April Ripka arrived at her Northfield art supply and gift store around 2:00 in the afternoon on Saturday, and was greeted by a spooked employee.
"We've got a ghost," the staffer said.
"Oh, you watched the tape?" Ripka asked.
"What tape?" the employee asked back.
Turns out the woman was relaying her strange musical experience that day in Sketchy Artist, the store Ripka's owned for more than a decade. Deciding she wanted to move on from a "French jazz" Pandora station Ripka had left, the woman changed the feed... only for two songs to start playing at once. She turned the whole thing off, and instead of silence, was met with the still-playing song she'd chosen.
For the employee, this was strange enough. It was nothing compared to Ripka's morning.
The shop owner awakened to the notification that the store's motion sensor camera had captured something early that morning. This wasn't uncommon, as certain cameras placed near windows tended to alert Ripka of things happening outside the building rather than in it.
This camera was aimed toward an interior nook in the store, and was rarely triggered. Ripka drove to the store with some curiosity.
She pulled up the short clip the security camera had recorded and hit play. Then she played it again. And again, and again.
"I watched it about six times, and finally just thought, 'That's an orb,'" Ripka says. "I was trying to think of everything. It's not dust, it's not a bug. I zoomed in on it -- and it's just a formless ball of light."
Ripka shared the clip to social media, and later granted a friend approval to let Twitter take a crack at theorizing its meaning.
I don’t know if y’all are into paranomal stuff but my friend owns a business in Northfield, and she caught this on camera around 7am. Her phone gets updates on movement when she isn’t in the store. Please RT, cause that ain’t no dustball. pic.twitter.com/o9BXmxbXCK— ˢ ᴼ ᵁ ᴾ ˢᶻᴺ (@KarleeKanz) November 18, 2019
According to... numerous websites -- don't judge! -- an orb is "generally thought to be the manifestation of energy," with lighter-colored orbs such as this one "typically thought to be positive, although they could also indicate that a spirit or energy is stuck or trapped on a plane that they don’t belong on." Like an art store in Northfield.
Ripka doesn't know how to interpret what she caught on tape, though she did throw out a couple guesses for why restless souls might linger in the neighborhood. Her shop used to be across the street, where it neighbored an old jail, and upstairs from her current spot is a prayer room.
"So, I don't know, there's that juju," she says.
As long as this orb doesn't shoplift or bother customers, Ripka doesn't mind its presence.
"I'm totally cool with it... totally open to it. I don't feel creeped out at all. I think it's really cool."