Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ghoul of the Mad Monk #2 of 2 (Halloween Haunts 2010)

(GPS: N33° 13.930 W117° 19.155)

Nightmare #6 (concluded)

Alright, in this blog I will conclude the final "nightmare." Again, these last two are not really that spooky, but it is all in good fun.

In one of the previous blogs I showed the front entrance to the cemetery. To avoid overloading this entry with pictures I am going to refer you to that rather than post it again here. That is where this part of the episode starts. Sgt. Garcia and one of the other soldiers are out in front talking about the legend about the ghost. They hear moaning in the cemetery and then go inside.

They do not show very much of the cemetery in the episode and what you do see seems like a lot of overgrowth compared to the nicely kept area today:

Sure enough they see the ghost walking around with chains. They run back out and the comandante confronts them. He does not believe in the ghost and demands they show him what they saw.
The ghost they see runs across to the other side of the cemetery. At the time I took the video I was not sure if it was this simple. I do think now they just showed them run straight across to the other side. The cemetery is a lot bigger than what you see in the pictures I show. Most of what takes place appears to be right next to the church.
The Sgt. and the comandante track the ghost to the front of the mission.
We were here earlier in one of the previous blogs.
Finally, they end back at the old pepper tree. The ghost cuts down a pot knocking out the comandante and Sgt. Garcia is convinced he was killed by the ghost. He runs off.
We then find out that the "ghost" was none other than Zorro all along. Zorro checks to see that the comandante is okay and then sets the local native free who was locked up.
Another shot of the pepper tree. One thing to note is that the ghost story about a monk who haunts the mission did not originate here, but is one that is commonly told at the San Juan Capistrano mission. I will have something about that mission soon, but it will not have anything to do with ghost stories. In a week or two, I will put up a follow up at this San Luis Rey mission from a total different tv series.

As for my Halloween Haunts series, this is it. I had hoped to have all this end on October, 31st, but it looks like I may not have a full internet connection next weekend. So, rather than me take chances on this or wait until November, I thought I would just post it all now.

I do not think I will have anything like this next year. Most of the entries this month took many years of thinking through to finally get them done. They represent the best I could think of. If you missed anything then go here for the playlist:

The Silence of Halloween Locations (Youtube Version)

The Silence of Halloween Locations (Vimeo Version)

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Ghoul of the Mad Monk #1 of 2 (Halloween Haunts 2010)

(GPS: N33° 13.930 W117° 19.155)

Nightmare #6

I did not say this in the last two blogs, but this episode of Zorro was a Halloween episode. I believe the actual title of the episode was, "The Ghost of the Mission." Of course, I put my own spin on the title in what they refer to as "The Ghost of the Mad Monk" as I like to do. In the previous parts I showed dealt with the first half of the episode. Now you get to see why it was a Halloween episode.

The Ghoul of the Mad Monk (Vimeo)

The day after Zorro escaped he came back as Don Diego.
This is nearby out in front of the mission.The video will probably make more sense here, but Don Diego visits Sgt. Garcia in order to visit the Padre at the mission. In order to do that, Don Diego had to make up a story about giving the Padre an old manuscript. Sgt. Garcia wanted to know what manuscript contained. Diego tells him it is the story of the "Ghost of the Mad Monk." Long story short, a monk was tortured and killed right by this three they are at. At midnight on a moonless night the ghost appears at the mission. It is a fun scene.Originally, I thought I might be able to visit this tree. It looked like a very simple thing to do and I did see Huell Howser visit it on his tv series. I was very disappointed to see that the area is fenced off and that the gate to get to it is private. So, the video ended up being a bit anti-climatic in what I had originally hoped to do. I had to video the tree from the distance.
That tree is supposed to be the first pepper tree in California. It was planted here in 1830.

One more blog...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Fox Drops Into The Cemetery #2 of 2 (Halloween Haunts 2010)

(GPS: N33° 13.930 W117° 19.155)

Nightmare #5 (concluded)

I am continuing the Zorro television episode that took place at Mission San Luis Rey. After Zorro reaches the top of the bell tower with the soldiers chasing him he decides to rapel his way down.
I tried to mimic the camera shot by tilting the camera here.
The comandante cuts down the rope so Zorro then falls into the cemetery. This is where he would have come down. He then moves just to the left of that tree along the wall.
As the soldiers run pass him into the cemetery he sits with the rope right next to the cemetery entrance doors.
Just to the right of the door.
As they all go by, Zorro rigs the door so they all trip over the rope when they come back through the door and onto each other as he rides off with his horse.
Here is the entrance to the cemetery.
At the time I did this I was under the impression the skull and crossbones you see over the door was a Disney artist invention for the television series. I had read this a number of times, but now I am not so sure. According to the official San Luis Rey Mission website this was commonly done at Franciscan cemeteries. However, they say on that site that the Disney studio did change the cemetery gates for the episodes filmed here. In any case, the entrance has changed throughout the years as you can see in comparing my pictures to the Zorro episode.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Fox Drops Into The Cemetery #1 of 2 (Halloween Haunts 2010)

(GPS: N33° 13.930 W117° 19.155)

Nightmare #5

The Fox Drops Into The Cemetery (Vimeo Version)

I would hardly call this a nightmare, but I think you will see why I wanted to include this as part of my Halloween series. This is another one of the missions I visited this past year. San Luis Rey is supposed to be the King of the Missions. I do not know about that, but from the outside it looks really impressive:
In the above picture you can see the entrance to the church, although the public does not enter the mission through it, and then just to the left you can see an entrance to the hallway. That just happens to be where Sgt. Garcia is napping on duty.
Just as he was getting some sleep the comandante catches him and warns him about the consequences. Meanwhile, Zorro sneaks into the mission behind him.
The piller foundation to the left is where Sgt. Garcia would have been, and you can see the entrance to the mission on the right. That is another door that is locked these days. The actual entrance to the mission that the pubic enters is further down the hallway.
Zorro then goes into the church to deliver the food and water to the one using the mission as sanctuary from the troops. The comandante and the troops realize Zorro is there so they chase him out of the church.
Almost everything is the same. It is hard to tell in these pictures, but easier to see in the video, that the bottom two statues next to the cross have been reversed since the tv episode was made.
From the above picture, Zorro runs by the camera and then turns to our right to the door that leads to the bell tower.
This would be the doorway. It is now gated shut, but you can look through it.
I will continue this one in the next blog entry to show you how Zorro had his thrilling escape.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dead Babies (Halloween Haunts 2010)

(GPS: N34° 25.260 W118° 25.850)

Nightmare #4

This is obviously the darkest one in mood that I did. I strongly suggest you watch the video on this one before I spoil it in my explanation. Part of the excitement on this one is not knowing what to expect and letting your mind wonder. Pick your poison:

Personally, I wish I could just post a video and let it live up to the name of the blog, but I guess I better not. This is one I have blogged about before. At the time I put it up I did not want to spoil what was to come for people that want to seek this one out, so I did not include very many pictures and did not reveal the final destination. Sometime back I was nearby on a gloomy day and decided that I might as well go back to this one. I have since taken down that blog entry because, in looking back, it really was not that good and I decided to go ahead reveal this location.

When I was first heard about this one I did not know what to expect. When I read about the experiences people were having here they said various things. For example, this area is creepy, that it looked like the remains of an old movie set, that you are to leave toys for children here, and, in one response to it, that a person took her kids to it at night and they started crying at the final destination. I was intrigued. The days before I went to it I was very excited not knowing what to expect. The final 1/4 of mile the excitement increased until I finally realized what it was.

Here is how it was the second time I went. A very gloomy day. The blue was about to closed out with the rest of the clouds.
Looking down the road I saw the small hill I was about to enter. One thing I should note is there is now a sign close to the hill (as seen in the video) that says no trespassing at night. You can go during the day. That sign was not there the first time I was there.
After a very short walk, and climb, it levels out and you look to your left. When I first came here I realized that I would soon learn the shocking truth.
One then encounters a small enclosed gate area. There are lots of cement blocks sticking out of the ground.
The Dyer Baby:
Another one with toys around it.
More toys around this one.
This one is not a baby from what you see on the dates and does mention he is was a vet. However, you still see a stuffed toy baby bear.
If you have not figured it out...it is a cemetery. This is the Mitchell-Dyer family cemetery. The families involved owned a ranch around here. This is the final resting place for family, friends, and others associated with the ranch. It is not a baby cemetery although you do see a bunch of nameless babies were buried here.

Somewhere along the line, some people must have started to wonder about the babies here and started bringing toys as an offering to this site. Many of the adults have toys next to their stones. It has become a tradition to do.

The thing is this one is right next to the freeway. Getting here is a little difficult based on the way the streets are, but it turns out this odd site is not out in middle of nowhere after all. Hundreds drive by it each day not having a clue about it.

For a more detailed article about this please click here. In the video, I do show the site of George Walters who is mentioned in the article.

Alright, in the next few blogs I totally lighten things up. I will also finish this Halloween themed series in the next few days. Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Big Bear Werewolf #2 of 2 (Halloween Haunts 2010)

(GPS: N34° 14.545 W116° 58.655)

Nightmare #3 (concluded)

The video:

The Big Bear Werewolf (Youtube Version)

The Big Bear Werewolf (Vimeo Version)

Here is the main reason I came to Big Bear. The original Big Bear Dam was built in 1884. This is what created the lake which received its water from the snow melt. Eventually, a new dam was created in 1912. In 1924, State Route 18 was built as a bridge over the new dam. Both the dams and the bridge are in the movie. This ends up being where the end of the movie takes place with the townspeople in pursuit of the werewolf.

Here is the bridge as it looked when I was there.
A closeup of our werewolf running toward the camera.
Something like this. I think I would have had to move forward a little more, but it gets the job done.
In the video, I show the area the tractor blocks off the werewolf from crossing the bridge. He is forced to go over the side of the bridge.
He dropped into that.
He would have a hard time dropping into it these days with all of that in there.
You will notice there is a lot of water at the dam above. In the movie, he is able to jump down on dry land and move out to the old dam.
It is at this point he is in the line of sight for all the townspeople to shoot at him and he is killed.
You are supposed to be able to see the foundations of the old dam when the water is lower. From what I can tell from some of old pictures I have seen the old dam would not have been too far out in front of this picture. Maybe a little less than the middle of the picture.

BTW, the conditions at the bridge were not great the day I went. There were a lot of things going on near the bridge. One issue was the wind was really bad. Another was there was constant traffic coming over the bridge. It is one of the major points of entering and exiting Big Bear. Another problem was the icy snow on some of the parts I was walking on around the bridge. So, I really had to be careful walking around there, and I did not want to expose my equipment out there too much because of these conditions. I took a few takes on the video and decided it was enough. This is part of the reason I had to use a little video trick editing at the end and added some audio from another take. It was difficult getting the pictures and video, but I did okay I think.

The reason I wanted to do this one now and not wait any longer to visit Big Bear is that it looks like the public will no longer be able to go over the old bridge over the dam the movie ended on. I am not going to post the pictures, but if you watched the video you will see where I showed some of the construction work being done on the new bridge. From what I can tell the dam will be the same, but the road will continue on to the new bridge.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Big Bear Werewolf #1 of 2 (Halloween Haunts 2010)

(GPS: N34° 14.400 W116° 54.830)

Nightmare #3

Here is another one that for years I wanted to do, but never got around to it. Then last year I started to panic a bit on this one when I read in the newspaper that one of the movie's locations may not be around much longer and the public may not have access to it. In other words, it was a case of me getting to Big Bear, CA as soon as possible! My video:

The Big Bear Werewolf (Youtube Version)

The Big Bear Werewolf (Vimeo Version)

This is not the well known 1941 version of The Wolfman. This The Werewolf is a cheaper one done in 1956. As I mentioned in the blog entry at the beginning of the month, sometimes cheaper is for the better when it comes to what I like to show. This can mean that more scenes are done outdoors. In this case, the town of Big Bear is used almost exclusively in the film. I will only be focusing on a few scenes locations for this one.

My first stop was Chad's Place. I was there early in the morning looking across the street taking pictures and video. The funny thing about this is that the people driving by and those around kept looking at me a little more than usual than when I normally do these sorts of things. I purposely avoid getting people in my pictures if I can help it. Sometimes one cannot help it if there is lots of traffic around. I have some fun stories of me trying to wait people out. My favorite is when people are in my picture space, I wait, they leave, and just about the time I will take a picture, someone else shows up without having a clue what I am doing, and the process starts all over.
In the opening scene, the main character (who is our werewolf) walks to Chad's Place.
Chad's Place has been around since around 1915. The name is actually used in the movie. So, this is not rocket science here. It what just a matter of finding Chad's Place and going there. It does not get much easier than this.
A lot has changed around here, but this is definitely the area. You can see the wall foundations that form buildings on the right. Chad's is right next to me, but the real estate place in the movie is now a candy store. You should be able to see the space between Chad's and the candy store is the same, but there is a trash can blocking our view.
Our main character enters.
That is where he entered. Obviously, most of these buildings have been completely remodeled over the years. Now to the other side of the street where I began from.
This is where the first werewolf killing takes place. The main character leaves Chad's, walks aross the street, is a bit confused, and then one of the drunk's from Chad's confronts him about not purchasing a drink for him. They both fight in a small alley, there is a werewolf transformation, and the drunk is killed.
I was doing this off of memory and it is probably the best I could have got anyway. I did not look too hard, but it seemed to me the small alley way they would have fought in has been built over. Again, this whole side has been remodeled in such a way that it is hard to tell very much. One can see the house on the other side of the street is the same one, but notice that the windows are no longer there. I will finish this one up tomorrow. In the meantime, check out the following link:

The Chad's Place website