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
The photo was taken
in the fall of 2001. I was living in Jackson, New Jersey at the
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
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
thumbnail above to see a larger version of the 'face' enlarged in
the inset. This image has not been altered in any other way.
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
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
YOURSELF' to the wall between my visits. Click
here to read comments from visitors
about the 'devil' at Sapphire Woods.
photographs by Heather Shade. All rights reserved.
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