INTERVIEW — TAPE #9, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Gordon Russell (interviewer)
M: Maxine Mc Wethy
Q: So now it’s one of the more quiet periods?
Q: This is probably because Twyla isn’t living here in the house anymore.
M: I don’t know whether it’s him that comes back and does stuff or if it’s some of the others that’s here.
Q: What are some of the things that have happened when Twyla wasn’t here?
M: Well, you can hear things in here.
Q: You can hear things going on and you don’t know what’s exactly going on.
M: We’ve heard the dishes rattling several times and the silverware rattling. There wouldn’t be anybody here but me and Bill and they’d begin rattling.
Q: Another one of the important events is when he said he was doing something in the attic.
M: “ADDING ON.” And we used to hear him running in the attic. Running back and forth up here.
Q: Did it sound like a child running?
Q: It would have to be small.
M: We could hear him running here all the way back there.
Q: Isn’t that amazing?
M: That’s when Twyla lived here too.
Q: Now about that time when he said, “COLLECTING RENT” — this portion of the house was added on?
Q: So there’s no attic above this portion of the house? Or is there?
M: Yeah. It’s all the way through. A couple who are divorced now lived here before we did. We traded a brand new house in Duranch where we were living for this one here. They wanted to move back to Duranch. Now she lives down the street. She was laid off from her job recently. Her mother died in this house. That’s why she gave us so much trouble about this stuff when it first started.
Q: Because she thought it was her mother or something?
M: Yeah. She called Kim over there one day and said, “Somebody called and said they were going to get the KKK out here. The KKK is coming.” This was pointed to Desireé, I imagine. And this woman claimed they told her there wasn’t going to be a TV show made out here because the KKK wasn’t going to let them.
Q: That sounds like something a spirit would do to scare people.
M: Well, she said it was a man who called and she had recognized his voice.
Q: So maybe it was just nasty people.
M: Yeah, it was.
Q: They read one of the articles in the newspaper or something.
M: This house was moved here in the ’40s. The people who lived here before added this part on.
Q: The kitchen/dining area?
M: I think so.
Q: So this all happened a long time ago. “COLLECTING RENT” could be referring to the entire house?
M: That might be just his way of playing too. I don’t know.
Q: Obviously, he lives here too. Maybe he lived here before you did. That’s what I would think.
M: He might have.
Q: Even though I remember you first became aware of him that time you were outside. Maybe he wanted you to think that was when he first encountered you. It’s hard to put it all together yet. He obviously doesn’t want to be direct about it.
M: Kim and her kids were staying over here one time. While Kim was taking her bath she saw somebody outside the window looking in or something. She hurried up and got out of there, put her clothes on and come in here and told Steven, “There’s somebody looking through the bathroom window.” She said whoever it was had jumped up and grabbed the window. Steven got up and went all around the house and there wasn’t anybody out there. Whatever it was came inside because a screen had been pushed from the inside out. Michael always used to holler “WOO WOO” whenever you used the toilet or took a bath or whatever. (laughs)
Q: You never can see him.
M: No! I said, “Gosh, I hate you.” Twyla came in —
Q: “WOO WOO.”
M: She said, “Oh, I don’t even want to think about it.”
Q: What a sense of humor. But when he speaks, it’s in a strange, almost here but not here manner.
Q: When people came here to have conversations with him, how long would they last? Were they very brief?
Q: Would you listen to them as they did this?
Q: Was it always in the same tone of voice?
M: Everybody could hear him.
Q: But it wasn’t loud. He wasn’t shouting.
M: No. You have to listen real good to hear him.
Q: It’s still sort of distant.
Q: In the Bell Witch case, the voice was described as neither male or female. ‘Metallic’ or ‘hollow-sounding’ have also been used to describe it.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: SOME SPIRIT VOICES HEARD ON THE TAPES HAVE A DISTINCT ROBOTIC QUALITY WHILE OTHERS SEEM LIKE ORDINARY VOICES. ONE PROMINENT VOICE HEARD REPEATEDLY HAS A LOW-PITCHED WHISPERY TONE.)
M: Well, he used to imitate Woody Woodpecker. And, boy, that was good too.
Q: Was it a perfect imitation?
M: Yeah. We used to get him to do that. It was so cute.
Q: He can imitate anyone’s voice, I think.
Q: Like the time when he imitated Sue’s voice the night she had a flat tire.
M: He threatened to throw snakes on me and Twyla one night and it scared us to death.
Q: Throw snakes on you?
M: Yeah. But he was kidding.
Q: He’s done so many things it’s no wonder you don’t bother to keep a record.
M: Too much to keep up with.
Q: Where would you start and where would you end?
M: And he said he had a pet tiger and he had a pet dog — things like that.
Q: But these are all very childish things. What I’m doing in my mind is putting some of these events into ‘The Eight-Year-Old Child’ category. Then, there is ‘The Band of Aliens’ category. It seems very little of what Michael has said supports the possibility that he’s an alien.
M: Katie and Sarah said that they worked at McAlien’s.
Q: What did they say exactly?
M: They said, “WE WORK AT McALIEN’S.” We asked them what they did.
Q: These are all very childish claims. I’m leaning more toward the fact that he is the spirit of an eight-year-old child as opposed to being an alien although there was that time when you found those strange needle marks.
M: And the time I was floating with the green light.
Q: I wonder if you’d remember more under hypnosis. That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
M: I would try. I don’t know how long ago that was, though.
Q: Does it make a difference? Your subconscious mind tends to remember things like these. This also ties-in with the witches of the olden days.
M: Ohh, I want nothing to do with witches.
Q: No. But when they’d go (“SHHHHHH”) to their black sabbath they did not go on broomsticks. They were put into a trance and while in the trance they traveled to the witches’ sabbath. Again, this was a mind-altering experience. They can alter your consciousness — whatever these entities are. There are all these interesting parallels but I don’t see any strong evidence that Michael is an alien from Saturn. However, the cryptograms are very important.
M: He’s just trying to throw us off, I guess.
Q: These cryptograms are important because they could signify something. These symbols may be able to be traced back as far as Sumer. This one of the four reminds me in terms of mathematics that every meaning can be expressed in varying sequences of the numbers zero and one. Just about everything can be coded to those two numbers. So zero and one I understand. Plus and one — I don’t know if the plus is another word for zero. Anyway, I think there could be something very important there. Somebody involved in physics might have something to say about these. These might be like equations.
M: It has to mean something.
Q: Call me in Los Angeles if there are any significant developments.
Q: I don’t think there will be, though. So much has occurred that it seems irrelevant to have any expectations.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE COCKATEEL BEGINS LOUDLY CHIRPING.)
Q: Having a bird here with all this happening is also sort of strange because you wonder if they can talk to Michael.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: ON THIS SECTION OF TAPE MAXINE LOOKS FOR HER ORIGINAL SKETCHES OF THE CRYPTOGRAMS.)
(“PARTY POOPER” “IF THEY WIN”)
M: . . . here they are. I found them.
Q: I think it would be better for me to have the originals so here are the photocopies. (“JUST THROW THEM”) . . . at least you’ll have copies.
M: I’m going to put these in that box before I forget what I did with them. That’s what he give it to me for so — (laughs) It will keep the kids out of it, anyway.
Q: I have a lot of good information. I almost have enough now for a really good screenplay. At least, for a treatment. To do a non-fiction book, I’d have to sit down with everybody and ask some more questions but this is a lot to start with. The only complication is that other contract you signed but I don’t think we really have to worry too much. Do you think you might look for an attorney?
M: If I can find one good enough. (laughs)
Q: Again, you just want somebody who’s honest, basically.
M: Yeah, that’s hard to find around here.
Q: Especially attorneys.
M: Especially honest.
Q: Well, my attorney’s honest. At least so far. (laughs) I don’t want to say anything that I’ll regret later on. What most attorneys say is that when people have an agreement and one of them isn’t trying to screw someone else out of something, the main point to consider is the intent. What’s on paper isn’t as important as the intentions of the people involved
M: That contract we signed might throw us off a bit.
Q: That’s why you need an attorney who can tell you what the alternatives are. Once my attorney gets a copy of that he can say what the alternatives are.
M: Is he going to get a copy of it?
Q: He’ll have to get it from you.
M: I think I’m going to try to call Paul tomorrow.
Q: So my attorney will be sending you a contract.
M: Let me write down my mailing address for you.
Q: One thing you should keep in mind is that factual information cannot be copyrighted. That’s why people can do articles about you and what-have-you and it’s no big deal. On the other hand, an entire non-fiction book about you would be libelous for someone to do without your authorization.
Q: So that’s the complicated area. People can also do a fictionalized version of your story. Oh my God.
Q: P.O. Box 13. I can’t believe it. There’s nothing but ironies — after irony after irony after irony.
M: (laughs) Well, do you know what LMNO’s phone number was?
M: Their 800 number had 666 in it.
Q: Oh my God. It’s like all legendary aspects of the supernatural are coming together here — as if mankind’s shared subconscious was manifesting itself in a particular geographical area.
M: Yeah. The Fortean Times magazine article started on page 29 and Vicky Rifsneider, a college student raising three kids by herself who has been through all this, contributed an article to a publication and it also began on page 29. Furthermore, when she came down here she was wearing a T-shirt that had “Little Dixie” on it. (laughs) It was strange. All of it.
Q: There’s so much manipulation. It boggles the mind. Is this for me to keep? These notes about “playing volleyball in the bathroom with the toilet paper”?
M: Yeah. That was so cute.
Q: When did the spirits do that?
M: Me and Twyla were in here one day and they said, “WE’RE PLAYING.” We asked him “Where at?” and they said, “THE BATHROOM.” When we went in there, they had toilet paper stretched across from one end to the other and that toilet paper was bouncing up and down.
Q: Was it coming undone as it was going back and forth?
M: No. They had torn off a big part and it had taped to the walls.
Q: One of the other most memorable events was the time footprints were seen when something spilled.
M: Twyla and that speech teacher saw that. I wasn’t here that day. Webbed feet. Can you imagine?
Q: Of all things. As if he hadn’t given us enough things to work with.
M: I missed that.
Q: Webbed feet. It’s like not only are they aliens but (“MMMMMMMMMMM”) they might be ducks as well. (laughs)
M: Yeah, they might have turned into — (“SHHHHHH”) that might be something else to throw you off too.
M: They might be doing stuff to throw you off.
Q: If only we could harness this. Some of the things he says gives you factual information like, for example, when he said, “ELVIS IS DEAD.”
M: He said he knew him too.
Q: If only we could harness him and have him tell us important things.
M: That’s what I’d like to do.
Q: Such as ‘Who killed John F. Kennedy? What is the secret of life on earth?’ (laughs)
M: Yeah. (laughs)
Q: Oh God. (“IT’S FUNNY”)
M: There’s another thing about when Twyla lived in the apartment —
Q: Do you need this telephone number for “Encounters” on the back of this page?
M: I’ll just write that down. I might just call Paul. He won’t think nothing if I call him and ask him.
Q: What are you asking him about? The contract?
M: I don’t think he’d think anything. Would he?
Q: Yes, he would.
M: He won’t suspect anything.
Q: Yes, he will. Producers will suspect anything. That’s why you have to ask him for a copy of the contract in a way that won’t make him suspect something. And pretty much anything you do will make him suspicious. I think the best way of doing this would be having an attorney call him because it’s normal for people to eventually get an attorney.
M: I better do that.
Q: Producers are very suspicious people. But you might need to contact him again for some reason at some point. “Encounters” will begin a new season soon. It was renewed for another season.
M: I can’t remember what night it comes on here now. It did come on Wednesday night but it didn’t last.
Q: But wait, there are two similar shows: “Sightings” and “Encounters.”
M: We don’t get “Sightings” because we don’t have cable.
Q: That isn’t a cable show.
M: I never saw that.
Q: I don’t think they make that show anymore. If you ever need any phone numbers for anybody — since I live in L.A. I can always track people down for you like when I called ABC to see if there was a scheduled broadcast date for the special. Did you see yesterday I also brought a fax with some information about LMNO’s “Joan Lunden Special.”
M: Oh yeah.
Q: They have that listed on the production chart, at least. It’s not a major company. The producers I know are more substantial. So now I have my work cut out for me. I have to go over all this information. There’s definitely enough that has happened for a screenplay. There’s an awful lot to think about. For example, the cellar. There are many story elements that are very interesting. This project really needs a writer and not a producer. For a producer to think that not enough has happened here shows that he doesn’t understand the material.
Q: Anyway, if I have to work with him eventually, which I don’t think will be the case, I would. What I think is unfair about that is that sometimes writers can negotiate a decent deal for themselves and you still would be getting gypped. I don’t think we have to worry about that. So I guess Brenda won’t be coming home after all.
M: I doubt it.
Q: I want to take a picture of the sheds before I go.
M: When LMNO was here, Shirley Padley came down here with her daughter to be interviewed and she had a photo I didn’t even know she took of that old chicken pen way up there. There was a little boy standing there just as plain as could be and I told her I’d like to have a copy of that.
Q: That’s probably Michael.
M: I’d never seen it before.
Q: The one thing you haven’t done that most people would have done in your case is have an exorcist come here.
M: They’ve been wanting to.
Q: Isn’t that awful? They always jump to the conclusion that, “Oh, the poor little boy. He must be lost. He doesn’t know he’s supposed to go on to the other side.” There has to be more than that going on here.
M: People have come out here wanting to get rid of him. I said, “We don’t want to get rid of him. He’s not hurting us.”
Q: I don’t think you can surmise that Michael is merely the spirit of a little boy because the spirit of a little boy doesn’t have that kind of power. He has the imagination but not the power. Maybe — unless he could — we don’t know where the solutions are. If he is afraid to go to Heaven, wouldn’t you feel concerned that maybe he’s wasting time here? I don’t know. It’s strange.
M: I don’t either. I just can’t understand it.
Q: He’s been to church so he must know if he wanted to go on to the other world that he could. (“EXACTLY”)
M: We’ve asked him if he believed in God and he said, “WHY YEAH.”
Q: Of course.
M: (laughs) That’s all we got out of him, though.
Q: It seemed like Bill thinks Michael might be a little bit more than just a spirit. I don’t think demon is a correct term but (laughs) —
M: I don’t know.
Q: Yeah. (“YOU KNOW I AM” “SOON TO BE”)
M: It’s so strange. It’s never happened to us before so I don’t know what to think.
Q: In terms of my attorney sending over the contract, who should sign it? What I will be proposing is $500 for use of the photos in the history book —
M: I’d sign it.
Q: — and then $250 up front per person if there are eight people against 50% of the net later on. Should it be the same eight people as before or if you don’t want to be included for various reasons —
M: Well, if it’s over so much — (“RIGHT”)
Q: If it sells at all it will go for a high price in terms of a screenplay and then there’ll be eight people sharing it.
M: Well, that wouldn’t be bad then.
Q: I think that would be safest too because you don’t want any squabbles among the family. You have enough on your hands.