TELEPHONE INTERVIEW — PROLOGUE TAPE, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Gordon Russell (interviewer in Los Angeles)
M: Maxine Mc Wethy (the mother in Centrahoma, Oklahoma)
Q: Let me see. First of all, is your spirit still active?
M: Oh yeah.
Q: Are you familiar with any of the other historical cases?
Q: That’s interesting. Has it ever been present during the daytime?
M: It was real active in the daytime at this time of year —
Q: And this wasn’t always the case but this is just a development?
M: It’s been going on for five years.
Q: And when it first came, were there any thumping noises at the house?
M: We still hear them.
Q: You still do?
M: Uh-huh. We see shadows.
Q: Right. (“RIGHT”)
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: UNATTRIBUTED SOUNDS AND SPIRIT MESSAGES AUDIBLE ON THE TAPES WERE NOT HEARD BY ME OR MAXINE DURING OUR TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS OR BY ANYONE PARTICIPATING IN THE INTERVIEW SESSIONS THAT FOLLOWED. THESE MESSAGES ARE CAPITALIZED AND APPEAR IN PARENTHESES AND QUOTATION MARKS IN THE TRANSCRIPTS.)
Q: Have any kinds of food disappeared such as sugar, milk, fruit, etc.?
M: Yes. And he — they used to wash in my washing machine and cook in my oven.
Q: Did you say they? Or he?
M: Well, we’ve had quite a few of them.
Q: Has anyone sighted any strange animals?
Q: That’s one thing that hasn’t happened. Has the spirit given any nicknames to family members?
M: Not that I know of. Yeah. He called us “OLD FARTS.”
Q: (laughs) I remember there were two other cases where the poltergeist or spirit would call people ‘Pots.’
Q: You know — as in pots and pans.
M: I’ve never heard of that.
Q: Has the spirit ever made any prophecies or demonstrated mind-reading abilities?
M: He — do you mean can they read your mind?
M: Yes. (“IT’S FUN”) We used to think up songs in our minds and he’d say it.
Q: You said that there are a few different ones. Do you feel there’s a ringleader or it’s the same consciousness taking different forms or —
M: We can’t figure that out. We’ve tried to think of everything like that. We don’t know whether it’s just one acting like a lot of them or what.
Q: That’s very typical as well. Has anyone in your family experienced any unusual drowsiness or seizures?
Q: That’s sort of what happens usually to the teenager in the family.
M: We’ve had LMNO Productions out here. Have you heard of them?
M: They’re out of L.A.
Q: I heard about a special called “Put It To The Test.”
M: That’s going to be the name of it. It’s going to be on ABC the last of the summer.
Q: And how did that taping go? Did you think it was successful?
M: They thought it was, I guess.
Q: Sometimes the spirit doesn’t cooperate.
M: He didn’t really but some of them went riding in a van. It’s surrounded around my youngest daughter. And they went riding in the van while the LMNO guys were here. And they had a closed bottle of root beer opened up and thrown all over them.
Q: So they’re convinced but they didn’t have that on film or whatever.
M: I doubt it.
Q: I guess they’re too clever for that.
Q: What do you believe is the reason for the spirit’s presence?
M: I don’t really know.
Q: It’s given different explanations over the years?
M: I can’t figure any of it out, myself.
Q: It’s ironic because I read the article in the magazine — (“BUT”) the English magazine. This was right after I finished the draft of a history of talking poltergeists. I had originally been investigating the Bell Witch case to possibly dramatize it. I’m a marketing writer but my clients are studios and producers.
M: Did you say Bell Witch case?
Q: The Bell Witch.
M: Is that a name — Bell?
Q: It was another famous poltergeist.
M: My daughter’s maiden name is Bell. And I think that’s got something to do with it maybe.
Q: I’m sure it does.
M: Because one of my oldest daughters got a story out of a book from Ada and it said the same thing happened to a girl named Bell way back there.
Q: Betsy Bell. Basically, I’ve done a lot of research on that. I’ve gone through all the various records that I could find. There are still a few things I haven’t been able to track down. How is the spirit’s schedule now? Does it talk whenever it’s around your daughter?
M: Yeah. (“IT”)
Q: Does it ever talk to you when your daughter isn’t around?
M: No, it doesn’t. Just one time when I had a phone a long time ago. Twyla was in Illinois with her little girl. He called on the phone and wanted to talk to my daughter Brenda. It just freaked me out. He talked to me a minute and then he asked me if Brenda was there. I said, “Yeah, I’ll go get her.” She was out back in her room so I went out there and told her. I said, “Brenda, you’re not going to believe this. Michael’s on the phone. He’s wanting to talk to you.” So she came in and talked to him a minute. He said he was leaving and he wasn’t going to get to come back. But he’s told us that so many times.
Q: You mean the spirit?
M: Uh-huh. (“NO”)
Q: And there was a name didn’t he once call himself?
Q: Does he still go by that name?
Q: Did he explain that? Did he say if he was the spirit of someone or —
M: Well, he didn’t say but he wanted us to dig him up one time and I said, “Michael, we don’t know where you’re buried.” And I guess he didn’t either.
Q: Another time he said he was from Venus?
M: Yeah. Saturn. So we don’t know anything about it really. (small laugh)
Q: And your daughter who’s the focus — what does she think?
M: Well, it still spooks her sometimes (“SO”) when it starts throwing stuff.
Q: So it’s not a constant affliction. It’s recurring. (“BUT WHY”)
M: What does he want with money? He has stolen $40 — two $20s out of my purse at one time. One Saturday night, my daughter and her husband were at the house. He wanted to know if he could borrow $20. I said, “Michael, I’ve got bills to pay. I can’t afford it.” (“HEE HEE”) I had it locked up in a box. The next morning after they left he had got another $20 out of there. (“HMM”) The box was open and I had it locked with a key. And my purse was wide open. That’s how I can tell when he gets it because he leaves it wide open.
Q: So there’s a whole lot of this going on and you can’t quite figure out what’s behind it.
M: That’s right. (“HEAD”)
Q: I read your daughter married a policeman who had came to —
M: Uh-huh. (“HELP”)
Q: And do you think that was in any way planned or part of it?
M: Well, he said he wanted them to get together so they did and got married.
Q: Isn’t that interesting?
M: Sure is.
Q: Do you think he was trying to maybe keep her away from someone else?
M: She was going with this guy that was real mean to her.
Q: Hmm. That’s very interesting too in terms of how it ties in with the earlier Bell case.
M: You think that’s got something to do with it? The Bell name?
Q: Well, it could.
M: That’s what we thought.
Q: In some cases the spirit has a major attraction or crush on the teenager.
M: But you know what? Stuff happens at the house when Twyla’s not even there.
Q: What happens?
M: I went to a little old store four miles from here in Tupelo where I grew up. And this woman that owns the store told somebody after I left that all the toilet paper and stuff started falling off the top of the shelf. So they follow me around too, I guess.
Q: Now you say they? Did you ever write down the names that they call themselves?
M: There’s one we call E.T. You can tell when he’s there because he really throws stuff.
Q: Do you ever feel like you’re in danger?
M: No. We never have felt like that. Kind of spooks us once in a while but it don’t scare us that bad any more.
Q: If you had to estimate how many different (“KEY”) individual spirits there were, what would you say?
M: They’ve said they was Grandma and Grandpa. We went to town one time — me, Twyla and my neighbor. And we came back and Twyla’s room — the bed was made up, the clothes were all picked up and folded. And they said, “GRANDMA AND GRANDPA DID THAT.”
Q: There have been some theories that a part of the daughter or teenager’s personality splits apart and becomes an entity unto itself. There are all kinds of theories but there aren’t any that I really believe in. I just look at the various eyewitness testimony. There was a case in Scotland where the spirit usually took the form of a small animal (“YOU KNOW”) and made little scratching sounds on the wood. It was only seen a few times in that form. It said that it was a mongoose. Has it ever said things like, ‘I’m the fifth dimension’?
Q: No. Okay. (“HMM”) I’d like to get more details if I possibly could. There’s all kinds of potential I can see for your story in terms —
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE TAPE RECORDER STOPS WORKING HERE MOMENTARILY. THERE WERE PERIODIC LISTENING DEVICE MALFUNCTIONS OF ALTERING LENGTHS ON THIS INTERVIEW AS WELL AS ON THE PHONE INTERVIEWS I CONDUCTED FOLLOWING MY VISIT.)
Q: — of a book or a film or anything. Have you given the rights to anyone yet?
M: Well, we’ve signed a contract with LMNO.
Q: Just for that one show?
M: Yeah. That’s all. (“THAT’S ALL”)
Q: This could probably be a non-fiction book if enough has happened. (“LET’S SEE”) Maybe I could schedule to come down and visit you and then talk to you further.
M: Sure. You ought to do that. (“FINE”) You’re welcome to come down anytime. (“IN”)
Q: Now you live with your husband and your daughter no longer lives with you? Or does she live close by?
M: Her husband works in a town about an hour and fifteen minutes away.
Q: Why don’t you go ahead and keep a journal of events so you don’t forget. Write down as much as you can because this could be valuable in terms of documenting the case.
M: We’re supposed to get some money out of that movie but I — we haven’t heard from them yet.
Q: How much are you going to get? (“I GET”)
Q: $7,000 for the special? That’s good.
M: I told Jonathan I wasn’t greedy but —
Q: That’s just for a special. They don’t monopolize you for other things.
M: It’s supposed to be a series. They said it was going to be a series.
Q: A TV series?
Q: Does that entitle them to come back and film? Or is it just a one-shot: “Put It To The Test”?
M: I don’t have any idea. (“DID”)
Q: Was the contract you signed a union contract?
M: I don’t know.
Q: Was it a deal memo?
M: It’s like if somebody else wants to do something they have to talk to them first.
Q: That might only pertain to these types of programs. I’d be glad to look at that for you and help you ascertain that. I’m a writer. I’m not really a producer or anything. (“YOU KNOW”) You know. I want to get information for my historical book but I can see other potential for this — maybe for a book in its own right or a screenplay. I’m surprised you haven’t had any calls from “Sightings” or any of those other shows. I guess you will in time.
M: Probably. That’s what somebody else told me.
Q: I’ll go ahead and try to make plans to visit you. There are a few assignments I’m finishing up here. I’ll look at your contract and bring down a tape recorder.
Q: The newspaper lady was going to send me copies of her articles but I haven’t received them yet. Did you keep any of those?
Q: Oh good. Is there a place near there that I can make photocopies? Is there a hotel near there?
M: Oh yeah.
Q: I saw the map in the magazine in terms of where you’re located. Are you home during the day?
M: I’m home all the time. My husband’s pretty sick right now.
M: He’s had a nervous breakdown.
Q: You know what? This might be tying in with it as well.
M: I don’t know. I hate to say this but my grandkids have been over here quite a bit and they’re kind of rowdy and everything. (“OKAY”)
Q: Again, it’s sort of spooky because it’s so reminiscent of the Bell case.
M: You mean something like that could happen?
Q: That’s what happened in the Bell case.
M: Oh no. (“GOOD”)
Q: I don’t mean to scare you or anything —
M: No. Uh-uh.
Q: — but the father ended up dying. It was under very strange circumstances. The spirit said that he was poisoned. No one really understands it because it was very, very strange. For some reason, he did not like the father. In fact, it seemed like the spirit was even trying to take possession of the father.
Q: Anyway, this probably has nothing to do with it at all. (“YEAH”)
M: It’s something to think about.
Q: His name was John Bell and (“HEE HEE”) he had problems with his mouth — eating and swallowing.
M: John Bell?
M: That was my first husband’s grandpa’s name.
Q: Really? This is really getting to be unbelievable. We’ll have a lot to talk about. (“HA HA”) So you don’t have a phone at your house, do you?
M: I sure don’t.
Q: Why don’t you check in with me? Why don’t you call me on Friday and I’ll check my schedule. We can talk in a little more detail and maybe figure out what’s going on a little bit better.
Q: In terms of my experience, I have public relations as well as marketing experience. One of my publicity writing clients is Paramount Pictures so I’ve (“YOU KNOW”) been working on their summer films’ press kit production information. So I have lots of good contacts and P.R. experience. I also have worked as a talent agent in the past so if you were to get an offer for something feel free to call me. As a writer I would tell you if your rights are protected. I’ll look at that contract when I come by and visit you.
M: I don’t have a copy of it.
Q: You don’t have a copy of it?
M: They didn’t leave us a copy so Brenda, my daughter, is supposed to write to them and have them send us a copy of it.
Q: It might not be binding if they didn’t give you a copy of it.
M: You might get a hold of them out there.
Q: I have an attorney that I use (“GOOD”) for those types of things. I’m sure he would be glad to be of help if you have any questions. He used to work at the Writers Guild so maybe at some point if you’d like to speak to him I’ll be glad to give you his number.
M: I didn’t even bring a pen.
Q: My book right now is currently called The Encroachers. It’s a historical look at talking poltergeists. (“AND”) There were two major ones I dramatized in the book and there are about seven supplementary ones. Maybe next week I can come out.
Q: I guess that Oklahoma City would be the closest place to fly?
M: Yeah, it would.
Q: I guess I’ll rent a car. It must be very hot there.
M: Oh, it is. (“OKAY”) We’ve got three air conditioners running in the house.
Q: Is there any place I should call to make a reservation?
M: The Holiday Inn in Ada. That’s where the rest of them stayed. (“WHO”)
Q: The Bell connection is very, very intriguing to me because there might be a shared ancestry.
M: There might be.
Q: And that case never was totally explained. It made some predictions that never have been divulged. (“HMM”) Maybe I (“SHOULD”) — I’ll even make you a copy of my book for you to read. I think you’d get a lot of information out of it. I could tell immediately when I read the magazine that it was legitimate even though most people would just think this is totally crazy.
Q: I never really believed in it either until I looked at the Bell case and worked on dramatizing that. I had even spoken to the “Unsolved Mysteries” people about doing a television spin-off film at one point as the first “Unsolved Mysteries” TV film but they went with a murder mystery instead. There is a lot of interest in these types of things but in terms of when you’re honest it makes it sound unbelievable. I understand that this supports the case as opposed to anything else.
Q: So, anyway, I would like to talk to you further. So please call me on Friday collect and I’ll see what day I can come out next week.