Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Paranormal Life

Well, we're currently about a third of the way through filming and I can say it's been quite a ride. There have been changes...which means we're doing more work in the same amount of time and the cast and crew has really risen to the occasion. I won't gloss over's been hard. Tempers flare, people get stressed out and there are nights where it seems like we won't make it to the next morning. But, these are all passing things and when the morning does roll around we joke and laugh and get into it like nothing happened.

I try to remember to stop and take a look around every so often and take stock of what's going on around me. I'm not talking about the scenes or the shots, or where the camera is - but the fact that there is a camera next to me. This is my life, this is my job. I investigate the paranormal and for some reason, a network saw it fit to follow me and my friends around while we do it. This is awesome in the realest sense of the word, not in the throwaway manner those fresh out of college use to describe a breakfast burrito. Take last night, for example: I found myself in the belly of an abandoned insane asylum, headlamp on my head, maglite in one hand and a leaking bottle of luminol in the other. I'm two levels below the ground and beneath my feet are the slick wooden planks of a bowling alley. In the darkness, I turn to look over my right shoulder where the dull red glow of an infrared camera watches. I give it the thumbs up, knowing that on the other end of that camera and cord is a monitor screen where Chris and Aimee are seated. Moments earlier there was a loud CRASH! at the far end of the alley. I had gone to see what caused it but could find no explanation. This is my life. In about five months time the rest of America will find themselves in that bowling alley with me, in the dark, complete with thrilling music and interview segments. I had no idea that my life could be so exciting! I watched a rough cut of the first episode this morning and I saw many moments that I lived and at the time they seemed ordinary or routine. But watching them on the show, I found myself excited by it. I was in awe. "Wow," I had said aloud. In that moment, I took a look around, as I did the night before and I was thankful for everything I had and for everything that got me here.

This moment of sappy reflection being what it is, don't forget, it does not come easily. I've paid plenty of dues so I feel comfortable reaping the rewards from what I have sown. In a little while I'll be going to the set to film OTF (On The Fly) segments for last night's investigation. It got crazy - I'll have a lot to'll find out what exactly in five months...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Trouble Ahead?

We followed the omens to Ohio. Upon arrival it seemed as if we had evaded the dark clouds for a while. The air was cold and the sun, while bright, offered little warmth. The speed of the investigations and the filming in general seemed to increase. The days and nights began to blur together. With no concept of time and a general feeling of malaise, I feared that the darkness would catch up with us again.

Winter is a bleak and bleary time when the land slumbers and the world holds it's breath, as if spring is an uncertainty yet to be seen. For weeks I had felt that something was watching us, stalking us. Upon returning to the road I had wondered...had we outrun it or was it ahead of us, waiting? Each case; the events, the occurrences...each one sent a flag up the pole alerting an unseen world to our presence. It seemed as if we were helping the people we were investigating for, so that was a positive thing. But when would it turn? I simply could not shake that feeling.

In the months prior to filming, Chris (SCARED!) and I had begun to recognize a voice during various ghost box sessions. It was a distinct voice, low and guttural, as if it came from the depths of the earth itself. We heard it more often, clearer and more distinct but we were never able to make out what was being said. It is entirely possible that it was speaking in another language; a language long lost or perhaps foreign to this plane entirely. Whatever the case, it was not a comforting voice. Was it trying to intimidate us? Warn us?

Things happen in cycles, I truly believe this. Things come, go and return again. We live life, make mistakes, learn from them, make new mistakes, repeat old ones. Sunrise, sunset, as the song goes. I feel like something is coming back around and that this voice is coming with it. There is a case coming up that I am particularly concerned about...I would not want to avoid it or run from it but I do feel that something will happen during it. I have to be prepared. The team has to be ready.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Worlds Collide

2012 marks the tenth year I have been doing SCARED! Some were wondering if I would continue to do so after joining the cast of Haunted Collector, but that's like saying you would quit being who you are after getting a new job. I'm still very much a part of SCARED!

On this latest case for Haunted Collector, I find my two worlds overlapping. The case had a very heavy urban exploration element to it and I found myself going where the cameras would not. John and the others were taken aback at the condition of the place, but to me it was old hat. Business as usual in the life of an urban explorer...all the danger was real, all the fear was real. The mission concludes tomorrow and we'll move on to a cushier, more hospitable location, but my days of crawling in the dark are certainly not over.

Some behind-the-scenes highlights from this case so far:

• Best quote - "A question was posed in the Eighties...did they ever find out who was zoomin' who?" ~Aimee Zaffis

• Small town hospitality is alive and well, as Chris Zaffis and I got the red carpet rolled out for us at a local Italian restaurant the minute they found out who we were.

• I still have yet to execute a "night train" maneuver, but I'm hopeful for the future...

• Ten years of urban exploration does not make the cleaning of the boots any easier after a long, muddy day but it does make your bed that much more comfy to lie down in when you finally get to it.

• Brooks was here and so was Red. Now, Brian has been there too.

• Hall and Oates music has been following me and I don't mind at all.

• Wearing my full SCARED! uniform underneath some required safety gear feels like a proper nod to that which got me where I am today.

More to come...