Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What’s that mysterious light in the tunnel? A case of investigative photography

above the tunnel.jpg
Long Dock Tunnel in Jersey City
It was late in the afternoon of December 2, 2006. I was taking photos of graffiti and whatever else near the Long Dock Tunnel (above) in Jersey City. I looked into the tunnel and was surprised to see a fairly bright light not too far into it:


Yes, the photo’s blurred, but the blur doesn’t hide the thing that puzzled me. Those little white dots in the center, that’s the far end of the tunnel, almost a mile away. But what’s that yellow/orange light there? That’s very strange. As far as I know there are no lights in the tunnel. Is there a ventilation shaft? Even if so, how’d that bright light come through?

The shaft would have to go through 50 feet or more of rock and would be vertical. The sun was really the only available source of light, and, as it was late in the day, it would have been low and to the West (more or less ahead). You aren’t going to get much light bouncing around in a vertical shaft and come out that bright. The physics didn’t make sense.

I entered the tunnel to investigate. When I got, I don’t know, 50, 60 feet in or so, I turned around and took a shot:


If you look at the red RR bridge (for an abandoned line) you can make out the sun shining in over the edge of the bridge. This should make that clearer:

IMGP1346 close+

There’s just one problem. We’re now looking more or less East, so the sun is behind us to the West. That can’t be the sun, unless....

I really don’t know why I did this, but I turned around and took a shot West through the tunnel:


That’s my shadow creeping along the ground over the ties. And, no, the tunnel walls weren’t purple. Cameras do funny things when you push them beyond their capacity just to get the shot, which is what I did here. You can see the far end of the tunnel, off there in the distance.

What must have happened is all of a sudden the light got really bright. I turned around and took another shot out through the east end of the tunnel. This blue is what I got:


The light was so intense I could hardly see and the camera was utterly unable to focus. Still, the railroad tracks are obvious and it is equally obvious that a very bright light is shining into the tunnel.

This next picture shows us what’s going on:


The sun is reflecting off a building in downtown Jersey City

IMGP1351-2 close-

and the light is reflected directly into the Long Dock Tunnel. THAT’s what I saw when I first looked into the tunnel.




An omen?


Of what?