Jefe's House

Tag: mala

Boneyards EVP Log – 10/20/13

by on Oct.21, 2013, under The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

1920-SeanceBefore proceeding I urge you, gentle reader, to read and view the previous show’s (10/17/13) seance summary as there is a direct carryover with this one culminating in my effort to conduct a “Buddhist exorcism,” for lack of a better description, on the 2-year-old “V,” a recent arrival at the synagogue and not one of the 12 original ghosts at this location that I call the Synagogue Saints.

All caught up now? Great, you may proceed.  At the show’s climax audience volunteers Eric and Kristen personed the board.   We at first assumed we were speaking with an adult spirit (or subconscious ideomotor impulse, depending on your beliefs) but then it kept spelling MAM, MAM, MAM over and over. At first we thought it was their initials but it told us NO.

Do you know anyone here?  YES. 

Who? LAURA.  

Yep, there was indeed a Laura in the house who looked decidedly freaked at seeing her name spelled out on the Ouija board.  How do you know Laura?

The response was more MAM over and over again.

LAURA: I don’t know anyone with those initials.

ME:  It’s talking like a child saying the same word over and over. I think we’ve got a kid here.

MY USHER SUSAN: Do you mean MOM?  YES … MAM, MAM, MAM.

Indeed the repetition was childlike and rather sad.  We imagined a young child calling for its mother over and over and not sure how to spell it. This is extremely similar to my encounter with young MALA/MALALA 2 years ago during BZ:ABOTD who wound up following me from the Blue Grotto in West Philly to Plays & Players Theatre and taking up residence there but that’s another story.  In short, it seems children who have died violent deaths are particularly frightened and stuck, not sure how to move on. Heartbreakingly, they especially want to find their mothers.

Where’s your real mom? KILLED. 

Who killed her? (continue reading…)

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Dang. Sadly No EVP.

by on Feb.05, 2012, under The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

Please enjoy my 2nd Rep Radio interview. This one happened on 1/7/12 at midnight on the stage of Plays & Players, and it’s the aforementioned live ouija board session in lieu of a traditional interview, in hopes that interviewer Kristen Scatton and I could contact one of Plays & Players’ 3 resident ghosts, and we did with help from my frequent Philly ghost pal Mala.  Sadly the recording contains no voices from the dead, aka, electronic voice phenomena.  Why does it always work so well on Ghost Hunters?

 

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Yes, Virginia, There Is a Ghost Boy

by on Jan.08, 2012, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Photo by Iggy Rocketboy.

Last night my ongoing Ouija-as-theatre experiment continued for another round.   Kristen Scatton of Philadelphia’s Rep Radio, who had already interviewed me several months ago for my 2011 Philly Fringe show, BZ:ABOTD, interviewed me again, this time in the context of my being one of this year’s 3 PDC@Plays&Players playwrights-in-residence (along with playwrights Brian Grace-Duff and Jeremy Gable).

She didn’t want a repeat of my first interview in August so I suggested something different — how about meeting me at midnight on the mainstage of Play & Players on the set of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (which opens January 19th and which is not to be missed) to see if we can contact the ghost of the Small Boy who has been spotted on the stage over the years.  He’s one of 3 spirits said to haunt the hundred-year-old building.

My 1917 original William Fuld Ouija Board.

You can soon hear the full Rep Radio interview and the complete audio of our Ouija session so I won’t go into full detail here. In summary, MALA showed up again in her usual insistent way (MALAMALAMALAMALA) and confirmed that she indeed knew me and had last spoken to me upstairs in Quig’s Pub on 11/6/11.  I asked her if she was doing okay and she said NO.  I told her I wanted her to try and be happier in 2012 because she always seemed sad, and she said OK.

We asked Mala if she knew the Small Boy and whether he was hanging around onstage with us.  He was.  In fact he was standing directly to my right, upstage center, according to Mala. The Small Boy’s initials are AE and he talked about PLAYS and that he was in a play on that stage in 1945.  Does he enjoy living at Plays & Players? NO.  Why doesn’t he leave?  LALALALA (a frequent Ouija answer in my experience, which I interpret to mean la la la la I’m not listening/can’t discuss it).

Broadway and silent film star, early screenwriter and Plays & Players co-founder Maud Durbin Skinner is also said to haunt the building.

In the end, chronically lonely little girl Mala confirmed that she liked the Small Boy and thought he was nice, so I asked if she’d like to stay on at Plays & Players and be friends with him.  She said YES, so I felt good about finding her a much-needed playmate. Apparently in the process I’ve also brought another ghost into Plays & Players’ otherworldly fold. I hope Maud and Leon are okay with that and don’t get angry with me for crowding them out. It’s getting downright lousy with ghosts in there.

Proof of a spirit world, or proof of characters from mine and Kristen Scatton’s fevered imaginations conveyed via subconscious ideomotor impulses?  Take your pick. I’m equally fascinated by both phenomena.  For further reading I highly recommend James Merrill’s epic poem The Changing Light at Sandover.

See you all at Live Arts Scratch Night at the Live Arts Brewery on Thursday 1/12/12 at 7pm. It’s free, there’s cheap beer, and you can RSVP here.

[Maud Skinner photo via findagrave.com]

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Plays & Players Ouija Log – 11/6/11

by on Nov.07, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

I was delighted last night to hear again from spirit MALA during our Ouija session that was part of my Plays & Players playwright-in-residence presentation. I began with a little shtick I wrote just for the occasion, then called for volunteers, BZ:ABOTD-style, and moved us all across the threshold from the Skinner Studio stage into Quig’s Pub where we all stood around a table watching the two volunteers try their hands at my antique William Fuld original Ouija board. Our goal was to contact one of the theatre’s 3 resident ghosts.

At first, lots of jibberish despite multiple partners and switch-offs and trying to get the board warmed up. There were a few early highlights, like my asking, “Look, is there anyone there who just wants to cut the jibberish and talk to us in plain English using simple words?”

The response was a swift NO.

At one point it blurted out OZ which got lots of oohs and aahs. Later one of the volunteers emailed me that she got home and flipped on the TV only to see that The Wizard of Oz was indeed on that night.

But whenever it was my turn to switch in with a partner it shot back and forth from M to A to L to A to M to A, sweeping a wide arc back and forth across the board nonstop. It wouldn’t answer any other questions. It was, like, in this catatonic state. I’d get up and let a new partner take over, but 10 minutes later when it was my turn again it’d shoot back to M A L A M A L A. As obvious as it seems now (duh) I kept guessing at names…”Are you Mama?…Alam? … Lala?”

Thankfully someone chimed in, “My guess is it’s a child.”

“Are you a child?” I asked the board. At that she finally stopped the chant and went to YES.

“You’ve been trying to talk to me all night. Do you know me?”

YES

“Have we met before?”

YES

“What’s your name?”

MALA

“Oh! You’re Mala. From my show!”

YES

“You’re the little girl.”

YES

(to the crowd) “This is a little girl I met during my show. She was killed by her mother. (to Mala) You followed me here from the Blue Grotto to Plays & Players?”

YES

“Are you in the room with us?”

YES NO YES NO YES NO (this indecision was also evident during her previous session with me; the personality and her reluctance or uncertainty with her state seemed consistent, as did her childlike repetitions of “MalaMalaMalaMala” and previously “MomMomMomMom” for emphasis)

“Your mother killed you, right?”

YES NO YES NO YES NO

(In our previous conversation on 9/15/11 her discomfort with discussing the details of her death (stabbed by her mother) and her insistence that she has forgiven her, felt consistent again with her current indecisive answers. Previously her discomfort was indicated by the constant use of the infinity sign when she wasn’t sure how to answer; tonight it was the YES NO YES NO maneuver.)

I got tired of monopolizing the board so I stepped away for a slice of pizza while two others continued the chat. I told them Mala was a lonely little girl who meant no harm and to chat with her for a few minutes. I’m not sure of the outcome but I know their chat with her was brief because the board was soon abandoned. People kept admiring it and discussing it but no one would dare to use it. I offered to use it with someone but no one would take me up on it. Everyone seemed too spooked by the Mala thing.

So, not exactly an earth-shattering session but a good experience overall and I was happy to chat with my otherworldly pal Mala again. Most disappointingly no contact was made by any of Plays & Players’ supposed ghosts. Maybe they’re just a legend…

TO BE CONTINUED.

 

 

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Post-crypt

by on Sep.19, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

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Allow me to take a moment to drop the self-aggrandizing persona that’s part and parcel of our show and break character  (I know; even though I was playing myself).  Even with a one-man show there’s no such thing as a one-man show. Part of the joy of producing theatre is that it’s a collaborative medium that requires teamwork.

I must thank my superbly imaginative supergenius director Daniel Student who elevated our show from a mere monologue or storytelling session into a truly theatrical experience. Our show got great press but rarely is the director mentioned in the chaotic coverage of a fringe festival.  So, many thanks to Dan for reading my mind, for bringing our show to life while staying true to my vision for the show, and for helping me stay true to its themes.

Then there’s Randy Dalton, the sculptor behind the Blue Grotto, a lost gem in Philly’s visual art scene into which I was thrilled to help breathe new life.  The Grotto is Randy’s baby but he was extremely welcoming and accommodating, letting us remove or relocate certain objects to improve sightlines, letting us come and go as we pleased at all hours, letting me summon the dead and offer them a new place to live, and even letting us replace some of his cherished blue bulbs with white ones to add a high contrast, flashlight-under-the-face, campfire ghost story mood when I stepped into certain areas.

Also I must thank CEC Executive Director Terri Shockley and Building Manager Scott Maits for their assistance, flexibility and curiosity about our show.

And I must thank Shiva3 Productions and Iggy Rocketboy, a fellow newcomer (even newer than me) to Philly.  This phantasmal young man’s unorthodox approach to publicity and marketing put us in the limelight — no easy feat when competing against literally dozens of other fringe shows on any given night.  The Rep Radio interview, the coverage by philly2philly.com, the City Paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian (who named us one of their 5 Must See shows, I might add) and the Philly Daily News all happened largely due to iRock’s quirky machinations and tendency to write his own playbook as went along (how many plays have a jingle?), delighting in breaking nearly every rule of what passes for professional theatrical PR. It was also Iggy’s idea to give every audience member two free gifts; a ouija board homemade by Jeff and a copy of one of Jack Chick’s fundamentalist Christian comic book tracts, Bewitched? because of its thematic relevance to the show.

I am deeply indebted and grateful also to my arts-loving, beautiful, rocket scientist superwife Pia whose patience and willingness to let me disappear night after night to rehearse and to perform a dark, diabolical (some would say profane) show, her willingness even to curtail our summer vacation plans so I could make martinis and play with ouija boards, and her eagerness to sit in on dress rehearsals and offer feedback, went stratospherically above and beyond the call of spousal duty.

And lastly there are my eternally beloved guest stars who shared the stage with me night after night on extremely short notice — SHALEE, DAVID, MALA, F.R.A., “NAMAZ,” “HABIB,” “KHEF” and all the other nameless souls. God bless them all and may they find peace, wherever and whatever they are.

 

 

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Ouija Log – 9/16/11

by on Sep.17, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

A UFO inside the Blue Grotto contains...

WORST OUIJA CHAT EVER.  Very little action last night. I’m not even going to bother alerting my press list on this one, especially not SR at The Daily Pennsylvanian despite her colleagues’ apparent love for my show, for which we are grateful. The only highlight if you want to call it that was –

JEFF:  Do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: What is it?

SPIRIT: HABIB

JEFF: Um, no. There is not a “habib” taped to the back of the photo (boy was I wrong; see below).  Is Habib your name?

SPIRIT: NO

...American culture en route to Mars.

Mind you I’m not touching the board during these conversations. It’s always being operated by two audience volunteers other than at a few brief times between chats when I get on the board to warm it up, if you will.  I know of course that Habib is an Arabic male name but I looked up its actual meaning and it’s “beloved” or “loved one” which in that case makes it similar to the 9/10 transcript when DAVID told us that HOME was taped to the back and it put a lump in my throat.

Had I known last night that a habib was a loved one and that the board was again speaking to me in Arabic I’d have been a little less dismissive.  This would mark the 4th time out of 7 sessions that a directly Islamic or at least South Asian presence has been on the board — there was also the 9/14 session when it kept telling us NAMAZ, NAMAZ (pray, pray in Arabic), then there was the South Asian 5-year-old girl named MALA on 9/15 and SHALEE on 9/8.

All fascinating but surprising because given our geographical locus I was expecting a lot of old Philadelphia Quakers with names like Rachel or  Zebulon or Nehemiah or at least some Johns or Williams or Marys.  Yes there was David but he died in 1976 and lives in LA so he doesn’t count.

Lesson learned: never make assumptions about the spirit world/human subconscious.

Only 1 show left and it’s tonight and it’s the final Paranormal Psaturday – the first three ticket holders to show me a convincing photograph or smartphone video clip of authentic-looking paranormal activity in their homes will be given a $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate. Full details and ticket info.

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Ouija Log – 9/15/11

by on Sep.15, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

During the final days of the festival BZ:ABOTD has made the Daily Pennsylvanian’s Must-See list, and that includes the curated Live Arts shows, which is extremely flattering.  You haven’t seen the show yet? Only 2 chances left, and remember tonight is Freemasonry Fridays – the first three ticket holders to discretely wear their Masonic rings or other authentic Masonic logo jewelry and show it to me in secret before the show will secretly be given a $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate.  Don’t try to pull a fast one— I know my Masonic jewelry.

The planchette on the Ouija board was flying all over the place last night. I mean it would shoot off the edge of the board sometimes and the volunteers would have to put it back on and reposition their fingers before it took off again like a little sportscar making hairpin turns all across the alphabet.  Transcript highlights:

QUESTIONER:  How old are you?

SPIRIT (or subconscious ideomotor impulse depending on your beliefs): 5 AND A HALF

QUESTIONER: What’s your name?

SPIRIT: MALA (turns out it’s a Hindu name meaning garland of flowers)

QUESTIONER: When did you die?

(here it swept a broad ellipse around the board and then swooped into a sideways figure 8 pattern — the symbol for infinity — over and over again in the center of the board)

QUESTIONER: When were you born?

SPIRIT:   0…1

JEFF: Maybe she doesn’t know the year.  She’s only 5 years old.  Where are you now?

(infinity pattern in response)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did you die?

SPIRIT: MOM MOM MOM MOM

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did she kill you?

(infinity pattern)

QUESTIONER: Do you resent her for it?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Are you in the room with us?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Where are you standing in relation to me?

SPIRIT: LEFT

JEFF: (indicating with hand) Right here?

(back to the infinity pattern)

QUESTIONER:  She’s everywhere in the room.

JEFF: Do you know anyone here?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Do you live here at the CEC?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Do you know any of the other spirits we’ve talked to throughout the run of the show who also say they live here?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Do you know initials FRA?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Tell FRA I said hi.  Do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo hanging in the other room?

SPIRIT: YES

JEFF: Okay, what is it?

SPIRIT:  MNMNMNMN (which I took to mean “mmmm…”, thinking; remember we’re dealing with a 5 year old)

JEFF: It’s okay if you don’t know.

SPIRIT:  NO

JEFF: Okay, no worries.  Big hand for Mala.

Full details and ticket info.

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