January 24, 2013

Indie Film: The supernatural in Maine inspires ghost hunters

Local webseries 'Haunt ME' features young ghost hunters seeking out the creepiest locations in the Pine Tree State.


You don't have to be Stephen King to know that Maine can be a scary place.

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Young paranormal investigators explore spooky places in Maine in the webseries “Haunt ME,” which can be seen on entertainmentexperiment.com and YouTube.

Courtesy of Haunt ME




Friday: "Chasing Ice." In this harrowingly beautiful documentary, a global warning skeptic's doubts melt away as he embarks on a poles-spanning journey to photograph the ice caps and finds, instead, stunningly incontrovertible evidence in the form of disappearing polar ice formations.

Wednesday: "Only the Young." Space continues to be the destination for Portlanders looking for innovative documentaries as it brings in this acclaimed documentary about three teen friends trying to survive in their desolate California desert community. Co-presented with the Camden International Film Festival (camdenfilmfest.org).

With our state's deep, primeval forests, craggy, wave-swept coastline (see Maine native Katie Aselton's new island-set horror movie "Black Rock"), and no shortage of suspiciously creaky old houses, Maine's a storied and varied setting for any number of horror tales.

Even true ones.

At least, that's the premise behind "Haunt ME," the new local webseries featuring a small group of young Maine ghost hunters who've been seeking out the creepiest locations the Pine Tree State has to offer in search of the supernatural.

"Going in, we had to search a lot for locations. But as word got out, people came to us, asking us to come investigate," said Ashley Brooks, the creator, team leader and host of "Haunt ME," in describing the wealth of purportedly ghost-y locations her team has visited in the show's first, seven-episode season. "And we've already got a few places lined up for season two."

"Haunt ME," the first three episodes of which can be seen on Maine web-hub The Entertainment Experiment (entertainmentexperiment. com) and YouTube, follows Brooks and her five-person team of intrepid spook-seekers as they travel around the state, cameras and recorders in hand, in search of the ever-elusive proof that we are, as they say, not alone.

"I'm a believer," said Brooks. "I have a healthy amount of skepticism, but I keep an open mind. My job is to facilitate between the more skeptical and the believers on the team. I will say, though, that enough has happened, so either I'm crazy or something's going on here."

In their most recent episode, the team scoured Portland's Irish Heritage Center trying to substantiate members' tales of unexplained voices.

And while the results proved tantalizingly inconclusive on the 'busting front, Brooks promises some genuine shocks coming up.

"On a show like 'Ghost Hunters,' it's commonplace for something crazy to happen in every episode, but we tend to be a little more realistic," she said. "But I will say that the show we shot at one of the oldest farmhouses in Limington is the scariest place we've ever been to."

Brooks was cagey about what happened, but hints, "It's interesting, because it affected us physically. A couple of us got sick and there was something weird going on we weren't prepared for -- it kind of changed us."

Undeterred, Brooks and company are looking around the state for creepy places for tourism?

"We're concentrating on more public spaces," said Brooks. "Maybe we can be a sort of travel guide so people can come to Maine and see these places."

Maine: The Way Life Should Flee?

Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.


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