"Woke up this morning, can't believe what I saw...a hundred billion bottles, washed up on the shore..."
- The Police, Message in a Bottle
This was the way my Halloween began this year; with the words penned by Sting playing out as I wiped the cobwebs from my mind. I'm no psychic, but I knew something was amiss. What that was, I had no idea. Would it be trick or treat?
I found out soon enough as I logged onto Facebook for my daily dose of cat memes and status line therapy posts. John had posted that Haunted Collector would not be coming back and that elicited hundreds of responses lamenting the news. Texts and tweets began pouring in about it and I was overwhelmed at first...I needed some confirmation of my own. It came in the form of an email from our production company. It was true. What a way to kick off the biggest day of the year for a paranormal investigator. So, I wrote a post of my own wishing everyone a Happy Halloween and that I would gather my thoughts about it soon. These are those thoughts, on what may be my last blog entry for a while.
Where do I begin? How can I sum up the experience of a lifetime within just a few paragraphs? We had three seasons of incredible adventures, both on and off camera. I visited places I never thought I'd ever see. I experienced things that forced me to expand my mind concerning the paranormal as well as the way we examine it. The friendships made, the laughs we had, the hard times and the trying times...the way the public responded to us, the people we were able to help, the fans and friends at the events and conventions...all of this and more is woven into the fabric that is Haunted Collector. For me, it was and is much more than a television show. Our adventures, our lives, continue even now that the cameras aren't rolling. We're paranormal investigators, we're a group of friends and above all we're a family unit. No network can dissolve that bond, ratings be damned.
|Season One cast, minus John|
In this bittersweet moment of farewell, I exist in the unusual dichotomy of duality...and perhaps I am experiencing the phases of loss simultaneously. I will miss the show, I'll miss the Wednesday nights live-Tweeting with viewers and the interaction with everyone whose lives we touched through it. I'm saddened that we got cut-off mid stride because I felt we weren't done yet...there was still more to do. I'm angry that the politics of those in the power positions in the production companies and networks caused this. I've tried to bargain in my mind the ways we could avoid this, save it, keep it going and as I see these feelings echoed online, I know it is all for naught. As a logical being, these feelings are natural, but counter-productive. So I choose to focus on the positive. You won't see me pointing fingers nor threatening a tell-all of the shenanigans that often seem to come to light after premature cancellations. I was given the opportunity of a lifetime and I am grateful for the gift. Daily, I am contacted by scores of people wanting to be on TV and asking me how they can do it. I wasn't looking to be on TV and somehow I ended up on it. I'm aware of the list of people who despise me for it, but even that I am thankful for. Your ire strengthens me and drives me forward.
|Season Two cast|
The honor was mine to follow John Zaffis, my friend, my mentor, my brother on adventures that changed my perspective on many things. In addition to the paranormal aspect of the show, I got to work with some of the hardest working crews in the business. I can't adequately describe how hard these people worked, from the camera and sound guys, to the producers and the editors and even the production assistants. Always smiling, always upbeat, always dedicated. Their work ethic was an inspiration and to all of you cats, I thank you - you made us look like rock stars weekly on TV.
Recently, I was asked how long I'll keep Haunted Collector on my profile. It struck me as an obnoxious question at first. I've seen actors in one episode of Star Trek's original run in the 60's show up at conventions signing pictures from back in the day. I've always been an avid sic fi fan and con goer and I would enjoy seeing them, but I too would ask myself, "How long are they going to milk that appearance for?" Am I now one of them? I don't feel that way, no. The difference here is that those actors were playing a role. No one on Star Trek has ever been in space. The extended Zaffis Clan really experienced the things you saw bits of on TV. We lived it. We have lessons to pass on. Everything I live through gets added to my arsenal of wisdom, so the answer to the question must be, "forever". I coined the internet hashtag #Collectors to identify those fans of our show and I too will always be a #Collector.
|Season Three cast|
Given this, I am forced to acknowledge another truth about our society - television and entertainment are dominant forces in many of our lives. Much of our information we get from the internet and TV. Go ahead and dispute it, resist it, but the fact that you're reading this now lends credibility to the statement. The paranormal community is getting bigger all the time and it is an unfortunate truth that many of the newcomers get their education of such primarily through the para shows. I've always said, let the shows be the inspiration for you, but be sure to read, research, get mentored and then do more reading. Never let the TV be your sole educator. Being on one of the shows, this message was taken to heart and the things we tried to show about process and concepts was digested by the masses. At conventions, I would try to further this by giving as much information as I could about the topics, to the point of overwhelming the audience. The sad reality though, is that without the show, the message will be harder to get out now. Will the new blood care what I have to say without a TV show at my back? This remains to be seen and I hope to be proven wrong.
I'm not good at goodbyes and I'm not a fan of change...so it's difficult to know how to wrap this up. What I do know is that we'll all continue to do what we've been doing - you'll just have to look a little harder to find us. Just know that out there somewhere, the Zaffis Clan, be it together or separately, is doing well. John Zaffis, Aimee Zaffis, Chris Zaffis, Beth Ezzo, Jason Gates, Jesslyn Brown and myself - veterans still in the service. All week people have been telling me that, "When one door closes, another one opens". I don't subscribe to that adage. When a door closes, you have a closed door, that's all. It's what you do about it that defines your situation. But you can bet that we'll all be knocking on, kicking down and creating new doors for the future. Count on it.
"Seems I'm not alone in being alone - a hundred billion castaways looking for a home..."
|Never goodbye, more like, "See you later..."|