TELEPHONE INTERVIEW — TAPE #23, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Russell Bell
W: Jerry Weist, Sotheby’s in New York
M: Maxine Mc Wethy (the mother)
H: Helen Langdon (reporter at the Coalgate Record-Register)
V: Today at 1:46 p.m.
W: Mark, it’s Jerry Weist calling from Sotheby’s collectibles department in New York. You can reach me at my home office and we’ll talk about the piece that you have that you think we might be interested in for our comic book auction. Speak with you soon. Thank you very much.
( . . . )
Q: Oh, hi, Jerry?
Q: Hi, this is Mark Russell.
W: Yeah. Hi, Mark.
Q: Well, an unbelievable find. In fact, I’m going to tape this call just for my own notes because my mind is still reeling from the surprise of what I have in store for you. It’s very, very exciting. (“OF COURSE”) And, by the way, thank you for last year. I was very pleased with the results, by the way. But —
W: You’ll have to reference me. What did we sell for you last year?
Q: Just some comic books. There was — (“OH”)
Q: — a Whiz Comics and some old Marvels that I had. I’m the film publicist. Do you remember?
W: Yes. (“ABSOLUTELY”)
Q: I wrote a few letters to you.
W: Okay. Yeah.
Q: Anyway, you’re the first I’m calling on this because I’ve spent a long time and energy checking and double-checking because it’s something that you won’t even believe it when I tell you.
Q: But it’s the kind of thing that if you don’t check out and I go to another house, you’ll kill yourself if (“GOOD”) you miss out on this one. (“RIGHT”) I don’t know if you want to look at it or if somebody in L.A. can look at it but what I’m going to tell you is the truth.
Q: You might even think I’m nuts. But, anyway, let me explain. First of all, about three years ago in November ’92 I was looking for something to hold my press kits because I write and edit movie press kits. So I didn’t want a boring filing cabinet. (“UH-HUH”) So I saw this old chest outside of a little store called Antique Way on Santa Monica Boulevard which is right neat the Nuart if you’ve been to L.A. before.
Q: So, anyway, it was out on the sidewalk and when I saw it something clicked and I said, “I have to have that.” I loaded it up into my car and I think I paid $506.61 including tax for this beautiful antique.
Q: And I didn’t really look inside it or anything. I just took it home and it was in very good condition on the inside. I mean it looked very old. (“YEAH”) At first I thought it was wood but I eventually realized it was a metal alloy. It looked like a burnished golden alloy and it had a dome top.
W: Right. (“WHICH WAS”)
Q: I have the exact measurements in front of me. It’s the Ark of the Covenant.
W: That was used in the Indiana Jones film?
Q: No. The original. It is. I mean I measured it. It’s described in the book
of Exodus in the Bible. It tells the dimensions in cubits.
W: Well, then you need to go to a university scholar — (“WHA BUT”)
Q: Don’t they have people at Sotheby’s who are versed in antiquities?
W: Yeah, but you completely got the wrong department. (“BECAUSE”)
Q: I know but I know you. That’s why I’m calling you first.
W: I see.
Q: This is good for you, I would think. To bring this to Sotheby’s?
W: Yeah, but I can’t believe that this is that old.
Q: It is. You can tell by looking at it. I didn’t really look at it that closely at first. I’ve had it for three years. But then I just began thinking about the Ark. I did the press kit for “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” — ironically. And I’ve done a little bit of research on the Ark.
W: I must say my first response —
Q: Well, of course.
W: It’s odd.
Q: It’s the same as my response.
W: Yeah. The odds are —
Q: I didn’t believe it either.
W: — extremely against it.
Q: Of course, they are.
W: Well, then what you should do is you should photograph it. And photograph it open, closed —
W: — and the whole thing. Send to me pictures from as many different angles as you can. And then I’ll find out who should be looking at this at Sotheby’s and take it upstairs.
Q: Okay, fine. I’ve already decided I want to give all the money to charity. I don’t want to keep the money for myself. Basically, what they did is make it look like sort of a steamer trunk. They painted flower designs over it but it’s definitely a golden alloy. It’s wood overlaid with gold.
W: How can you tell? You had the metal tested as gold?
Q: No, I haven’t done that yet because you’re the first person I’m calling.
W: That’s the second thing I’d do. I would take a chip of the under alloy just to see. Because if it isn’t, then that tells you right away.
Q: But you can tell by looking at it that it is. With the domed top and everything. I mean, it’s just — (“IT’S TOO MUCH”) it’s too much of a coincidence that it matches the perimeters in the book of Exodus and everything. You can tell by looking at it. It’s hilarious. (“UH-HUH”)
W: You can’t really tell by looking at it because no one would know what the Ark of the Covenant looked like. No one would have even drawn it.
Q: Exactly. But there are tests that can be done.
W: That’s not a statement you can make: “You can tell by looking at it.”
Q: No, you can.
W: No one could know —
Q: But the Ark — the age. You can see that the metal is very, (“RIGHT”) very old. It’s not old. It’s (“RIGHT”) very, very old. I mean it’s been refurbished. Inside, they put wallpaper-type fabric over it on the inside. And they painted designs on it and put wood reinforcements around it too. The whole thing has like a metal alloy coating.
W: Okay. Well, I’ll be in Los Angeles in January or February so whatever the next step is maybe I can also see —
Q: Is there anyone who knows about antiquities here in the L.A. office?
W: Not really because you have to remember L.A. completely refers everything to New York. Their job is to assimilate property and take it to the proper department. The obvious answer would be Judaica but Sotheby’s doesn’t have — ([PHONETIC] “JUKE JUDAY” “LOWER”)
Q: I wonder if there are any other auction houses in L.A. that I should contact.
W: Obviously, Butterfield & Butterfield comes to mind.
Q: Okay. (“YEAH”)
W: So. Yeah.
Q: Maybe I’ll give them a call. Because they’re local.
W: You see, they’re local and they’d send someone out right away. And they could do tests.
Q: I just wanted to give you the first opportunity, if you know what I mean.
W: Sure. Alright. (“YOU THOUGHT”)
Q: And as I told you I’m taping —
W: I heard that.
Q: — this call so it will be very embarrassing for you if you don’t do anything. (“UH-HUH”)
W: Well, no, you can send it like I say. (SCREAM) The only thing I can do is take the photograph (SCREAM) and forward them to the appropriate — “DEPARTMENT”)
Q: Well, Sotheby’s would be the best house to auction this I would think. (“HUHHH”) I mean they have a renowned reputation throughout the world.
W: Sure. So — well, alright. So do that then and —
Q: I’ll send you some photos. Okay. But I need you to act quickly on this because I just don’t want to keep it here around the house.
W: Once you show me those photographs in my hands I will deliver them to whoever’s necessary.
Q: Okay, fine. And I’ll give you (“EXACTLY”) the measurements too.
W: Yeah. Absolutely.
Q: Okay, thank you.
Q: Okay, bye.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE NEXT RECORDED CONVERSATION IS WITH MAXINE.)
Q: I just wanted to see what you thought of the show.
M: Oh, I liked it. Did you?
Q: Yes, I did. (“BUT”) But I was disappointed in what happened when they showed the face in the window — notice how people quickly try to find any reason that they can to try to disprove something because they don’t want to believe that anything is happening. Even people who are there to be ‘putting it to the test.’ I mean here is an obvious (“YOU KNOW”) phenomenon and they were looking for any excuse to discount it. So they made up that silly business about the neighbor. What did you think about that?
M: The neighbor?
Q: The so-called reflection of the neighbor from —
M: Oh, she wasn’t a neighbor. She was one of Brenda’s friends.
Q: Yeah, but the head wasn’t even human. I mean it might have been a little boy or — (“PROBABLY”) but I think it was an alien head. (“UM-HUH”)
M: You mean in the window? The picture with the faces? It looked like an alien head because it was green.
Q: No, I mean in the part of the segment where they froze the frame. There was a bright face that peeked in for a moment. (“DID”) What did that look like to you?
M: Heck, I don’t know.
Q: But it was something, right?
M: Just a green face. Well, you’ve got the picture, don’t you? (“NO”)
Q: Yeah, but I’m not talking about the picture now. I’m talking about that part in the segment where someone — something looks into the window for a moment. (“YEAH”)
Q: Remember that? What do you think that was? Do you think that was Michael?
M: No, that was Diane.
Q: Are you sure?
M: Yeah. That was that Indian woman that come out here when they were here. (“THAT”)
Q: It didn’t look like Diane to me.
M: Well, she was standing in Brenda’s door looking out that morning at 6:30.
Q: I don’t think that was her. Not in my book. Anyway, the chair was pretty conclusive too. (“YEAH”)
M: Oh yeah. Did you know that we didn’t even know that happened until that show come on?
Q: Also, I think when the first man who was interviewed was talking, you could see a stone hit the wall right behind him.
M: Uh-huh. (“IT”)
Q: The production company didn’t even realize it. They didn’t even mention it. Anyway, I (“I AM THIS”) was happy. I like the original title more now, “Put It To The Test,” because you could almost interpret as God putting to the test (“YOU KNOW”) man’s love, belief and all that. Or angels or aliens or whatever you want to call them.
Q: So, anyway, I’m hopeful to get a few calls. (“YOU’LL GET”) So let me know if you get any calls.
M: I did.
Q: You did already?
M: Right after the show last night.
Q: Who did you get a call from?
M: A woman in South Carolina who is a psychic.
Q: Oh, of course. (“OHHH” “A MINUTE”) Do you have a listed number?
Q: So what are you going to do? Did you invite her over?
M: No. She just said, “Them people are wrong. Twyla is not doing that.”
Q: Well, Twyla knows that.
M: Yeah. And she said that, “You all need to pray and let him go on. He don’t need this.”
Q: I, myself, have told Him to go toward the light in one of my therapy sessions. But He is the light so — anyway.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I SAID, “MICHAEL GO TOWARD THE LIGHT. DON’T BE AFRAID IF THAT IS THE REASON WHY YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE MATTER IS EVIL AND LIGHT IS GOOD.”)
M: And I received a call from a Oklahoma City radio station — that KISS radio station and them. And they taped me on there.
Q: Oh my goodness. Well —
M: I couldn’t get it on my radio.” Kim said, “You were very good.” She went out in the car and listened to it. They taped me talking to them. (“DID YOU”)
Q: What did you say?
M: They said something about taking a trip to Centrahoma this weekend. (laughs)
Q: See? You’re going to get a lot of this.
M: And I got a call from this Indian. He’s a Cherokee from southern Missouri. He said he’s never had experience with that but he really believed in it.
Q: Wow. Well, let me know if you get any calls from producers or book publishers. I wrote a letter to Michael Korda and Sherry Lansing so, hopefully, they’ll be wining and dining me soon.
Q: Well, I don’t know. My fingers are crossed. I don’t know if the other producers that I pitched (“YOU KNOW”) saw the potential for this or not. I’ve written them off because I haven’t heard from them in so long.
M: Are you through with it?
Q: No, I’m still working.
M: Oh, are you?
Q: I had a hypnotherapy session yesterday. (“HMM” “I THOUGHT”)
M: You told me you’d probably be through with it by the time — (“I WAS HOPING”)
Q: Well, you know what —
M: No. (laughs)
Q: — I could get it in shape to show someone real quick, I think. (“YEAH”) It’s just that there was one section that’s very hard to work with. And that was the section right after I came back with Twyla from our little excursion. I forgot to take my tape recorder out of the bag and for some reason this seems to be a part where the spirits are very talkative. So, anyway, I’ve been trying to get as much as I could of that but it’s very difficult. Do you remember at that time somebody came by and said “hi” to us at the table — a woman who was just visiting? Do you remember who that was? (“NO”)
Q: It might have been Sue or someone.
Q: Well, I don’t know. That name came out of nowhere.
M: I think her and her daughter came out. (“WELL”)
Q: There was a lady who just came over and all she said was, “Hi.” But, anyway, it doesn’t really matter who she was but —
M: Was she a little Indian-looking woman?
Q: I don’t even remember myself because it’s been a while. Also, at one point I was talking to you and Twyla and I believe the name — (“THE”) if I’m hearing it correctly, is Bob Gallo? Do you know who that is?
Q: A celebrity or something?
Q: Okay, maybe Twyla brought him up. Does that name sound similar to any name you know?
Q: Okay. It’s not easy when you try to get every single word right. (“SO”) Because your celebrities there are different from our celebrities here.
Q: So. anyway, everything’s fine other than that. Do you have any questions? (“OOOOOOOHHHHHHH” “NO”) I think I’ll call Twyla real quick too.
M: Well, she’s here but she’s asleep.
Q: Why don’t you have her call me later on. I want to find out her response too. She’s much prettier in real life than she came across in that segment. I don’t know what they did — I mean I guess that’s what happens when they don’t do hair and make-up and things. I mean what did you think?
M: I thought it was pretty nice.
Q: Yeah, I know but she’s so beautiful and for some reason what was taped wasn’t the most becoming.
M: Well, I looked awful myself but —
Q: No, you didn’t. (“NO”) There was so little of you. I was surprised how little of you there was.
M: Well, that was alright with me. (small laugh)
Q: I’m sure. Can I have your autograph?
Q: No, I’m just kidding.
M: Right now?
Q: Well, really. I know. (“OH”) He could do something like that if he wanted to. So, anyway, I won’t bore you with any of the details of my recent phenomena. It’s just interesting that even when somebody is confronted with (“YOU KNOW”) convincing evidence, they’ll still find some way to discount it. Because that definitely wasn’t Brenda’s friend looking into the window. I mean you can tell by looking at it. (“MMM” “YEAH”) You know? I’m sorry.
M: (small laugh)
( . . . )
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) When I got home last night from watching the special at my brother’s house, there were two cockroaches in my bedroom. I never keep any food anywhere in my condo. Anywhere. I put things in the refrigerator once they’re open. That’s how I am about these things. So you tell me what point He’s trying to prove. Secondly, He’s also very nice, of course. I just picked up my car at the shop. I have a nice mechanic named Dr. Bob who looks after me and I was sure I left my gate opener in the rental car. But when I started looking for it frantically, it just happened to be in my Land’s End bag. So thank you, Michael, if you did that. I think He’s always doing things for me. And maybe for everyone — like last night on my way to Michael’s house I was leaving Sav-On Drugstore. The way it occurred was that I was leaving through the entrance door and it opened for me. There was no one there. It opened for so I could go out the fast way. So maybe He’s doing things like that for everyone all the time and we don’t even realize it. Of course, I realize it because He’s shown that to me. Maybe He doesn’t do more for me because He knows I’ll talk about it. But I think that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. So that’s why I’m doing it. Anyway, I came to the conclusion driving home that what it means to have no ego is not to be constantly judging yourself.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE NEXT INTERVIEW IS WITH REPORTER HELEN LANGDON.)
H: I have signed a contract that I wouldn’t do anything else other than the ABC special.
Q: Who did you sign it with?
Q: That contract has lapsed. (“SO”) They had one with the family as well but they did not renew their option. That’s why I told you I have the rights.
H: Okay. How do I know this for sure? (laughs)
Q: Well, you’re a newspaper reporter. I mean you’re entitled to your own opinion. I just wanted to ask you your thoughts about the show.
H: Okay, yeah. It was factual. (“ILLOGIC”) I have no complaint about the show at all.
Q: What did you think at the end when they said, (“SHHHHHH”) “Prove you’re here” and the coyotes started howling?
H: I’m not sure about that. It could have been coincidence. The area they live in is remote and anything could set the coyotes off.
Q: But isn’t that a wild correlation? (“THAT WAS”)
H: It was odd that it should happen — just occur at that time.
Q: That’s pretty far-reaching phenomena.
Q: I mean that’s not just like — (“YOU KNOW A — YOU — YOU”) for example, when I was there, wasps were doing weird things so if the Entity can control insects —
H: You did go down, then?
Q: Oh yes. Uh-huh.
H: Did you? What happened while you were there?
Q: What didn’t happen? (small laugh)
Q: Well, let’s just say it turns out I’m also one of the focuses of the phenomena.
H: Oh really?
Q: But I didn’t realize it.
Q: It was like He was bringing me there to reveal this to me.
Q: You know? So, basically, it was a wonderful experience.
Q: But I wanted to ask you too now in that special remember when there’s a head that appears in the window for a moment? Of course, they say that it’s a friend appearing in the window but I don’t think it is.
H: That’s where they had the heats sensors on.
H: I wondered about that myself. How did they — I was not satisfied with the way they proved that it was a neighbor.
Q: That seemed like a big stretch to me.
H: Yeah. Not that it couldn’t have been and all. They didn’t prove it to my satisfaction.
Q: Well it didn’t look like a woman’s head.
H: No, (“UH-HUH”) to me what it looked like was they were catching — (“NO”) if it was this neighbor they were catching a corner — (“WELL”) maybe of radiated heat. And they would maybe catch the corner of his cap or something as he was coming down but maybe not back and forth. I could see where it’s possible.
Q: Well, anyway, I’ve had my share of phenomena. Probably even beyond what the family has experienced. (“YOU KNOW”) So I’ve been in a very difficult situation myself because you know how people are.
H: Yes. (small laugh) (“YEAH”)
Q: So — (“GOOD”) you know they won’t believe anything.
H: We still have a lot of skeptics here. And, although we have a lot of people that believe it, I’ve had several people since I’ve been out there and even today that say, “Well, if you’ve seen it I believe it.”
Q: Well, my feeling is that Michael is an angel.
H: That’s not mine.
Q: What do you think?
H: I think it’s demonic. (“BECAUSE I KNOW”)
Q: Were you the one who asked “Are you of God?”
H: No. I did not ask him if he was of God —
Q: No, that was the other reporter?
H: That was an individual. I asked him — the first time we went out there I made the comment out there. I asked them what they thought it was. And one of them said they thought it was a ghost. A friendly ghost. And I said, “I’m sorry but I don’t buy that. For one, I don’t believe in ghosts. And for another — a friendly ghost is not going to claw your daughter’s head, break the windows out of your house, (“WHAT”) throw knives through your kitchen — (“OH PLEASE”) and is not going to be destructive. A friendly ghost is going to be friendly. And I don’t see those as being friendly things. (“BUT”)
Q: But maybe that wasn’t — I mean, as you know, there are many different entities there in the house.
H: That’s true too but I don’t believe angels take on this kind of activity. Angels are here to guard and protect.
H: Now, this is not guarding and protecting. And they make themselves known in this way.
Q: Well, I can only speak from my own experiences because I’ve never been clawed. I’ve never had anything bad happen to me.
H: Well, nothing bad happened to me while I was out there.
H: Because I would mention God when I said something about it being — I felt a presence and it didn’t feel right to me. Now I’m a Christian and I felt something unnatural and something that just didn’t ring right with me.
Q: Is it possible that you might have been projecting your own fear into it?
H: I wasn’t scared.
Q: But why did you think it was evil? I mean how does one —
H: (breathes in deeply) Well, —
Q: I kind of did that myself —
H: — if I can explain it — I don’t know how to explain it. (“WE’RE”) In my Christian background God doesn’t play games. He’s not a God of games and tricksters. The Devil is. The Devil imitates the opposite.
Q: I don’t believe there is a Devil. (“OKAY”)
H: But I do.
Q: Well, see —
H: See? That’s what I’m saying. That’s my belief. My belief is if you believe there’s a God —
Q: Which I do.
H: Then why can’t you believe there’s a Devil? Because He states very clearly in His words that there is.
Q: I think it’s a metaphor.
H: How can there be a metaphor when He (“WELL I — I THINK”) describes him as ‘he was a beautiful angel and he was the angel of song and music.’ (“STUPID”) But he tried to overthrow and overpower God and that’s when he was cast out of heaven with the angels that followed him.
Q: Well, this is what my book is about, by the way. The only thing I can say is you’re right about His playing games and all that; however, I think it would be possible for God to choose one individual to play games with. Like Jesus, let’s say — the original Jesus story — with God and Jesus. That was sort of a head trip between the two of them. Of life and death proportions.
H: Yes, but the reason for Jesus’s being to begin with was because of our sin. The only reason he was sent back here was because our sin. It wasn’t a game.
Q: But he had sins too.
H: No, he didn’t. Now he was born of woman but he was the son of God. He had no sin.
Q: But if he’s human he had to have some sin.
H: He wasn’t fully human and he was the son of God.
Q: How do you know he was?
H: He was sin-free. (“BUT”) According to the Word — according to your Bible, he was sin-free. He was sent here to see what the temptations of man were.
H: Originally, he was sent here to die for man so that we could be free of our sins. Because in the beginning, before Christ . . . you could have your sins atoned. That was when people would gather and bring their sacrifices and their sins would be atoned. That one time of year. And God said, “THIS PLAN’S NOT GOOD BECAUSE MAN IS OF SIN. BECAUSE MAN IS SINFUL HE IS NOT GOING TO BE GOOD AND SIN-FREE FROM YEAR TO YEAR.” So Christ was sent for your daily sins.
Q: Well, my personal interpretation is that it’s a parable and Jesus was human.
H: He was born to a human. Yes.
Q: Gosh, I don’t even know what else to say.
H: Well, see he was born to a human so he could know the human frailties. You know, God is omnipotent. He’s everywhere. He’s free from these things that we feel. (“BUT ISN’T IT DEAD”) But that’s why Christ was born of a human so he could know the human frailties yet (“HMM”) he could be godlike too.
Q: Do you think Jesus truly was the son of God?
H: Yes, I do.
Q: And he was sort of a god himself?
H: He was part of the trinity.
Q: And the Holy Ghost.
H: The Father, the son and the Holy Ghost. (“DO”)
Q: Michael is sort of like a Holy Ghost. I mean isn’t it funny that his name is Michael just like the angel Michael mentioned in the Bible?
H: If you read your Bible, though, the Devil mimics everything that God does or Jesus does. He mimics it. Where you have Michael the angel — the archangel — here you have Michael that’s sitting in this house. You see, everything that God does — the Devil mimics. I just don’t believe that it’s an angel. I don’t believe that it’s a ghost. (“YOU KNOW THIS”) There’s a heaven and hell. And when you die your soul goes one place or it goes to the other. It doesn’t hang out here in a mist. It doesn’t float around until a decision’s made somewhere. The Bible strictly declares where you’ll be going and I —
Q: Has anyone ever asked Michael any of these questions?
H: I don’t know. Now somebody did mention something about if he was of God and that they understood that the answer was no. Well, that tells me one thing. What I felt all along. I felt the evil when I was there. Now I was not afraid. Any time that I was in the house I was not fearful. For myself.
Q: I didn’t feel any evil.
H: Well, that’s the difference in people. Not everybody felt the way I did. Some felt even more so than I did and others didn’t feel anything. But it wasn’t a fear that I had.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE UNATTRIBUTED SOUND OF A HEARTBEAT BEGINS TO BE HEARD, OVERLAPPING, AND BECOMES LOUDER THROUGH THE END OF THIS TAPE SIDE WHICH SOON ENDS.)
H: But being a Christian I’m not afraid. But I was concerned. I am still concerned. For even those people.
Q: Do you think the newspaper will do any more articles on this —