Tag Archives: moaning

An Evening With The Uninvited (1944)

Last night Meril and I were burrowing in blankets on a chilly and windy evening at home alone, as Joe is away for work this week. We decided to catch up on another film on my list of movies to check out this fall. The weather the last few evenings here in the St. Louis area could not have been more perfect for an old black and white spooky film, so we made hot beverages (well I did, anyway), lit several candles, and popped in the recently released 1944 film The Uninvited. The cast includes Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Dorothy Stickney, Barbara Everest, Alan Napier, and Gail Russell.

When it was over, we went out for our bedtime walk. Not only was it bitterly cold, but the earlier rain and wind had turned many of the trees naked for the first time this season. The misty cloud cover in the moonlit sky created an eerie, muted, black and white scene. Our day was closing with quite the Hollywood ending, minus having to retire to a quiet and cold bedroom by ourselves. I resisted turning the heat on and imagined we lived in an earlier time, wishing we had an old fireplace to take the chill away.

 

Some of my brief thoughts about the film

Meril watching (or not) The Uninvited.

Meril watching (or not) The Uninvited.

It appears Meril missed quite a bit of it, but I loved the movie. In this DVD, released by The Criterion Collection, the film is completely remastered and presented in its original aspect ratio on widescreen televisions. For the few times I got lost in the plot, I was able to refer to the very informative booklet included with the DVD. It includes several pages (with photos) of an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme and a 1997 interview with Lewis Allen, who was actually a first-time director for this film.

The special features include a “visual essay” by filmmaker Michael Almereyda, which discussed some of the details of the film, the people involved, etc. It was very detailed and interesting. One of the things he mentions is how Gail Russell, who plays Stella, was plucked out of high school by the studio for her beauty. She was horribly shy, not confident, and the stress and anxiety drove her to drinking at such a young age. It was the alcohol that killed her at the age of 36. Apparently it was a common opinion, even by the director, that she was a poor actor with a studio contract who they were stuck with. Since I found her performance to be beautiful, it all surprised me. I felt that Donald Crisp, who was a respected academy award-winning actor by this time, had a horrible performance. It is said that at the time he was insulted to have to work with such a newcomer with no talent and experience. With the exception of Crisp, I thought the cast was spectacular! But what do I know?

I also want to point out that this 1944 film did an excellent job on several scenes with incredibly spooky ectoplasmic ghost manifestations. I expected to laugh at dated effects, but they really held up and are actually quite beautiful and impressive for 1944.

The film includes an original song, Stella by Starlight, which in the plot is written by one of the main characters, and in real life was later arranged with lyrics and covered by many famous artists. Here’s an overly dramatic but beautiful orchestral version. It is definitely not this dramatic in the film.

 

 

A haunting bit of information regarding this song was shared in the special features. Apparently in 1961, Gail Russell was known to frequently call into a particular radio station and request to hear Stella by Starlight. It is rumored that the night before she was found dead (apparently alcohol related), she had called in for her traditional request. 

Like many of these old films that I like, if you require your spooky old movies to include the classic old house (a beautiful and massive one), having to use candles in place of electricity, a séance scene (which you KNOW I enjoyed), and some really fantastic ghostly moaning, then add this to your list for sure! Click HERE to see the original trailer for the film. 

 

Next up! This year’s pumpkins turn into Jack-O-Lanterns!

You might also like: 

Danvers State Insane Asylum and Session 9 (Big Séance)

Danvers State Insane Asylum and Session 9 (Big Séance)

Rosemary's Baby (1968) (Big Séance)

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) (Big Séance)

The Conjuring Movie Review (Big Séance)

The Conjuring Movie Review (Big Séance)

 

 


The Strangest Evidence from the Papa Jack’s Pizza Investigation…

I’ve been working very hard for months on a previous investigation from Papa Jack’s Pizza in Lexington, Missouri. Click HERE for more information about Papa Jack’s. The analysis is complete and I’ve put together a 27-page report with 83 audio and video artifacts for the owners. Very soon I’ll publish a summarized online version of this report with some of the evidence. Until then, below is a look at probably our strangest and most mysterious evidence from the investigation, directly from the report. We don’t have an explanation yet for what you’ll hear below. The owners don’t either. We’re open to suggestions, especially from Lexington residents who may be more familiar with the environment of the area.  

At around midnight we took our investigation to the basement, where there have been past reports of paranormal activity. These reports included hearing singing and whistling. 

12:05am – As we were passing the stalls and stepping down from where it drops off (near the shower), Cassie heard 3 quick clicks or taps and asked if we heard it. It is picked up in the audio and the NightShot. It apparently stood out to Cassie, but it would be impossible to know if it was one of us or paranormal.

Just seconds later is where we first heard what we’ve been referring to as repeating “moaning” sounds. It was picked up in the audio and NightShot with investigators. Norman did not hear it (which is funny because he was holding the digital audio recorder) and Cassie said later that she only heard a little of it. It seemed to come from the stairway to the basement or upstairs in that area. At the time, Bailey and I were in front of the wooden stalls near the spot where you have to step down to go the other half of the basement. We hadn’t stepped down yet. Norman had just walked in and out of one of the stalls and then joined Cassie near the shower, further into the basement (past where you step down). Linda also heard it from upstairs in the main level restaurant dining room at command central near the front entrance. Unfortunately, her digital audio recorder stopped a while before this experience, but she said it was pretty clear and loud. I noted that this was where the service person heard the singing (next to the generator).  Also, it was NOT picked up in either the Tascam or the New Camcorder Video in the main level restaurant kitchen. I later described it as overlapping, almost like a siren. When it repeated it started at the same pitch and descended, but seemed to start again while still descending.

We later made a request for whoever made the sound to do it again. No response. 

Toward the end of our investigation we decided to make another visit to the basement. It was almost an exact replay of events, although this time all investigators in the basement heard it, and those upstairs in the main level restaurant dining room did not. 

3:11am – At this point we heard the “moaning” sound again. This time Bailey commented that “it sounds like a siren”. Norman mentioned that each time we’ve heard the moaning it was right after he came out of one of the stalls. I mentioned it didn’t sound so much like a voice to me this time. Bailey agreed. I also mentioned it sounded lower this time. It was captured on the audio and both videos, although of the videos, it is much clearer and lasts quite a bit longer in NightShotA. Later we learned that Cassie and Linda (both at Command Central this time around) did not hear it upstairs.

3:12am – While discussing it, I thought I heard it starting to come back again, but it was apparently so soft that the recorder didn’t pick it up. Neither did the NightShot videos. 

Norman walked into the stall again, attempted some communication, and then walked out to see if he could re-create the “moaning” sound once again. No luck this time. 

Below is a video compilation that I initially put together for the owners to see if they’d heard this noise or had any answers for us. The video contains all of the audio and video mentioned above. 

 

Other than one moment where we believe we may have heard this same sound very softly on the third floor of the building (not loud enough to be caught on audio or video), at no other time or location did we hear the “moaning” sound that evening.

 

 


%d bloggers like this: