By: Stephanie Morris
Photographic Analyst, CPRI
Unfortunately the photo discussed in this story is not available for posting at this time.
This cemetery is located in Chester VA, off of a long dirt road. It is a very old family
cemetery that has graves as old as 100 years and some as new as 10 years. When you go down this dirt road you come to a clearing in the woods. Most of the graves are in this clearing, but some are actually in the forest between the trees. It is pretty spooky because a lot of the graves have mounds of dirt on them…like either the coffin is rising to the surface or that it was not buried deep enough.
Now let me tell you something that will be important to know at the end of my tale. My photo shoot was done on January 1, 1992 at a little after midnight (new years morning)….and I think the moon was full or pretty close. In October of 1990, a little girl named Charity Powers came up missing from the skating rink, she was about 9. She was not found until February of 1991. Now back to the story.
We pulled up and I evaluated the area checking for anything that might interfere with my photo shoot or the final prints. There was nothing….Remember I was in the woods and the closest house was a trailer about a mile away, at the end of the dirt road. I only used the light from the moon and sometimes a flash, all other times a long exposure was used (between 60 and 120 seconds). My model was required to sit very still so the photos would not blur. I took two rolls of B&W film, 24 exposures on each roll. After about an hour, I was finished and so we left.
I developed and printed the photos myself the next day. The first roll was fine until about photo #11. In the far background there was a small glowing spot. On every successive photo after that, including on the second roll, the glowing spot was visible but on each photo moving closer to the foreground (closer to my model and myself. On the last 5 photos on my final roll of film, the glowing spot was hovering above and to the side of my model. The anomaly was like one round glowing ball on top, and underneath a long glowing oval (like a head and a body)!
Needless to say I was shocked, there was no way it was a reflection or a developing mishap, the way the anomaly moved through each photo showed intelligence! I still went back to the cemetery in the day and eventually ruled all those things out. Now for the end of the story.
The missing little girls body was found a month later (after the photo shoot). She was buried in a shallow grave, in that very cemetery where I did my photo shoot. The man that murdered her was arrested soon after. He was the person that lived in the trailer at the end of the dirt road. I am glad he did not find my model and me alone out there that night! It makes me wonder if the ghost in the pictures was not little Charity Powers trying to let someone know that she was back there. I have not been able to find the photos or negatives at my mother’s house. That is why I want to return and do a whole investigation, to take new photos. Maybe now that she has been laid to rest, nothing will show up. Or maybe it wasn’t her after all.
After developing the photos and seeing the anomalies, it brought to mind some scary experiences that I heard about way before the little girl was ever murdered. Something about a ghost; a black man in overalls, holding an AX and chasing people away from the cemetery and down the dirt road. He only vanishes right before the entrance to the dirt road, not reaching the main intersection were the public would surely bare witness. Well, it is an old black family cemetery, maybe he protects his family even in death.
Now you know the story and why I am determined to return and take more
Facts from the Case*
Mueller abducted, raped and killed Powers, a 10-year-old girl in Chesterfield County on October 5, 1990. Powers was dropped off at a skating rink on the evening of October 4th by her mother, with the understanding that a family friend would be picking her up later that evening. Unfortunately, the friend fell asleep and did not show up at the scheduled time to get the young girl.
She was sitting on a curb outside the closed rink at about 12:50 am the following morning by a witness who knew her from elsewhere. The witness also saw a man he was able to identify as Everett Mueller standing next to her in front of a Hardees restaurant.
Mueller had gained the attention of police for having cruised the Hardees parking lot numerous times in his wood-sided station wagon. Unkempt in his appearance, the 30 year old man later admitted to police that he had approached Charity Powers believing her to be aged 18 or 19 and soliciting for sexual activity. He later admitted to taking Powers away from the scene to a location near his house where he raped her. Police found her body approximately 900 feet from his house as well as a knife believed to be the murder weapon.
Everett Mueller was convicted of her murder and was executed in 1999.