David and Anne are off to visit Preston Castle again, along with the Orbettes, DonnaLee and Jay, with our 'new' 1983 motor home dubbed the Turtle. It's a new moon instead of a full moon like last year, but it promises to be a grand first voyage in the Turtle, off into the unknown.
Arriving in Ione a few hours later, we drive to the same spot where we had stopped last year, where a full view of that magnificent building could be seen. It is again, a rush, for me as well as DL and Jay. Just enough time for a snack before we meet up with out tour guide at the castle gates.
The Preston Cemetery is first. This is a very, very unusual tour, permission received only because our goal was documentation of the wooden gravestones before time took an additional toll on the worn slabs and faint lettering. The cemetery is no longer on Preston land and not available for public tours. Ditto for one of the last remaining barns in the dairy acreage. Eighteen no nonsense wooden markers, painted white with black stenciled lettering, fading every scorching day. Thank you, ladies, for such a wonderful tour!!
Before we met for the tour of the castle, we snacked in the Turtle, then back to the castle one more time.
Yvonne was wonderful to meet at long last, and proved to be a grand tour guide, knowledgeable, comfortable and fun. I discovered my 2008 map might have been generally correct, but I had forgotten many a detail, many a small room. It had been difficult to draw the entire castle from memory on just one trip. The tour included owl feathers, ghost stories, and some really decent day time pictures.
Our stomachs needed attention before we are 'locked in' back at the castle in an hour's time. Ione hosts a small variety of eateries, but the first to be encountered was the old "Twisted Fork," now "Cravings" in the infamous, haunted Ione Hotel. Another natural.
We drive to the castle where cars are already crowding the parking lot and people are walking all over the grounds. We park the Turtle in the same, comfy, shady spot, gather our gear and head out. After the introductory talk that includes rules and no-no's (do NOT approach the new prison walls with the sky high guard towers, they do not fool around here, do NOT climb any stairs to the non-existent, destroyed third and fourth floors.) the 30 plus people disperse, seeking out haunts, orbs, spirits, noises, creepy sounds, disembodied voices and what ever else we can be fortunate enough to experience. As it was last year, the individual groups of people stay fairly well to themselves, nodding politely at others, or just ignoring them. We called each other the Wookie Women because of the industrial glasses with headlights we wear around our neck. They light your path perfectly without blinding anyone else, but when you wear them on your head, they look absolutely hilarious. "Hey, have you seen the blonde Wookie Woman?"
After dealing with the usual loss of battery, equipment malfunctioning and failure, we finally were able to focus on the castle. The second floor of the annex was almost unbearably hot as the windows are now completely covered in plywood, with no welcome breeze to clear your head and no wondrous scenery to photograph. The basement and the infirmary seemed to be the most active areas, spirit wise, although evey trip down the main first floor hallways was a delight, having seen a recent photograph taken in that area that was particularly stunning - a rainbow coloured, moving, square shaped object in the middle of the air. I managed to avoid the library the entire night, as it was source for one of my serious scares last year.
The spectacular show of last year's bats and owls did not occur, although we heard the people in the second floor of the annex became inundated with the bats leaving at dusk.
Several hours later, a few things became apparent. My Panasonic, which takes stunning orbs outside at night, was basically useless. Ditto on David's Sony, as well as our Sony nightshot video recorders. Jay's cheap (oops, sorry, love, inexpensive?) Samsung camera was the hit of the night, repeatedly and easily producing bright and brilliant orbs, no matter where Jay would take them, although she was called to an area outside regularly where she was rewarded by bright, undeniable orbs. Then, we met John.
John had a picture that would stun all of us. Red, almost flame like red thingies. Imagine the famous aurora borealis, but a tiny version, and in a room. It was truly amazing to see. John said the orbs had taken to him and they were now following him. Guess who else followed him for most the night?
John would ask his new found BFF (what he called them, lol) to pose between two pillars and take a picture. Yup. Big, fat, bright orb between the pillars. John asked them/it/him to gather around him in the basement, and sure enough, there were many orbs encircling John. John's brother, Kurt, and nephew, Tommy, were taking pictures with amazing results. My camera? Nada. This is John's very first paranormal experience and he gets the BFF? What is wrong with this picture? Little did I know the best was yet to come.
As the individual parties finally warmed to each other, compared pics, oohed and ahhed over orbs and thingies while we took breaks on the front porch steps, we met Kevin, who offered the use of his night vision goggles. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine what would happen next. Standing in the parking lot near Jay's favorite orb producing area, we stand frozen, watching, waiting, peering into the darkness. Nothing. Next, sitting in the quarantine area of the infirmary, well into the corner, Jay gasped as she spots her first, moving orb. I almost cry, I wanna see one!! After an eternity of waiting, impatiently, we decide to go find John. If you ever do this, try those babies, be forewarned your vision should experience some, shall we say, difficulty, adjusting back to normal light. Shining a bright flashlight on the floor and looking at that pool of white will help, tremendously. We find John, follow him down to the basement where Jay can, again, see orbs, but now many of them. I am going to start serious pouting at any moment. They adjust my goggles to high and suddenly, there they are.
There is a whirling around John, left to right. like a wind, that includes occasionally, what you think, might be an orb. You wonder if your eyes (or your comrades) are playing tricks on you. Then, you see a large, distinct, round, patterned orb move slowly past you, from the left, stop, turn to take another route up, pause again, and leave the way it came to the left. I am stunned. Jay said I was like a little child, with my hands out as if to try and grab them, shocked, amazed, stunned, overwhelmed. John, Jay and Tommy traded the other pair of goggles back and forth, bless their hearts. I remember Tommy saying, "Let Anne keep hers, she is having too much fun."
Finally, a headache produced by the goggles, and exhaustion, sent me back to the Turtle where DL and David slept. I was still trying to control tears, absorbing the weight of what I had just seen. It was 2:30, but David woke to hear of our adventure. I laughed a bit as my to-bed-by-eight husband left with Jay to experience the goggles, and I fell into a deep sleep. The next morning, I get the report from Jay and David. He had been able to see the orbs, and while he was quite pleased, he wasn't quite as giggly-thrilled as I was. The picture of the night, from our cameras, was an unbelievable gathering of distinct orbs in the concave ceiling of the second floor annex, taken by Jay about 4:30 am. Her last shots of the night would be that same spot outside, where not one orb would be seen.
What we learned?
They can be seen and tracked with cheap night vision goggles.
These orbs (not to be confused with dust orbs,) are not dust.
They moved independently of room air flow.
They come when called.
They like and/or gather around some people more than others.
They are abundant in Preston Castle and most often seen at night.
Cameras with the ability to take pics of orbs might not always do so.
What we are still wondering:
What are orbs?
Can they determine who is 'allowed' to view and/or photograph them?
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