Creepy Cloaked Figures in Wedding Photo (Ejdallim Witches)

lone_concertina

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I came across this photo a few days ago and I've been thinking about it a lot, so felt inspired to share it with you. Apologies if it's already been mentioned (or explained), I did a search but found nothing. Having said that, it's rather hard to classify! I've googled it, hoping to find an explanation and put an end to my nightmares, but could only find the message board where it seems to have originated. So with that in mind, I'm hoping it hasn't already done the rounds. I've seen people refer to it as the "ejdallim witches", ejdallim being the photobucket account from which it was posted.

So, the story goes that this photo was taken by a wedding photographer, attempting to capture an aerial shot of the entire congregation.



A photographer friend apparently noticed something unusual on the balcony to the far right and enlarged that portion of the picture. This is what they found:



Ahhhhh! I'm not sure what I find the most terrifying, their masks and veils, the KKK influence or the fact that their cloaks look so faded and ancient! There is also something horrible about the fact that they're so close to, and yet separate from the wedding.

Now, I'm dubious about the story attached to the photo, it seems to me that the second image may well be a completely different shot, looking at the angle of the roof. I imagine the photographer noticed the oddness and zoomed in to take a photo, but who knows? I've seen speculation that the balcony may belong to some kind of art gallery and that the figures may be explained away as mannequins (and the three figures on the right certainly look stiff), but a few minor things make me wonder, the positioning of the bodies, the difference in face shape and height (unless they're dummies collected from different sources) and most tellingly, the fact that the robes are all the perfect length for each figure, something that really wouldn't matter if they were only to be worn by stationary dummies - no fear of tripping! If they were made from a uniform pattern you'd think some would be trailing on the floor. Having said that, it's odd that we can see no hands or feet, no human movement at all. Mind you, it looks like quite a solemn occasion, perhaps they were standing to attention? ;)

They do seem quite lifeless and my gut feeling is that they're dummies, but whatever the heck they are, art installation, b-movie extras, members of a cult, I find them utterly terrifying! Really hope someone finds this as interesting as me, it inspired me to make my first new topic on here. :)

Sources:

Here's a link to the post that I saw linked to on twitter: http://imgur.com/a/E1nxY
After some digging I found what appears to be the original source of the photo (scroll down): http://www.ar15.com/mobile/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=1227431&page=46
 

JamesWhitehead

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A great creepy picture. If you follow the story on the link you gave, a few pages on someone posts the following:

" . . . It appears that the balcony belongs to R. J. Sutton Galleries. Considering the location is an art gallery around Mardi Gras, we can conclude they're just some super creepy Krewe mannequins . . . "

On this page

I like the idea they were the witches not invited to the wedding but turning up anyway. The fact they are out of sight of the party actually makes it more creepy! :)
 

lone_concertina

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I agree about it being so much worse that they're out of sight, JamesWhitehead! Lurking in the shadows, so to speak. I think I mentioned the art gallery theory up top, glad you browsed the original thread too, I was on there for a good hour looking for some final word on it!
 

Mythopoeika

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A couple of things...

(1) They all look a bit 'perfect'.
(2) They don't seem to cast any shadows.

It's just possible that they may be photoshopped.
 

lone_concertina

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Mythopoeika said:
A couple of things...

(1) They all look a bit 'perfect'.
(2) They don't seem to cast any shadows.

It's just possible that they may be photoshopped.
The people at the wedding aren't casting shadows either, are they photoshopped too ;)? I think it's more likely that they're mannequins, arranged as a prank. I've checked the image on TinEye and can't find anything similar. Why go to all that effort (I certainly wouldn't fancy 'shopping them behind the bars of that balcony) just to post on an existing thread of a message board? Or perhaps I'm naively underestimating the tedium of some prankster's life.
 

PeniG

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My impression is that of a bunch of puppets hung from a string through the points of their hats. If they're free-hanging that accounts for the differences in position. Their arrangement suggests an intention to be seen from the courtyard below the balcony.
 

skinny

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Perhaps they are the masquerade costumes pegged onto manequins, but the perceived association with the adorable naivety of the wedding next door infuses the photo with a blissful chillingness. I love the intent of the OP posting this. Creeps me out.
 

emina

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I've done the Photoshop stuff...

I can reveal that the figures are indeed.... (drum roll) .... MANEQUINS!!!

How?

Well, first of all, the second picture isn't cropped from the first. It contains shadow detail that couldn't be retrieved from the first. This is also consistent with the fact that the colour saturation on the roof is lower and the detail on the figures themselves higher. In short, the amount of sunlight has changed between the two exposures and the camera's (automatic?) exposure time has dropped accordingly. (Possible to fake in Photoshop but difficult to do it that convincingly and consistently with different areas of the picture! Plus why would anyone go to the bother of doing such a pointless and fiddley job?) ...ergo, two pictures were taken.

Secondly, the position of all the hats, railings and roofing sections align perfectly in the correct size and rotation. A perfect alignment of around 50 straight lines in one perspective (Hard to get a pixel-for-pixel match due to the disparity in resolution, but it's certainly beyond reasonable doubt.). There is absolutley no movement between the two exposures and both were almost certainly taken from exactly the same position using a tripod. (N.B. This also severley lowers the possibility of the characters being photoshopped in, or them dangling on strings incidentally.)

In short, what we have here are two separate pictures of motionless objects taken with an interval in between.

Now, you may say that there's a possibility that both pics were taken of after the other so quickly that nothing moved, but in my experience, even a second is a long time in photography and the alignment of the characters is just too perfect, plus that would barely be enough time for such a stark change in light. Professional photographers please feel free to correct me on this, but all the alternatives to them being inanimate objects here just seem too remote.
 

lone_concertina

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Yeah, you're pretty much confirming what I said when I made this thread, Emina, but good to hear. As I said, two photos of mannequins, but creepy none-the-less.
 

Graylien

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It's certainly a wonderfully creepy image - thanks for sharing! The juxtaposition between the regimented formality of the wedding (with everyone sitting dutifully on their neatly arranged foldaway chairs) and the creepy masked figures overlooking from the balcony is truly unsettling. It's almost as if the mannequins - with their almost, but not quite, identical features, and their stiff, lifeless poses - were offering an ironic commentary on the equally formal and seemingly lifeless wedding guests.

All of which probably sounds just a little pretentious, come to think of it.

Anyhow, the thing about this image that I found really interesting was that there was a part of me that really wanted it to be 'real'. Now I've no doubt that the prosaic explanations about art galleries and mannequins are perfectly logical and true, and that there's no mystery here at all.

But what if there were?

Isn't there a part of us that secretly wishes that extra-dimensional witches really were hanging around on balconies to witness our regimented nuptials? Wouldn't it actually be rather nice if that wobbly orange light floating overhead really was a ski-suited Venusian on a mission to spread galactic peace, rather than just a Chinese Lantern released at a barbecue held to celebrate the retirement of a 60-yr-old civil servant from Ongar, whose colleagues are actually secretly relieved that he's finally leaving?

Isn't there a part of us that wishes there wasn't a simple explanation?

Perhaps the immortal G.K Chesterton put it best:

I have walked along a street with the best cigar in the cosmos in my mouth, and more Burgundy inside me than you ever saw in your life, and longed that the lamp-post would turn into an elephant to save me from the hell of blank existence.
Or then again, perhaps I've just lost the plot again...
 

lone_concertina

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graylien said:
Anyhow, the thing about this image that I found really interesting was that there was a part of me that really wanted it to be 'real'
Oh, that's it exactly! I couldn't agree more. I think it's what drew me to the image in the first place. It's so nightmarish, but I'd enjoy the mystery of there being living, breathing people beneath those robes! The "what if" of some ancient society on the fringes of our civilisation.

Thanks for being so nice, graylien, I was feeling a little disheartened!
 

rynner2

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emina said:
Well, first of all, the second picture isn't cropped from the first. It contains shadow detail that couldn't be retrieved from the first. This is also consistent with the fact that the colour saturation on the roof is lower and the detail on the figures themselves higher. In short, the amount of sunlight has changed between the two exposures and the camera's (automatic?) exposure time has dropped accordingly.
I beg to disagree! We only have a reduced size version of the whole picture, and this would show less detail than the original.

I'd suggest the 'witches' pic was cropped from the full size original, and then its brightness, colour saturation, etc, was adjusted to give a clearer picture of the 'witches'.

I've mentioned on here before that I often do similar things with my own pics. I might keep a reduced size version of the original shot, with one or more crops of the more interesting parts of it. And I've noticed that the crops often do need adjusting to best bring out the detail. (NB: I always keep a back-up of the original picture, so that I can try other effects if the mood takes me!)
 

emina

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rynner2 said:
I'd suggest the 'witches' pic was cropped from the full size original, and then its brightness, colour saturation, etc, was adjusted to give a clearer picture of the 'witches'.
But herein lies the problem. I wasn't talking about the detail on the figures as such. If you look at the colour saturation on the roof and 'chimney' in the foreground of the cropped pic, it contains reduced levels of orange and grey, both fading towards white in direct sunlight. The figures however are not in direct sunlight yet retain detail in similar channels which have been reduced elsewhere very visibly. This is not consistent with a global edit to the photograph, which would reduces details across the picture, but of a change in lighting conditions. It's also worth pointing out that while the shadow within the 'chimney' increased in sharpness and contrast internally. This could only be done in photoshop with a ridiculous amount of 'dodging' or contrast adjustment, but it would render the rest of the picture useless (I know the original is lo-res, but it's not so low that reasonable estimation of colour gammuts can't be made, sorry!)

All in all, these changes 'could' be done in photoshop, but someone would have to have applied at least 3 different techniques to different areas of the picture, for no apparent reason, and would have to have done it very very expertly too using masking techniques etc. Not impossible admittedly, but again, why would anyone bother? A simple change in sunlight however would adequately and consistently explain every change of light in that picture.
 

MercuryCrest

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I have a folder on my PC labelled, "Things that still scare the sh1t out of me".

Having grown up watching things like "It", "Killer Klowns from Outer Space", "Basket Case", "Prince of Darkness", and others, it takes a lot to truly frighten me.

This folder is a reminder that there are some things out there that really, truly disturb me.

That close up pic above is now in that folder. I love it.

EDIT: I should clarify that "scary" just isn't that scary to me. What gets me are the profound and deeply disturbing images that affect me on some sort of visceral level. "Disturbing" trumps "frightening" any day of the week, for me.
 

SHAYBARSABE

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PeniG said:
My impression is that of a bunch of puppets hung from a string through the points of their hats. If they're free-hanging that accounts for the differences in position. Their arrangement suggests an intention to be seen from the courtyard below the balcony.
I think I have to agree with the puppet idea. Large puppets, to be sure. The moment I looked at the photo, I thought "there's nobody in those costumes" which would be consistent with them being puppets.

Great creepy photo!
 

Ulalume

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Ooh, creepy! :shock:

Since the pic was taken in New Orleans weeks after mardi gras (according to the linked thread) then the figures would have to have a very specific reason for wearing masks - Louisiana law concerning mask-wearing is quite strict. Mardi gras is the exception.

So, my guesses are mannequins or costumes hung up on the balcony, or perhaps penitents if it were taken during Holy Week. Even then, it would be unlikely penitents would be hanging around an art gallery. :)
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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bunnymousekitt said:
Ooh, creepy! :shock:

Since the pic was taken in New Orleans weeks after mardi gras (according to the linked thread) then the figures would have to have a very specific reason for wearing masks - Louisiana law concerning mask-wearing is quite strict. Mardi gras is the exception.

So, my guesses are mannequins or costumes hung up on the balcony, or perhaps penitents if it were taken during Holy Week. Even then, it would be unlikely penitents would be hanging around an art gallery. :)
I think you could be on to something with the penitents angle.

http://www.google.nl/search?client=...Q&biw=1280&bih=943&sei=ZSQjUIa5Doem0AXWv4GoDQ

Every church participating in such a procession for Holy Week, would have its own costume. Is it the balcony of an art gallery, or the courtyard gallery of some sort of religious institution?
 

Cherrybomb

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Wow! What a wonderfully creepy photo! Thank you for posting :D
 

taras

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MercuryCrest said:
I have a folder on my PC labelled, "Things that still scare the sh1t out of me".
Ooh you can't just leave it at that! What pics are in there? Can you upload them all somewhere? :D
 

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It was part of an art installation: 

http://pelicanbomb.com/home/post/188

The moment the sky turns dark is transformative. In the Brulatour Courtyard, it’s the time when Dawn DeDeaux’s perverted portrait of Ignatius Reilly comes to life, converting the romanticism of the historic courtyard into the dark imaginings of John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. Those familiar with the iconic New Orleans novel will recognize central elements from the narrative in this installation. The Levy Pants revolution, the Lucky Dog cart, and Reilly’s hunting cap all make appearances; while Reilly’s slovenly bed occupies center stage of the courtyard, fountain spewing from its center. 

DeDeaux pairs Toole’s famous imagery with a rich symbolic language of her own: white death masks and red pantaloons figure prominently. Robert E. Lee’s Civil War boots and white camellias recall the Confederate South. Robed mannequins in dunce caps on the surrounding balcony—a disturbing confederacy of dunces—bring to mind visions of the occult, looming with a sinister Klan-like presence
.

Some photos of the "dunces":

http://blog.artspace.com/wp-content/upl ... eDeaux.jpg

http://pelicanbomb.com/uploads/IMG_9364 ... R1_100.jpg

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxn5n ... 1_1280.jpg

http://hyperallergic.wpengine.netdna-cd ... s_500h.jpg

http://media.nola.com/nolavie/photo/10437282-large.jpg
 

Cherrybomb

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That is so creepy, the one of them in the corner by the stairs *shudder*
 

Mythopoeika

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Well done for clearing that up!
Mystery solved.
 

PeniG

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I hope the artist got to see that picture, which shows her installation interacting effectively with space adjacent to its venue. I bet she'd get a real kick out of that.
 

lone_concertina

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Fantastic work, Belshazzar! I've been looking forward to sleeping again ;)! I thought an art installation was the most likely answer. Thanks so much for clearing up the mystery!
 

JamesWhitehead

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Yes but I'm left with a feeling that the original unintentional art-work was more memorable than the intended one. Which I liked a lot, incidentally! :)
 

MercuryCrest

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ttaarraass said:
Ooh you can't just leave it at that! What pics are in there? Can you upload them all somewhere? :D
I was thinking about it. Perhaps I'll start a thread in Chat and upload them there. There aren't many, but the ones that are there are truly, mind-bendingly, disturbing...at least to me. :)
 

MadameB

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MercuryCrest said:
ttaarraass said:
Ooh you can't just leave it at that! What pics are in there? Can you upload them all somewhere? :D
I was thinking about it. Perhaps I'll start a thread in Chat and upload them there. There aren't many, but the ones that are there are truly, mind-bendingly, disturbing...at least to me. :)
Please, do!
 
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