Friday, 25 April 2014

A Film Cameraman’s Bizarre Adventures of a Spooky Kind

Mary Lou Brown, the magical person who actually runs Reelshow International tells me she gets lots of requests for me to write more Bizarre Adventures of a Cameraman stories. There have been quite a few and the response has been amazing, very flattering, but I am at a loss as to what to write next.
We have had stories from helicopter crashes, naked filming, canoes sinking in the shark infested Indian ocean, nuclear submarine adventures, being catapulted off the flight deck of the USS Nimitz, in a prop job..There are a few more…try this spooky one.
I was filming in Southern France many years ago and the crew stayed at a very old castle turned hotel, very nice place and handy for all of our locations.
The hotel had retained many of the old features of the ancient castle, massively thick stone walls, broad staircases that would sweep around a tower to open onto another big room.Very spacious, atmospheric and very empty…
Anyway, one day after a very heavy shoot we got back to the hotel, had a quick drink in the bar and decided where we would go for a meal that evening…we settled on the hotel restaurant..we arranged to meet back in the bar at seven pm..prompt..
After a shower , change of clothes, all of the crew, four of us, the sound man was missing , re-grouped, had a drink, waited for the sound man, rang his room, no answer, waited, rang again…eventually we made our way to the restaurant, ate, drank, went back to the bar, drank some more, went to bed about midnight..The usual location scenario,
The next morning we all met up in the lobby and waited for our transport, the sound man was extremely peed off with us and demanded to know why we did not meet as arranged the previous night.
Apparently he had arrived at the hotel bar, there is only one , and we were nowhere in sight, he waited, rang all of our rooms, and eventually went into the dining room…it was deserted..he ate alone. When he finished he went back to the bar and sat there until about midnight , then went to bed. As far as he was concerned the hotel was completely empty, except we were in a very crowded restaurant and a busy bar, all of the visitors were from the local village..the rooms were empty but the main rooms like the bar and restaurant were very busy…yet he never saw anyone else…Spooky
Here was another experience we had in a hotel in Bishop Auckland UK, much the same crew, we were almost unchanged for thirteen years,
The hotel was a very old manor house, oak paneled rooms, suits of armour dotted about, very atmospheric place.
As usual with my team we all met in the very quiet bar for a pre-dinner drink, or two.
There was only the five of us in there. When the front door from the car park/garden slowly opened, then closed…we all saw it…then the door to the toilets opened and closed…we all saw that too..
Then the toilet area door opened and closed..we saw it and now began to get nervous..the front door opened and closed…no one had been seen to enter or exit..we needed another drink..
That night in bed I heard what sounded like children playing in the corridor outside my room..I thought that some late arrivals with kids had turned up.
Along the corridor the Grip was having an altogether different experience…The children’s laughter had turned to screams and as he listened he saw a mist come under his door and lift him out of his bed, he spun around the room about four feet off the floor for what seemed like minutes and then was just dumped back on the bed..the children’s screams stopped instantly.
The next morning we described our stories to the Manager who said the place was really haunted, many people had heard the children screaming and it was put down to the fact that Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers had attacked the hotel which was at that time the home of Royalist sympathisers..The family were all killed and the bodies of the children, three of them, were all found on the corridor where the bedrooms were.. spooky!

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