Ghosts / Story

Personal Experience on a Haunted Film Set

Hi! I'm Jeanette, your bizarrely bubbly horror hostess.

Hi! I’m Jeanette, your bizarrely bubbly horror hostess.

Velcome and Bienvenue to the first official post of Horror Made! on Horrormade.com

Some of you know my work from my time over on the blogspot version of this, and I welcome you with open arms and a terrifying cheshire-cat grin upon my face. You’re wonderful. Now never leave me.

All of my blogspot posts will be moving to this site over the next couple weeks so please be patient as I work on the transition.

So, who the frack am I anyway?

My name is Jeanette and I’m an artist, a production designer, and a horror fanatic. I am a new upstart over on YouTube where you can hear my spastic opinions on my web-channel Haunting TV. This blog is my place to post all of the things in the horror world I find tantalizing. I review books, comic books, and movies in the horror genre and bring you my original artwork and attempts at flash fiction. I will also bring you my personal adventures into haunted or creepy places. So if you like creepy, reading, exploring, or talking to a fellow horror nerd, you’re in the right place.

Ok, now that the introduction is out of the way I want to start this blog off right. I am sharing one of my personal encounters with a haunted film set. It’ll be a good way to ease into our first meeting. So, let’s jump in, shall we?

One of the first big indie films I worked on was a made-for-TV horror film.

Well, it probably wasn’t that big, but it was the biggest thing I had ever worked on up to that point and I was a starry-eyed newbie entirely stoked to be there.

Our location was a farm house from the 1920’s in the woods of Canterbury, Connecticut.  This was not the type of abandoned house that says, “in days gone by I was once a proud and majestic building.” No, this house gave the air of a place that gave up before it started.  A melancholy shell from the gloom and decay. It was a cramped space with tilted doorways, and rotting floorboards. The ground floor had three doors leading to the overgrown brush outside, not a one actually locked. The windows were sparse and the walls lucky enough to have been plastered had a soft growth of mildew coating them. The rest were wood framing covered with musty  rooster patterned cloth. The upstairs was no better.The wooden floors sloped down on either side of the hallway that connected a cluster of claustrophobic bedrooms and the filthy grime-stained bathroom.

As part of the art department I had to show up a few days before the rest of the crew to help dress the sets and repair the building. During the day, it was pleasant working in the house. I love exploring old creepy buildings. And working in there with the windows and doors open, all you heard was birds and all you could smell was the crisp spring scents floating in on the breeze. But as soon as that sun set and the chill crept in, it was impossible to stay in there alone.

The first night something out of the ordinary occurred was on the last night of pre-production. I was kneeling on the floor in the living room, contentedly painting an Egyptian-hybrid pentagram when the make-up artist entered. We spoke for a moment, passing pleasantries, when suddenly she stopped speaking mid-sentence and held her breath, frozen in place.

“You ok?” I asked.

After a moment she let out a slow breath and said, “Someone just left the room.” And with a hasty goodbye, she did the same. I, being the work-aholic that I am, shrugged it off and finished up my painting. Nothing further happened on that night.

As production went on stranger and stranger things started happening around the house. When I worked in the upstairs bedrooms I would constantly feel like there was someone watching me. And it didn’t matter if it was during the day or at night. There was always this lingering feeling about the space. One time in particular I was building a bed frame in the bedroom at one end of the hallway and glanced up expecting to see one of my art PAs. (production assistants) Instead a quick shadow passed from the top of the stairs into another bedroom. I was pretty creeped out, and timidly called out to see if anyone was there. With no answer given, I decided it was time to go outside for a coffee break.

A week or so into the production the weather warmed up. As the heat grew, so did the number of flies in the house. Outside? Not much going on in the insect world, but inside? There were flies swarming everywhere. They crawled along the ceilings and walls, crowded in the corners of the windows and relentlessly kamikazed into your nostrils and ears. There were so many flies that the camera crew had a betting pool going on which fly strip would collect the most flies by the end of the day. I believe the winning number was 49. Free drinks for the assistant camera that night.

After the swarm of flies subsided the crew had a day off. And I decided it would be best to spend my day finishing up the paint job on the room we’d be filming in the next day. As was my habit, I wandered in with my ipad blaring out the Beatles and I opened up the doors on the ground floor (studiously avoiding the upstairs) and I got to work. I had made my way through two of the walls and was starting to lose my momentum so I changed the music to some death metal and after a moment a wave of fear spread over me. It was as if a stranger had walked into the room with a shot gun, I was so terrified. At that moment all of the doors in the house slammed shut. BAM! BAM! BAM! I quickly turned the station back to the Beatles and apologized for the music choice. To my relief the energy in the air disappeared. I packed up my paints faster than I’ve ever one before or since and hightailed it out of there. That was the last time I went into that house on my own.

During break-down of the sets the man who owns the house, we’ll call him Frank, came over to collect the items we’d borrowed for set dressing. As I helped carry things out for him, he shared what he knew about the house and it’s previous inhabitants. According to Frank, the house had once been home to a family of five. And one winter night when the family had returned home the parents had decided to leave the kids in the car so they could stay warm while they started up a fire in the house. But they took too long. While they were inside the kids had succumbed to carbon-monoxide poisoning and passed away. The mother apparently left after that and the father remained in the house,a broken man. The father became quite the recluse, rarely leaving and slowly stockpiling a hoarder’s nest inside the house. When he passed away it took a long time for a neighbor to notice his absence. And even longer for the police to find the body. He had died of natural causes, entombed in his house of junk.

I have yet to do any research onto the property to see if this story is actually true. But I know what I experienced and I wouldn’t doubt that some elements of it were based in reality.

So, there you have it. My experience on a haunted film set.

Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost? Leave me your story in the comment section. I’d love to hear it.

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