THEY HEARD them before they saw them. Photographer Sam Files and a group of fellow camera junkies had met at Stout’s Point on Petit Jean Mountain in the early hours of the morning to photograph the sunrise, but the fog caused by the previous night’s rain kept the views hidden. As they deliberated their next move, the group was interrupted by a mysterious sound. “When we first heard it, we could just barely hear it on the wind,” Sam says. “That’s when it was the eeriest.”
As the sound grew louder, the photographers were able to discern voices and a melody, the familiar cadence of an old hymn. Then the figures started emerging from the fog. The shadowy shapes seen here may seem a bit spooky, but in reality, these teenagers from the mountain’s nearby Camp Mitchell were simply headed up to the Point for a sunrise service. Sam, however, decided to capture the scene to reflect how the moment felt—which is to say, a little haunting.