Here at the Proprietary House, we put history before hauntings, but sometimes the two go hand in hand. As usual, we have more paranormal activity happen around us when we are doing our normal routine work and maintenance than when we have a ghost tour or ghost hunt.
There is a common misconception that ghosts only come out when it is dark. That is just for dramatic purposes for these horrendous “ghost hunting” shows, if you can call them that, which are littering our television screens, so they can scare unstable viewers and show off their night-vision cameras. Today at the Proprietary House was just one of those unsuspecting times where, in the middle of working, something caught us off-guard and really unnerved us for a few minutes. I was with one of our Junior Trustees on the first floor as we were turning Franklin’s Drawing Room over into a “theater” to get ready for our big arrest reenactment next month. We then went into the dining room to see if we had enough space to move something there. As we were standing by the fireplace we heard a thud from above us, and then several footsteps, which would have been on the second floor (no one was up there today, as the company that rents the space out is closed on weekends and there were no other cars in the parking lot). We quietly walked to the doorway across from the maid’s bedroom and stood there silently. The footsteps continued for a few more seconds, and as soon as they stopped, we heard the voice of a little boy say, “Wanna play?” It was coming from the breakfast room, which was about twenty feet to our left. My helper and I just looked at each other with stupefied glances and asked, “Did we really just hear that?”
The cavalry moving into position.
If you don’t know what schadenfreude is, you are going to become very familiar with it in the next few minutes. The people of Hazlet love this term, because only when we experience this is something exciting and noteworthy going on in this lovely, vanilla-flavored town. I just love that the Germans gave us this word and did not allow us to Americanize it like we usually do with our butchery of spoken language, because this word flows quite easily off the tongue and is highly apropos. The best definition of this word would be when people take pleasure in the misfortune of others, and I would like to expand that to actually having fun at their expense. Last night, many people were experiencing schadenfreude, when a man took a shotgun and held his wife hostage at their home in the West Keansburg section of Hazlet. Social media immediately blew up with excitement. People were just going bananas over the fact that S.W.A.T teams were called in, and men in camouflage were climbing up peoples’ houses and onto rooftops with sniper rifles so they could have a better glimpse at the perpetrator of justice. People were anxiously awaiting to hear gunshots, which would serve to cap off the night and be the icing on the cake.
Costume designers are extremely underrated members of any film production crew, because more often than not, we do not realize exactly how much work goes into fitting hundreds of cast-members, even though we find ourselves staring right at them on the screen. For a history-related film more than any other, it is of the utmost importance that the clothing the characters are wearing is correct, especially with a director at the helm who is known to go for an authenticity down to the buttons on a coat or shirt. While many of the background extras were members of the living history settlement where Copperhead was filmed, all of their clothing was not dated to the Civil War time period, as they portray 1800′s Canadian townspeople and farmers, not upstate New Yorkers from the 1860′s. Thus the tedious journey began, to not only design uniforms for the various soldiers who come in and out of the film (and whose uniforms are well-documented), but to come up with accurate renditions of the clothing “normal” people of the time would wear. The immense task of fitting the cast of Copperhead fell to Kate Rose, who has eighteen other titles of work to her name, spanning both film and television. Having seen the film already, I would like to comment that she did an outstanding job. It may be ironic, but sometimes it takes a person to not even notice the costumes to realize how great a job the designer did. What I mean is, because everything looked so real, both clothing and scenery wise, sometimes it is easy to forget we are watching a movie, and only when we step back do we say, “Wow”. Simple but elegant would be the proper way to describe her work. I had the chance to interview Kate by email. Our conversation is below:
The first actor I interviewed involved with Copperhead was Josh Cruddas, which happened right after filming began. We just went for the basics and he promised me another interview once filming ended, to give a better picture of his overall experience. Since I am lucky enough to have already seen the movie, I can say that Josh does a wonderful job in the role of Jimmy, who is kind of like the main character, Abner Beech’s, adopted son. Copperhead begins with Josh reciting the opening narration, setting the stage for the story to come—some of that narration can be heard in the voice-over on the trailer. As good of an actor as Josh is though, he is an even better person. We have remained in touch all this time, and I am proud to know such an aspiring young actor, who has such a bright future ahead of him. Though he has acted before, hopefully this will serve as his “big break”. At the end of our interview, Josh added, “All in all, playing Jimmy in Copperhead was a life-changing adventure for me, and I’ve made many new friends while creating a film that I believe will be something special. I need to thank Ron for giving me the chance to be in a picture like this, and I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received from everyone involved in the production and from folks back home and around the world. I feel very blessed.” Below is our full interview. Enjoy!
Dissent: often scorned, sometimes praised, always misunderstood. The American Civil War is sometimes called the Second American Revolution or the Second War of Independence, yet the American Revolution is never referred to as our country’s first Civil War. And why not? One could argue that the situations are exactly the same. In both cases, a percentage of the population wanted to remove themselves from a ruler they perceived as tyrannical. Don’t think Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant? Well, there were plenty of people that didn’t think King George III was either.
Due to reasons beyond my control, I have not been able to be active with postings on the official Copperhead website, nor have I been able to share the few interviews with cast and crew members that I have gathered over the last few weeks. However, I still want to do my part in helping to get Copperhead into as many theaters as possible. Though the cast and storyline is stellar, we must remember that this film is still an “Indie” and it will take a grassroots effort to expand the viewership to markets not just near Civil War battlefields on the east coast. There is a very cool feature available through the main website called “Demand this Movie”, where fans can literally enter in their zip code to demand that this film comes to a theater in their area. I believe that this is the future of film distribution, and you can take part in this exciting movement by clicking here and helping to get this movie to a theater near you! Copperhead is currently doing very well with demands in New York and Los Angeles, but there are many cities in between that need to see this movie! Thank you for your help.
As we all know, the production company for the still-in-limbo To Appomattox miniseries project, Sony, has recently severed ties with them after years of holding the rights got absolutely nowhere. There are a good number of people following this massive Civil War project who feel they are being misled by the people in charge, but after speaking to a source close to the situation, the individual was very clear that peoples’ anger should be directed at the company who “held them hostage”, not the other way around. This was not a deflection of my questions, but a rather comprehensive explanation of all that has been going on over the last five years, and I believe it to be true—if I didn’t, I would not be writing this. It was a lot to digest, but I am of the opinion that the producers of To Appomattox and their cast and crew still have the utmost enthusiasm in the project, and that it certainly is not dead. There are a few concerns that need to be looked at, but overall, I do think they are now moving in the right direction.
For anyone who knows author and historian Ned Huthmacher, they would be hard-pressed to find someone more enthusiastic about Texas history and the siege and battle of the Alamo than him. His life simply revolved around it, so much so that he actually moved to Texas several years after authoring a book titled One Domingo Morning: The Story of Alamo Joe, a novel, and also the first time commander William Barrett Travis’ slave Joe was ever profiled in-depth. Ned is a very easy-going guy who is always willing to talk about anything, especially his love of history. He is a man who can serve as inspiration for those who have a hobby or interest and want to take it to the next level. However, in a step away from his normal Alamo focus, Ned has spent the last several years working on songs to be produced for an album, titled Outside the Alamo, sung and performed by John Beland, who in the past has served as guitarist for several country music legends, including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Ricky Nelson, and Dolly Parton. While the cover of this album is a vintage photograph of Ned sitting by the outer barrack walls of John Wayne’s Alamo film set, the focus of the songs are quite literally outside the Alamo (with the exception of the song titled the same as his book, which he considers to be it’s “soundtrack”), meaning focusing on his other interests besides the famous battle.
“We have breaking news just in!”
“Stay tuned, you won’t find this information ANYWHERE else!”
“We are the only ones on the scene!”
“Our sources are reporting…”
“Do not miss our EXCLUSIVE interview with…”
“If you remember, [insert network] was the first to bring you…”
These are just a few phrases you could have heard uttered on the various news networks over the last couple of days, following the bombing in Boston. As a result, like every tragedy involving mass-violence and death, the television news networks become a feeding frenzy of information and “breaking” stories. It almost becomes a game between networks, and within networks, individual reporters, between who can be the first to bring their viewing audiences the bits of information that are being released from law enforcement agencies and “trusted sources”. While waiting for this information, which, admittedly, we can do nothing with once we receive it, the networks and their reporters are sure to drum up as much drama as they humanly can, without appearing to actually be cheering for the one bomber who is still on the loose, to not be captured right away, so they can drag the coverage on even more. Is there such thing as news anymore? A straightforward reporting of the facts and broadcasting of interviews without unneccesary sensationalist showmanship getting in the way? Is it so much for the reporters to show even one fraction of an iota of respect for the victims and their families, without promoting their own egos and agenda?
I do not usually post copies of research papers I have written, but being that I just enthusiastically finished this one for my biology class this semester, I wanted to share it with all of you. I have written several times about how companies prefer the Almighty Dollar to consumer health, so this one would be the icing on the cake for me (hold the high fructose corn syrup, please). I guarantee that after you read this, if you are not an ingredient reader already, you will become one. Included within the body are the original sources that I cited. If anyone would like a complete list of works cited for their own enjoyment or research, please contact me.
Paying customers should have a right to expect that the food they are purchasing is healthy and clean. Maybe not healthy in regards to the nutrition facts such as fat, sodium, and cholesterol, but for the actual ingredients going into these foods, some of which are quite horrifying. Manufacturers, as they have always done, are coming up with new and innovative ways to cut costs on their end, increase shelf life, and make the food look more appealing, all at the expense of the customer’s health. The reason why there is such a push for “natural” and “organic” is because people are finally waking up, and becoming ingredient readers and questioning what some of these items are. That may be the saddest part of all of this, because the manufacturers are doing this right in front of our eyes, as they are bound by law to list all the ingredients on the back of food labels. However, what these individual ingredients do not say is what exactly they are and what side effects they may have following your consumption of them.