I would later laugh at the crazy irony of their nickname as you
will see also. I walked onto the subway car and sat for a few minutes,
trying to imagine what it was like that morning on this very train.
Below me was an ash-covered New York Times paper dated September
11. It was like sitting in a time capsule; A museum of sorts. I
stood up and began snapping photos with my camera, a large Mamiya
645 medium format and Vivitar flash. I'd be lying if I said there
wasn't the tug of something supernatural down there - I could feel
it all around me and it's the main reason I tried to shut off emotionally.
Jon Edwards would probably have had a heart-attack if he ventured
down there. It's not something that can be put it words other than
to multiply by ten the creepiest & scariest place you've ever
been. I stopped halfway through shooting and took out this little
prayer Bible that I always carried on me and read some Psalms for
the victims with my flashlight. It actually comforted me also! I
put the Bible away and continued shooting for twenty minutes before
deciding this "confined space" was not safe for me. The
subway car just behind me was crushed like a tin can from the overhead
parking concourse that collapsed on it & I didn't want to stick
around any more. I got the photos back the next day and the photo
I took of the opening to this subway car have, as you can see, has
unexplained light streaks and spots on it. These are on the negative
and the words/lettering on the subway car door are not blurred nor
streaked. I didn't jerk the camera in any way and I have to say
my developer at the lab couldn't explain them either. We often like
to label things as unexplained or "bizarre" without looking
at them scientifically, but I must say as someone who has shot photography
since he was 12-years-old, these light streaks are unexplainable
to me. They make no sense nor are their patterns remnant of anything
I have ever seen in twenty years of shooting."
UK EVESHAM NEWS: "So if you had to guess, what or how
would you label these lights?"
GARY SUSON: "I'd have to say that they are an apparition;
A spirit of some kind that appeared on my film. Call me crazy but
I believe what I believe."
"I assume that nobody died down in the PATH subway concourse area?
They all passed away above ground, correct?"
GARY SUSON: "Funny you ask that. Here's where it all gets
quite interesting and more bizarre. What I am about to say also
explains why I never stepped foot down there again after March,
2002. It was a well-known fact that nobody perished in the tunnels/train
area. Everyone got out of the subway area just in the nick of time
on the morning of September 11. Rescue crews immediately began searching
the tunnels and numerous rooms in the concourse for victims but
none were found. Secondary searches once again revealed no victims.
On my journeys down there, I saw the names of some of the fallen
scrawled in ash by fellow firefighters. Quite moving I must say.
And so, it was believed that nobody passed away down there which
brought me comfort as I didn't need that resting on my conscience
while I was shooting. However, I am sensitive to supernatural energies
ever since I am a child as my home was built just next to Indian
burial ground in the State of Illinois. We had many bizarre/unexplained
things happen in my house and on the 40-acre property I grew up
on. It was par for the course. While down in the PATH concourse,
as I stated earlier, I felt an overwhelming spiritual energy which
I assumed was from just above me, which was the Ground Zero pit
area. I think "humbling" is a good way to describe the energy as
it never went away, it put those chills in my spine and eventually
was the incentive to start reading Psalms down there with my flashlight.
So now we move to March, 2002, toward the end of the recovery period
and my trips down in the PATH train areas have been well documented
both on camera and digital video. It was a Sunday afternoon and
I forced myself to go home and rest. I was so exhausted that day
and I was laying on my bed still in my Carrhartt overalls when a
fellow recovery worker called me from the WTC site. He said, 'Gary,
don't talk. I'm putting my cellphone up to my Motorola Receiver,
so listen.' I listened to the crackling static transmissions between
a recovery crew in the PATH tunnels and the command center. It turns
out that directly underneath the subway car behind me, where this
photo was taken, the remains of a woman were found. It's speculated
that after the Tower collapsed and the ash was traveling quickly,
she ran down the subway steps for cover and the smoke and ash followed
her. She panicked and looking to hide from the thick ash, she jumped
down onto the tracks and crawled under the subway car. She was a
heavy-set woman and odds are she became stuck and then asphixiated
from the smoke/ash which permeated every crevice of the tunnels.
Her remains were there for 7 months before being found by accident
when they went to remove the lead subway car from the tunnels. When
I learned that she had been there that whole time, not only did
I get quite uneasy but the "unexplained lights" photo now made perfect
sense. In my mind, it was now "explained." I was standing 20 feet
away or less from her on most my trips. This photo is one of several
taken in different areas with white spots on them."
EVESHAM NEWS: "Well, this experience is certainly something
that must be emotionally trying for you."
GARY SUSON: "Yes, it is, but whatever pain I have felt from
all this can never compare to what the victims went through that
horrible morning or what pains their surviving families must now
endure each day. This whole experience is not about me. It's all
UK EVESHAM NEWS: "Why does this photo not appear in
your book, Requiem?"
GARY SUSON: "Because I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable.
Requiem is such a serious, historical photography book that I didn't
want anyone thinking I put the photo in there to create hype or
sell books. September 11 is a painful day in our history and many
families have been destroyed on several levels. I am close with
many of those families. My time spent at Ground Zero
and the friends I made are priceless and quite special to me. A
high level of trust was given to me and I didn't want one,supernatural-like
photo to ruin the seriousness of the book if taken in the wrong
context. Most everyone who worked at Ground Zero know there are
spirits there. It's a well-known fact for us. We felt their strong
energy every day and many of my FDNY pals have stories that would
boggle the mind. But those stories will have to wait until the future.
One day, when enough time haspassed, I will post this photo on my
UK EVESHAM NEWS: "Thank you for your time and for sharing
GARY SUSON: "Thank you."