The Secret Video (a.k.a. The Blood-Draining Satanists)
If you grew up in the Poconos in the late '80s there was only one thing that brought fear into your average family's home. It wasn't black people from New York moving in next door. It wasn't skinheads (that came later). It wasn't even the Tax Man. It was long-haired Satanists who were carving up cats and kids in rituals deep in the woods under a full moon and under the spell of LSD or some other drug. I know. I was one of them.
Well, not really.
I was thought of as one of them. I had long hair, listened to heavy metal and punk music, and had a tendency to really fuck with people. About the only thing that's changed is the hair. Anyway, back in those days, if you lived in the Poconos and had long hair and listened to -- gasp -- Iron Maiden, you obviously worshipped the Devil. Or at least that was people's perceptions. Since I like screwing around with people's fears and misconceptions, I often had a field day with this sort of thing, and when asked to partake in a project for the school I graduated from, I could not refuse.
The idea was simple. A friend of mine who was still in school had to do an interview with someone on video. He couldn't think of anyone to do it with, as all the good war vets and cops were already snatched up. So he wanted to know if I would do something. Being a prankster, I immediately agreed, as long as I could play one of those agents of Satan. And so the die was cast ...
As we plotted this out, we realized I would be making up all kinds of crazy shit that could conceivably cause a police investigation. I was no stranger to these investigations, but I tried to keep away from them as much as possible. If you think the Eureka, CA police are trigger happy, you should travel back in time to meet the Poconos good ol' boys who passed themselves off as men of the "law." Hey, what cop doesn't pistol whip his wife with his service revolver?
Since this video was going to be "damning," we enlisted the help of a guy who was working with the media at the local college. He set up the lighting so I would be in shadows at all times (as long as I didn't get out of my chair), and if I recall correctly, we ended up disguising my voice.
For props I had some knives and a container full of fake blood that I made special for the occasion. Then the interview began. I don't remember all of what I said, but I do remember holding up the container and stating that it was the "blood of my victims" and that I kept it in the refrigerator. And then going off the agreed up course of discussion, I talked about having a basement full of automatic weapons that would enable me to start a small war in the tourist haven of Northeast Pennsylvania. Who would believe that shit, right? Crazy.
The day comes for my friend to show his video in class. I wasn't there, or I would've been laughing. Apparently it was greeted with utter silence. People were freaked out. (If you don't know me very well, I can actually play a psychopathic character pretty well, and I'm fairly convincing.) The video ended and the teacher went right to the VCR and popped it out. My friend went to get it and was told by the teacher that he had to take it to administration right away because he was sure the police would want to see it. He then wanted my friend to reveal the interviewee. He refused to do it.
Nothing ever happened to me due to the video. I don't know if the police investigated my friend, as we sort of lost contact with each other soon after that. I like to think that somewhere in the basement of Pocono Mt. Senior High the video is in some abandoned desk drawer, the decision being made not to go to the police. Someday someone will find it and hunt down a VCR. My guess is it will be met with the same type of silence that was in that classroom that day.
When you think about the power of film and moving images, you often think of how it can be used to either lift the spirit or spread propaganda. (Often one in the same.) You don't often think of how it can be used just to screw with people and get a reaction that the participants may not even be around to see. That was the entire reason I did the videotaped interview. Manipulation of reality. For those students in that room on that day, their world kind of went a little batshit. There was some murderous Satanist wandering their neighborhood, stockpiling AK47s and keeping blood in his fridge next to the Coke and hot dogs. They didn't feel safe. They were scared. And it was all a manipulation (and probably not even that clever) that played with all the fears going on in the community at the time. (To give one an idea of how bad it was, I started dating a girl and her mom got an anonymous call from some woman stating that I got the girl into devil worshipping and we were seen killing a cat in a Satanic circle of some sort. Luckily my girlfriend's mother was not an idiot and dismissed the caller as irrational and sensationalist.) It was easy to do, and it was that easy because most people don't think about what they are watching. They just absorb it. It becomes real. It becomes reality. It doesn't matter how accurate the images are, or even how plausible. They are reality.
The teacher helped sell it, too. Any student thinking that maybe the video was a hoax, had to be given a second thought once they saw the teacher react so decisively. The one person who should've been level-headed about the entire incident overreacted, and that only made it seem more real.
Never underestimate the power of film, and never forget to question what you are viewing ... even if it's pure entertainment ... or a fake Satanist with a fridge full of blood.
Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link may earn me a Satanic commission ... paid in blood (or money).
-Doug Brunell (America's Favorite Son)