August Update

August Update

Just a quick note: “Night Stalkers” is no longer available for purchase online. I’ll still sell copies of it a para-cons and other live venues.

We did a bit more filming on the new documentary last Friday. A small segment at Casa del Mexicano, and at another location. We captured many EPs during filming, and had a couple creepy experiences. Below is a behind the scenes encounter we had between filming!

Disembodied Voices In The Asylum

Filming for the second documentary continues. Wednesday, we were on location, and all of us heard a disembodied voice say, “Yes….?” ┬áIt was captured on three seperate recorders, as well as on camera. Also a loud knock emanated frm a door right in front of us. Interesting stuff, and we’re still at the beginning stages of the project!

Long Overdue Updates, and New Documentary News!

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve updated the 7PP blog. So without further adieu…

Before 2011 was over, I edited “Night Stalkers” down from one hour, 45 minutes to just 62 minutes. I researched film festivals, and most documentaries are about an hour. Plus, I could see the points where the audience was zoning out. The biggest reason for the editing came from my longtime friend Ray Montes. He took a critical look at the doc and told me I forgot how to be ruthless in my editing. Basically he said I should get to the meat, or important points a lot faster than I was. And so I did.

On Saturday, March 10 2012, “Night Stalkers” had it’s second public screening at the CPPI 2nd Annual Paranormal Filmfest for Charity Watching it with an audience seated in pews in a still-operating church was a unique experience! The audience seemed to enjoy
it, and I didn’t see anyone tuning out from this stripped down 62 minute version of the doc. I participated in a short Q & A session afterward.

Making the documentary fueled my interest and curiosity in the paranormal. Whenever my schedule provides, I still go out with investigators to capture EVPS, and participate in ITC sessions in various haunted places like cemeteries. On one occasion, I thought I had captured a truly paranormal event! I had taken a picture of fellow paranormal investigator Crystal Ketcham in the Long Beach Municipal Cemetery, and found two ghostly green streaks near her head.

I immediately tried to debunk it, as she was holing a K2 meter in her hand at the time. However, it was out of frame, and near her knees, so I still questioned whether the streaks I was seeing near her head were any kind of manifestation. Luckily, the paranormal investigators that I have a lot of respect for quickly debunked it for me. They’ve seen this kind of thing for years labeled incorrectly as a paranormal event. The ghostly streaks were actually a result of a long shutter speed setting, and Crystal moving the K2 meter seconds before.

January first of this year, I joined Crystal again at the Redondo Beach Pier. Years before, she told me she captured “faces” in the fog at the pier. On this trip, I captured an EVP calling out Crystal’s name.

On a later trip, we captured several interesting ITC interactions.

On Thursday, April 12, 2012, I attended the 1st Annual East Los Angeles Paranormal Conference at East L.A College. For this occasion, I put together a 5 minute “Night Stalkers” trailer. I also did my third Q&A on stage.

Last month I began speaking to Frank Beruecos and Dawn Gomez about a possible documentary on Camarillo State Mental Hospital. Frank has been investigating the former mental services facility for over 10 years. I also have a possible second documentary in the works. This past weekend, we drove up to Camarillo and filmed a few scenes. We’re off and running on a new doc! Stay tuned!

Night Stalkers Screening At The Steve Allen Theater

On Wednesday, September 28th, “Night Stalkers” had its second public screening at the Center For Inquiry in the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, CA. Unlike the last screening, the entrance to Steve’s theater wasn’t blocked off, so there was an actual audience this time.

This audience was made up of skeptics from IIG, or the Independent Investigations Group. Mark Edward, who appears in Night Stalkers, set up the screening and invited me to do a Q&A session afterward. The screening went over very well. The audience laughed at most of the claims, like I knew they would, but they were generally quiet through it. Louis Gonzalez was applauded for stating investigators should be prepared to accept that what they are investigating may not be proof of anything. Sarah Troop got a big laugh when she pointed out that the skeptics at 2010’s Para Con handing out suckers to all the attendees was the purest form of irony.

Joe and Rebecca Mendoza from 3am Paranormal were another highlight with the audience. While they generally scoffed at references to the entity known as “Pipes”, the audience really enjoyed the banter between the two. They laughed when Rebecca revealed that she uses the “after death” code word between her and Joe on numerous passwords. Joe’s reactions to being singled out as the first to die between them also got a big laugh. And of course, he brought the house down with the “banana bush” analogy. Rebecca received applause when she declared that she didn’t believe in Sylvia Brown.

During the Q&A; they seemed generally curious about the investigators and my adventures with them. One theme that kept coming up was that the skeptics wanted a dialogue with the paranormal investigators. Perhaps in the future, they could meet at a convention setting and discuss their sides of supernatural phenomena. Mark Edward said this was his second viewing, and he liked it much better than the first, because he appreciaated how it focused on the investigators’ character. That was good to hear!

Premiere of “Night Stalkers”

On Saturday, August 6th, “Night Stalkers” premiered at haunted Linda
Vista hospital in Los Angeles. It was held in the chapel “set” of the
hospital, which used to be a cafeteria next to the kitchens. We had
very sparse traffic due to poor planning, and truthfully, no one who
did brave the labyrinthine blockades stayed to watch the whole thing.

I had DVDs available for sale at 3am Paranormal’s table. Those that
found their table hidden away toward the back of the vendor’s row in a
windowless corner of a back room didn’t purchase any DVDs. So I still
have plenty left over!

This entire event was for STU-CON II, the second annual celebration of
Scott Gruenwald’s internet show “The Stu.” I attended last year’s
first “STU-CON” in Porterville, CA, which was a lot more fun due to it
being planned and run entirely by Scott’s Stu-crew without any malice
toward anyone or delusions of false entitlement.

From the beginning, I had asked Scott months ago if there was any room
for showing “Night Stalkers” at this STU-CON. I suggested a room off
from the main event area, to avoid the same thing that happened at the
last big event at LVH.

Disastrous planning resulted in a 2 hour movie being shown, which was
shoe-horned in the middle of the program at the last minute. It bogged
the proceedings down to a standstill, and affected attendance for all
the other speakers after it. I didn’t want that to occur again.

Scott seemed all for the idea, and got on the phone to make it happen.
The plan was to turn the chapel into the “Wayne Poe Theatre”, which I
thought was a bit much, but welcomed the idea of the doc being shown
at all, and thanked him. A full month and a half before the event, I took my
friend Mike down to LVH to see what we would need to make the
screening happen. I met with The Event Planner, who assured me that
the chapel would be decorated and worked on to make it look like a run
down haunted theatre. My main concern were the five six feet tall
windows, casting too much light into the room to see the screen.

The Event Planner assured me that special wooden window blockers with
red fabric would be put in place, so the light wouldn’t be an issue.
My next concern was where to hang the heavy screen. The space in front
of the chapel would have been fine, but as Mike pointed out, we’d
need some kind of chain to distribute the weight properly and to reach
both screws in either side of the wall. The Event Planner said the
chain or something similar could be provided, or even offered to
provide a screen if ours couldn’t be hung. Everything seemed to be
taken care of, and I got regular updates as the weeks progressed on
how well the decorating of the theatre was going.

When we got there Saturday, the chapel was… completely bare bones. The
window blockers were not in place, but stacked outside the chapel. The
fabric that covered them were now over the windows, billowing in the
breeze. We had to duct tape those down. Challenge 2: no power. The
only working outlet in the chapel…wasn’t. I also heard there was no
power in the main hall as well. I don’t know…if it were me, I would
have made certain these things were addressed weeks before, and double
checked the night before. But then again I’m not an Event Planner.
That delayed us about an hour, but we had yet another challenge to
pass the time with.

The screen lacked a chain, rope, or anything else to help hang it. Ray
and I had to improvise, and dragged two unused shelving units from
an adjoining room into the chapel and used them to hang the screen on.

The event began, and we planned on having the first screening of “Night
Stalkers” at 1:00pm. During the entire two months leading up to the
event, no itinerary was presented to the public. I made a very rough
screening schedule up out of thin air because of this. I received a
phone call days before the event asking if “overflow” events could be
put in the theatre. I said absolutely, and I’d call back about the
details. I did call back, but got no answer. I left a message, and I’m
still waiting for it to be returned. The only time I saw a schedule of
events was when I picked it up at the admissions desk. There was no
mention whatsoever of a “Wayne Poe Theatre”. There were no signs
directing anyone to it, or signs even alerting the attendees of its
very existence. I knew it would be a fun day from that point on…

A movie production was filming at the same time STU-CON was happening,
and a “hot set” down the hallway leading into the hospital west of the
chapel was taped off. I’ve never met a film production crew who wasn’t
pushy, and this one was no exception. I left the chapel to attend Joe
Mendoza’s talk on ITC at 12:00. When it concluded about 30 minutes
later, I went downstairs to the chapel only to find that the entrance
to the hallway was blocked off by a table. I moved it, wondering why
it was there.

After our first showing, which was very sparsely attended, I left again
to seek out a bathroom. I asked one of the attendees where it was,
since no signs or anything else designated its location. The attendee
told me she was told that she’d have to use the one across the street
at Hollenbeck Park. I thought for sure she was kidding, but she
wasn’t. I asked one of the STU-Crew, and they directed me to one
toward the front entrance of the hospital.

When I returned to enter the chapel, the table that was blocking the
hallway was replaced by a large door sitting on two plastic sawhorses.
As I moved that blockade and returned to the chapel, I wasn’t
surprised to find it empty. A couple hours later after having no one
coming in to the chapel, I ventured out again to find that a SECOND
blockade of a large door sitting on two sawhorses joined its
counterpart, but this one was right at the very entrance to the
chapel! This made it nearly impossible for anyone to get to the
“theatre”, even it they knew it existed in the first place.

The highlight of this very trying day was having Reina show up for a
screening. She is the woman featured at the beginning of “Night
Stalkers”, who had Psy Paranormal show up at her house to investigate.

Ray and I packed up and left shortly after 6:30pm, which was a good
thing. Numerous reports came in of more friends of mine being treated
rudely, and even confrontational encounters which was really uncalled
for. The entire event soured me on anything further to do with Linda
Vista Hospital.

DVDs and World Premiere

A couple weeks ago I settled on a final edit of “Night Stalkers.” I had a few early versions peer reviewed, and I’m glad I took the advice offered. I’m really proud of the final product.

I went to a local cemetery along with 3am Paranormal and a couple friends to shoot the cover art for the DVD. That was a lot of fun, and turned out great.

I found a great service online for DVD duplication and packaging, I ordered 60 copies, knowing I’d have to give away at least 13 to various groups and people that participated in the documentary.

I received the DVDs a week ago, and they look great. “Night Stalkers” is going to have it’s premiere at one of the most haunted locations in California: Linda Vista Hospital. This will be during Scott Gruenwald’s second annual ‘STU-Con” convention. They even re-named the chapel the “Wayne Poe Theatre”!

It’s going to be a lot of fun. “Night Stalkers” DVDs will be sold at the 3am Paranormal vendor table.


Finish Line

“Night Stalkers” is complete (minus credits and music). The doc is 1hr 45min. After months of being stalled, it all started to gel when I told the documentary as a story.

I started out with a great feedback support base. But nothing lasts forever, or even a couple months, so I hope I didn’t fuck this up…

I’ll let you know where it will be shown.

Approaching The Final Destination

It’s been a while since I updated. Time to dust off the blog!

Things have been moving along great for the documentary as we enter the final stretch of major filming for this year. I’ve met more incredible people, and caught up with some familiar faces. I’ve also discovered that there is a metric ton of drama in the paranormal community. I was swept up in one of the currents shortly after the GHOULA event at the Aztec Bar.

That night I met a couple members of BHPP, or the “Boyle Heights Paranormal Project”, and I also met former members of that group. One particular member was about to start her own para-group, and asked if I wanted to include them in the documentary. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to capture the formation of a new group, and immediately said yes. This person introduced me to some of the ex BHPP members, who were going to join her group, who also wanted to speak about why they left BHPP. One was a very young kid, probably not even 20 years old, who introduced himself as the new group’s demonologist. I’m pretty new to the paranormal field, but I have done a bit of homework. It surprised me that someone who didn’t look old enough to shave would label himself a demonologist.

That whole matter fell through due to an influx of drama, which I decided not to escalate even after a threatening phone call. While that negative experience was unfortunate, the groups and people I’ve met since then have been terrific. In August, Scott Gruenwald of the internet TV show “The Paranormal STU” threw a paranormal convention called “STU-Con” in Porterville CA.

It was almost a parody of an actual high priced paranormal convention. Scott charged $2.00 for the convention, and $.50 cents for the paranormal investigation! However the attendance was through the roof, and people had as good a time or better that I’ve seen at more expensive gatherings. What may have started out as a joke instead proved that a paranormal convention doesn’t need to cost the attendee an arm and a leg. This one was held at a paranormal hotspot (“The Barn Theater”), and included some high profile guests in the paranormal field, like Syd Schultz and Rex Williams.

The night before the convention, I met 3am Paranormal and Louis Gonsales at the front of the Barn Theater for an impromptu I.T.C. session. Very cool!

At STU-Con, I met Boyle Heights Paranormal Project founder Richard “Standing Bear” Berni. I asked about setting up a future profile of BHPP for the documentary, and Richard agreed that we’d make that happen. He also told me a few quick tales of the drama BHPP has weathered, which sounded like the other side of the story of what I heard at the Aztec Bar. A full interview will be very enlightening I’m sure.

In June, BHPP had taken over as stewards of Linda Vista hospital, which caused a bit of concern in the paranormal community at first. Some felt one particular group being associated with one of L.A.’s most haunted location was unfair, but the BHPP crew have provided much better security for the location that was absent before. Many times, paranormal groups would pay good money for exclusive access to investigate the hospital, only to find that the former security at the location would allow unauthorized persons to wander into the hospital at their whim.

I met the Porterville Ghost Society while I was there. A very friendly group, who took me on an exclusive tour of the Zalud House. I really have to thank Louis Gonsales for setting that up for me on my last night in Porterville! The house has a very rich history, and it is reportedly haunted by the former owners. PGS members Kathy Guinn and Bruno Huerta are very knowledgeable about the house, and enjoyed sharing tales of their ghostly encounters there.

Bruno Huerta and I at Zalud House. Porterville, CA

Bruno Huerta and I at Zalud House. Porterville, CA

In October, Jessica from the So Cal Ghost Crew hosted a bigger paranormal convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center, So Cal Para-Con. I interviewed Jessica briefly before STU-Con, as she reformed her paranormal team. It was held in a Denny’s with very loud muzak, so I’ll have to see how much can be salvaged from that!

The Para-Con was ok, with Scott Gruenwald as the emcee. Jessica put together a very professional gathering, which I understand was her first, and did a great job. BHPP I understand helped out enormously with making the convention run smoothly. High profile paranormal community members attended, including David Harvey, Christopher Saint Booth, and Rex Williams. Both Booth and Williams were slated to lead a paranormal investigation into Linda Vista hospital. Unfortunately, both were no-shows, which was disappointing to me, since they were the sole reason I bought the investigation part of the ticket.

I didn’t know it at the time, but a skeptic group also attended So Cal Para-Con. Afterward they wrote a couple of very scathing blogs about the convention, one from Skepticblog, and another from the Monterey County Skeptics. I’m currently trying to set up an interview with them for the documentary. Being a skeptic myself, the tone of their blogs is something I’d like clarification on.

I’ll be entering the last month of filming soon. Hope I’ll have enough footage to put together a documentary people will enjoy watching!

Deeper Into The Twilight Zone

June was a very interesting month for the documentary. Since Queen Con, I have become more integrated into the paranormal community. It’s more vast than I ever thought it was, and I’ve made a lot of good friends. I’ve become a regular viewer of The Paranormal STU, Donn Shy’s The Green Room, and Wolfe Manor Live

On June 13th, I attended my first GHOULA event. This get-together is held every 13th of the month, at a haunted location in and around Los Angeles. I had a great time, and met a lot of new friends including Dawn Gomez, who is assembling a new paranormal team, and Jeremy and Michelle from Dark Realm Paranormal Investigators. I also spoke to Joe Mendoza from 3AM Paranormal, as we shared stories about what else? The paranormal! The paranormal community is very friendly and welcoming, and I can see myself involved with them long after the documentary is done.

On June 17th, I was invited by Marsha Covert of 3AM Paranormal to explore one of the most haunted locations in LA, Linda Vista Hospital. It was a very eerie experience walking through an abandoned facility like that; completely devoid of activity a hospital would normally have. It was almost as if I were exploring something from everyday life after a nuclear war! I shot some great footage with Marsha and a few other investigators. I brought along my nephew Lawrence, who shot some great “B” roll footage, and even manned the main camera few times.

On the 18th, I was able to profile 3AM Paranormal for the documentary. I’ve watched all their videos on Youtube, which are edited into 10 minute “mini episodes” of their adventures. They’re yet another group that is unique in comparison to the other groups I’ve documented. 3AM doesn’t have a large amount of equipment, but they do employ very innovative techniques in order to communicate with the entities they seek out. Joe and Rebecca are very friendly and a lot of fun, and they jump right into an investigation and are “on” as soon as they get there.

I was invited to a location that was said to be even more haunted than Linda Vista. Again a incredibly fascinating experience; and watching the team attempt new things to reach out to the Other Side was incredible. I also met Louis Gonzales, founder of the Southern California Society for Paranormal Research. Louis was very helpful to a newcomer to paranormal investigations by keeping me up to speed on procedure and lore.

Joe reminded me of an aspect of the documentary that I haven’t filmed yet. I need to include the hours upon hours investigators spend poring over the evidence collected; both from cameras and digital recorders. I’ve also learned two things about my process. The nice 150.00 Rode mic that I bought pops like crazy while tape is being digitized, but this seems to disappear during playback on the computer. Also…I sometimes forget to turn the mic on…!

The second thing I’ve noticed…my camcorder is embarrassingly LOUD! This usually isn’t an issue, but when I’m filming investigators collecting EVPs, the constant droning of the tape’s drive mechanism is just too distracting. I have a Sony Digital 8 DCR-TV740 I’m using for my main camera, and this is a known problem with this model.

Me, Joe Mendoza, and Dawn Gomez