Dixon Shutterbug Boasts A Supernatural Snapshot

October 31, 2008

DIXON - Draped in white, the female subject of Judy Felz's photograph sits stoically and somberly with no attention paid to the woman behind the camera. Truth be told, the Dixon resident didn't pay her subject any attention either - because the subject wasn't there. That is, she wasn't there until silver halide met Dektol in the processing of the film.

In summer 1991, Felz lived in suburban Chicago and belonged to a group known as the Ghost Research Society of Oak Lawn, which journeyed to the notoriously haunted Bachelor's Grove Cemetery in Midlothian. "This particular place, if you don't believe, you'll come out believing," Felz said. Felz is a proclaimed clairvoyant and clairaudiant, the preferred term for those who see and hear things that others don't. She said the group was touring the graveyard with cameras and "taking pictures where we happened to feel things."

For this supernatural safari, she went armed with infrared film, which records a wave of light that is different from traditional film and is used primarily for scientific and architectural purposes. What she got back was a shimmering, translucent figure, draped in white, who sat solemnly on a piece of a headstone. Many "orb" and "spirit pictures" that purport to show a ghostly presence appear to be the result of camera malfunction or overactive imagination. Believe it or not, this photo, which has been published in the Chicago Sun-Times, is the most detailed picture Felz has seen from the dozens of photographs taken by her and others at the cemetery.

She knows of no legend or myth specific to the sitting woman, but Felz thinks she may have seen her before when, as a teenager, she saw a "girl wearing a whitish or light blue-colored dress, hiding behind a tree, and she had a golden retriever with her." When she mentioned this to others in her circle, they described similar sightings.

Researchers believe that part of the reason the cemetery has so much activity is the rumor that a nearby lagoon was used in the 1920s to dispose of the enemies of mob boss Al Capone. Judy's connection to the paranormal goes deep in her bloodlines, but strictly on the light or white side.

Her sister and mother are also clairvoyant and clairaudiant, and her great-grandmother was known as a faith healer in Germany. "My mother was raised spiritual and religious, but [also] being aware," Felz said. "... We didn't want to dabble in any of the dark stuff." But Felz does have a skeptical side. "I never have practiced mediumship," she said. "We were raised that it's not something that you get paid to do. I believe a lot of those are fakes, but some people swear by them."