Thursday, June 14, 2012

Episode 202: Haunted Inn/Long Live the Kings

Minus our first case shot this round, I feel the furthest removed from the two locations shown in tonight's episode.  Production-wise, they were the second and third cases we shot.  We were fresh on the road, getting used to a new director, a new crew and two new investigators: Jason and Jesslyn.  Of course we were all getting along and being polite to one other, but let's be honest here - we were thrown together and any fixed marriage takes time for feelings to develop.  The Zaffis Clan (of which John says I am a part of, like it or not) didn't quite know what to make of the new blood.  Jesslyn was like an outdoor cat; we fed her, so she stuck around and now she's ours.  Mr. Gates won us over with his travel backgammon board, that sneaky devil...but I'll get to that in another post.

For Season Two, you can pretty much tell when things were filmed by the length of my hair.  I bitched about a bad cut when I first hit the road and started this blog and tonight was the evidence of it.  Unlike Samson, I gain no strength from it's length, but it's such a part of me that when it's cut I  And "off" is how I entered these two investigations.  Thankfully the rest of the team was there to pick up the slack.  But I'll try not to slack on the back-end view of this episode.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so at what exchange rate do we factor in video?  During the taping of season one, I had hoped that someone would take pictures or behind-the-scenes video to really capture what our life was like on the road.  What can I say, I guess I really am a true documentarian at heart.  But, we got home with only the episodes themselves as proof of our prior three months.  I was not going to let that slide this time.  Check out this bit of whimsy then we'll continue with the deep thoughts.

The first segment took place in my home state of New York, in a town called Boonville.  When the producers told me where we were going and about the mob history of the area, I got excited.  I'm a big movie buff so I envisioned the opening scenes of Analyze This and all the mobsters fleeing their meeting.  If the case were half as fun as that, it would be worth the trip!  (Side note: Analyze This was directed by Harold Ramis, a.k.a. - Egon Spengler, Ghostbuster)

• One of the things we loved about filming was the evolution of the crew's beliefs.  These cats are TV people and their main concern is to get their product shot.  Their belief in the paranormal is not mandatory.  Truth be told, most don't believe in things that go bump in the night.  That is, until they spend an extended amount of time with us.  Case in point, the first night we were at the Hulbert House, we were shooting the baseline sweep.  Josh, a veteran crew member from season one, had the attic door slammed on him.  Now, he's a big guy and not much rattles him but little by little the things that go bump were bumping him and others on the crew.  When they would tell us what happened, John and I could do nothing but smile.

• I'm not sure if we're going to be holding public events there or not, but the episode could simply not convey all that was going on in this place.  Forget the paranormal for a second and just think about history, even the specific history of a single person.  That third floor seemed untouched by time.  We checked out all of them and in every one there was something surprising and unique.  I spent some time just sitting in each of them, imagining what it must have been like to call that room your own.  Thinking about what was going on in the town at that time and what that person's role was in all of it.  As the commercials say, "everything has a story" and in the Hulbert House there are many, many stories yet to be told.

Sonic Karma?  I recall a conversation we had in the van while we waited for Aimee and John to finish the walkthrough.  Chris and I heard LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" on the radio and he commented on how amazing it was that they got paid so much to create something so simple.  I was feeling rather surly that day so I grumbled that it disgusted me that some people had to work hard for so little and others figuratively step in it.  Kind of the same mentality as the Occupy Wall Street movement, except we were in a Rite Aid parking lot so perhaps we were occupying that.  Jesslyn piped up that it was a fun song and it made people happy so therein lies the merit.  I did mention the surly part right?  So, I felt the need to argue a pointless battle over a silly song that was hurting no one.  Anyway, now that I'm home and back doing shooting and editing, I've been handling a lot of proms and what's a staple at every one?  You got it, plenty of LMFAO, including, "Sexy and I Know It" as well as "Party Rock Anthem".  And what do I do when I hear them?  Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle!  I don't work out, though...LOL

• I remember the press showing up to see what was happening while we filmed and as it turned out, I was standing outside at the time.  It's funny how the piece shows the production team as the investigators.  See?  This is the perfect example of how an edit can skew reality.  Watching this again is making me miss the crew!

Segment two put the team down in Jacksonville, Fl at a place called the King House.  A private residence, it is infamous in the area for tales of murder and spirits alike.  We rolled into town and our first meal together (cast and crew) was at a little seafood shack by our hotel.  The piles of shrimp, scallops, flounder and other marine morsels took over the table as we caught up on what the past months had brought each of us.  This was our first indication that Jason could possibly eat as much as I the season progressed, we made the concept of a doggie bag unnecessary.

• The cast of 'Collector is made up of animal lovers and we always seemed to find some who loved us as well.  This time, it was a cat named...actually, I have no idea what his name was, but Aimee dubbed him Rosa Parks (at right).  She has a peculiar preference for naming her animals after civil rights figures.  Her cat at home is named Harriet Tubman.  Weird, right?  I can't talk though, I call every cat I meet, "beadie".  Rosa was the coolest animal in the place.  The family dog was kept outside, as to not be stressed out by all the people coming in and out of the house.  In addition, there were plenty of neighborhood cats who slinked by to check out what we were doing.  Then there was the parrot...well, as you saw in the episode, the parrot had a lot to say and often times he was just screeching at the top of his lungs at Chris and I.  He was not the kind of Angry Bird I like to play with!

• Now remember how I said that strange things began happening to the crew to assist in them all becoming believers in the paranormal?  Well, at the King House one of our sound guys was forcibly persuaded to consider those possibilities.  Allow me to set the scene.  At right is a picture of how his audio kit looked like.  It's basically a bag loaded with his mixer, batteries, lav receivers and tons of other odds and ends he needs for the job.  It's not light, so he has it strapped on him via the contraption shown.  Notice the carabiner holding the bag to the strap.  As any mountain climber can tell you, the carabiner is important and it's designed to hold a lot of weight and it's not something that would "just happen" to come undone.  But, as he was standing there, that is just what happened - his bag lifted up, came off the carabiner and the shift in weight distribution caused him to fall into a nearby table, causing quite a racket!  Chris and I witnessed this from the adjoining room, where we were stuck while John filmed a segment down the hall.  The audio guy (I withhold his name to protect his integrity) was clearly shaken up.  He's a pro and something like this just does not happen. The carabiner was securely fastened when he put his rig on and for it to disengage like that was inconceivable to him.  Inconceivable!  "There's that word again...I do not think it means what you think it means..."

• Speaking of that room, there was activity reported there that we spent some time looking into.  A mysterious handprint was reported to appear on one of the window panes.  The owner claimed that it would return even after being cleaned off.  Sound like the famous handprint in the Old Jail at Jim Thorpe?  Well, since that place denies access to their handprint, I was excited to give my debunking skills a go here in Jacksonville!  Chris and I got glass cleaner, paper towels and really gave the window a thorough cleaning.  My tagline from season one was resurrected: "We get all the fun jobs".  Not to disparage the owner of the house, but that room was quite dirty - a smudge on a window would not seem out of place and I certainly wouldn't assign it a paranormal origin, but we had to give it it's due attention.  We placed one of our IR cameras on it all night to see if a handprint would reappear, but none did during our time there.  There is another lesson to be taken away from this example.  Our investigations head down many avenues, but when they lead nowhere, they are prime candidates for the cutting room floor.  So when you watch the show and think, "Why didn't they try this or that?" stop for a moment and consider that we probably did and it made for BORING television! :)

Well, this blog entry has been pretty packed and I know there is a ton I'm forgetting.  But, I'll pause here until next week when our adventures in collecting take us to a case that I'll have a TON to write about!  For you five faithful readers, I leave you with my traditional sign-off; "Never Stop Searching".

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the show Brian... and the blog is great! Good to see you all back for season 2!