One Hour on the Decks of Titanic!

DATELINE: Seance on a Saturday PM

carol and orb Kadrolsha with orb (Richard?) next to bookrack!

When your home is haunted by one of the victims of the Titanic, and you are on a first-name basis with that spirit, you may find yourself engaged in strange activities.

So, we came to have a séance on a Saturday afternoon that would try to reach Richard White, a 21-year old college student who died on April 15, 1912. He has been following me for some time, and he was likely responsible for my discovery of his old family estate not far from his grave.

On an August day, we finally arranged the first séance to reach him. Like Arthur Conan Doyle or W.T. Stead, notable 19th century spiritualists, we were about to embark on a great adventure.

To help with this was foremost spiritualist and healer, Kadrolsha Ona Carole, who is known professionally as the Queen of the Paranormal.

Also to join us in my study were long-time ghost hunters Susan Allen, Karen Raymond, and Eric Metzler. They have visited my home often and helped me communicate with the spirits around me. Primarily, this is Richard, a student with a penchant for spending time with a retired professor: Dr. William Russo.

The Queen of Paranormal told us we would conduct a professional investigation, not the usual hand-holding, table-tipping that often occurs in Hollywood movies.

As a first timer, I had a bit of nerves: we set up an antique round table for five, each with a white candle on a red tablecloth. There would be sage to cleanse the air and block out the entrances. There would be bread, home-made, natural.

Our contact, Kadrolsha is fairly active in media—with graphic novels, TV and movie tie-ins. She is a stunning blond woman, tall and with a healer’s kindness. She did not engage in fancy chants to set us up: but did a silent prayer and touched each of us on the head to open up.

Many times I had told Richard through divining rods that I did not want to see him on Titanic and felt he was cheated by life. So, I felt some protection. Only later did we find an orb in a corner photo of our session. My belief is that Richard stood next to a bookrack where my work Chess-Mate from Titanic detailed his life.

What happened shocked me, and it was unexpected: we felt the rock of ship in distress. Many of us were freezing cold and shaking to and fro. I was actually warm, and grew flush, but Eric was profusely sweating and overheated: it was a description that survivors gave of Richard’s father who seemed to suffer a heart attack on deck.

As for me, I felt my hands and arms involuntarily raising off my lap—as if buoyant by water. Yet, I was never cold, but in a stunned state at the reactions of the others at our little circular table.

Our hostess, Kadrolsha also felt choked with heart pains—but Sue was most affected, having visions of a woman forced to separate from her husband who was not allowed on the lifeboat.

Her panic grew exponentially and consoling her was nearly impossible. Kadrolsha recognized this, and she brought us back after a harrowing hour aboard a sinking luxury liner.

This experience lasted an hour, though it felt much quicker and sudden. Once the spell was broken, we felt a great relief: recordings taken will document the time aboard the ship at our table.

Should we try this again? I am wary: for a day after I suffered paranormal hangover, tired and headachey. No bad spirits took up residence in my home, thanks to Richard. Yet, I never again want to be on a Titanic deck, even in a hypnotic trance of a séance.

Dr. William Russo has written three books on his Titanic connections:  Tales of a Titanic Family, Chess-mate from Titanic, and Titanic Mysteries on Mill Circle. All are available on Amazon.com in print and in ebook format.

 

 

 

Appalling Holmes & Watson

 DATELINE: Elementary, School That is.

elementary school.jpeg 

We were warned, and now you are warned.

The Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly remake of a comic Conan Doyle couple is not exactly a blue-plate special. It is going for .99 cents on Amazon streaming video. You know that price is rock bottom for rock bottom quality. This is a step down for the Step Brothers.

The film is horrific in terms of anachronisms. There are references to killer bees, protein shakes, and headlines that smell of National Enquirer in the 1950s.

Worse yet are the fake British accents on our traditional heroes, showing that they cherish good acting as much as a paycheck. The actors playing them as children speak with American accents (as do all the kids in London).

Mrs. Hudson is a trollop—and not from the British pages of classic literature.

We almost expected Judi Dench was likely offered the role as Queen Victoria—and that would have set us off on a tangent. Instead, we have Ralph Fiennes acting in a separate movie as Moriarty.

He has no flair for comedy.

Perhaps the most surprising couple in the film are the Road Trip movie stars: Rob Brydon as Lestrade and Steve Coogan as the one-armed tattooist.

We almost wish they had played Holmes and Watson. Of course, this may be the only version in which Lestrade is smarter than Holmes.

The movie moribundly moves from one witless encounter and set-up to another. Killer bees are inexplicably in a glass case at 221b Baker Street, allowing for a madcap moment without suspense.

Another stupid setup is Holmes surprise birthday party thrown by the Queen.  Who wrote this drivel? Mindless is the Zeitgeist of the age: and if this is you, you will be in your element.

Yes, it’s elementary.  Elementary school.

Arthur & George, Another Sherlock Team

DATELINE:  Redoubtable Arthur!

Arthur Clunes as Doyle.

Julian Barnes, the noteworthy novelist, wrote his story about Arthur Conan Doyle and his real-life attempt to solve a crime about an Indian solicitor in England who was falsely convicted of animal mutilation, mainly because of racial hatred and class prejudice.

Arthur & George is a strange misleading title for a story in which Dr. Doyle showed his deductive reasoning to illustrate who really were the brains behind Sherlock. If you don’t know ahead of time, the title might lead to some bad book judging from the cover alone. Of course, that was Julian Barnes’ motive.

Julian Barnes in his original novel did not let on who the two men were until the story was well underway. That is completely lost in the movie version, which plays on the connection between Doyle and Holmes.

There has been in recent years a spate of this biographical tales dramatized about the author/spiritualist/doctor.

The BBC drama has all the top-notch production values and impressive acting you might expect of Masterpiece Theatre. The film is three parts of 45 minutes, probably could have been a one-shot film.

Martin Clunes is all you would ask for in a Conan Doyle figure, which contrasts greatly with the Watson figure of Charles Edwards—as Woody, Doyle’s servant.

Indeed, Edwards played Doyle a decade earlier and was miscast, especially against the grand Ian Richardson as Dr. Joseph Bell, his mentor and medical professor in the series Murder Rooms.

Also in this miniseries is Art Malik, the last of the stars of the granddaddy of epic series, the Jewel in the Crown. He plays a minister from India who is the object of prejudice and small-minded hate in a rural English shire. His victim son is George (Arsher Ali), a myopic limping solicitor.

These semi-true stories fit perfectly into the Holmes canon. And, Clunes as Doyle/Holmes features all the brilliant logic and bombast of his literary figure. This Doyle is more active and physical than Holmes, but he fits the tale perfectly.

 

 

 

 

 

Decree, Ripper, & Sherlock Holmes

DATELINE: Solid Sherlock Entry!

Mason & Plummer

Back in 1979, another tandem of Sherlock and Dr. Watson came in the form of Christopher Plummer and James Mason. You certainly could not find a better pedigree. The film is Murder by Decree, one of the lesser entries in the Holmes movies.

The film deserves a better fate than to be forgotten.

Director Bob Clark (of Porky’s and Christmas Story) surrounded them with a stellar cast of actors (Anthony Quayle, John Gielgud, Susan Clark, David Hemmings) and some bad set-up minatures of London.

You can expect superior performances—and the Holmes/Watson team is highly watchable, though we took umbrage with Holmes wearing his deerstalker hat in London and showing tears after interviewing a woman in a mad house.

The idea of Holmes chasing after Jack the Ripper is always a staple notion of Victorian crime, though it is not part of the original Conan Doyle canon. Indeed, it seems as if someone decided to plunk down Holmes in the middle of a serious murder conspiracy theory of 1979.

The idea that the Ripper was a member of the royal family has been floated in various situations, but never played for a fictional interpretation with these results.

Blame seems aimed at the usual suspects of conspiracy theory. The culprits here are, once again, freemasons of the 33rd degree who now seem to be covering up the Ripper (other tales make them complicit in UFOs and the Kennedy assassination). With all the top government officials involved, we wondered where Mycroft might be.

In this incarnation, the Ripper plot goes right to Queen Victoria and her Prime Minister. This story seems to support the notion that the monarchy of England deserves to be dismissed. Of course, it is too radical even for Americans.

The politics of religion dominates the story as Catholics and Jews are also made part of the investigation, albeit as victims of prejudice and hate.