Do you believe in ghosts?
We spent four days in the BFA – the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, a theatre group started by Carmen Zapata. They are currently located in the former Lincoln Heights Prison, one of the top ten most haunted places in the United States (allegedly). Again, that’s top ten not in California, but in the big ol’ US of A.
By now you probably know that movies don’t shoot in sequence. If we can get a lot of usage from a location, we stay there until we get what we need and then we move on. We shot a lot of scenes in the BFA, hence why we were there for four days.
Man, that place is creepy! And I mean creepy.
For the most part, the pictures you see on this site (in the Gallery) are pictures taken by me during the few seconds I have off. Monday was no different. I was taking pictures of a scene we recently shot – a “movie” scene with Hattie Pin (Inge Jaklin), her Hottie (Chris Allire), and a few actors in atmospheric roles – when I captured a picture of something. I don’t know what it was but it was something.
I did not tamper with the picture at all. It is the real deal. And it is freaky. The other pictures came out great. But that one in particular captured something. Here’s the thing: I didn’t move from the spot where I was standing – I took three continuous shots; the lighting was exactly the same for all three pictures; I did not change the settings of the camera at all.
I showed the picture to the whole cast and crew, and they all said the same thing initially: “What the [insert curse word] is that?!”
A few minutes later, a group of us watch a hanging pole (picture this: two long chains attached to a random pole with little to no use) start swaying back and forth as if someone smacked it hard. No one touched it. I’m telling ya, creepy!
As if that wasn’t bad enough, two days later fellow Producers Tom Tangen and Ray Michaels Quiroga along with Co-Producer Andre Agazaryan talked me into going to the dreaded top floor of the former prison. Let me tell you a little something about myself – I am afraid of ghosts. I don’t know if they are real or not, but I do know if I saw one someday, face-to-face and not on camera, I would act like a baby and scream, cry, and well… without getting too graphic, I’d do everything else a baby is known for doing.
But peer pressure sucks. So I went.
Now, let me tell you a little something about Ray – he, too, is afraid of ghosts. Regardless, we all went up, Ray and I complaining the whole way there. And it’s a far climb to the top. Once on the top floor, we found abandoned, dark, spooky rooms, filled with graffiti, rubble, and eeriness.
One room in particular housed one of the eeriest moments I’ve ever witnessed in my life. Among a bunch of dead crows on the floor was one white dove. One white dove looking right at us as if it had a purpose; very much alive and healthy. Tom, in some sort of divine state-of-mind, thought it would be a good idea to carry the dove due to its religious connotations. We took pictures, gently put the dove down, and walked away.
The dove stayed there, watching over the room. Whether the dove was a sign of a divine spirit or a malevolent soul is up to interpretation. But, boy was that creepy!
Ray and I had enough. We wanted to leave. Andre was egging us on and Tom had the notion that he was untouchable after grabbing the dove. We had to talk them into going back downstairs!
We head toward the very dark corridor to the stairway. Minus the Blessed Tom, we agreeably mention how eerie that whole episode was. And suddenly, “Whaa Whaa Whaa,” we hear from the darkness.
We were too close to not know who made that noise. It did NOT come from one of us. But it came from something.
We stumbled and tumbled down the stairs not caring about one another. Every man for himself. Colleague, friend, all out the window. Getting the hell out of there was the only thing on our minds.
Once downstairs, Andre, Ray and I notice that Tom is taking a while to catch up. I got worried. I mean, it took quite some time. I pictured his body flying onto the wall with his bones missing, or possessed by some sort of demon, or even suffering from a serious case of stigmata after touching that dove.
Nope. He just walked down, slowly but surely, in his angelic state. Andre was telling everyone what happened, and Ray and I were catching our breaths, making sure we didn’t do everything a baby does. Crying and screaming sufficed.
We’re gone from the BFA. We’re in the Havana Café, our upcoming location. And I get along great with Cuban food – at least much better than I do with ghosts.
Everything is fine now. But these past few days… boy, were they creepy!