Thursday, June 7, 2012

EPISODE 201: Haunted Mansion/Ghost Mill

This building is going DOWN!

Haunted Collector, Season Two premiered last night.  Amidst excitement and trepidation, I sat down to watch it with a Frito pie, in honor of some friends made during Season One.  The opening shots began to roll with the VO, "This season on Haunted Collector..." and I got the chills - the good kind!  Once again, I have to say I was pleased with what I saw.  As an editor, I have a shaky trust with footage I'm in that I'm not editing myself.  Ten years of doing my own documentaries will do that!  Anyway, I promised you a behind-the-scenes look and that is what I plan to give you.  Will it always be interesting?  No.  Will it always be honest?  Absolutely.  Call me the Anecdote Collector.

We'll start with the first segment, which took place in Warsaw, KY.  This was not the first case we filmed this season, so we'd been on the road for some time already and had gotten ourselves into little routines.  Pack, unpack, populate bathroom sink, gripe over lack of refrigerator or microwave in room, compare room numbers, etc.  The prior three cases were all located in Ohio and the hotel accommodations varied from town to town.  But when we rolled into this case, we found we were staying across the river in Indiana, at the Belterra Hotel & Casino!  The casino itself was situated on a riverboat, supposedly to get around some specific gambling laws.  Holy luxury, Batman!  The rooms were cushy and comfortable and mine was on the fifteenth floor, so I was able to look out across the river and survey all the sun touched.  Quite a change from seeing the parking lot of whatever Holiday Inn Express we'd been in prior to that.  My room was the perfect pad for an exhausted investigator to come home to each night.  Apparently, not all were so lucky.  John and Jason's first rooms were on the other side of the hotel, where there was no hot water.  The management explained that since this was their off-season, they didn't bother to turn on the boilers on that side.  John changed rooms once, Jason changed rooms twice.  Meanwhile, I enjoyed a jacuzzi tub with a television in the washroom.  On our off time, we found ourselves in the casino.  I'm a frugal gambler.  That is, I have no money to lose, so I seldom bet much and I get out the minute I win anything.  I will say though that I did conduct a few surgical strikes on the blackjack tables and came out comfortably ahead with no losses or feelings of crushing remorse.  Jason subscribed to my methods as well and we delighted in him winning five dollars on an "Aliens" slot machine while I screamed, "CASH OUT!!"  Meanwhile, in another part of the casino, Aimee won a considerable sum of money with a few pulls on a "Kitty Glitter" slot machine.  This instantly made her MVP for the whole case and earned her a new nickname.  We had a lot of laughs on this particular case, which was a nice balance to the sometimes stoic march of the investigation process.  Because the mansion was in Kentucky, we all called it the K-Y Mansion, which had it's own slippery connotations.  But on to the particulars of what was left out...

Evidence or coincidence?
• What do we have here?  While we waited for the camera crew to switch to the astroscope lens (night vision) for the nighttime investigation, I snapped a few pics of Aimee and Chris sitting on the couch.  Notice the light anomaly to the right of Chris' head.  I immediately saw it on the camera and showed the two of them. Time-wise, this was before that, "Oh my God" EVP they got in that very room.  Click on the picture, examine it, ponder it and leave comments as to what you think it is.  This is your homework for next week...LOL

Five Statues
• There were five bronze cowboy-themed statues around the house.  During the baseline sweep, John noted that the MEL he and Jesslyn were using was getting crazy readings off of one of them.  Did it have something to do with the metal it was made out of?  Was it the room it was in or it's position in the house?  The other four statues gave off no EMF.  On the surface, the only thing that made the one statue different from the rest was that it was the only one placed by a window.  So, to try and duplicate the errant readings, I moved another of the cowboys to a night table by a window.  I let a few hours pass before checking on it again, but the displaced statue failed to take on the properties of his set mate.

"What's in the box?!"
• We also had some odd occurrences centered around an old steamer trunk Charlet had gotten from an estate sale.  Random EMF variances, temperature fluctuations as well as an odd smell alerted Jason and I to something possibly going on in that room.  While we got nothing conclusive from further examination, it did allow me to say my favorite line in the OTF: "What's in the box?!" For two seasons now, I've been trying to slip the Brad Pitt quote from Seven into the show casually (or even deliberately) with no luck.  Even when it makes sense in the scene, the director or the editors see it and go, "HEY, he's doing it again!"  *CHOP* goes the footage.  Now if there were a head in that trunk they'd feel pretty foolish, wouldn't they?  WHAT'S IN THE BOX? COUNT: 1

Moving on to the next segment, we found ourselves in Huron, Ohio.  This was really a very exciting case.  There could be no "TV magic" distortions of time, this place was going down in 48 hours, so we were under a time crunch.  If we missed a spot or the crew didn't get a shot, there was no going back after the fact.  It was a live (de)construction site so one of the rules was that we had to wear reflective vests, safety goggles and a hard hat at all times.  It was annoying at first, but we decided to act like we were in a Beastie Boys video at all times and that made it us, anyway.  I also got to walk around with a sledgehammer so it made me feel like an American Gladiator.  No complaints here.

"Would be nice to get clean..."

• One of the main things the episode didn't convey was the conditions of the place.  First of all, it was the beginning of January in Huron, Ohio and it was COLD!  We all were wearing layers upon layers upon layers (the astute viewer might notice I was wearing my SCARED! uniform beneath my safety gear ) and when we weren't on camera we hid out in the heated trailer office.  Second condition was the mud.  It was everywhere.  Upon returning to my room each night, I'd spend at least a half hour cleaning my boots and then showering before I could relax.

The Great Wall of Grannon
• Inside the afore mentioned office trailer, we spent hours waiting for John's segments to be done; the client walkthrough, his OTFs and other bits.  The trailer was divided into three portions, a main section with two smaller rooms at either end.  At one end was the production office, the other end was where lunch was arranged and in the middle was where we hung out. It was essentially a large, rectangular box, so we had to find ways to entertain ourselves.  We played Apples to Apples, Milles Bornes, made silly videos on VidRhythm and doodled all over our safety gear.  Eventually, we turned on one was quiet in the trailer.  Too quiet.  I seized the opportunity to do some redecorating while trying not to alert Chris Grannon in the production office.  Stacking every chair in the main area up to block the door, we cleared out of the trailer and turned off the lights.  Chris had been working diligently (or playing Words With Friends, I'm not quite sure) in the office room, so he only roused when the lights went off.  Let the prank war begin!

There Won't Be Blood
• During the baseline sweep, right after I noticed the substance on Chris' hard hat, I somehow took a misstep and twisted into a position that caused one of my ribs to dislocate.  For anyone who's done this before, you know that this is pretty painful.  For the uninitiated, allow me to describe it.  It starts off as a dull pain in your chest, small at first but then radiating outward to an arm, making it tingle and then go numb.  Breathing became hard and you are forced to take shallow breaths to avoid aggravating the rib further.  The first time this happened to me, I thought I was having a heart attack.  Not fun.  There is nothing you can do to accelerate the rib popping back into place, you just have to wait it out.  When I first started feeling the pain and the tingling in my hand, I took a step back and leaned on the wall, trying to be as nonchalant as possible.  The director noticed right away and asked if I wanted to stop.  He even radioed the production office, telling them that they might need to get an ambulance over here, but I waved him no.  We were waiting for John to arrive from the upper floors anyway and I didn't want to hold up the shoot, so all I needed was a moment to rest.  What the episode could not convey was the horrible smell of animal feces all over the floor of this level and the adjoining silos.  The last thing I wanted to do was spend any more time in there than I had to, so the show must go on.  The later shots I struggled through gritting my teeth and ignoring the pain until it began to subside.  My inspiration for this was Sylvester Stallone, who often hurts himself during his movies, in more life-threatening ways than I and he always makes it through.  Thanks, Sly!

• There was a lot more urban exploration that what you saw in the show.  I was there, so of course I wanted to explore and see every part of it!  I climbed every staircase and tower that I could get access to - half the time with the camera crew lagging behind.  At one point I wanted to cross a gantry from the main building to the silos and the film crew had stood down as they waited for instructions from the director, who was downstairs.  So, I climbed across anyway and yelled across for them to get it on film.  The looks of terror on their faces at both the height and the condition of my perch had them all begging me to come down.  From my point of view, I thought such shots would make for great TV.  On this, I do know what I'm talking about...back in the early days of SCARED! we'd always have people telling us they were so afraid for us watching the show and the things we did were crazy.  I know SyFy likes to play it safe, but if I'm going to do it anyway, they might as well have cameras rolling, right? ;)

There you have it.  Some tidbits that round out the experience.  Honestly, as I see this entry get longer and longer I can think of other things that made us laugh or that startled us.  For more you'll just have to ask us in person.  We won't bite, we promise...see you all next week!

1 comment:

  1. *wild* I have to laugh the three amigos to funny lol..the building going down looks creepy..the only building I saw go down was in Vegas back when the Dunes went down, it's so sad to see the old buildings that I grew up going to and playing in get blown up:( my mother, gramdma were gamblers and I am one but seeing the new Vegas it's sad but it's also interesting with shows, but I am just adjusted to the old ways lol...ganster ways there back in the days.* no I'm not old* LOL.. lol..I am missing the show I have to catch it on syfy I hope they don't take it down yet I am so slow in watching stuff. I'm amazed I get things diary you are sharing is way interesting and makes as if I am in an old time period, you tell it well:) the old chest looks cool, imagine how many people were there once and if you listen carefully you can actually here them as the wind blows in, my mother told me that once:) not sure if she was trying to scare me lol..I enjoy your diary you can share with us and take time to write safe out there all of you and keep your eyes and ears open:) Angie *smiles*