Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Creepy House

A very commonly asked question is, "How do you find your locations? Do you just drive around looking for them?" The answer to this is yes, that's exactly what I do. A couple years ago I was driving clear out towards the middle of nowhere and came across a long dirt road so I decided to see where it led to. As I pulled around the bend into a large patch of trees I was absolutely blown away. Spread before us was a small patch of wild grass surrounded by old, abandoned buildings including a beautiful Victorian era house. Inside the garages were covered wagons (seriously) old iron wrought beds, antique bathtubs and other treasure littered the grounds. It was like we stumbled on a house whose owners left and simply never came back twenty-years earlier. It wasn't called the creepy house yet, but after my first shoot there the name would stick. Two years later this is still one of my favorite locations to shoot and I still haven't used up all my ideas... but this is the story of how the creepy house became the CREEPY house.

Our first shoot there was with a beautiful model who was just as in awe as I was, we explored the grounds and I called her over to look inside a broken out window into one of the bedrooms of the house. Inside was a wicker chair, balanced on top of a small book case with the ancient wicker unraveled and pouring down the sides like a wooden waterfall. The site was eerie and beautiful. We sat in front of the window and chatted about who would make such a modern day sculpture inside a forgotten bedroom. Then we continued the shoot, I sat inside the front doorway but the door, off its' hinges and propped against the door jam kept getting in the way of my "shooting" arm. I complained out loud about the stupid door and shortly after an old light above the garage TURNED ON! It's hard to emphasize how strange this was based on the state of the house and on the obvious length of time it had been abandoned. Why was there a working bulb with a working timer LET ALONE electricity to this place? It was at least 300 yards from any other house that I could see. I stopped shooting and told the model to turn and look at the light, and at that exact moment the light went out. A tiny chill ran up my spine. I pegged it as a coincidence but it still was very strange.

The next day, less than 12 hours later, I returned with my girlfriend (now my wife) to show her my discovery, I called her over to the window to look inside and to my surprise the room was completely re-arranged. Though odd, this didn't strike me as impossible since anybody could have come and moved it, but it really hadn't been all that long since I was last there. I glanced towards the front door and my heart jumped. The door which I complained about was now standing straight up blocking the entrance to the front door. Everything I had talked about out loud (including the light) had been rearranged from the night before. Still a coincidence? Quite possibly but the incidents were adding up. The weirdest thing of all was yet to come, sitting in the exact spot where the model was standing for our very first shot the night before was an old Polaroid picture of a young man laying on the couch, the picture was dated 1971. I have no idea how it got there, I went home and checked the shoot just to make sure it wasn't there the night before and sure enough... it wasn't.

Later on I found out the house is widely believed to be haunted by the family that used to live there... that was only my first experience with the creepy house, there are many more experiences that have been very difficult to explain.