Wow! Not in my wildest imagination did I ever think this site would go viral. Big love and thanks to everyone who's been talking about it on the web. And huge thanks to Ellen for mentioning it on her FB page! It's not too much pressure! Nope, not at all! (Yikes!!!)
So remember last time when I told you I had an interview lined up with a Ghostland employee? Turns out it's one of the SPOs (Suicide Prevention Officers) who survived that day. I promised I wouldn't reveal their name and I will refer to them as singular "they" so their gender is not revealed. They really had to keep a cloak and dagger sort of vibe because of the trial and former employees who survived are still under the terms of strict NDAs despite what happened. They could get sued for even talking to me, let alone allowing me to publish it on this site!
You can find the full interview under the Interviews tab, under SPO Officer. Here's a snippet from it to whet your appetite (as Rex Garrote would apparently say, although I feel kind of morbid quoting him considering the topic!). .
GP: Can you tell me what you remember about those first few minutes?
SPO: It all happened so fast it's hard to remember the order of how things went down, you know what I mean? Even though, like, the images of it are tattooed on my brain. First thing I remember - I uh, I was at the magician's exhibit near the midway, the haunted amusement park - and all of the sudden the water tank exploded, like chunks of glass flying everywhere. And uh, and then people started screaming. I saw a little girl with glass in her face - in her face. She was bleeding and running, running to me I guess, but I don't think she could see me with all the blood in her eyes. I don't uh, I don't think I'll ever be able to forget that, no matter how long I live.
GP: I'm sorry.
SPO: Thank you. But you should really feel sorry for her. Once everyone started running, trampling each other, you know, throwing elbows to get out of there, I ran and grabbed her up, I held her in my arms and I couldn't see anything, you know? Because we didn't get to wear the AR glasses. Only the keepers had glasses, the rest of us weren't supposed to wear them because we were supposed to be focused on the customers, the uh, the guests. Which is kind of (expletive) stupid when you think about it. But I guess they weren't expecting this. I don't think anyone could have expected what happened. They were supposed to be docile. You know, subdued. I mean, there were stories... but that's all they were, just stories. Everybody thought she made it up, like she was just being dramatic or whatever. Nobody believed what happened with him, with Morton. It was like, what do you call it - ?
GP: An urban legend?
SPO: Yeah, exactly. But uh, I guess we should have listened because that's what you get, isn't it? You don't listen and then you learn your lesson. It's just like in horror movies, when they tell the story around the campfire, and everyone laughs it off and stuff but then the exact same thing happens to them and they act like they weren't warned. Like they couldn't have prepared themselves. So yeah, we were warned. And we didn't listen. And so many people paid the price.
GP: What happened to the little girl? Were you able to - ?
SPO: (Pause) She didn't make it. God rest her soul, she didn't live long enough for me to even try to help her. She was there with me and then... then the light just went out of her eyes. I never saw someone die before and uh, I sincerely hope I never have to see it again. But I saw so much of it that day, you know? It was... I can't even explain it. That's how bad it was.
Me again. Sorry if that was too graphic or too much. I definitely did my share of crying during that call. It's hard, as an empathic person, not to be a sort of mirror to the people in my life. So anyway, that full interview is on the Interviews page.
I probably won't sleep tonight.
I dreamed about that day again. Squeezing my girlfriend's hand. All those screams. I dreamed the screams. It rhymes. But it doesn't make it any less frightening.
Okay, back on track, as Mom used to say. Sorry about that the other day. Quite a few additions to the site today. A photo dump from Fontaine County Correctional. The Washington County police and the FBI have been releasing them in dribs and drabs in the hopes of people recognizing some of the undocumented deceased. From phones whose owners have moved on.
That's a weird phrase, isn't it? Moved on. Especially now that scientists think there might be nothing to move on to. That our souls, our "dead energy," as Ms. Amblin calls it, that it all just lingers around in the ether. That it clings to the people and places we called home. That it surrounds us like a gentle cloud of perfume or a vicious bad smell. A 5G wireless signal of the dead.
Okay, that was weird even for me. Sorry. I'm gonna try to editorialize a bit less. It's really getting to me, though. I've been waking up in the midle of the night and sitting at my computer with all the lights on, scrollling through webpages and news sites and hunting for photos on the dark web.
So I've decided I'm going back to Duck Falls. We've have a short day next Friday—the PTA is discussing the new health curriculum with school officials—so I'll make it a sort of long weekend. Take in some of the local flavor. I hear they have a big pumpkin festival coming up. I haven't walked in a pumpkin patch since I was a kid and my dad would drive us all out to the farm in Montville in the smelly old station wagon, me and my brother and sister bundled up in our winter coats. And we'd each pick our favorite pumpkin and then Dad would make us vote on which pumpkin we would take home but then we'd end up taking them all anyway. I sure do miss those days!