Thanks for the referral to this article by friend of the blog Greg Bart.  It is dizzying in the number of coincidences – the old camera found at a garage sale, the picture inside the camera of a deceased family member;  the family members who died in car accidents, both from neck injuries, the irony that one of those was working for an insurance company… definitely a story made for The Odds Must Be Crazy.

Wichita boy’s garage-sale buy holds a treasure for his family

A 13-year-old boy bought a Polaroid camera at a garage sale, and brought it home to look on the internet for instructions to use it. When he opened it, he saw that the camera still had a photo inside. He showed the photo to his grandmother; she didn’t know that the photo had come from the garage sale camera, and commented that it was her son, the boy’s uncle, Scott, who’d died 23 years earlier. She thought it was a family photo, but didn’t really recognize it.

In the photo Scott is sitting on a sofa with a high school girlfriend, Susan. The grandmother guessed it was taken in 1978 or 1979, about 10 years before his death. When told it came from a garage sale camera, she thought her grandson was kidding. Nobody else in the family could believe it, either.

At the time he died, the man in the photo was about start a new job with an insurance company. He was in a collision and died from neck injuries. His brother had died seven years earlier in a car accident, also of neck injuries.

The family said they don’t know the people who were having the garage sale, and in fact, the man who sold the camera may have picked it up at another garage sale himself.

Although the family considers the discovery of the photo in the garage sale camera miraculous or a sign that their lost loved ones are communicating from beyond this life, and it is understandably startling and disconcerting to find a photo of a lost loved one in a polaroid camera, I remember those, and I’m somewhat surprised that the picture was still as good as it looks in the newspaper photo. I seem to remember that they fade after awhile. But nonetheless, I can’t help thinking about how many Polaroid cameras people had, and the popularity of the hobby. They were amazing for their time – instant pictures that were even sometimes used like postcards – but as common as cellular phones are now. It’s interesting that a 13 year-old boy, after Polaroids were no longer being made,  would pay a dollar for one at a garage sale; and brilliant that he would look up on the internet how to make it work.

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