Category Archives: Movie Discussions

Keith Johnson Remembers the Conjuring Case, Plus the Truth About Bathsheba – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #42

Interview with demonologist Keith Johnson on his experiences with the Conjuring case, on The Big Séance Podcast. Visit BigSeance.com.

Keith and Sandra Johnson

Demonologist Keith Johnson was one of the first to investigate the now famous farmhouse that inspired the movie, The Conjuring. He has also been featured on paranormal television shows, such as Syfy’s Ghost Hunters. His experience at the now famous farmhouse in Rhode Island was all before Ed and Lorraine Warren showed up on the scene. Keith shares the truth about Bathsheba, whether the farmhouse is still haunted, a response to the current owner speaking out, plus some behind the scenes controversy involving the Warrens. 

 

Pssst… Are you looking for the SpeakPipe Link?

Get to this episode in iTunes!
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The Big Séance Podcast with Patrick Keller - Paranormal, paranerd

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The Woman in Black 2 and O Willow Waly

 

While participating in the traditional Christmas day “rob your neighbor” gift exchange, from the corner of my eye I happened to see the trailer for The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death on the television, only it was muted. I got really excited to look for it online later. I was also shocked, and for two reasons: It has been almost three years since the original film was released, and I hadn’t heard about this sequel until now!

In one of my very first blog posts from 2012, I wrote a brief review of The Woman In Black. I really loved it. I loved the house (known in the story as the Eel Marsh House) as a character. I loved the time period. I loved that the film’s lack of CGI (computer generated imagery) made it so much spookier!

Though there’s no Daniel Radcliffe this time around, fortunately it appears that the same awesome house plays a main role in the sequel, which is enough to make me excited to see it. According to IMDb, this particular story, which takes place 40 years after the first haunting, involves the Eel Marsh House being converted into a safe shelter for schoolchildren evacuated from World War II London. Many paranormal junkies and investigators should connect to this one, as many real life estates of a similar age end up having the same kinds of multiple lives and purposes, like hospitals, orphanages, etc. This, of course, adds to the creepiness!

But do you want to know what makes me even more excited? In a completely unrelated review, I talked about the very creepy “O Willow Waly” recording from one of my favorite spooky black and white films, The Innocents (1961). I’m not sure if this recording is actually featured in the film, but it is featured in the trailer, which I’ve embedded below. I took this delicious synchronicity as another sign that I’m supposed to get really excited for this movie!

The only thing that I’m bummed about is the fact that they’ve clearly made a creative decision to use more CGI for scares, based on the trailer anyway. A January 2 release date probably doesn’t indicate that it’s a blockbuster either, but I have loved quite a few movies that were never blockbusters.

I’ll be there… and crossing my fingers! Here’s the trailer! Watch it! Now!

 

 


3 Random Things, a Tribute to Buzz from Home Alone, and the Parlor

In the spirit of the season, and in the style of Buzz, from the movie Home Alone, I’ll list 3 random things that have been on my mind the last couple of days. I really would like to know your thoughts on any of these points.

But first, just in case you’ve forgotten…

 

 

A.

Reunions, Dr. Raymond MoodyI’ve been reading Reunions: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones by Dr. Raymond Moody. I’ve mentioned him and his work with facilitated apparitions and psychomanteums in a recent post with a review of his latest book. I’m absolutely fascinated by it all and am thinking about putting together a podcast episode on the topic. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to just step into a room, one that is specifically designed for facilitated apparitions, and pretty much be guaranteed that you’d see and have some kind of communication with a passed loved one? Can you imagine how much one might be able to heal and move on from the pain and suffering of loss or other struggles in life? And perhaps just as important, it would simply be super cool!! Dr. Moody has had mind-blowing results from his experiments, with comforting results from the sitters, to say the least. According to his book mentioned above, Dr. Moody claims in nearly 50 percent of the subjects, “complex communications were reported.” Am I the only one that wants to empty out my walk-in closet to design a room like this for experiments?!

 

2.

I’m trying not to read too much into this, but Friday afternoon at school, in the middle of a class I suddenly had uncomfortable feelings and looked over toward one of my classroom doors. We were playing Name That Tune and listening to several recordings. My mind for some reason went through an intruder/lockdown scenario. I stared at the double doors, wondered if the latches at the top and bottom were secured, and if they would really hold the door closed if someone attempted to pull them open forcefully. (These particular doors aren’t even the only entrance to worry about in my two connected classrooms. In the event of a lockdown, I have to be concerned about three doors/entrances–four if you count the door connecting the two classrooms.) As I stared through the skinny crack between the double doors, I wondered how much sound someone outside would hear, even with us in hiding. I shook myself out of it and continued with our game. 

When I got in my car to head home after school, CNN was already tuned in on my SiriusXM radio. They were reporting the developing story of a shooting outside a Portland, Oregon high school. They’d mentioned the fact that it had happened about an hour and a half earlier, which would have been about the time I had my uncomfortable spell. 

I’m not sure what conclusions, if any, to draw from this. Sadly, school shootings are becoming so common now days that we barely pay attention to them, so I suppose it truly could be coincidence… although I know what many of you will say about those. My heart goes out to the community and those involved.

 

…and D.

Last night I had a crazy disturbing dream. A murderous dream that could have come straight out of Dexter. A dream that I don’t even feel comfortable talking about! I woke up feeling so dark and icky. Why why WHY???

 

Actually, here’s a bonus thing. We’ll call it 5.

Victorian ParlorI’ve been considering changing the subtitle or tagline of BigSéance.com and The Big Séance Podcast. At the time of this writing, and since my very first post, it has been “My Paranormal World.” When I greet listeners to each episode of the podcast, I often say something like “welcome to The Big Séance table”, which almost sounds confusing, like that’s the name of the show. Therefore, sometimes I’ve dropped it to just “welcome to the séance table”, which isn’t much better. I’ve wanted to make the listener feel like they’ve walked into a séance room… or at least into whatever particular episode they’re listening to. This “come on in” feel has gotten me thinking about the concept of the parlor in the Victorian days and in the height of the spiritualism movement. A séance, or any afterlife communication, would most certainly have been conducted there. But I suppose my greeting on the podcast doesn’t have to have anything to do with the subtitle of BigSéance.com. Do you have any thoughts on how to creatively include “parlor” in the subtitle or tag line? Is it a dorky idea? I don’t even know if tag line is the right name for what I’m going for. Shoot me your thoughts!

 

Period.

 


Anything paranormal going on in your world?

So I had a wonderful Thanksgiving break, which also included a little break from blogging and podcasting. If anyone out there has just been super distraught over not having any Big Séance in your life over the last week, I do sincerely apologize. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoyed your break from me. I know one thing for certain, and that is that life and work has kicked in high gear once again. Am I right? 

So why don’t I ask my audience a question that I probably should ask more often but haven’t.

What paranormal events are going on in your life?

Did Uncle Frank visit last week? Did you astral travel to the Bahamas in your sleep last night? Have you experienced any impressive intuitive moments lately? Please share in the comments section… or on this post from the social media of your choice!

 

I’ll go first.

The next episode of The Big Séance Podcast will likely cover my Third Annual Thanksgiving Ouija Séance that I held last week, once again, with my mother. I can’t confirm that this will be the content of next week, but it just might be. (Check out last year’s Thanksgiving Ouija Séance.)

 

And here’s one more.

Black Hole, Big Séance

This one requires a **SPOILER ALERT** if you haven’t seen the film Interstellar yet and you still plan to. We went to see this movie with our neighbors. I wasn’t super excited about seeing it, but smiled and tagged along anyway. I assumed it was just another “space movie”. Boy was I wrong! I won’t go into a bunch of detail, because it would require me to pull up about 3 Wikipedia articles to explain it all, but just know that you quantum physics nerds will be in HEAVEN when you see it. It’s very paranormal, or perhaps simply futuristic, but some claim it’s very close to being scientifically accurate! Though I don’t always possess the vocabulary to explain it well, I was so very proud of myself for predicting a few powerful twists and turns in the film that I don’t think the average person did. This is all due to surrounding myself in a constant sea of paranormal. I felt so smart! It was a fantastic and mind-blowing movie! (It is very long though, so plan on a mid-movie potty break.)

But simply seeing the movie is not why I’m mentioning it. After seeing the movie, I immediately remembered a strange experience that happened to me earlier that morning while waking up. It happened twice, and again, this is before I saw the movie. A female voice woke me from my slumber by sternly saying “Patrick!” I immediately woke up and was alert each time. I didn’t recognize the voice, and I told myself I’d remember… but I drifted back to sleep for a bit and forgot. 

After the movie, I had a very strong feeling that the voice from earlier in the day was connected with seeing the film. I can’t explain it well, and I really don’t want to give it away (even with the spoiler alert), but I just know the voice and the experience of seeing Interstellar is connected. I can’t answer why or who, but I’ll keep you posted if more comes to me. 

 

YOUR TURN!

 

(Here’s an Interstellar trailer.)

 

 


Andrea Perron finally wraps up her real Conjuring story in Volume 3 of House of Darkness House of Light

A little more than a year ago, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a ticket to an advanced screening of the then upcoming film, The Conjuring. In doing my research for the review that I wrote for the movie, I discovered the first two volumes of Andrea Perron’s House of Darkness House of Light, the books that tell of the author and family’s very real story that inspired the movie. The first two volumes of Andrea’s books are not light reads, but I consumed them as quickly as I could and blogged several times with my thoughts as I made my way through them. If you read any of those posts (that are some of my most popular, by the way), you know that I very much enjoyed the books, though there seemed to not be a large amount of connection to the movie. As you probably know, The Conjuring ended up being a huge success, and so it seemed that I was immersed in all things The Conjuring and House of Darkness House of Light for an entire summer and fall. 

Andrea’s first two volumes were published two years apart, and many of her readers and fans only discovered her due to The Conjuring, and so for a year she has been experiencing lots of pressure to complete and release the third and last volume. 

This weekend I share great news with you! Just days ago, the third volume was released, and on her Facebook page, Andrea Perron says “This last book was the most emotional and the most difficult.” She also says “The third volume is the best of the three books because it brings with it the gift of hope. Resolution. Perhaps even revelation.”

Book Description for all three volumes, from the publisher’s site:

Roger and Carolyn Perron purchased the home of their dreams and eventual nightmares in December of 1970. The Arnold Estate, located just beyond the village of Harrisville, Rhode Island seemed the idyllic setting in which to raise a family. The couple unwittingly moved their five young daughters into the ancient and mysterious farmhouse. Secrets were kept and then revealed within a space shared by mortal and immortal alike. Time suddenly became irrelevant; fractured by spirits making their presence known then dispersing into the ether. The house is a portal to the past and a passage to the future. This is a sacred story of spiritual enlightenment, told some thirty years hence. The family is now somewhat less reticent to divulge a closely-guarded experience. Their odyssey is chronicled by the eldest sibling and is an unabridged account of a supernatural excursion. Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated this haunting in a futile attempt to intervene on their behalf. They consider the Perron family saga to be one of the most compelling and significant of a famously ghost-storied career as paranormal researchers. During a seance gone horribly wrong, they unleashed an unholy hostess; the spirit called Bathsheba; a God-forsaken soul. Perceiving herself to be the mistress of the house, she did not appreciate the competition. Carolyn had long been under siege; overt threats issued in the form of fire…a mother’s greatest fear. It transformed the woman in unimaginable ways. After nearly a decade the family left a once beloved home behind though it will never leave them, as each remains haunted by a memory. This tale is an inspiring testament to the resilience of the human spirit on a pathway of discovery: an eternal journey for the living and the dead.

 

The book does not appear to be on Amazon right now, but can be purchased HERE

My “To Be Read” shelf has never been more full, but I look forward to getting this one on the doorstep and finishing the story! 

Peace!

 

My previous The Conjuring and House of Darkness House of Light posts (most recent first): 

The Current Owner of The Conjuring House Speaks Out!

House of Darkness House of Light, Volume Two, by Andrea Perron, and more on The Conjuring

Children who have spirit friends

House of Darkness House of Light, Volume One, by Andrea Perron

The Conjuring Sequel and the Enfield Poltergeist?

Flies and Hauntings: “You can’t really kill what’s already dead.”

Andrea Perron’s House of Darkness House of Light Trilogy

The Conjuring Movie Review

 

 


The Ouija (2014) Movie Trailer! Finally!

I don’t know how many of you are experiencing the beautiful weather that we’ve been having here in Missouri, but I’ve been desperately trying to find someone with a pumpkin, because this weather almost requires a jack-o-lantern, and you KNOW I love it!

So along with the weather and the fact that The Big Séance Podcast was listed as a “New and Noteworthy” podcast on iTunes this week, what could possibly make things better? The Ouija (2014) movie that I blogged about over a month ago, after having seen the preview in the theatre, has finally released the trailer and poster! Let me say that again… FINALLY!

I don’t know all the details, but the movie seems to have a horrible promotion plan, which has left early fans waiting for a trailer completely frustrated, and the film’s official website seems to continually change, as if constantly “under construction”. The film’s release date has now moved to October 24th, according to the Facebook page (which has had a considerably low number of “likes”). The trailer, which seems to show the old artwork from the website, simply says “Coming Soon”. This morning the official website had the new artwork and stated the film was coming this Halloween, however, if you go to the site at this moment, all the artwork is gone and it’s a blank Blumhouse Productions page that simply says “about the film”.

Will we actually get to see the film in October? Who knows! But I’m excited! My goal is to get into an advanced screening of this film, so stay tuned! The trailer looks great, which is why all their dysfunction surprises me. Surely they have more than 2 people on staff to work on promotion.

 

 


Ouija: A New Movie Coming In October!

 

There’s a new movie about the famous talking board that is due to be released in October! If you’re like me, you’re surprised that you didn’t even know this was a thing. And unless you had a date at a movie theater this last weekend, it’s likely you haven’t seen the trailer, since it hasn’t been released online.

Appropriately named, Ouija was directed by Stiles White and stars Olivia Cooke (who is fantastic in Bates Motel), Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Bianca A. Santos, Douglas Smith (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters), Matthew Settle (Gossip Girl), Vivis Colombettie (Paranormal Activity 2, Patch Adams), and Robyn Lively (The Karate Kid, Part III, Teen Witch), according to IMDb.

 

From our 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Ouija Session.

From our 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Ouija Session.

 

Hasbro, the owner and manufacturer of the board, has been working since 2008 to get this movie produced, according to Wikipedia. Remember that if you see the film. The Wikipedia page also describes it as a “low-budget film” and mentions that it only started production seven months ago. Currently, the film’s website seems to be… well, a little under construction, and you won’t find much more on their certified Facebook page, either, other than the lovely banner I’ve included above. That, of course, could change by the time you see this.  

I happened to catch the trailer before watching the painfully sad The Fault In Our Stars on Saturday. It did look spooky and exciting. But where’s the trailer online? According to ShockTillYouDrop.com, this is “an unusual move these days”. In this trending social media age, it seems very bizarre to me that they haven’t already made it available for tweens (and nerds like me) all over the country to “like” and “share”. Clearly, the trailer exists. When it is released, I’ll do my best to embed it right below this paragraph. 

UPDATE! The trailer is here and embedded below! Also, check out my most recent post on the film HERE

 
I’m not going to lie, I’m very excited about this movie (duh!), but I have mixed feelings. Most likely, this will once again make “experts” out of people who will say it’s an evil tool. And how will they know? Because they saw this movie, or because they used a Ouija board “one night at a party when I was a kid.” As I’ve mentioned several times recently, over the past two years I’ve experimented off and on with the Ouija board under several different conditions, and it’s so very exciting to stare at a piece of cardboard and a chunk of plastic that does nothing.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Will I see you at the theater?  

 

You might also like: 

The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication (Big Séance)

The Spirits of Ouija: Four Decades of Communication (Big Séance)

Fear and Spirit Communication (Big Séance)

Fear and Spirit Communication (Big Séance)

Thanksgiving Ouija Session 2013 (Big Séance)

Thanksgiving Ouija Session 2013 (Big Séance)

 


The Current Owner of The Conjuring House Speaks Out!

This evening I received a comment submitted by Norma Sutcliffe, the current owner of the house and farm that is depicted in the movie, The Conjuring. It is Norma’s house that is the main character and focus of Andrea Perron’s books that tell a lengthy and frightening decade-long story of hauntings. As I’ve mentioned before, the movie is not based on Andrea’s books. The Hollywood version is supposed to be based on the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, though I can tell you that the books, as exciting and descriptive as they are, don’t seem to have much to do with the movie. With that being said, I think I’ve made it clear on this blog that I love the books and the movie, though they’re completely separate identities in my eyes.

If you follow Andrea Perron or have been a fan of the movie, or even this blog, you probably already know that since the overwhelming success of the movie, Norma’s house and land has been consistently invaded, vandalized, and trespassed upon by inconsiderate and crazy fans of the movie and the story. I first learned about this when Andrea herself posted a video pleading for people to stop violating the privacy of Norma and her husband. This was back in late July of last summer.

On one of several posts I wrote about the first two books from Andrea’s trilogy (the third has yet to be released), House of Darkness House of Light, I posted a comment updating folks about the unfortunate events going on at the house.

I suppose I should make it clear that I do not know Norma, and have no real way of verifying that this is truly her, though I can’t think of why someone would parade around using her name and sharing this information, and I’m sorry if it’s insulting to even wonder. You just never know now days. Even so, the comment submitted by “Norma Sutcliffe” was in reference to my update on the house and is below:

The video that Norma references is embedded below. It is over an hour long and I watched (although “listened to” is probably more appropriate here) every second of it. Norma includes a ton of information based on her own research and makes a lot of claims. I have no way of knowing if this is all true, but thought it was definitely worth sharing to get your thoughts, and to simply share her side of the story. No doubt about it, her and her husband have gone through hell since the movie was released. In one of her comments in the video, she says “Our home has now been mocked, made a spectacle, and stigmatized forever.”

 

A Brief Summary of the Video

Here’s a brief summary with some of my thoughts, if you don’t have an hour to watch the video:

The video presents her points in 6 sections.

1. Research about claims made by the Perrons
2. History and research of the Warrens
3. History of the times and interesting facts and connections from the 50s to the 80s
4. Life during the assaults
5. Life before the movie
6. Past videos made in our home

Norma Sutcliffe maintains that they’ve experienced no paranormal activity in the nearly three decades of living in the home. Perhaps Norma’s biggest beef with Hollywood and the creators or The Conjuring is that they included personal and private information, including the name of the actual town, and the Perron family name. This easily led anyone to locate their farm. She claims that no one made them aware or warned them of any of this. The movie, she claims, is complete fiction and not based on reality. According to her, Andrea Perron was more involved in the movie than she claims. Norma says that Carolyn Perron made up much of the haunted history of the home, including details of suicides and the infamous Bathsheba. Apparently Andrea Perron had mentioned publicly, and I seem to recall hearing or seeing this myself, that the production company had been providing security for the Sutcliffes and was somehow assisting with all of the chaos. Norma denies that any of this was true.

Something interesting that I learned from the video that I didn’t realize, is that SyFy’s Ghost Hunters filmed an investigation there in 2005. At least at the time of this posting, you can view that video HERE. I remember seeing this early episode several times, but because they didn’t give many specific or private details, and because this was years before The Conjuring, I had no clue that I’d actually seen “The Conjuring House” in that episode. If you watch the Ghost Hunters episode, you’ll hear Norma kind of go along with the claims of the hauntings (which conflict with her views now), and in the end, even make the statement that she lives in a “bonafide haunted house.” She addresses some of those conflicting comments and interactions in her video below.

 

 

I’d love to know your thoughts. I’m a little torn between a movie and an author that I’ve loved and followed recently, and a couple that is clearly going through hell right now. I may follow this and keep you posted. 

 

You might also like:

Did someone die in your house? Do you own "stigmatized" real estate?

Did someone die in your house? Do you own “stigmatized” real estate? (Big Séance)

The Conjuring Movie Review (Big Séance)

The Conjuring Movie Review (Big Séance)

 

 


The Brilliant Britt Griffith! More from Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home…

See the end of this post for links to previous posts in the series.

Two of the biggest highlights from my T.A.P.S. weekend at Belvoir Winery involve the brilliant Britt Griffith. Now a permanent member of the cast of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters, Britt brings a much-needed fresh voice to the team… oh and gadgets. Lots and lots of gadgets. But he knows how to use them, researches them, knows their background, and in some cases has a hand in their design!

 

Britt’s Paranormal Technology Session

I was able to sit in on his paranormal technology session on the second day. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I found that I learned quite a few things. The best was having some of my own personal opinions and experiences reinforced or validated by someone who clearly has knowledge and a lot of experience. As if I was sitting in an undergrad lecture, I took lots of notes (which is why I don’t have a better photo), but out of respect for Britt and these events, I won’t cover his whole session here. Instead, I’ll point out a few things that really hit me in the head.

 

  • Did you know that both Britt and buddy KJ McCormick had done experiments with EMF and audio while under water?
     
  • Britt has apparently changed his mind about using IR (infrared) illumination during investigations. This really made me think and was kind of an “Aha moment”. In order to see shadows, you need contrast. Too much IR will prevent shadows. He went into some suggested ways to illuminate a room to prevent this problem. If I remember correctly, he also touched on the fact that we don’t really know what effect, if any, IR has on spirits (or humans, for that matter) when we blast them with it in large doses. Is it harmful? Is it polite? It very much reminded me of the first place I heard this topic being brought up. Check out Karl Pfeiffer’s How to Photograph a Ghost for more.
     
  • I learned that my current DVR would be of better use in the dumpster out back. I’m in need of a new one and now I know what to look for.
     
  • Britt is not a fan of the cheaper digital recorders (like the Sonys that I often use), because of the compression and the false anomalies they cause. He suggests only using them for stationary audio, but then also using a more quality recorder at the same time, to compare events to hear what actually happened. This is when I felt like a genius! I’ve always done this in EVP sessions. Along with one of my Sonys, I use a nicer Tascam recorder with a pretty good external microphone that would pick up a ghost in my neighbor’s house if it were quiet enough. When I think I have the Devil saying “Hey Keller! You suck!”, I compare that same moment in the Tascam and often learn that it was simply me scratching my nose, or my four-legged and furry son Meril rolling his eyes at me and sighing at the thought of another EVP session. It is why I’ve even considered video taping my sessions as well… to get a visual along with the sound. He suggested a few recorders. One of them is on my wish list.
     
  • Among many other things, he discussed logging barometric pressure (which I’ve often done, but can’t seem to find the perfect equipment for an investigation), E pods and REM pods, IR thermometer guns (Duh! Don’t use them to detect cold spots!), carbon monoxide detectors, debunking, Ovilus, reviewing evidence, and a popular favorite… orbs. I’ll only tell you that I very much concurred with his position.

 

Again, Britt used my spirit box! AAAAAAHHHH!

It was already a pretty cool spirit box, considering I got this particular one secondhand from Stephen Hill. But then during the overnight investigation, Britt suggested we get it out for a demonstration in a room that had already proven to be a hot spot for spirit box communication. Because this was such an Elvis moment, I awkwardly fumbled around in the dark trying to set it up and get it working to hand it off to Britt. When it didn’t turn on, I remembered Stephen Hill has always told me to take the batteries out while not in use. I’ve never really been good at remembering to do this…. but it turns out the previous time I used it, I followed those orders. I somehow found batteries fairly quickly, turned it on, and handed it off. Several of the people in our group had never seen or heard of a spirit box. We did get some communication, but you’ll never see it since my video footage of that moment has mysteriously vanished into thin air. See this previous post for more on that story. Actually, I have digital audio of that moment, but I’m still in the process of going through all of that.

 

Did you know?

Britt keeps himself busy by doing so much more than just paranormal investigation! Did you know he has been in several movies?

Check out his acting reel!

 

And the trailer for the 2012 film, The Black Dahlia Haunting.

 

Thanks, Britt! 

 

Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:

Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… Sort of…
Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!

New Friends!
The Photos
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March! 

 

 

 

 

 


My Favorite Historic Architectural Styles: A Field Trip

Would you like to see what a music teacher does on a snow day when he has a lot on his mind and puts important things off to the last minute when he really shouldn’t because there’s a musical to direct this week? You would?! Oh goody! Follow me through my crazy labyrinth of net surfing today! 

A home in Lexington, Missouri. Photo courtesy of midwesternmantra.com

A home in Lexington, Missouri. Photo courtesy of midwesternmantra.com

So whether I’m watching a television show or just out on the road, sometimes I find a home and get obsessed with the overall look of it. I then get sucked into Googling the structure or the style (if I know what it is). Most of the time the place ends up being from the same Victorian time period that I’d love to be able to visit in a time machine! It could be that I grew up in a historical civil war battle town with lots of Victorian and antebellum homes and buildings.

 

The Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, Missouri.

Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, MO, completed in 1849

I always decide that one day I’ll live in an old home just like what I saw… then I remind myself of how very OCD I tend to be. I’m not sure I could live in a home with decades or centuries of other people’s “funk”, and so I devise a plan of recreating a historically accurate wing of a future brand new home. I’m not entirely sure my beau would want to move into this strangely bi-century home, but I’ll continue to dream.  Until now I haven’t really pictured the outside. Hmmm… maybe it looks like Meet Me in St. Louis on one side and modern suburbia on the other? 

.

Here’s an example of things that get me started:

It was featured on an episode of This Old House a few weeks ago, where they work on refurbishing an Italianate house. The Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine, was built in Victorian Villa style between 1858 and 1860. If you just Google the place, you’ll see some amazing interior photos.

 

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

 

Interior of the Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Interior of the Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

 

Or how about the Woodruff-Fontaine House, a French Victorian mansion that was built in 1870 in Memphis, Tennessee. I saw this one on a recent episode of Ghost Hunters

 

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee

 

Is it the mansard roof?

Sometimes I think I’m just drawn to a home with a beautiful (or creepy) mansard roof. “Mansard Roof”–that’s another fun one to Google! You can also check out this article, The Heyday of Mansard Roofs from the New York Times. 

Speaking of mansard roofs! Here’s one that caught my attention a year ago on a road trip with my buddy Matt. The Bourbon Hotel in Bourbon, Missouri.

 

The Bourbon Hotel in Bourbon, Missouri

 

A famous big city version of a mansard roof belongs to the Grand Hotel in New York City, built in Second Empire Style in 1868.  

 

The Grand Hotel (on the left) in New York City

The Grand Hotel (on the left) in New York City

 

We interrupt this exciting program on mansard roofs to bring you this important Public Service Announcement! 

Public Service Announcement! I decided to head downstairs to take a break from my web-surfing field trip. I highly discourage you from missing the bottom four steps on the way down! Uuugh! After a check to make sure all of my appendages still worked, and as I picked ice melt out of my hair from landing next to the front door where we’ve been tracking winter in on our shoes, I decided dinner sounded good.

 

 

Program on mansard roofs still in progress…

So now I’m back. I’m fed. I’m sore… but a pain pill and a healthy dose of ibuprofen should take care of things. 

Where were we? That’s right… the beautiful Grand Hotel! Looking that one up reminded me of another NYC landmark–The Dakota Building in Manhattan, which was featured, through external shots, in the movie Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The interior shots, though filmed on a sound stage, were apparently modeled after The Dakota as well. It was built between 1880 and 1884, and according to Wikipedia, “The building’s high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a North German Renaissance character, an echo of a Hanseatic townhall. Nevertheless, its layout and floor plan betray a strong influence of French architectural trends in housing design that had become known in New York in the 1870s.”

 

The Dakota Building in Manhattan.

The Dakota Building in Manhattan

 

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78.

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78

 

Could the Psycho house possibly be the most famous mansard roof?? Here’s the painting “House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper, which was apparently used as inspiration for the Psycho house.

 

 

"House by the Railroad" by Edward Hopper

“House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper

 

What’s that? You’re tired? Oh alright. I suppose I’ve held you captive long enough. I’ll let you off the bus.

Till the next field trip.

 

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