True Haunting by Edwin F Becker: Hair Raising Experience


As Author Edwin F Becker points out, there were no Ghost Hunters a la TAPS in 1970. There was also no Amityville horror; at least not until 1977 when Jay Anson put pen to paper and wrote about the “alleged” ghostly problems of the Lutz family in the house where an entire family sans one was murdered.

It would not surprise me to learn that Jay Anson was not already aware of the ghostly events that plagued the Becker family via a NBC newscast that was aired both locally (where Becker and his wife lived) and nationally. Where else could he have gotten the idea? And  where Anson, admittedly, stretched the truth to breaking and beyond in search of a fast buck; Becker did not profit one cent from his haunted house experience until years later when he self-published his story.

I’d bet a pretty penny myself to say that he’s not profiting much from the sales of his story; his e-book is very affordable.

In 1970, Becker and his new wife and baby, wanted to buy a house. Finding a two-story house with two ready-made apartments already under one roof, he thought he’d found a bargain. Sure the house needed work and they needed to get rid of the “crazy” woman who lived in the downstairs apartment, but Edwin was not afraid of hard work and the “crazy tenant” was on her way out.

So what could go wrong?

Apparently, everything.

Becker recounts what happened when he and his young family moved into the house in the suburbs of 1970 Chicago and the traumatic affect the property had on friends and family. He tells of the Church’s refusal to get involved and of seeking help from two (the only two in the Yellow Pages) paranormal investigative societies available.

He tells his story in a straight forward, no-nonsense manner that convinces and disturbs and (for me anyway) made the hair on the back of my neck stand-up which resulted in my deciding  to read the rest of the book in the daylight. What he does not do is embellish the events to “sell” his story. He steadfastly refused to sensationalize any of the occurrences that he and his family experienced. Hence the self publishing.

When he and his family encountered what, at the outset, seemed like odd events: a kitchen door that refused to stay shut, a mixer that refused to hang on the wall, a phone that kept taking itself off the hook and countless other things, that he found  “logical” explanations for. Or so he thought.

As the haunting began to escalate, he and his wife (who to be fair, sensed this a lot earlier than her skeptic husband) realised that the house was haunted by not one, but several ghosts.

It was Mr Becker’s sincere and plain retelling that both convinced me of the truth of his story combined with “strange” experiences that I myself have encountered that sold me on the validity of his tale.

This is a very understated book when compared with Jay Anson’s nefarious tale of the Amityville “hauntings.” You’ll find no oozing black stuff pouring out of the sockets; no overabundance of flies; no voice telling anyone to, “Get Out!” and no pigs floating outside a second story window.

What you will find is a simply written(not in a negative sense)  tale of growing fear and financial difficulties. Your heart will go out to his (then) young family and the fact that they had so few avenues of help. Before the modern “ghost busting” equipment of today and the digital revolution that enables ghost hunters to track down “spirits and demons” you had psychics and clairvoyants and the odd paranormal scientist. Oh and the clergy, if you could get them to acknowledge the problem. This was a time of real “hit and miss” ghost hunting and something that not many of the main populace knew about.

This was a great read and, as I said before, one that literally “creeped” me out. I will warn you, this is not a book for the overly imaginative. I slept with the light on after reading this book.

I’d give this a full 5 out of 5 stars for no-nonsense reporting of one family’s experience with a haunted house. Do not miss reading this book, it is a great story, even if you don’t believe in ghosts.

Author Edwin F Becker.
Author Edwin F Becker.

BAPartists Interview AKA Lydelle Jackson & Cezil Reed & The Taking

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Lydelle Jackson
Cezil Reed

On the 9th of March I did a review on the soon-to-be-released Indie “Art-House” Horror Film The Taking (just click on the link if you missed it) and the creators of the film (BAPart Films) graciously accepted my request for an interview.

BAPart Films is a partnership of Cezil Reed and Lydelle Jackson who both formed this company under the banner of BAPartists (which the pair started in 2009). The company makes music videos, commercials, short films and now feature films.

The Taking is their first feature film together. The film was written and directed by Cezil and Lydelle who went to the same middle school and used to bounce ideas off each other. Cezil was in film school while Lydelle majored in graphic design.

In the interview, the guys tell us about making their first film, their plans and what they’re going to do next. So everyone, meet Cezil and Lydelle aka BAPartists:

  MikesFilmTalk: What gave you the idea for the story of the film? *note: Both the guys answered questions but their answers will be “labelled” as BAPartists.*

BAPartists –  Hmm, lots of things kind of gave us the idea for the story, but mainly it derived from a dream that Cezil had were his soul was stripped away, and to him it was the most terrifying thing ever. That dream stuck with him for a while. He’s always sort of been afraid of things like that, ya know, evil things like: demons, curses, and mayonnaise. So that dream or fear of his was the seed idea that eventually turned into The Taking.

  MikesFilmTalk: Did you have a list of actors you wanted to work with on the film?

BAPartists –  We’ve created lists for other projects in the past but for The Taking we actually didn’t have a list. We just knew that the nature of low-budget movies like ours was not going to be welcomed by “name” actors. Especially, when you are a relative nobody and your shooting your first feature. Rather, we decided to focus on finding as many of the strongest actors in the Northern Virginia area as possible which worked out well for us. Although we did end up importing John Halas (Carl) from NYC, Alana Jackler (Jade) from New Jersey, and Lynnette Gaza (The Grandmother) from Chicago.

  MikesFilmTalk: Did you get them?

BAPartists – All the actors that we wanted, we got. We always have to remind ourselves of how lucky we were to get such talented cast and crew to participate in the film. Especially since we were barely paying (if at all), the shoot was in the rural woods; long hours, little food, sweltering heat, and simple items like mosquito repellent or bottled water were treasured luxuries. It was just super low-budget all the way around. It ‘s astonishing that everyone stuck with us through principal photography, and for the following year of pick-up days.

MikesFilmTalk: I really enjoyed the imagery and the sound of the film. How would you describe the film and does it bother you that you’re being put in the art house pigeonhole? 

BAPartists –  Thanks! Yeah, we really wanted to create a film where the sound design and music really worked side by side with the visuals. Often times sonics are under utilized and under appreciated…We really wanted to make something where the sound was equally as prominent and bold as the visual experience. Our sound designer, Craig Polding, did a wonderful job. Lydelle’s younger brother, Leland Jackson also known as Ahnnu in the underground music scene, scored the film…Anyways, back to your question! How would we describe the film? Good question…How about: A searing gambit of visuals with intellectual muscle and big ol’ ox balls..?

To answer the second part of this question, being pigeonholed into the art-house category is both a compliment and scary. We do think that we can have very strong art-house sensibilities when we want to flex that muscle, but we are also very controlled and believe that we can cook up some amazing shit in any genre. It may sound cocky, but we believe it. So, while we find it to be a compliment, we are going to be sure to try our best not to be pigeonholed. How do we accomplish that? Well, our next film will be a much more market-friendly action film! We have a lot to share to the world from horror to comedy and don’t want to get stuck in one place!!!


MikesFilmTalk: You  guys have known each other for quite some time and you started BAPart in 2009.  What prompted you to start your business together?

BAPartists –  We had been hired to write a script for a very well-off friend of ours who is an aspiring actress. This friend wanted us to write a feature-length script and she would take the lead role. She was also going to fund it and give us writing and directing credits. Not a bad deal, right?! Well, we spent almost a year and a half writing this really amazing script, but due to a lot of creative differences we all decided that then was not the best time to work together. Nonetheless, we’re all still great friends! However, after that disappointment, we decided that we needed to depend on ourselves to make our first film. We weren’t rich, but we had full-time jobs and so we began to just save our paychecks while starting development on The Taking script.

MikesFilmTalk: Do you see yourselves working together, say ten years from now?

BAPartists –  The plan is to work together until we are old and grey, so ‘yes’, we do plan to be working together ten painful years from now.  Without the creative synergy between the two of us we wouldn’t be The BAPartists. It’d just be Cezil Reed and Lydelle Jackson. The BAPartists moniker is meant to be a sign to our audience that there’s a particular sort of brand, flavor, angle to expect from a BAPartists film.

  MikesFilmTalk: I read your interview on The Horror Chronicles (great interview by the way) is your next feature going to be a vampire love-story?

BAPartists –  You know, we do want to do our vampire love-story, however, we’ve been given an opportunity to take on a more mainstream project and so we’ll have to explore that opportunity before anything else. For now the vampire love-story will sit on the back burner for a little while.

 MikesFilmTalk: You’re getting a world premiere date announced at the Sydney, Australia A Night of Horror Intl Film Festival. How exciting is that?

BAPartists – Man, it’s so exciting that it makes my nose bleed! We’re so eager to see what the audience will make of The Taking. We’re really confident in the film but it’s still surreal at the same time. I think the best word to use in this case is “anxious”.

MikesFilmTalk: I’ve seen your music video Trew Music “Incredible, Fantastic Experience” and your Ecko Life commercial; your special projects “Behind the scenes Ciara and Sorry; your short film The Glimpse and they all have the same great mix of imagery and sound. What prompted you to go into making a short film and then a feature-length one?

BAPartists – We see short films, music videos, and commercials as a healthy way to practice our craft. These short form video projects also allow you to experiment a lot more than a feature would. Those experimentations may help you find something that you decide you want to implement into larger projects too.

MikesFilmTalk: Out of the two of you, who is more of a writer and who is more of a director?

BAPartists –  We do everything in tandem. So we write equally and direct together as well. However, on set Cezil is more of the director while I’m more of a creative producer. This combination seems to work really well for us. In post-production we go back into co-directing how the editing, sound design, music, color grading, et cetera will work.

MikesFilmTalk: I love the Crime Fighting section on your website. Whose idea was that? 

BAPartists –  Haha, actually, when we were designing our site Cezil said “It’d be cool to have a little joke on the site too.”…”a few gin and tonics later, I (Lydelle) came up with the idea for Crime Fighting.”, so again, teamwork works!

 MikesFilmTalk: I’ve had a lot of people asking me where they can see the film. So what is the date of The Taking’s world premiere? 

BAPartists –  Well, we’ll be premiering The Taking at A Night of Horror International Film Festival in Sydney, Australia on the evening of either Friday, April 12th or Saturday, April 13th. The date will be announced very shortly.

 MikesFilmTalk: And finally, what is your next project going to be?

BAPartists – We were fortunate that some folks at a production company saw a copy of The Taking and really liked it. They’ve offered us an opportunity to make a more mainstream yet ‘different’ action film. It’s an opportunity that we can’t turn down and we’re really excited to take on the challenge of creating something that is both very marketable and yet still remains very artful, especially in the action genre. So, if all goes well, our next film will be an action film based around an alcoholic modern-day ninja. Can’t give ya any more details than that at the moment but trust me, it’s gonna be awesome!…we hope.

  MikesFilmTalk: Thanks a lot guys for taking (Get it? Get it?) the time to talk to Mikes Film Talk and I hope we’ll be seeing a lot more of your work!

BAPartists – Haha! Thanks to you too, Mike! We like ya because you have good taste in things…like, horror films.

Here’s the movie’s website which will give you some more information about the film They also have two websites devoted to their company: and

And finally, here’s the trailer:

St Valentine’s Day Massacre

Whenever I think about Valentine’s Day I think of two things, my Dad‘s birthday and the men who were lined up against the inside wall of a garage and machine-gunned to death by a rival gang dressed up as cops.

There is no connection between the two events, Dad’s celebration of being born and the infamous mass murder; it’s just that I always think of the two things in that order. And as today is Valentine’s Day aka Happy Heart day that is what I am thinking of at this particular moment.

St Valentine’s Day massacre took place in 1929. It was a violent act set up by Al Capone against a rival booze running gang headed up by Bugs Moran. The shooting of seven unarmed men shocked and outraged the nation. No more so than in Chicago where the slaughter took place. It marked the beginning of the end for Capone in that area.

This horrible event has been chronicled repeatedly in literature, films and television. Although the exact details of what when on that day back in 1929 died with the men who carried out the crime. Much was learned from other members of the two warring factions.

But regardless of the facts, what everyone does know is that seven men died on a holiday set aside for lovers and the wooing of sweethearts. Such bitter irony has never been topped. With the often dichotomous lives led by mob members it is not hard to picture the shooters giving their girls/wives/fiancée’s candy, (illegal) champagne, or flowers before setting off to kill the men in the garage.

Or conversely, stopping off and buying their tokens of affection on the way home. Well, at least most of them as two were arrested immediately after wearing police officer uniforms.

Al Capone, a real killjoy on Valentine’s Day 1929…

I suppose it says something about me when on the most “romantic” day of the year I am thinking of death and birth almost simultaneously. One of the two events is very important to me and that is my father’s birthday. Without his birth, I would not have existed and never had the pleasure of growing up in the special family I had.

I never would have realised that my father was like a John Wayne character in a film. Hard, tough as nails, stubborn, fair, hard-working and devoted to providing for his family; nothing stopped him or slowed him down. It was only in his later years that a “bout of tick fever” that should have killed him (the doctor said if it had been anyone else they would have died) finally slowed him down.

He also was one of the few men that, in modern times, was respected enough that a hand-shake was a good as a written contract. A pretty remarkable man and one who is still going on although in a diminished fashion these days; I owe him a lot, as I said.

As I said if he had not come into the world neither would I and I never would have read about the St Valentine’s day massacre and wondered at the savageness and violence that men were capable of. I also never would have made the decision to move away from the state of my birth to get out from under his shadow.

While growing up, I soon found that if I wanted to spend any time with my Dad at all, it had to be through work. I started cleaning out houses for him at the ripe old age of 5 or 6 for a quarter. Time sped by, as it does, and I was working for him full-time by the time I left high school. But the comparisons were being made already.

“You sound just like your Dad.”

“I thought you were your Dad.”

“Wow, you walk just like your Dad.”

The comparisons went on and on. Don’t get me wrong. I was thrilled to be compared to the man I admired and respected above anyone else. But as I got older I realised that I did not want to be a “watered down” version of my Dad. I wanted to go out into the world and make my own way. I wanted to forge my own identity.

So I left. It was hard but I lived my life, made my own mistakes and I also knew that if I needed any guidance or help, Dad (and Mom) was only a phone call away. Throughout my life they have both helped me a lot; times when I was so down that there seemed to be no way out. They were there.

I guess it is odd that I think of these two unrelated events on Saint Valentine’s Day, but that’s how it is. One event because it so personally affected me and my life; the second because it caught my childhood imagination in a way that very few other things could have; it set up a lifelong fascination about the Mafia and its inhabitants.

So I raise my glass to those lovers out there that are buying their tokens of affection for their loved ones. I’ll be thinking of birth and death and not buying any tokens at all.



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