Haunted Book Trailer
On the 7th of February, we took over the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana. It’s reputed to be a most haunted plantation.
We had a mission -- my three available children, husband, and several friends -- to film a trailer for a series of books I have coming out. They’re like Criminal Minds meet up with Ghostbusters. They take place in different areas of the country, and the second venue is a haunted plantation.
In order to film on the property, you rent the entire estate, which worked out well. We had four members of the Peace River Ghost Trackers, our videographer, Phin, Bridget from the PR company, and our cast of thousands. Okay, our cast of ten. The idea was to do little vignettes—about fifteen seconds each—on each of the mysterious circumstances. I’d written the script, I had Connie Perry and her miraculous costumes, and I was all set. Except for getting the cast in order.
We are from Florida, and the boys felt it would be a betrayal of their state to be Yankees at a plantation. “The North won! And it was a good thing!” I reminded them. Yep, yep, and that was all good, but . . . .
Our fabulous waiter, Ginger, who is also an amazing drag performer, got in on the fun. I needed the fellow who proves to be the father of descendents in the story; Ginger was happy to be him. “Now, the black man doesn’t get bumped off in the first pages, does he?” she asked me. I was able to say, “No. He’s actually the hero.” Ginger was ready for the challenge.
I’d asked my husband Dennis to take part, assuring him he didn’t have to say a word. “Who am I?” he asked. I hesitated for a minute. “Jack the Ripper,” I told him.
He made a frighteningly good Ripper.
Then there was the senator’s wife, dead from a fall from the balcony of her French Quarter house; she had to die with her eyes open. I picked on Jason’s girlfriend and my fellow FRW friend and member, Kathy DePalo. She lay uncomplainingly on the brick for quite a while . . . staring. She was brilliant. I was worried. It was freezing while we were there!
I really couldn’t figure out a way to make any of the boys be stripped naked and covered in blood, so we employed an axe and a lot of food coloring and Vaseline. It worked.
The most fun, of course, was when the entire group, including Connie and Kathy Pickering--who had come to take some quick shots and document—dressed up in period clothing and did the “ghost” walk to the camera. Everyone looked wonderful. Incredible. And Phin is amazingly talented, with great ideas. (He’s now off to work in Cairo; I fear for him. Worked with him before, and love him to death!)
First walk was fine. Then, in twos and threes, people were supposed to disappear. We all kept losing track of our numbers. We made the walk from the house, and then from the bridge, and by the third time we tried it all from the bridge . . . .
Thank God the sun set!
We headed out to dinner, giving the waiters in St. Francisville a bit of a twinge when we came in twenty-four strong. Had to eat, though. It was going to be a long night. So, a fun dinner en masse, and it was back to the Myrtles with the Peace River Ghost Trackers. They’re my favorite group; they’re out to dispel ghost stories as much as they are to prove them. But Scott, Sprout, Debbie, and Toni were in for more than they had bargained for; others knew about the expedition and piled back to the plantation.
Seriously, they won’t know if they have anything until they’ve studied their tapes and their recordings.
I will say, I was enchanted and I fell in love. It was like taking a step back in time. The Myrtles is owned by a charming woman, run by another charming woman, and Mr. Moses is the caretaker and cook. Most amazing grits ever! Everyone there was great, fun, and helpful.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to take over the Myrtles again, but I’ll definitely head back. If you’re ever in the mood for some real Southern hospitality, stay a night or two. And opt for the ground floor suite! (Dennis aka Mr. Ripper had me scared; I slept down with Connie and my daughter Bryee in their room on the 1st floor!)
And what about you? Got ghosts?