumors about 'something' living inside of it, weird sounds coming from it, etc etc. But then, pretty much every abandoned place has a story like that so I didn't think much of it.

Anyway I grabbed my camera and headed out to explore the place. When I got there, I found a window in the back standing wide open like an invitation, but I usually like to do a kind of perimeter check around the outside of a place first just to check it out, so I began walking around the place, snapping pics. I don't remember seeing anything weird as I walked around, shooting photos... I just had a rather unsettling feeling. As I made my way back around to that open back window, I started to kinda hesitate- usually this is the point where I would eagerly climb inside to explore, but, for some odd reason... I just did NOT wanna go in there. Through the open window, I could see a closed door leading into another room and something about that door, that room... it just made me feel very, very very uneasy. Now, I am not a chicken... heh... however, I also trust that feeling in my gut when it tells me something is wrong... so I decided not to go in. Something just felt off and those little hairs at the nape of my neck were at attention. I decided it was time to leave.

T H E   F A C E
Back at home about 20 minutes later I started to download the photos onto my computer to have a look at them. I was going through the shots when all of a sudden something weird caught my attention in one of the photos. There seemed to be something in one of the windows that hadn't been apparent when I was taking the picture... in fact, in the window that was in the very room with the closed door that had made me feel uneasy and nervous...

I looked closer- it looked like a face. A LOT like a face. A very devilish, diabolical face... peering out the window from behind a tattered curtain. I took another look, yet the hideous face seemed clearer to me the more I studied it. It didn't look human... I could even make out what looked like horns protruding from the forehead. The skin seemed to have a reddish tint, and the mouth appeared to be open in a snarl, baring the upper and lower rows of teeth. I was totally confused and unable to understand what I was seeing, it looked extremely real, yet I knew that I hadn't seen anything at the time I shot this photo...

Click the thumbnail above to see a larger version of the 'face' enlarged in the inset. This image has not been altered in any other way.

My immediate thought was that some joker had hung a mask or something in the window to freak people out, so I decided to go right back and check it out. This was no more than about 30-40 minutes after I left the place so I figured that if someone had put a mask or prop in or near the window, whatever it was would most likely still be hanging there. I thought I'd go back to get a better look and get more photos of whatever was in the window. So I hopped into my truck and went back. As soon as I approached the window I saw that there was nothing there. I was totally puzzled. I checked out the window and all around the house thoroughly... and, nothing. No mask hung or prop hung in the window, in fact NOTHING hung in the window besides the raggedy curtains... there was not even any furniture or anything else near the window.

Despite a very careful search I was unable to find anything at all that might have made the weird image seen in the window.


T H E   E V I D E N C E
At first, I thought maybe it was a reflection of something outside projecting onto the glass, but if you study it closely, you will see that there ARE things reflected onto the window/glass from outside... like the guardrails of the road in front of the place- but these reflections are layered OVER the image of the face, as if the face itself was behind the glass.

The face also appears to be BEHIND the curtain... had it been a reflection, I'd think it would have layered right over the curtain itself just like the other reflections from outside did- not been partially hidden behind it? This would seem to indicate the image was behind the glass and curtain.

The face looks 3-dimensional, it's not transparent and it has a definite depth to it, which is what led me to suspect a mask or prop of some sort. But as I saw nothing when I shot the image, and there was nothing there when I went back, I don't know what to think. This place was in a remote location, it would have been pretty difficult to reach by foot and I never saw any vehicles or signs of vehicles or anyone nearby when I was shooting the photos. Plus I don't see how anyone would have known I would be there that day, I went on impulse, alone, and hadn't told anyone that I was going there in advance. To set up and then remove a prop or mask undetected between the times I was there, without leaving any sign, tire track, footprint, or anything else, without any prior knowledge that anyone would even be in the remote location that day would have been pretty tricky?

T H E   R E A C T I O N
Since publishing this image on the internet, I have had dozens and dozens of visitors to my website email me to tell me that they too have spotted the creepy 'face' in the picture (so I know I'm not just imagining it!) This image really disturbs a lot of people (which I understand, it disturbs me too) I have sent it to a few photography experts for their opinion, and they have found no natural explanation for it either. One visitor, ryukenshinx, wrote, "Just wanted to leave you a message, I was looking at your site and reading your blog when I came along the Devil in the Window entry. Ran it through 11 diffrent tests to isolate reflection anomalies and the results were this. There is no reflection or fractal light anomalies, it seems you really did capture a devil on digital card..."

I really do not know what to make of it, it's very weird, and quite creepy.

One more thing- the woods of the New Jersey Pine Barrens (where this house was located) are supposed to be home to the infamous 'Jersey Devil'... a legendary and mysterious devil-like beast that has supposedly lurked in the woods for many many years. I didn't make this connection 'til many days later and I must admit... it did send a bit of a chill up my spine.

The house has since been torn down.

The complete set of photos that I shot of the house that day can be found here. And I did end up returning about a year or so later and going inside of the place (alone.... *GULP*!!).. those shots can be found here (including interior shots of that particular room/window) Note the door to that room is now open, and somebody added the message 'KILL YOURSELF' to the wall between my visits. Click here to read comments from visitors about the 'devil' at Sapphire Woods.

Article & photographs by Heather Shade. All rights reserved.




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