Haunted State

Some few years back, when FYE was still a thing, I’d hunt for bargains at our local.  I came across a two-for-one DVD that seemed promising, but when I got it home I discovered it was a made-for-television combo, and movies of that ilk often fudge on many angles.  I watched them nevertheless.  These were the Discovery Channel’s first two specials in what would become a series titled “A Haunting.”  I have to admit A Haunting in Connecticut freaked me out so much that I decided to trade the disc back in—something I rarely do.  (The other feature, A Haunting in Georgia, I could barely remember.)  As is usual with things I get rid of, I grew curious once again—this time a decade later.  Fortunately both movies are included in Amazon Prime, so I was all set.  I just needed that rarest commodity of all, time.

You might think that a guy who gets up at 4 a.m. on weekends would have plenty of extra time.  That’s not the case.  Nevertheless, I squeezed the clock to watch these shows again for research purposes.  Neither one was so scary as I recall—I’ve seen quite a few movies since then—but they did get October off to a moody start.  Of the two I recalled far less of the Georgia story.  Perhaps part of the reason is that it left so much unresolved.  The Wyrick family apparently experienced many ghosts and their investigator, William G. Roll, took their claims seriously.  While not an Ed and Lorraine Warren film, like its sibling, it follows the pattern of repeated, reported activity, investigation, and, well, not quite resolution.  The family attends a Pentecostal church, and, interestingly, the documentary treats it respectfully.

Unlike A Haunting in Connecticut, A Haunting in Georgia films some events in real time—notably the church service.  The pastor is interviewed and he, unlike Dr. Roll, believes the entity to be demonic.  The documentary treats him with the same gravitas as it does the Berkeley-trained psychologist.  There’s too much going on here to make a memorable narrative, though.  Stories, at least in the classical fictional sense, have some kind of resolution.  The Georgia narrative has too much complexity and too little sense that anything has been solved.  To me the amazing thing was that I had watched this film before and I remembered maybe only the first fifteen minutes.  Both films went on the bigger things, getting remade into theatrical features that I’ve never seen.  But then again, I barely have time for my own unresolved story.  Maybe FYE offers its own brand of local haunting.

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