In this very first episode, Ricky Schroeder introduces himself and gets you into that October State of Mind. He discusses the upcoming Halloween Haunt season dealing with COVID, Creepy Randonauting adventures, reads submitted creepy experiences, talks about the haunted Brightside Hotel, and discusses the movie, Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark.
1) George (Rochester, NY) - Haunted Hayride
2) Gabrielle (Rochester, NY) - Ghostlight
3) Caitlin (Michigan) - Eyes, Nose, Mouth
4) Suzanne (Rochester, NY) - Unexplained Trip
Intro and Outro songs by Brian Barr
Additional music from
OCTOBER STATE OF MIND
Episode One (40 min as of 7/26)
Intro (about 5min)
In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house;
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room;
And in the dark, dark room there was a dark, dark cupboard;
And in the dark, dark cupboard there was a dark, dark shelf;
And on the dark, dark shelf there was a dark, dark box; And in the dark, dark box there was a....ghost!
Hello All you Boos and Ghouls!! Welcome to October State of Mind! The podcast that transports you to October and spooky season no matter when you’re listening. No matter what month or season it is before you put your headphones on, it’s always October in here! Seriously, I’m looking around and all I see are pumpkins, corn mazes, hayrides, cider, and that perfect golden red fall foliage. Oh my gourd, Am I in heaven? Anyway, I am your host, your….ghost host, (Disney, please don’t sue me) Ricky Schroeder, or Rick Or Treat if ya nasty. Have I ever been called Rick Or Treat before? Never. But what better time to try out a new nickname than the start of a new podcast.
First off, thank you thank you thank you for listening. Most likely you’re my mom or a member of my family, but on the offchance you’re just an acquaintance, or perhaps someone I don’t even know at all, I want to thank you doubly. Starting a new endeavor is always daunting, and you think oh god, is anyone going to listen, is anyone going to care? And as of right now, I still don’t know the answer to that. But if you’re hearing this right now that means you care, and that means I care about you, so thank you.
A little bit about me, I’m an actor and singer from NYC who performs on stage and in front of the camera, but ever since I conquered my fear of scary movies as an 8th grader, I have always had a passion for all things spooky, ghostly, creepy and Halloween-y. When I was on tour with the show, Kinky Boots, I basically did a haunted tour across America, staying in as many haunted hotels and taking as many ghost tours as I could. Also, I know you can’t see me, but it’s important to know that I’m a redhead. Which means I am more than qualified to be talking about everything ghoulish, since, you know, us redheads consume souls. Muahahah
With this podcast I want to bring you that spooky joy. We’re going to talk about spooky news, scary movies, haunted buildings, people’s own submitted creepy stories and experiences from ghostly and paranormal to true crime and just dealing with, you know, creepy regular people. Now, some other shows might try to really freak you out the really gory details to give you nightmares, or prevent you from sleeping, but I’m not necessarily trying to do that here. Now I’m not saying that won’t happen, but if it does, that’s just a happy little accident. My goal is to fill you with that joyful spooky excitement not existential dread, and perhaps you’ll even learn something along the way. Ugh, I know, learning, gross.
Also, as with all new endeavors, I’m going to be open to change with this podcast. The format of the show may change slightly from episode to episode. One thing I know I’d like to include in the future is interviews with anyone who works at a spooky job. Whether it’s at a haunted house attraction or an actual historically haunted house, or a morgue person, I believe they’re called morticians? If you have a spooky job and want to talk, please email me at RickyOSOM@gmail.com, that’s OSOM as in “October State of Mind” or contact me through social media , twitter, fb, insta, at OSOMPodcast and I’m pronouncing that as “AwesomePodcast”. Also if you have suggestions, or comments, what you want to hear more of, what you want to hear less of, please reach out there too. You’re probably thinking right now, come on Rick Or Treat I wanna hear less of this intro, get to the Spooky business! And I will, right after this quick message from our sponsor, Ghost Chow. . For your ghost on the gooooo. It has all the essential vitamins and boooootrients to raise your spirits! Ghost Chow. Chow down, ghost.
And if you’d like to be, you know, not a fake sponsor of October State of Mind, please reach out! Would love to have you on board!
Alright, lets get down to the bone chilling content!
I want to start off with a section I call Deadline Deadline, read all about it! I most likely will call it that once, this time, and only once. I want to talk about some creepy stories that have made it into the news.
Let’s start off with some potentially optimistic news for haunted house enthusiasts. Obviously for all of us Halloween lovers we’re coping with the fact that most of our favorite Halloween activities will be cancelled this year due to the Pandemic. News recently broke that Halloween Horror Nights at Universal has been cancelled, and realistically there’s just probably no safe way for us to experience our favorite traditional walk through haunted houses. However, My friend Jessica, alerted me to an article talking about a new ‘Drive In” haunted house in Japan. First of all, apparently in Japan spooky season is the summer, where being terrified is seen as a relief from the heat? Sure! Why not? A Haunted house design company Kowagarasetai, has designed a haunted garage in Tokyo’s Hikashi Azabu district, where participants drive in, and as the story goes, “A terrible incidient occurred in this garage. If you park and honk your horn three times something will happen” Cars will experience the dead surrounding their vehicle while the radio is tuned in to add spooky music and story enhancing sounds. Your car will get fake blood all over it, but also apparently that fake blood is sanitizing? The garage is sold out, but Japan residents can enter a lottery to take a spooky park in the garage!
This news makes me hopeful for our Halloween season this year. I think people can be pretty innovative when boxed into a corner. I’ve thought about the possibility of drive through haunt experiences, they’ve just got to figure out a way to make sure no one gets run over. In Orlando there’s actually one that is in the works, called the Haunted Road! There’s not much detail yet, but It’s described as a completely contactless drive through Halloween experience with Immersive Theatrical Storytelling. They’re currently looking for volunteers and performers, and once again I must implore them to find a way to make sure no one gets run over. There are also so many outdoor hayrides and haunted trails that could potentially still be operational if owners figure out how to keep people properly social distanced, make masks mandatory, and keep scare actors safe as well. Terror In the Trees in Lucasville, Ohio is planning on moving forward by eliminating its maze component, and constructing a completely outdoor haunted trail with no enclosed structures, which honestly helps revisit that primal fear of the dark forest at night.
My guess is those usual guttural screams and dialogue from scare actors that can spray droplets as they get in your face will be put on hold for now, perhaps giving way to distance scares, and those loud sound scares of actors banging metal to metal, which honestly is what usually startles me the most anyway. June, July, and August are typically the times when Haunts are the thick of their builds for the season, so many haunts are struggling to make that decision over whether to cancel outright or go ahead with a modified build. Haunts are talking about virtual queues, so customers aren’t waiting in line with other guests, and the Del Amo Scary Walk in Compton, CA is even thinking about putting scare actors behind protective glass. We shall see what the haunt community comes up with this year. At the end of the day, everyone’s health and safety is more important than keeping the haunts opene, and regardless, even if they all stay closed, it’s important to remember that Halloween and Halloween Spirit can never be cancelled!
Founded by Auburn Salcedo, Joshua Lengfelder, and Simon Nishi McCorkindale
The world's first quantumly generated
Choose Your Own Adventure reality game.
Explore the world you never knew existed.
Randonauting is the act of using the Randonautica app to generate truly random locations sourced with quantum entropy. The user can then choose to venture to these locations to see what they find. They often discover that what they see lines up with their intention, which is what they were thinking about when they generated the point. But even if this doesn't happen, it's a way to mindfully explore the world around them.
There are two main parts to Randonauting: exploring blind-spots, or places nearby that are outside of your conscious awareness, and experimenting with mind-matter interaction, the hypothesis that consciousness can influence the distribution of random numbers.
Attractors are dense clusters of random points. Voids are the opposite.
Anomalies are the strongest out of Attractors and Voids.
While the app is searching you focus on an intent. It then shows you a point on a map somewhere near your location. It could be walkable or you might have to drive, and you then can go and explore that area and see what you find and see if it aligns with your intent. There’s an example of someone focusing on Red and finding a bright red couch in the middle of a field, clowns was the intention and they found a car with a stuffed Rusty the clown from the Simpsons in it, or even kitten and coming across a kitten at the generated point. Now what you focus your intent on is where it gets creepy.
There is a whole thread on Reddit, and a lot of TikToks an youtube vidoes of Randonauters going on adventures with creepy words as their intent. Some results are more tame than others. Someone’s intent was spooky and they were taken to a parking lot with three black cats in it. Which honestly sounds like a perfect adventure to me. A lot of people set Spooky as their intention and end up finding random Halloween decorations or abandoned buildings. One girl was sent to the forest where she found a campsite and odd tied together stick creations that seem symbolic and straight out of the Blair Witch Project. One person came across a cat who had a half deformed face, but while admittedly definitely looking creepy, I still love him. Someone’s intent was death and they came across a dusty staircase at a building with police tape. But then another person’s intent was death and they ended up seeing a man who had gotten shot laying in the gutter. She posted a tiktok afterwards crying and urging people to not use the app.
But the biggest story to make the news from Randonauting is that of the teens in Seattle who were on a randonauting quest and found…A body in a suitcase. The tiktok user “ughHenry” Posted videos from a Seattle Beach where she explains how Randonautica had sent them to a location on the beach where they found a black suitcase had drifted up on to the rocks. In the video they excitedly and nervously contemplate opening it thinking maybe there might be money or something inside. As they open it, you can see a black plastic bag, as they describe how bad the stench coming from it is. Instead of doing any further Nancy Drew-ing they decide the better idea is to call the police, just in case. That decision probably saved them from any further trauma because police did indeed find body parts inside the suitcase that were later identified as belonging to Jessica Lewis, 36, and Austin Wenner, 27. Police were able to determine that the couple was shot, but as of right now, they currently have no suspects, and no motive either. Now, I couldn’t find what intention “ughHenry” set when they started their randonaut adventure, perhaps they didn’t want to reveal it, as to deflect any blame of attracting/manifesting it upon themselves.
How does this all work? I have no idea. It sorta sounds like The Secret, but in app form with creepy adventures. I decided to just try it out for myself just to see what would happen. I didn’t download the app, I just used the browser version, and before I did anything I read the Terms and Conditions. Yes I read the complete terms and conditions top to bottom, because I really wanted to make sure there was no mention of selling your soul to the devil or anything like that. Last year’s movie about the killer app, Countdown, where people downloaded an app telling you when you were going to die without reading the satanic terms and conditions first taught me well. Luckily there was no mention of the devil, just the basic of we are not responsible if you’re dumb and hurt yourself, and also they make a big point of being safe and not trespassing or breaking laws. But where’s the fun in that?
I set my intention as “spooky, yet safe” for this first go around, because, I’m curious, but not quite ready to find a dead body today. Unfortunately, I’ve been living on Fire Island since March when the pandemic began, which is a very thin strip of a sandbar island, and every time I did it, it was trying to send me to locations in the ocean or in the bay. I don’t have a boat, so I wasn’t able to have any adventures, but if you end up trying this out, first off, be safe, but also let me know what kind of spooky adventures you have. A lot of believe truly believe in the power of manifesting. The energy you give off is what you attract. So just make sure you’re giving off joyful spooky energy. Can never be too careful.
George from Rochester, NY: Haunted Hayride (6 min 15 sec)
In 1997, while working at the Haunted Hayride in Williamson, NY myself and a colleague, Paul experienced a spooky situation that continues today.
We had just made the final decision to open the first Haunted Hayride in Wayne County on an apple farm, for fun and to make some money. Dave, the owner, mapped out the trail that we would use to run the wagons and Paul and I started brainstorming ideas.
Dave went back home, about 2 miles from the farm and Paul and I decided to start working on an area that we would transform into "The Toxic Dump" mostly because it was littered with lots of bizarre garbage and we didn't want to clean it up. It was the first of many sites that we would incorporate into the trail.
Just off this trail, there was a place with lots of garbage that farmers must have used as their trash dump for many decades. Lots of really old artifacts that we thought would make a great addition to this "Toxic Dump". We loaded some of it on the truck and brought it back to the site, arranging and designing. The artifacts looked good for being outside in the weather for years.
The location for this "Toxic Dump" was a long distance from the main entrance of the farm. But after a few hours of placing the items we gathered, we heard a voice faintly calling our names. We stopped what we were doing to drive back up to the front to see what Dave wanted, wondering why he just didn't drive back to where we were.
As we approached the front entrance, Dave was just pulling into the entrance at the same time. He called out "Good timing, I just got here". We told him that we heard him calling us by name. This was puzzling. No one else knew we were there out in the woods. It was creepy, but we shrugged it off.
As the Haunted Hayride finally opened on the first day, we placed a couple of teen boys in the "Toxic Dump" area wearing scary masks and hazmat suits with orange glow paint and lots of black lights all around the site. As the wagon goes by, they would jump out from behind oil barrels that we painted to look like they were spewing toxic green sludge and haunt the wagon.
After about 14 wagons had left the main barn, the two boys had walked back to our base location saying they were scared. Besides hearing strange sounds, one said he was tapped on the shoulder and no one was there, and another hid behind a door that was being held shut preventing him from coming out of it.
The entire trail contained about 32 different site themes with a few people stationed at each one. Each site is about 250 feet apart from the other. With wagons leaving every 8 minutes, there is no time for team members at another site to "scare" someone from another and get back in place in time for the next wagon.
We traded some older boys into this site from another and tried again. They too got scared and didn't want to go back. Finding this nonsense as just an excuse to avoid working, I decided as the trail manager to just work this area myself and show everyone how to make it scary for our paying customers. All the other haunted sites on the trail were working successfully, why was this one, the very first one we created, causing so much trouble?
There was a slightly cracked kids plastic pool that we covered in orange glow paint. A small little dip in the dirt provided me the opportunity to put the pool over my head, squat down and then jump up and out as the wagon drove by. A few wagons went by successfully and I got some good scares. I couldn't wait to tell everyone that their imagination was getting the best of them. Some of the antiques we brought back from the trash dump did look a bit scary but it was just garbage, right?
After another 5 or so wagons, I was under the pool getting ready for the next wagon. I heard noises around me. I yelled from under the plastic pool "Hey, don't blow my scene, I've got another wagon coming." thinking my crew was trying to scare me on purpose. As the wagon approached, I was about ready to jump up, but it felt like the plastic pool suddenly weighed an extra 50 lbs. like someone was sitting on it. I struggled to lift it up even hearing people on the wagon yelling "There's someone underneath that". I tried to get the scare timing but just couldn't lift it up. With all my strength I pushed hard and it released fast. I jumped out to an empty area, the wagon was already gone. Looking around, there was no one nearby.
I ran back to the main barn and suggested that we place scary mannequins there from now on and leave it as a visual only.
The antique items that we placed there are still in good shape in the outdoor weather for the past 20+ years, while things we created only 5 years ago are looking worn and falling apart. It's as if we brought something back to that location that wasn't meant to be there and wants to be left alone.
The hayride is still going on and to this day, the "Toxic Dump" is the only site that hasn't changed and no actors are ever placed there still.
Some kids working the Hayride knowing the story thought it would be cool to set up a tent camp area in this spot after a busy Saturday night at the hayride. We ran the last wagon after 1am. They brought their gear out to the site in the woods and made a circle of tents. I ,and the other trail managers told them that the main barn will be locked, so they will have to use the woods as their "bathroom". We left the boys behind and went back to our cars and drove home. The next day, Sunday, we got to the main barn around 6pm to get ready for another night making sure costumes were sorted and clean, and the makeup area was ready. We wondered how the boys did camping out.
When they came back to work that night, they told us that it ended quickly, immediately after their roaring campfire they suddenly just went out as if someone blew out a match. It just went out. They packed up their gear and left. I tried to rationalize that it was wind or wet wood that caused it but they had a picture of the campfire. You can see in the picture a huge, roaring fire. Not the kind to be extinguished so easily. The legend of the "Toxic Dump" is still part of the Haunted Hayrides of Greater Rochester.
Gabrielle (Montgomery) from Rochester, NY: Ghostlight (2min40sec)
About 10 years ago I was working on a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at an old vaudeville style theatre in the dead of winter near Buffalo, NY. (You know, the days where the sun sets at 4:30 and by 8PM it looks like midnight.) A small group of us were called to rehearse that night, and the director, along with the rest of the actors were headed to film a promotional spot for TV after rehearsal. My character wasn't needed for that scene, so with the bravado of an early 20-something theatre kid who'd spent many a late night painting sets in college, I said goodnight as everyone headed out, and waited for my ride to pick me up. The lights were off, the alarm was set, and I stood in the lobby illuminated by the street lights.
This was a time before iPhones and data plans, so I occupied myself singing show tunes and reveling in the brilliant acoustics of an empty, silent theatre. As I paused to take a breath before continuing to belt out whatever early 2000's hit I'd selected, I heard a loud sound and stopped to listen. Unmistakably, I heard someone heavily, and quickly walking down the steps connecting the balcony to the lobby. The steps lasted long enough for whoever it was to have reached the bottom and I waited for someone to appear in the doorway as I remembered my director's words, "Stay in the lobby, the alarm is on, if you move anywhere past the doorway, you'll set it off." The alarm wasn’t sounding. I moved closer to the door leading to the street with my hand resting on the handle and weighed the options between staying in the building or locking myself out into the frigid air under the marquee. The cavernous silence following the footsteps seemed to press in around me, as I decided to keep singing, really loudly, and pretend my mind was playing tricks on me.
When I mentioned what happened to one of the other actors in the cast he said, "Oh that was George. We worked together here when I was young. He never could resist an actress, quite the ladies man."
I've worked at this theatre a lot more times since then and have had many more strange experiences there, from lights turning on or off, to smelling strong cigarette smoke next to me alone in the projection booth. I had a friend who was putting on makeup alone in the dressing rooms very early before a show and the light got turned off from the switch in the hallway. She said, "I'm in here, can you please turn that back on George?" Did the trick. Now we just say, "hello George" whenever something strange happens.
Caitlin (Smith) from Michigan: Eyes, Nose, Mouth (7min40sec)
It started right after I became pregnant with my first born. I would be standing downstairs and I would start hearing the cupboards in the bathroom go *BANG BANG BANG BANG* like someone was opening them up one at a time and slamming them shut. We lived with a roommate at the time so it didn't really seem out of the ordinary. I just figured it was him banging around in the bathroom upstairs. Well one day he and my husband went out to go play the card game, magic, and I knew for sure I was home alone, and it started up again *BANG BANG BANG BANG*. I started looking around and thought "oh, it must be the cats" because sometimes they would take their claws and try to open the cupboards to get inside. But I was sitting on the couch with one cat and just then I saw my other cat walk up from the basement.
So the cupboard banging continued to happen throughout my pregnancy, but I just tried to ignore it, or tell myself I was hearing the neighbors or something- anything else, even though I knew exactly what I was hearing. It wasn't escalating so I just tried to not pay attention to it anymore... Then my son was born.
Now, we had had 2 separate roommates live in this particular room, and both were weird about it. They didn't like the feeling in the room, and both mentioned the closet. Mind you, these are two roommates who were friends of ours, but not friends with each other, so it's not like they talked to each other about the room. I moved my son into that room at 4 months old. He would go berserk every time I would walk near the closet with him, and I also noticed a pattern; if I left the closet door open, he would wake up screaming. Not the normal "I'm hungry" scream, or even the "I'm hurt" scream. No, this scream was much different, it was like he was terrified of something. However, if I closed the closet doors, at night then he would wake only for feedings with his normal hungry cry.
Everything up until this point I could try to convince myself was the neighbors, or just a weird coincidence. But then the book started happening.
It was one night after I'd bought door locks for the closet doors and decided to keep them closed for my peace of mind. I was laying on the couch in my son’s room (because as a new mom, that was now my bed) and my one cat Dee-Dee had gotten in the room. She wouldn't stop scratching at the closet door and I didn't even think to be freaked about that, all I was worried about was my son waking up. I opened the door to the room and put her out, and then that's when it happened for the first time.
Twinkle twinkle little star. The moelody started playing from somewhere inside the closet. It kept going over and over and over again until I opened up the door to the room to go get my husband because I didn't want to go in that closet by myself. When I opened the door Dee-Dee ran back in and posted up by the door and it immediately stopped. I stood there for a moment wondering what the heck was going on when she started clawing at the closet door again, so again I picked her up and threw her out into the hallway. As soon as the door to the room shut, twinkle twinkle little star started playing again. I said Nope and picked my son up and went downstairs to the living room to sleep for the night.
The next morning I went digging through the closet and found the book. I took it out of the room. That didn't help, like clockwork every single night at least 2 or three times in the dead of the night, no matter where I put this book, it would go off.
I tried to explain the book away to faulty wiring in it, or it somehow responding to a vibration or something in the house. This went on for weeks.
One night my son woke up screaming. I found a big scratch on his cheek. I cut and filed his nails, but the next night he woke up screaming with a big scratch on his leg. He was 5 months old at this point and had never really scratched himself at nighttime before, but I thought that was what was happening so I put mittens on him. Again the next night he woke up screaming with a big scratch on his face, but he was still wearing the mittens. I got scared and did something I probably should have never done. I yelled into the room "leave him alone!"
Then I heard *tink* and a creaking noise. The latch on the cupboard holding his baby blankets popped off and the cupboard door creaked open. I was so freaked out I grabbed my son and we spent the night down in the living room on the couch.
After I spoke to "it", things really started escalating. The cupboard started opening in the middle of the night every night, and then I started hearing whispering while I was sleeping. It wasn't anything I could make out, I couldn't tell what it was saying, I could just hear the faintness of it and it would draw me out of sleep. When I woke up, I would start to hear this scratching noise in the wall. I still tried to write it off as maybe mice or something had gotten in through the garage, but it never happened at any point during the night except for when I was woken up by the whispering.
At this point I literally thought I was losing my mind. I was rationi "ok.. you're not sleeping. This isn't real. This is a hallucination from not sleeping." That made me feel somewhat better until about 3 days later. I had been ignoring the scratching, the book, the whispering, and at this point besides the book, everything had been contained to that room. I was sitting down in the living room nursing my son and watching dr Phil on YouTube when I heard this big *POP!* sound. It freaked my son out and he was screaming his head off. I looked around and saw that a bowl that had been sitting on the side table had just cracked in half.
I couldn't deny it at that point. I was terrified. I found this new testament bible that I had been given years before, and I prayed. I prayed for protection for my son. I prayed that all the stuff that was happening would just stop. I prayed that whatever this thing was would just leave us alone. I'm not a religious person. I had been in a church maybe twice in my whole life, I had never prayed before. I held my breath the following night waiting for the whispering, waiting for the scratching, waiting for the damn book... and nothing happened.
Nothing happened again until my son was around 1. He had just learned the parts of the face and would point to your face and say "eyes, nose, mouth." One night I was laying in his room with him on the couch, trying to get him to sleep and he looked up at the ceiling and pointed saying "eyes, nose, mouth". I moved our bedroom down to the basement and moved him into the master bedroom after that. I couldn't have him in there if it was still lurking in there somewhere. We moved out of this house when he was 4 and the entire time he wouldn’t go in this room by himself, none of my kids would and he would always talk about "the monster" that was in there.
Suzanne (Rochester) Unexplained Trip
This is The weirdest thing that ever happened to me.
My friend Jill and I were vacationing in Mexico. One hot and beautiful night we were out at the bars dancing and having some drinks, as you do when you’re on vacation in Mexico. We were having a good time, definitely tipsy, but by no means completely plastered or anything like that. Our hotel was within walking distance from the bar we were at, and as it was a beautiful night we decided to walk home. As we were headed back to the hotel the strangest thing happened.
Jill and I were walking on the sidewalk, laughing and giggling and going over the events of our fun night. We were coming up on the left turn that would take us to the hotel entrance, it was a few yards away.
The next thing I knew, I was on my ass in the parking lot of the hotel next to the two or three parked cars. I was facing the sidewalk and one of my shoes off had come off. Confused, I said, “Jill, where are you?!” She answered, “I’m in the bush!” And sure enough, she was in the bush. We had enough alcohol in our system to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation, instead of being completely freaked out, but wondered what the hell had just happened!
We weren’t paying attention to the time, so we don’t know how much time had passed between us walking on the sidewalk and then ending up on our asses, it could have been seconds or minutes, but we've never been able to explain this bizarre blip in time.
Haunted Building: (6min)
The Brightside Hotel. The Brightside Hotel is located on Raquette Lake, NY, in the backwoods of the Adirondacks. This secluded hotel is apparently a high traffic area for the paranormal according to the Mowhawk Valley Ghost Hunters. To get you in the mood and help your minds eye put you at the hotel I’ll read you this quote from the Brightside’s website that I love, by the Reverend Gene Bowers. The Adirondack Park is outlined by something called the Blue Line. It is not really a line, except on maps. As you approach the park, however, you pass over this mythical line. When this happens, if your heart is open and you can accept it, you will sense something spiritual that may not exist elsewhere. If this happens, you are ready to experience the Adirondacks. If you are a flat person, unable to see beyond the obvious, you will see beauty, but fail to capture spirit…
Take some time during your visit to sit in the quiet of a lonely glade or on the shore of a pristine lake and become possessed by a treasure, memory etching grave that will call you again and again to return.
Early from the morning mists.
There comes a Spirit.
. It was built originally as a home for Joe and Mary Bree-air in the 1800s. The couple got married in 1884 and It took them a year to build The Brightside, and in that time Joe and Mary lived in a tent, and then a shack, and eventually moved into the original hotel. They began to add cabins, a boathouse, and a water tower, Eventually culminating in a complex of more than 100 acres perfect for a summer holiday. It opened in 1891, and was described by visitors as the perfect paradise getaway. Joe and Mary built a carpenter shop over the boathouse where they would construct furniture, many pieces of which are still on display at the hotel today, including a Grandfather clock built out of a piano case.
In addition to furniture still lingering at the Brightside Hotel, it seems spirits of the departed still linger there as well. The hotel was acquired and restored with modern amenities in 2001, since, you know, most people these days just don’t want to use a chamber pot for some reason, and a good portion of guests to the hotel insist they have felt or even seen things that just aren’t explainable by natural means.
One of the previous owners of the hotel, Billy Gestrich, tells the tale of a couple who was staying in a bedroom above the kitchen. As the tale goes, the husband went into town, across the frozen lake during a foggy snow storm and apparently never returned. His wife just sat by the window awaiting his return. During the renovation of 2001, the workers found a woman’s period coat hanging in a room. Not realizing the story behind that particular room, they left it hanging there. Months later, a man’s coat appeared next to the woman’s coat, and no one was ever able to explain how it got there. Perhaps she never stopped waiting for her husband to return, and perhaps they have reunited in the other realm. Reportedly, the spirit of this woman finds solace in music. There is an old piano that remains in the hotel and when someone plays it, she is known to appear and seem comforted before returning to her room to await her lost husband.
A year after the renovation to the hotel, the Mohawk Valley Ghost Hunters did an investigation into the hotel and found an overwhelming amount of paranormal evidence. A copy of their report on their findings is kept at the hotel and they are happy to discuss it with their guests.
One room in particular seems like a hot bed of activity, so much so, that the hotel has given it the nickname, “The Ghost Room”. The most common complaint about the Ghost Room is that the bed will reportedly begin to shake for no reason. One man who stayed in the room also claimed he saw blue spheres floating across the room. He put on his glasses sure his poor eyesight was playing tricks on him, but continued to see these orbs. He brushed them off as most likely light refracting from the lake outside, but went to talk to the front desk about it. They told him, that yes, light refraction would most likely explain it, except that room was on the back of the hotel, not the lakeside of the hotel. He apparently cut his stay at the hotel short.
These blue orbs were confirmed by not only the Mohawk Valley’s ghost hunt reports, but also by a woman who was taking pictures in the room and heard strange sounds every time she took a picture. She dismissed the sounds initially, but 2 weeks later after she got her film developed (yes kids, this was a time when you actually had to go drop your real film off and WAIT for it to be developed. spooooky) she called the hotel telling them that she had three identical photos of the room that all showed blue orbs floating about.
Perhaps one of the scariest stories, if you think about it, comes from a hotel staff member who was awoken breathless in the middle of the night by a loud CRASH. She fumbled to turn on her light and as she turned it on, she found the door to the room had fallen to the ground, somehow ripped from its hinges.
The Brightside has posted outside “The Ghost Room”, what they now refer to as “The Ghost List’ which details every event that has taken place, with room to add future stories. Why do these spirits love the Brightside? I’m taken back to Reverend’s quote I shared. sit in the quiet of a lonely glade or on the shore of a pristine lake and become possessed by a treasure, memory etching grave that will call you again and again to return. Perhaps these spirits are just answering that call to return to the peaceful place they loved so much. If you take a trip to the Brightside, perhaps the spirits will provide you with your own entry to add to the Brightside’s ghost list!
What’s your favorite Scary Movie? No spooky season is ever complete without watching a ton of Scary movies, so I think I’m going to end each episode talking about a different scary movie. I’m going to do my best to avoid any major spoilers, I will probably reveal whether the movie has a happy or sad ending, but I figure I’ll end with the movie, so in case you haven’t seen it and you really don’t want any spoilers at all you can bow out now and save yourself, and I’ll only be a little offended. I thought I’d start out with the movie that came out last August 2019, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark directed by Andre Ovredal, and produced by horror world creating master Guillermo Del Toro. There are no major spoilers for this one, but, I’ll give you a minute to leave if you don’t want any spoilers… Okay…are you gone?? You sure? Okay good, now we can talk about them behind their back, omg they are soooo gross. JK LOL
Okay, so I thought I’d start with Scary Stories to tell in the dark because it’s a perfect example of that joyful, but still scary, Halloween spookiness. It feels like a Halloween movie in a way that not every scary movie does. It’s also geared toward teens, which I think is when most of us came into our Halloween loving selves. That combined with the books from the 80s and 90s the movie is based off of and the fact that the movie is set in the late 60s make this a sweet and spooky sip of Halloween nostalgia. I think a big part of the reason people love Halloween so much, or at least a reason I do, is because of the nostalgia factor. Halloween harkens back to a time when we could have adventures as teens and young adults that we don’t really get a chance to have when we grow older.
So we can’t start talking about the movie without first addressing the books. These books could be a whole episode of the show by themselves, there’s actually a documentary about them available on Amazon Prime right now. But basically they were a 3 book collection of short scary stories, Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3, More Tales to Chill Your Bones, written by Alvin Schwartz and originally illustrated by Stephen Gammell. These books were the first introduction to the land of horror for so many of us, and all over the country they were getting banned left and right from school libraries because concerned parents were disturbed by the quote on quote gruesome and dark content, and especially by Gammell’s truly haunting illustrations. These books were all the rage and center of controversy in the 90’s, but I was unaware. I just remember quietly discovering them at the library and feeling like I was the only one who knew about these spooky books, as they began to cultivate my love for all things spooky.
So in the film, Schwartz’s completely unconnected short stories and Gammell’s brilliant illustrations are brought to life and given a connective thread, kind of. It’s Halloween in 1968 in the rural town of Mill Valley, Pennsylvania as we meet three friends, the comic book loving, Stella played by Zoe Colletti, and her two male compadre’s Auggie (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck (Austin Zajur). Both of whom provide some great comedic chops. Auggie a little bit more of the bookish type, his costume is a pierrot not a clown, dammit! and Chuck a little more of the mischievous type. It’s clearly a little group of misfits, probably selfdescribed nerds. The movie opens on them getting ready for Halloween, by getting revenge on the town bully, Tommy Milner (Austin Abrams), who always steals their Halloween candy. This year, however, they’ve set a trap with their candy, namely Chuck’s turd he’s fished out of the toilet. When Tommy, who’s on a date with Chuck’s sister, Ruth (Natalie Ganzhorn) realizes what happens he chases the trio into a drive in theater where they hide in the car of a stranger, Ramon Morales (Michael Garza), who stands up to Tommy when he finds them.
The now foursome decide to explore a local abandoned haunted house, because what else are you supposed to do on Halloween Night? I mean how else are you supposed to have an adventure? While in the house we learn the legend of Sarah Bellows who lived in the walls and used to tell scary stories to children. They end up opening a secret passage and finding Sarah’s book. Tommy, the bully, and Chuck’s sister, Ruth, find them and Tommy locks Ruth down in the secret area with the foursome who are only able to escape when a ghostly and mysterious presence unlocks the door. Stella takes the book with them, which is when the real trouble begins.
Over the next few days, the trio witness new stories being written into the book, each with the name of someone who was in the house Halloween night, and each story manifests into the real world and releases some kind of horrible creature. Each story is a story from the original books. The stories used are, Harold, the scarecrow, “The Big Toe”, “the Red Spot” “Me Tie Dough Tea Walker” and “the Pale Lady”. All “Scary Stories’ classics.
Now, in a way the movie is set up like Final Destination, with the trope of a supernatural force attempting to pick off teens one by one, but instead of waiting to see what bizarre freak accident is going to occur, you’re waiting to see what story will be written and how it will be manifested. I have to say, I feel like they stayed super loyal to Gammell’s illustrations, and brilliantly brought them to life, especially with Harold the scarecrow and the grotesque Pale Lady. However, what gets lost a little bit when bringing these illustrations to life is your own imagaination. While the creatures are still effective, and definitely creepy, I think often the way you imagine an illustration would act and sound like in real life is way scarier than the way they end up being filmed. The Pale lady in particular, while the sequence is filmed in a truly pulse racing and eerie way, comes off almost cute in demeanor? She’s shaped and moves a little like Baymax from Big Hero 6, she’s just got a creepy face. Also with the ‘Jangly Man’ in the Me Tie Dough Tea walker story, I have to say both times I watched the movie I was like…what is he saying and what does that mean again? And then I looked it up and find that it actually doesn’t mean anything that’s just what he says in the book. I’m sure the point of the phrase in the story was the mystery behind what the phrase meant, but personally, if they were going to use that story, I wish they had fleshed that phrase out, or made use of it in some way. It seemed like a missed opportunity.
There aren’t a ton of jump scares in the movie, but what the movie does have and uses effectively is gruesome gross out scares. Not to the point that you’re going to throw up, which I hate when movies do that, but to the point where you’re definitely going to cringe and squint your eyes and go noo nooo nooo. The story of The Big Toe, finding a big toe in your stew, (Which I always think about that woman who planted the finger in her chili at Wendy’s when I think about this story), but the sequence is truly, just blech. So gross. And oh my god, The Red Spot, which is that urban legend of a spider laying eggs in you and then hundreds of spiders hatching from inside you. First off, truly my nightmare, but the way they combine it in the movie with the grossness of popping a pimple. The way that one spider leg sticks out of that giant pimple, mimicking a hair. Brilliant. Disgusting and brilliant.
The stories ended up being connected only in the way that they’re connected in real life. They’re all in the same book. I sorta wish they had been able to connect them and these monsters in a more organic way then to just take an anthology and keep it…an anthology, but I don’t know what else they should’ve done, and I still really enjoyed it, so I won’t fault them too much for it.
What I really loved about the film is how it is set on the backdrop of the Vietnam war, Nixon’s election, and racism. I always believe when a scary movie is rooted in real issues that we deal with, it connects with us in a real way. Every TV in the movie has the news talking about the election in which Nixon is elected, and we all know how that ended up. Ramon, the one character of color in the movie, is subjected to nasty epithets both verbal and vandalized on his car, we see a swastika right in the beginning of the movie. There is real evil in the world. That’s one of the things that gets thrown at me all the time “why do you like scary movies so much, there’s already so much evil in the world. You want a scary movie, just watch the news!” But I think one of the great things about a lot of scary movies is that we are able to conquer that evil in the end, even if we lose people along the way. Also I appreciate that the deaths in this movie, are scary, yes, but aren’t terribly gruesome or traumatizing. I’ll say deaths with quotation marks, because…are they really deaths? Our little cliffhanger at the end of the movie seems to suggest there’s a possibility of otherwise. It leaves us, after we’ve been through all this terror, with some hope at the end. I really did love this movie, despite some uneven performances in the cast, sometimes feeling a little ‘teen movie’ acting from Zoe Colletti, and Michael Garza, not in a terrible way. And I honestly really enjoyed Gabriel Rush and Austin Zajur’s performances. Overall, it felt like a great spooky Halloween adventure film to bring you back to feeling like a teenager again. The movie began and ended with the song “Season of the Witch” including Lana Del Ray’s fantastic cover, putting perfect book ends on a movie to get you in that…..October State of Mind. 7.5/10 pumpkins fr