This week I bring my readers along for an interview with Corvis Nocturnum, as he makes a stop in Hell, Michigan for some research and Ice cream,
1. I am sure some of my readers know who you are but I'd like to let you introduce yourself and give us some insight into your background with the paranormal and occult.
I am an author, publisher and lecturer who has written over a dozen books on popular culture, covering everything from vampires and zombies to the Devil and the the history of witchcraft. I was a consultant for A&E Channel’s Paranormal State. I have been a repeat guest speaker at Dragon Con, Scarefest, Parafest and interviewed on the BET Channel’s The Lexi Show episode “The Church of Satan”. Between all of that I give lectures, at conventions and universities, on other subjects such as secret societies, Goth culture and do my best to debunk the many myths and stereotypes prevalent about dark subcultures. In my spare time I paint and am a staff writer for American Gothique e-zine.
2. How does your show Eerie America differ from other shows that have paranormal themes?
Well for starters, we aren’t a paranormal show, but we do share the same demographic of viewers. Eerie America is geared towards educating people on the unique locations, fun facts on some of the most incredible spots across the nation, while promoting tourism. Eerie America’s special niche is in defining and exploring Dark Tourism - which celebrates fun and entertaining aspects of presumed the macabre locations, the unusual, and the strange. Dark Tourism will serve to demystify the “demon in the dark” while retaining its intellectual allure. They are in every city, town and village throughout the nation, often hiding in plain sight. From bizarre dining experiences at The Jekyll & Hyde Restaurant and Bar, Zombie Burger Drink Lab, to overnight stays at a the Lizzy Borden Bed and Breakfast murder scene, places to buy unusual items such as Gargoyle Statuary, Vampire Boutique, and everything in between, Eerie America will shine a light on those secluded places across our vast country. It is a hybrid show, a reality/travel documentary that will occasionally surprise the fans with special celebrity guests who have knowledge about a topic or location will make an appearance, such as special guests author Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Monster Quest's Ken Gerhard, Paranormal States Michelle Belanger, Haunted Collectors Brian J. Cano, Haunted Encounters Daniel Hooven and many others!
3. What draws you to certain locations to showcase and research?
The location has to have traits that stir our shadow side as psychoanalyst Carl Jung would say. It has to be related to what is hidden, scary but in a fun and sometimes playful way. I am serious when we use the tagline Addams Family travel guide because that is in part how the writers and producers are personally intrigued by. What draws me in is psychology of what is behind so called macabre, and I don’t feel I am alone in being fascinated in dark and spooky histories of places. I am a fan of horror, of history and of true crime as are many other people. We are drawn to the dark and creepy, it is irresistible, and is very evident by our collective interest in everything from flocking to the latest hit like The Walking Dead and True Blood to Oddities and ghost shows. It serves as a way to encourage learning from our past when we show a spooky old asylum, or a curiosity shop, or a museum of witchcraft or Edgar Allan Poe museum. A certain Doctor Philip Stone, of The University of Central Lancashire who leads the center has a website which mentions his study on dark tourism in order to “provide critical insights into the diverse and provocative phenomenon of dark tourism and, as a result, we produce quality and influential research publications. The aim of our research is to provide a better understanding of the fundamental interrelationships dark tourism …. have with the cultural condition of contemporary society. ”
Even super stars from Hollywood, such as Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes were once spotted checking out the dark side of the City of Light, visiting the legendary cemetery Pere-Lachaise in Paris (known as the City of the Dead), which is the resting place of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde, and Ewan McGregor has been on shows visiting the Boney Church in Prague.
This project however, does not cover the Nazi death camps or the suicide forest in Japan, as we are not attempting to portray such tragedies in bad taste. Eerie America: Travel Guide of the Macabre, and showcases places like those listed above. We are trying to entertain people and have fun ourselves at the same time!
4. How much time do you spend researching places and how do you decide which places to go to. Do you Google them to see if the places are still open to the public or if there is any legend of story behind them.
I pool together what I find, what my co writer Kevin Eads finds and what fans send me and read it all. We evaluate how unique it is as we want it to make the fans enjoy it and not be bored – which I think will be hard to do seeing as every location has its own distinct differences. Even the people who operate the tourist attractions are colorful characters that enrich the experience. We want to both entertain and educate people so yes we research the history ahead to make sure it is of significant value for our fans, they deserve us doing a good job.
Yes we do look up the locations, and call ahead to make sure we are current on the details we will be sharing with the viewers. After all, the economy has been hard and some places might suddenly shut down by the time we would manage to get to them. With having over five hundred sites to go to, it may very well take us ten years to showcase the entire country.
5. What has been your most favorite place to visit.
It is so hard to have a favorite; they all have unique and different facets that are delightful. I really enjoyed the look of Count Orlock’s Nightmare Gallery, but I loved going to New Orleans French Quarter for its culture, history and myths of voodoo and relation to Ann Rice’s vampire saga.
6. what has been the scariest place to visit
Now that is equally tough to answer, I am not one to scare well. I guess I am a bit jaded, the spookier the place the more excited and intrigued I get so it is a bit unfair to point at one.
7. How did you pick your team for the show, Are you all co-host or investigators?
We are hosts and yet we each in our own way are investigators. As writers and creators of the show and the book we wrote in the beginning, we are both. The ladies were picked because of their interests in Goth culture, classic horror and urban exploration and paranormal. Some of the locations fit multiple aspects so we needed people who were willing and familiar with these things. However, we also like to challenge ourselves and put each other in spots we know nothing about so that we and the viewer can see us learn and evolve when a location takes us places we are unused to.
8. Will there be any episodes about legend quest, big foot hunting, UFO sightings, cryptozoology legends?
Although I can’t give away details at this point, I can say you hit the nail on the head there – we will be featuring all of those topics! I was like a kid in a candy store as I stumbled across each new type episode. That is what is so great about the nature of this show, we can promise you every time you see us it will be different and exciting.
9. I see that you have also written a book about Eerie America, Where can people find your book?
They can find Eerie America Travel Guide of the Macabre on amazon.com or on Schifferbooks.com.
10. Can you tell me more about your fund raising efforts for the show and how support from new fans helps make projects like these a reality.
Yes, of course. In the beginning, we knew in order to get the networks attention we needed what is called a sizzle reel, which is a lengthy video showcasing the who what where in six to eight minets and we also knew we didn’t have all of the needed funds to do it alone. So we went to indigogo.com and raised half of the money. My publishing company and art sales did the rest. Now we have gofundme (see http://www.gofundme.com/8mfkeo). Sunset Studios and my company have covered half of our bare minimum to do it but we are in need of another $200,000 at this point to get on the road for a full first season.
Support from fans sharing the link and donating even a small amount helps in three ways. First and most important we need support of fans getting the word out so we can prove we have viewers to the networks – ratings is what keeps a show on air. Second, it keeps us connected directly and social media is the best way to let the fans know where we are, what we have accomplished and how close we are to making it a reality. Last but not least the funds keep us moving forward. If we can prove we are serious and invested into our own project then the program directors at each tv network understand we aren’t just pitching a concept only. It is shocking but some producers simply just have an idea – and not expanded treatment, scope of the series. In our case, we have ten years worth of material before we step foot into an executive’s office to show our sizzle. We are very serious in making it happen, we are excited at the nature of the show, the adventure and being able to share it with the world what is in their own backyard.
11. Do you have any tips on what to look out for as in what makes a great Eerie America place to visit over just another tourist trap?
Well, as we previously mentioned, it has to have a history, legend or spooky aspect. We want to make sure our viewers are as caught up in adventure as we are. Think of us as your guides to anything relating to horror, true crime, bizarre history or science fiction, cryptoid or unusual. I encourage people to add me on Facebook and Twitter – if you know of a place in your hometown that we should film at, by all means say something.
12. I want to Thank you for giving my readers and I a more in dept look at your new show and book. Is there anything else you would like to tell people about, any other projects or books that you would like to promote. Also feel free to give everyone your website and fund raising site information.
Thank you so very much for giving me the chance to share the show with your readers! If people want to watch it and read more they can at http://www.gofundme.com/8mfkeo is the fundraiser ( you can click on the YouTube icon and leave a comment on its page). My own page is www.corvisnocturnum.com where you can stay on top of my appearances schedule, and my publishing site is www.darkmoonpress.com. I will be speaking at Dragoncon this fall come the first week of September if people want to see me in person when I talk about this more.
Corvis Nocturnum (E.R. Vernor)
Author of: Allure Of The Vampire; Our Sexual Attraction To The Undead, and most recently, Zombie Nation; From Folklore to Modern Frenzy.
(For other titles check out www.DarkMoonPress.com)