Tag-Archive for » horror «
And so, as stories were told and were spread like wildfire amongst the communities of New England as the original territories of what was to become the United States of America, the tale of Les Cimetieres des Abbatus struck a chord, especially amongst those with families.
The “teller of stories”, be it in a pub, inn, or other such public locale, would (as the fire was dying and folks were ready to call it a night) begin his tale. It was “malevolent spirits”, he would intone as sparks popped from the charred wood in the hearth (and perhaps startle a person more prone to jumpiness). Perhaps they are Ancient Ones, vengeful for some perceived wrong of the past, he (for it was always a male telling the stories, back in those days) might have said. And, true to their evil intents on scarring the victimized families where it hurt the most, they only took the women and the children.
But that which is true now was most certainly true then: When children go missing, the woman’s will to go on is severely tested. Yet another casualty would be the destruction of the family as well.
In some past cases, particularly in the early 20th century, women who had lost their children would continue to claim to have seen their missing children year after year after year – yet even after years, would still see their “babies” aged not even one year in appearance. Some destitute mothers were forcibly institutionalized, due to their “unhealthy obsessions.”
In a particularly sad case in the 1960’s, a woman kidnapped a little boy she was convinced was her own – fifteen years after her own disappeared. The woman, apparently distressed when she realized it wasn’t hers, had drowned him in her bathtub and promptly left town, to never be seen again. To this day, her fate is unknown.
But in Puritan Massachusetts, circa 1692, it is said that some of these women “cursed” by the disappeared children faced a far grimmer fate.
That fate befell them, some say, on Gallows Hill, near Salem Village.
The crime? Witchcraft.
The fate? Hanging.
… to be followed, again, shortly …
There are folks in Keene, New Hampshire who remember September 1963 as the coldest September in history, with temperatures barely topping 20 degrees on the thermometer.
There are others, however, who might recall another event – one that had old-timers’ tongues wagging nonstop in barbershops, bars, and bingo parlors for years on end.
For that was the month that James Riley, 8, mysteriously disappeared while walking home from school. In this tight-knit community of 18,000 souls, this opened old wounds from 15 years previous – almost to the exact day – that another 8 year old boy, one Bob McArdle, had also disappeared under the same circumstances. Bob’s mother, nurse Mary McArdle, never recovered. Found pacing back and forth in the cold and the rain off of Route 12 three days after the loss of her son, she was duly institutionalized.
“Poor Mary,” the townsfolk sadly noted. Her sister had vanished when Mary was only three years of age. Eight years after, her mother Anne also disappeared.
For three years, Mary spent her time in the sanitarium receiving weekly electro-shock therapies. But the only words that ever passed her lips, spoken as if like a mantra, were “The necklace. It was the necklace, it was the necklace …”
Bob McArdle was never seen again.
And so it was the memory of the tragedy of Mary McArdle that was in people’s minds when young James Riley never made it home from his school three blocks away that freezing September afternoon. James’ mother, Sarah Riley, issued a single heartfelt plea to a gathering of citizenry, reporters, and police officers: “Please, find my son.”
Two days passed without any luck. And then something very strange happened.
Mary McArdle’s older brother reported that she had not shown up at church, and was not answering her phone. An avid churchgoer, Mary had never missed a service; her brother called and asked if the police could check on her at her house and make sure she was alright.
When the police knocked on her front door, no one answered. Investigating the perimeter of the house, they found that the back door was slightly ajar. No one seemed to be home. They let themselves in and began to search the two-room cottage. And when an officer opened the door to Mary’s bathroom, it was then that the general strangeness of the situation suddenly turned tragic.
For there, in her claw-footed bathtub, they found the body of young James Riley. He had been drowned, and was still clad in the clothes he was wearing when he disappeared. Mary was nowhere to be seen. There was only one clue in the claustrophobic room, and it was five words, scrawled haphazardly on the mirror with a tube of bright red lipstick: “IT IS NOT MY SON.”
Mary McArdle, like her son Bob fifteen years previously, was never seen again.
… to be followed, again, shortly …
During a delightful (and mysteriously sunny) Sunday afternoon on the outdoor deck of the Oarhouse in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I sat down with Chase Bailey, writer and director of Crooked Lane, over a light lunch and asked him about the inspiration behind the movie.
He leaned forward with a slight smile and breathed sharply through his teeth. “Ah, that,” he said at last. “A few years ago, I remember running across this remote graveyard in Brookfield, New Hampshire. I was with my wife and brother-in-law at the time, and they told me [that] this was one of the ‘unmarked’ cemeteries. I asked them why they weren’t marked, and they told me it was because there were no bodies buried there.” A slight wind picked up off the glassy surface of the Piscataqua, momentarily chilling the exposed skin of my forearms. I shivered briefly. No bodies?
No bodies. “I have now seen four of these cemeteries in various remote locations, and I began to hear this phrase – what was it again? – oh, yes … Les Cimetieres des Abbatus. Cemeteries of the Culled, is what it roughly translates to. I naturally began investigating.”
I asked him if the Internet was any help. “Funnily enough,” he said, “I couldn’t find much information on the web, but by talking to old-time residents whose roots stretch back generations, I found that these gravestones were put there for missing people. Missing people, all from the same families – and they all turned out to be women and children! Something was taking place in these families, [something] was just decimating [them].”
He sat back in his chair and took a sip of his wine. “Especially,” he said, “the women and the children. And that’s what piqued my curiosity and helped me start the process of writing Crooked Lane.”
… to be followed, again, shortly …
Contact: Amy Greenlaw and Leslie Poston from Film Pop!
CROOKED LANE, PORTSMOUTH, NH – Chase Bailey and production company Left Bank Films bring you CROOKED LANE, a paranormal thriller set in New Hampshire and based on a true story passed down over two hundred years, generation to generation.
Left Bank Films’ Chase Bailey (“The Libertine”) is joined by new media marketing team Amy Greenlaw and Leslie Poston of Film Pop! The production team is led by Mark Constance (“Being John Malkovich”) and Tracey Becker (“Finding Neverland”). The team will bring together a taut screenplay and adept actors in a local New Hampshire setting to bring this harrowing story to life on the screen.
Joining Chase will be actors Ann Cusack (“A League of Their Own”) and Brett Cullen (“Lost”) and local talent from the New England area. Shooting begins July 6th on the Seacoast of New Hampshire. Bailey will direct the film which will be in the vein of such thrillers as “The Sixth Sense” and “The Orphanage”. Amy Greenlaw and Leslie Poston of Film Pop! will be in charge of social media, new media and digital marketing of the film.
The film from Bailey’s original script will mark the directorial debut from Bailey and the producing debut of longtime Assistant Director Smith (“Little Miss Sunshine”). The film will use the revolutionary RED camera and will be shot by Cinematographer Patrick Ruth (“Long Distance”). The Production Designer will be Shawn Carroll (“The Sensation of Sight”). Hatchling Studios and Marc Dole (“The Toll”) will be doing the Visual Effects for the film. Music will be originally composed by Eugene McDaniels (“Feels Like Making Love”).
Expect behind the scenes peeks and ongoing content to appear on the CROOKED LANE web site, as well as video out takes, interviews, regular blog posts from the cast and crew, a social media presence (including a Twitter account for direct access) and more. If you want to be part of the Crooked Lane Street Team, contact Amy Greenlaw or Leslie Poston.