The camera picks up a glare from an open window and the accompanying sigh of Stephen Clifford. Slowly the camera lowers to a counter as Stephen steps in front of the camera he had been holding and walks towards the window to pull a curtain over it. Stephen has blocked the room’s natural lighting out with closed blinds and blackout curtains. A bright white light is directed towards one particular corner of the room and a series of catty-cornered bookshelves. The shelves of the Port of Peculiarities are lined with books and decorated with framed news articles though the writing on both are too small to be legible. In front of those bookshelves sits a pair of chairs facing one another.
“Are you ready to shoot?” asked Stephen’s twin sister Stephanie off camera.
Stephen looks around the room with his hands on his hips and his tongue pressed against the inside his cheek. He looks towards the direction of where his sister’s voice came from with a smile on his face.
“Yeah, it all looks good here. Has Jeremy and Mr. Kent finished with make-up yet?”
The sound of heavy boots on wooden floors become louder as Stephanie steps in front of the camera. The thin woman is wearing a short black wig, tattered black clothing, and heavy white powder to make her appear paler than she is. She doesn’t look happy to be in the building as she crosses her arms.
“Should be. How many takes do you think it’ll be before we can wrap up here?”
“Hm… I want to say under ten. Mr. Kent is so excited that we’re here that he’ll probably stumble over his words a few times. Other than that? I think he’ll be fine. He seems like he’s been waiting his whole life for this.”
Stephanie walks over towards the bookshelves with her back towards the camera and casts a heavy shadow now she’s standing in front of the bright lights. She lifts one of the framed newspaper clippings from the top shelf in the corner.
“Bog Hag Seen at Edge of Hyde Road Claims Truck Driver.” she read aloud. “Even after three seasons I can’t believe people believe in this shit.”
“Hey, we all have hobbies. Besides, the guy is nice enough and the sincerity will come across on camera.”
Stephanie puts the frame back on the shelf and makes eye contact with the camera as she turns. She rolls her eyes as she walks towards the camera.
“Damn it, Stephen. You left the camera recording again.”
The camera goes black.
The camera resumes recording as it is now stationed behind one chair which is now occupied by a man with closely cut black hair. The camera is pointed at the older man with balding, greying hair who sits across from him as another camera is set up behind his shoulder and pointing in the opposite direction. The older man is wearing a red t-shirt with the words “Port of Peculiarities” printed on the front and is digging his fingernails into the arms of the brown leather chair he’s sitting in. The marks on the arms of the chair show that this isn’t the first time this has happened.
“All right, Mr. Kent, I will ask you a series of questions and I want you to answer them honestly. The more sensational or fantastic your answers are the better.”
Ollie Kent nodded his head with a smile on his face.
“Absolutely, Mr. Grecian. I want to say again just how honored I am to have you in my shop…"
Jeremy’s shoulders moved up and down with his chuckle. The host of “Trips Into Terror” adjusts his weight in the chair as he looks over his shoulder.
“You ready to film, Stephen?”
“Ready when you are.” responded Stephen from off camera.
“All right, silent on the set everybody."
A pair of hands holding a clapperboard move in front of the camera. The date on the clapperboard reads “07-29-2018” and the words “Trips S4E5 - Lodestar” and the time-stamp 00:00 appear digitally across the front. One hand lifts the top of the clapperboard and brings it back down with a loud clap. Ollie Kent stares across from Jeremy with the smile still on his face.
“Mr. Kent, your city is famous for the sheer amount of urban legends that surround it. Why do you think the paranormal seems to congregate on this one particular location?”
Ollie’s face crunches up as he considers the question for a moment.
“Well, I’d have to say it goes back to the early 1700s when our city was founded. I’m not sure if you noticed the large lighthouse on the harbor but before it was constructed in the mid-1700s, the people who lived here used to build these massive bonfires to help light the way for sailors. Sometimes the fog would be too thick for the fire to be seen through and the sailors would crash into the rocks along the coast.”
“All of that tragedy and death can residually influence the land. Is that the story behind the Northstar?”
Ollie nodded his head in response.
“Yes. The Northstar was a merchant vessel that brought supplies from the south to Lodestar. The lighthouse keeper fell asleep that night, and the Northstar drove straight into the rocks when the fog became too deep. Every crew-member on that vessel was pulled under the tide and drowned. Bodies washed up on the beach for weeks after it happened.”
“Do you believe those spirits still walk Northstar Beach?”
“Oh absolutely. There has been sightings there recorded as far back at the mid-1800s.”
“Are the spirits there benevolent or…”
“Violent? No. The ghosts are residual. The most common sighting is a spirit of a man who stands up from the ocean and walks towards the beach until vanishing the second he steps out of the water.”
“Have you seen this spirit?”
“No, I’ve not been that lucky. The Spirit of the Sailor only appears once or twice a year at most.”
“The Spirit of the Northstar” isn’t the only famous legend you have here in Lodestar, Ollie. Can you tell me a little about the Bog Hag?”
Ollie’s expression changes. His smile slackens, he breaks eye contact with Jeremy, and his fingers dig into the armchair as if his life depended on it.
“The Bog Hag? She’s…”
A door opens behind the cameras and Jeremy turns towards it with anger. A look of recognition and possibly relief reflects on Ollie’s face.
“Dad? I thought you agreed that you would not do this show?”
“Can we talk about this later, Shelly? We were in the middle of filming.”
Jeremy pushes himself out of his chair and knocks the camera over. The camera drops to the floor, capturing Ollie’s shocked face right before the shot is obstructed by the back of the chair it is sitting beside. Ollie’s feet can be seen standing from the chair and walking off camera.
“Damn it, Stephen! I told you to secure the set!”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is a closed set.”
“Closed set? I live here!”
“Shelly can you please go upstairs? This won’t take much longer.”
“No, dad. I will not let these people embarrass you on television because they’re hungry for ratings!”
“Get her off my damn set!”
“Get out of my damn house!”
“Ma’am, it’ll be okay. We’ll just finish up this take and be out of your hair in thirty minutes, tops.”
“Stephen! Get her off the fucking set now!”
The camera feed stops.