INTERVIEW — TAPE #16, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Russell Bell
I: Marie Todd
I: Oh, you mean when I had that weird illness?
I: I was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I kept dropping things and falling as though fainting and getting weaker and weaker.
Q: How old were you?
I: Eighteen or nineteen. Anyway, I kept passing out and what happened was I ended up getting some strange unknown virus in my central nervous system and became progressively weaker for seven weeks or so. I became completely paralyzed and couldn’t turn the page of a paper or barely even speak and almost died. So it was a very terrifying and frightening experience. Nobody could quite find what was wrong with me or what was going to happen.
Q: Did you have any previous health problems prior to that?
I: None at all and I was very active. I danced and swam and was a very physically active person all my life. So to be completely out of control with nobody to explain anything was terrifying. Plus, at that point, I was a very belligerent teenager.
Q: Aren’t we all?
I: It was unacceptable that professional people couldn’t explain anything. I became completely paralyzed, almost died and had physical therapy all the time in a hospital. And no one could give me a solid explanation as to what was wrong with me.
I: Undiagnosed. I kept getting worse. I was terribly weak and people would jab me with pencils or needles or whatever and I had no feeling. I had no sensation whatsoever. I was terrified.
Q: Could they draw blood?
I: I don’t really know if they did. They did several spinal tap-like —
I: — things and then I couldn’t even chew because you need muscles to chew —
I: — and to swallow so they stuck suction cups down my throat —
I: — and I was afraid when I went to sleep at night that I wasn’t going to wake up.
Q: Were you a religious person before this?
I: Yes. I was raised Catholic and so I believed. I had a religious upbringing but my fear was from this being unexplainable. What was wrong with me?
Q: No one wants to die.
I: I remember one day being extremely weak with this head of neurology dude sitting next to me with his hands on me. I was just not a happy teenager at all. (“YEAH”) I was disgusted from their being so inept and not being able to come up with an explanation. That was simply, “How could you be such a fucking idiot that you don’t know what’s going on here? Why do we have professionals in this world?” I just didn’t get it.
Q: It’s like when you need them they can’t help you.
I: Or even give you an alibi. I was laying on this table to go somewhere and the dude just sat there with his hands on me. It was later explained to me that he did what was referred to as a bedside healing. All I remember was being extremely weak and barely gasping for air to try to tell him, “Get me better. I don’t want to die. I have too many things I want to do. I don’t have time to die.” At that point, the whole room was flooded with light and I felt myself just zooming. He said, “I know that you hate me. I know that you resent this whole situation and you can’t stand me.” I said, “You’re right.” And he said, “But right now you better have faith in me and in yourself and in God. Right here, right now. And I did. I can’t quite remember what happened after that but it was the week of Easter and a few days after that I started regaining sensation in my leg. That was a major big deal because when I was in the hospital being very unhappy and disgusted, one day they sent in the shrinks to visit me. They wanted me to understand that I had no life left and that I was going to be lucky to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. They told me I better come to terms with this and that’s just the way it was. I went just completely crazy and I told them, “Get the fuck out of my room right now. You better never ever come in here again because if you do I’m going to kill myself and you’re going to be held responsible because you caused it. This little old lady, Sophie, who liked to smoke cigarettes, was my roommate at that time and said, “Dear, well just calm down. You’re going to be okay.” I said, “She’s going to be my witness. You better never fucking walk in that door again.” And they didn’t. They said, “She’s out of control. You can’t relate to her.” I didn’t even have a chance to get out of control because if given the chance I couldn’t even throw anything at them. I wanted to just turn the room upside down but I couldn’t.
Q: Was this experience like purgatory for you?
I: No, it was hell. There was no purgatory. I felt like I had instantly gone to hell.
Q: Well, maybe hell and purgatory are the same thing.
I: Perhaps, it was purgatory but I don’t even know how to explain it except that it just pushed all my buttons at the same time. I don’t think you have to pass on to be in hell. I think we all have our own private little hell that goes on right here.
Q: I agree with you but did you feel like you were on a tightrope between good and bad feelings? I mean you had your faith in God on one side and on the other side you had the feeling, “How am I going to get out of this?”
I: Well, I didn’t feel so much that I was a victim. Looking back on it, I guess I should’ve felt more like a victim but I’ve always looked at myself more as a survivor instead of a victim.
Q: You’re just glad to get out of those places.
I: I found out about how flimsy our whole system of life is. We have these false beliefs. We put so much faith in the medical profession. Everything’s supposed to be explainable and here was a major life and death crisis I was in and I couldn’t get any concrete answers. Because as a teenager you either get it or you don’t.
Q: Well, you got it.
I: There’s something that a teenage mind will not accept and that’s people in their field of expertise that can’t deliver their shit to justify the amount of money and the little badge that says who they are and what they mean. When it comes time to be down on the wire they don’t know. It’s like: “What do you mean you don’t know?”
Q: Do you feel this experience brought you closer to God? Do you feel He was responsible for you getting better?
I: Yes, because I knew at the time and I feel, looking back on it, that I lived through a miracle. That’s what I feel it was. You know how I said that Deadheads are always going on about “We’re expecting a miracle — I’m expecting a miracle” or whatever? Well, they do happen in life. A miracle took me from negativity to being alive again. You want the simple functions of being able to sit and to walk and to talk and to bitch and to complain and to go about your little daily life and to hang with your friends and go to concerts and this and that and the other — the things we all take for granted. Life’s a special thing.
Q: I think the lucky ones among us experience something similar to that at some point in their life and that’s when you can appreciate it more.
I: You get a different focus and perspective on the process of the universe. So then after that happened I walked out of the hospital one month after the sensation returned. So there was no —
Q: What day was that exactly?
I: It was probably Good Friday maybe.
Q: Really? That’s when you walked out?
I: Holy Thursday or Good Friday. No, that was when I gained sensation back and about a month or so later I walked out the door, saying, “I’m out of here. So much for the ‘You will never walk again. You will never do anything.'” So I think positive energy really has a big bearing on it.
Q: As I listened to you I was thinking about our friend Allison because she’s had undiagnosed seizures throughout her life. I mean how can I not wonder what her role in this is — especially considering the fact that at Paramount she was always misplacing things. She was always looking for her keys.
I: So in a sense if she’s a very conscientious person how would she misplace things? Is that what you mean?
Q: We all misplace things; however, she was doing it all the time and then when I was in Oklahoma the family said that Michael kept hiding their things.
I: Well, my friend Michael Galloway, this musician friend of mine, had something like that happen to him around that time period. He lost his keys and had to have them all duplicated. Then, he found them. They reappeared.
Q: Isn’t it ironic that his name is Michael?
I: Yeah. And he’s from Memphis.
Q: Do you think that — (“YOU KNOW”) he’s not a Bell, is he?
I: No, but his baby daughter had seizures when she was born. She was on medication for a couple of years but is okay now. I remember him telling me he had a friend that was a descendant of Pocahontas and that person’s name was Bell. Lee Bell, I believe.
Q: Marie, it sounds like your case has some similarities with another case that I wrote about in my history book of the talking poltergeist. Her name was Mary Jobson. She became very ill and everyone thought it was a lost cause. Her case involved all kinds of supernatural phenomena and she was restored to her parents in a most miraculous manner.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THE SOURCE FOR MY INFORMATION IS A FAITHFUL RECORD OF THE MIRACULOUS CASE OF MARY JOBSON  BY W. REID CLANNY, M.D., F.R.S.-E.-M.R.I.A.)
Q: (reading from my manuscript) Previous to that day, the voice said that “IF SHE WERE TO DIE THE SOUND OF A BELL TOLLING WOULD BE HEARD, BUT IF SHE WERE TO LIVE HEAVENLY MUSIC WOULD BE HEARD IN THE HOUSE.”
I: So did she pass out in her house or what happened?
Q: What I did is pretty much take all the eyewitness accounts and put them into chronological order. The events began in November, 1839 and Mary Jobson was confined to her bed and complained of great pain and dimness of sight.
I: Who is this person, though? How did you choose her to write about?
Q: Well, this case had more religious aspects than the other talking poltergeist cases. This is a historical poltergeist case. Let me just tell you some of the things that the voice said. “WILL YOU STRIVE AGAINST GOD?”
I: I don’t remember anybody asking me any questions except the medical staff.
Q: The voice also said, “WHY DO YOU DISPUTE WHAT THE CHILD TOLD YOU ON THE FOURTH OF FEBRUARY WHEN YOU WERE SENT FOR?” The voice said, “I AM HE WHOM THOU KNOWEST NOT. BE NOT DECEIVED FOR YOU KNOW NOT WHO I AM. I AM ALPHA AND OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING. I TOLD YOUR CHILD THAT SHE WAS GOING TO HAVE A LONG ILLNESS AND THAT I WAS GOING TO WORK A MIRACLE WITH HER. SHE IS LIKE YOUNG SAMUEL WHO KEPT HIS FATHER’S LAWS FOR WHEN YOU DESIRED HER TO SAY HER PRAYERS AND GO TO SLEEP SHE OBEYED; AND WHEN THE REMAINDER OF THE FAMILY WAS IN SLEEP, SHE WOULD ARISE AND ON HER KNEES PRAY WITHOUT CEASING TO HER FATHER IN HEAVEN. THERE WILL BE MANY THAT WILL COME HERE WHO WILL NOT BELIEVE IN THIS. SOME WILL BELIEVE BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD BUT BLESSED ARE THEY WHO MAY NOT HEAR NOR SEE AND YET BELIEVE. THERE ARE NUMBERS OF ANGELS IN THE ROOM. I WILL CALL THEM BY THEIR NAMES BUT IN NAMES THAT YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND; BUT AS I ORDER THEM TO DO SIGNS YOU WILL HEAR THEM DISTINCTLY IN ALL PARTS OF THE ROOM — FROM ONE TO THREE KNOCKS, FIRST LOW, UP TO VERY LOUD ONES, SOME LIKE CLASHING OF ARMS, SOME LIKE FLUTTERING OF WINGS, SOME LIKE SMALL AND OTHERS LIKE TO IMMENSE QUANTITIES OF WATER RUSHING ABOUT THE ROOM.”
I: Oh, like the pipes bursting at Gazzari’s.
Q: Uh-oh. Maybe you should start therapy too.
I: I don’t have time. That’s okay. I’d rather live life therapy.
Q: Anyway, there was one time when the voice said, “THE VIRGIN MARY WILL NOW SPEAK.” And the following words were heard in a sweet, low and soft voice. “YOU HAVE BROKEN THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD IN DISOBEYING YOUR PARENTS — YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN AND BECOME AS A LITTLE CHILD OTHERWISE YOU CAN IN NO WISE ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” The voice also remarked in respect to the case of Mary Jobson that “THIS WAS A GREATER MIRACLE THAN THAT OF THE SAVIOR WALKING UPON THE SEA.” Anyway, it was quite an interesting case and I was able to get a copy of it from Emily C. Walhout at Harvard University’s Houghton Reading Room. One of the voices that spoke apparently was the Virgin Mary or was close to the energy of the Virgin Mary or whatever — whatever is going on. I mean who knows?
I: Well, you know, perhaps then all this is related to a purgatory-type situation.
Q: You did say you believed.
I: Oh, I did.
Q: Well, probably the most memorable speech that this particular case revolved around is this one. I’ll read it to you. “I AM THE LORD THY GOD THAT BROUGHT THEE OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT — OUT OF THE HOUSE OF BONDAGE. I AM THE PHYSICIAN OF THE SOUL. I SEND PHYSICIANS AND MEDICAL SURGEONS TO ATTEND TO THE INTERNAL PARTS OF THE BODY. THERE HAVE BEEN NINE PHYSICIANS AND MEDICAL SURGEONS SEEING MARY JOBSON. I AM MAKING USE OF HER BODY AS A TRUMPET. SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN HER GRAVE A FORTNIGHT AND THREE DAYS SINCE. I HAVE ONLY ONE MEDICAL SURGEON TO SPEAK TO — HIS NAME IS ROBERT BLAKISTON EMBLETON. ON THE THIRTEENTH, THREE CAME BUT WERE OF NO USE. MARK — I AM THY GOD, SOUNDING OUT OF THE HEAVENS.” When I read that and saw my name there —
I: That’s why — I was just looking to see if you were using that to be grammatical but that meant your name.
Q: When I received this photocopy from the university and read that —
I: Could you just shudder?
Q: — I knew that it was God speaking to me. Anyway, it continues — the voice continues — It doesn’t like me to say It but we all — We/He/She/Whatever.
I: Oh, everybody’s an it at one time or another.
Q: Right. Not just in “The Addams Family.” So, (“SHHHHHH”) anyway, the voice said, “THE SURGEON THAT KNEW THE COMPLAINT OF MARY JOBSON HAD BEEN ONLY A YEAR IN PRACTICE. HE HATH GREATER PRIVILEGE THAN ALL THE NINE. HER BRAIN IS LIKE A SCALDED CLOTH. I AM MAKING USE OF HER BODY AS A BUGLE. BE NOT DECEIVED, I WILL NOT BE MOCKED BY MEDICAL SURGEONS. ON THE 27TH, THERE WAS THOMAS EMBLETON — HE SAID HIS OPINION WAS THAT SHE WOULD HAVE DIED AND HE WAS RIGHT. OBEY MY COMMANDMENTS. SHE HAS BEEN AS DEAD THREE WEEKS. A FORTNIGHT BEFORE, THE WATER GOT ON THE BRAIN. ANYONE WHO DOUBTS MAY COME HERE AND THEY SHALL HEAR A KNOCK THREE TIMES. YOU ARE MOCKING ME BY WISHING TO SEE THE INTERNAL BRAIN. THERE IS A MEDICAL SURGEON OF THE NAME OF ROBERT BLAKISTON EMBLETON WHO HAS BEEN SAYING TO WILLIAM GRECIAN THAT HE WOULD SEE HER BRAIN, BUT MY LAW SHALL NOT BE BROKEN. WHAT MORE CAN THEY WANT THAN THE VOICE OF GOD. I AM SPEAKING OUT OF THE HEAVENS. YOU MOCK MY LAW WHEN YOU DO NOT LISTEN TO MY WORDS — MARVEL NOT. SHE IS NO ONE’S PATIENT. SHE IS AS DEAD. IF THEY WERE TO PERSEVERE I SHOULD SEND JUDGEMENTS. TWO ANGELS SHOULD APPEAR WITH DRAWN SWORDS IN THEIR MOUTH. IF MY WORD HAD NOT BEEN THERE FIRST” — a little later the voice said — “FOR THE MEDICAL SURGEONS WERE SENT ON THE EARTH BY ME. I AM THE PHYSICIAN OF THE SOUL. I WILL SEND A THUNDER STORM OUT OF THE HEAVENS WHEN SHE IS LAID IN THE GRAVE. TWELVE ANGELS SHALL GUARD IT. THE LORD’S LAW SHALL NOT BE BROKEN. MARVEL NOT FOR MY COMMANDMENTS SHALL BE OBEYED FIRST. ONE SURGEON IS ANGRY WITH ANOTHER. IF ANYONE WERE TO PERSEVERE TO OPEN HER HEAD, HE SHOULD BE ATTACKED WITH DRAWN SWORDS. MY WORDS ARE TO BE TAKEN FIRST. THIS IS A MIRACLE WROUGHT ON EARTH. THERE IS NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE TO ME — WITNESS DANIEL IN THE LION’S DEN, AND SHADRACK, MESHACH AND ABED-NEGO. I AM THY GOD.” Does it remind you of your experience a little bit?
I: Well, I didn’t hear any voices or have anything that dramatic but I was also very self-centered at the time and I had last rites by a priest because they thought that was it.
Q: It’s a very interesting case. Needless to say, I was more than a little bit surprised. I mean some people will interpret the “MARK” as meaning like ‘mark this’ but you have to wonder. I had so many strange experiences as a child but until I came back from Oklahoma (“YEAH”) — that’s when I realized I could no longer question them as being imaginary even though I never did question that they were imaginary. I just didn’t know what was happening. When I was a child, my first and last seance happened after I read an article in Life magazine about “The New Supernatural” or whatever. So it gave me the idea to have a seance. I got out the Ouija Board, a glow-in-the-dark skull from Disneyland —
I: From “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Q: Exactly. Do you have one too? (“NO”)
I: I was always fascinated with pirates.
Q: Right. I lit a candle and Michael, my brother, participated too. Well, no sooner had I said, “I call upon the spirits of the dead” and — it was at night and it was a calm night — a tornado lifted off —
Q: — the roof — not the entire roof but a lot of the roof of the apartment building next door and it crashed upon our roof.
I: But it’s not common to have tornadoes in Pasadena.
Q: That was my first and last seance.
I: I guess. I mean that would have done it for me too.
Q: My other experiences included a peacock landing right outside the apartment building. It was like something out of “Amarcord.” Once when I was little I saw a man in a dark overcoat and hat materialize in my living room. It was summer and we were sleeping near the front door because it was so hot. I once had a hypnogogic experience when I tried to wake up and see who or what was in my room yet I couldn’t move. Later, I read a biographical book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and discovered that he had once experienced the same thing.
I: I had that happen before once a long time ago where I woke up and I just felt like I couldn’t move.
Q: Did you feel like there was a presence in the room with you?
I: I remember it being around 6:30 a.m. in the morning and there was lots of light. I just felt like I couldn’t move and I don’t know why.
Q: Well, a lot of doctors explain this as a hypnogogic state but yet there are others who tie it in —
I: Was it before waking or something?
I: Isn’t that like an REM state?
Q: Right. It’s a state in-between —
Q: — and unconsciousness. There are also some parallels between this state and people who think that they’ve gone up or been beamed up into UFOs.
I: Oh. Okay. I don’t remember being beamed aboard anywhere but there was —
Q: Do you remember ever seeing any lights?
I: — there was lots of bright light.
Q: Bright light? No purple light?
I: I don’t remember. (“YEAH”)
Q: Our friend James said that once when he played the piano as a child he could see a purple light.
I: This happened also during a time period in my life when I was singing and playing in bands and writing music. I’ve seen purple light before.
Q: You did? Where?
I: It was dealing with playing music.
Q: Do you think music has a purple light to it?
I: Yeah, I do. I don’t know what it is and I don’t mean stage lighting. There’s some kind of vibe that comes with music and I don’t know if people experience that as a listener or it’s something you feel when you perform.
Q: That was Michael.
I: He’s that purple light attachment?
Q: He once said that He was.
I: Is that why Prince is the “Purple Rain” and purple person? (“YOU KNOW”)
Q: You have to wonder, don’t you?
I: In the beginning of his career, do you remember Prince wore lots of purple and then also in the movie “Purple Rain”; and all the big hit songs from “Purple Rain”?
Q: Well, there are all kinds of parallels with this.
I: Purple is a regal color too. And I’ve read about people having purple auras.
Q: I mean there are even parallels with the first Bell poltergeist case from the 19th century and occurrences in the Paramount Pictures publicity department. Diana Widom, another previous department head, once made a very surprising outburst while washing her coffee cup in the sink right outside my office one day and I’ve never forgotten it. She said, “She’s a wicked witch and I hate her.” This was prompted by some petty disagreement with another staff member but since I was working on my screenplay about the Bell Witch at the time I was astonished.
I: You were witch-sensitive.
Q: Anyway, after I finished the draft of my screenplay dramatizing the events of the earlier Bell family I was discussing it with a publicity department secretary named Michelle at Le Petite Greek on Larchmont and the electricity suddenly went out. Those kinds of things were always seeming to happen during this period. Car alarms were always going off in the carport outside my condo. My friend Fiona, a professional psychic, had money taken from her at the New Age bookstore where she works. It hasn’t stopped. Recently, my brother, who works at a PR firm in Century City was having lunch with a friend at a nearby restaurant and he was talking about the strange events involving Michael when there was a gas explosion in the restaurant but I don’t think anyone was seriously hurt.
I: That’s terrifying.
Q: Once when I was having lunch with my brother and his associate, Christine La Monte in Century City, I asked her “If Michael is the spirit of an eight-year-old child how can he also have conversed with thousands of people in Oklahoma like an adult and also be an angel? Well, Chris knew the answer to this question immediately. She said, “Reincarnation.” Or maybe the Entity was again speaking to me through her subconscious mind. My friend, Larry, mentioned to me that we are all living different incarnations simultaneously because our spirit inside us is not limited by concepts of space and time. By the way, he just was hired as unit publicist on a poltergeist film. I kidded him —
I: Oh, I know Larry.
Q: — I said, “The Entity has you exactly where He wants you.”
I: He’s from Oklahoma too, right?
Q: Right. I think he even went to school with Garth Brooks.
I: Well, he’s a musician also, right?
Q: He’s very talented. I don’t know why he never was a success as a singer. I think he’s better than Garth Brooks, personally.
I: I should hope so. (small laugh)
Q: (laughs) You better watch out. Michael likes Garth Brooks.
I: Well, we’re all allowed to have our own personal taste.
Q: And Michael likes everyone I have a feeling. Anyway, at lunch with my friend Fiona she said, “Time is simultaneous.” I then asked her about whether or not I had been sexually abused and she said that I had and that Michael remembers. The ad on the back page of Variety that day which was right on the table with us proclaimed: “The Medium Has The Message.” And recently the same company became an account for my brother at his PR firm.
I: (gasps) Was he astonished or not?
Q: What do you think?
Q: I think now he’s come to accept Michael as being a part of his life. It’s amazing. I mean I do see a change in him. He say that God was always in his life. You know how I sometimes wonder if I was sexually abused as a child?
Q: I came across some old letters from my father last weekend.
I: From what time in your life?
Q: In one letter dated December 9, 1985 addressed to my brother, Paul wrote if my mother would only realize it “we can only help Mark; we can’t hurt him. Indirectly, I did as a father but further negatives won’t ameliorate nor contribute to his future.” He ended the letter by saying —
I: Why did he write that?
Q: I don’t know. We weren’t close so there’s a lot that he could feel guilty about.
I: Oh, I understand.
Q: He ended the letter by saying, “Have a good Christmas and think about family and relatives you don’t know or saw as a child.” Another letter from February the year before —
I: And I knew you then too during that time period in 1985.
Q: Right. Another letter from February the year before mentioned how “Thaddeus Duane, seventh-born half-brother traced our ancestry back to Scotland. He might be ‘Ma Bell’ published now in Brooklyn.” Some additions to the letter of the back were very cryptic: “Why don’t you start, Mark, by saying a bit about your former fellowships at church on North Lake — not the bowling alleys.” I don’t ever remember going to that church as a child.
I: Was it to lead you there? Were you supposed to go there?
Q: I don’t think so. The next paragraph was for Mike: “Or you could reminisce about your first circus and if you remember the high balconies in the Sports Arena. And about Uncle Bob, before or since long afternoon trip to his publishing offices, 1970.”
I: Was he experiencing a catharsis or something when he wrote this letter?
Q: No, he was trying to re-establish contact to us but (“NO”) both my brother and I were in the middle of our career. I was at the agency and Mike —
I: You were living your own life and he was having his own personal dilemmas go on and it was like, “Well, sorry, we have our own lives now and you weren’t a part of it then and so forget it.”
Q: Even though sometimes I regret not —
I: But I think that’s a fairly normal reaction to have. I would feel that way. It’s like, “You didn’t have time for me so why should I have time for you?”
Q: There are always these conflicting feelings but the truth is you can’t go back and change things.
I: No, you can’t undo the past. You can only live today.
Q: I’m so embarrassed about that time we had dinner at Hampton’s before going to see “Apollo 13.” When both my credit cards were rejected —
I: Oh, that was hysterical.
Q: — I was certain the waiter was just being arrogant because I wouldn’t buy an appetizer or something.
I: (laughs) Well, he did have an attitude. He really didn’t have a good reason to have one.
Q: I even called the manager the next day to try to get him fired. Now I know that Michael was the reason that happened.
I: I remember because before we went to the movie I made you call your credit card company to make sure that you weren’t robbed or something.
Q: And they said that call had never even come in.
I: It wasn’t transmitted.
Q: Anyway, I know now it was just Michael showing me how really cruel I could be with people when you don’t even know what the real circumstances are — without giving a moment’s thought to it. At least I still gave him a good tip. I thought he was an actor so I could understand why he might have an attitude problem. I’ve never understood how some people can look down upon waiters or anybody for that matter.
I: I cocktail-waitressed enough myself. It’s an opportunity to communicate with many more people than most people get to do in their lifetime. Because usually you’re involved with friends, work associates, neighbors — but in that field you communicate with every walk of life.
Q: And it’s not a job you take home with you.
I: No. It’s just communication skills.
Q: What — (“MY”) one of my big problems with people in general has to do with the homeless. Now I can’t walk by a homeless person and not give some money and the 800 number for local human service agencies. It’s so sad that the more in need someone is — the more other people want to shun them. I guess they don’t want to be reminded that it could be you. But what if it was? There’s no disgrace in being down on your luck. The real disgrace is turning your back and thinking that any success or failure not your own is deserved in some way.
I: I think it’s because we live in a time period where everybody lives in their own reality.
Q: Well, that’s definitely true but (“EEEAAUU”) giving $1 to a homeless person is the easiest way I know to feel good about yourself.
I: Well, it’s like everybody’s connected in this world and you never know where somebody needs help — whether it’s money or time or thought, like when you say, “Well, you needed someone to talk to” or whatever. People need attention in different ways.
Q: Have you been thinking more about what other film titles over the years you’ve you’ve worked on?
I: Well, yes. I worked in a telefilm called “Fall From Grace” and played a Tammy Faye Bakker back-up singer. It was about Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker and their religious television days. This one day we were singing this church song and Kevin Spacey was playing Jim Bakker and Bernadette Peters was Tammy Faye. I can’t remember the name of the song at the moment. We had to stop filming because there was an earthquake. It’s like the earth shook for real and it was on location in Altadena. I was standing on a platform and these guys pulled us off of it. It was scary.
Q: Was it one of the bigger ones?
I: I think if was more than five on the Richter scale. It shook hard. It wasn’t a little tremor.
Q: During a therapy session, my therapist challenged Michael and said, “Prove yourself to me.” This was around fifteen minutes after there was an earthquake.
I: During your session?
Q: The earthquake happened before she asked Him to give her a sign but Michael doesn’t have the limit of time.
Q: She doesn’t believe that yet but I’m sure she will.
I: Oh, she can’t see that sequence because it didn’t answer her in the proper response and in a time frame she demanded.
I: How arrogant.
Q: Well, no —
I: I don’t mean on His behalf — I mean on hers.
Q: If I was in her position I think I would react the same way. Because until you experience exactly what I’ve experienced —
I: Maybe she’s just in denial.
Q: Well, I don’t think she’s going to be in denial for much longer because I recorded our last therapy session and Michael’s voice can be heard on the tape. So I’m going to play it for her. We’ll see if she hears Him or not. I hear Him.
I: I think you’ll find out if she has denial hang-ups or not.
Q: I think we all have denial hang-ups.
I: Oh, everybody does. That’s why I’m referring to this.
Q: If the Entity is influencing me through my subconscious mind and intuition, couldn’t the Great Creator be influencing each of us in this way? That would explain all genius. Shakespeare. Leonardo da Vinci. Beethoven. Who do you think is the Shakespeare of today?
I: In the sense of being prolific?
Q: In your opinion.
I: I think the Shakespeare of my lifetime, from when I was a little girl until the moment — I think The Rolling Stones would have to be that. As songwriters and performers, their work encompasses many experiences, the high drama of life and many different colorful characters.
Q: Let’s just trade a few names of some of the famous creative people of history. Dickens.
I: Axl Rose.
I: Is this like a word game?
I: For me T. S. Eliot.
Q: Van Gogh.
I: Nick Cave.
I: I think there’s only one person that could be that but he’s not alive today. Is that allowed to be an answer?
I: Okay. Since imagination is more important than knowledge but he was very knowledgeable — I would have to say Jim Morrison.
Q: Well, he’s your Einstein.
Q: Flannery O’Connor.
I: Stevie Nicks.
Q: Michelangelo — get it? Michael — angel — o?
I: Okay, in the expressive, bigger-than-life drama — as a director: Oliver Stone.
Q: Oh right. You worked for him.
Q: You want him to hire you again, don’t you?
I: (laughs) No. That’s not why I’m saying that. I mean in the higher dramatic picture of it all. I mean a lot goes on in those movies. Especially understanding Jim Morrison. I mean that’s like a mystical connection.
Q: I just wonder why he had that naked Indian in “The Doors” movie. (“DID I”) Then, also in “Wayne’s World 2” there was another one. I don’t get it.
I: It’s a connection with the Earth and the gods and existence.
Q: Where do these ideas come from? That’s what I’m asking. I mean style and leitmotifs. They’re so mysterious.
I: Don’t you think it reflects the stages of consciousness? Universal connections?
Q: Yes, I do. I’m saying it doesn’t seem very accidental to me. For example, once I woke up very early and went downstairs. The TV came on by itself and it was a scene from the one of the old “Topper” movies and one of the characters was saying, “Oh, well, that’s why we let you out of that hospital.” I guess it had to do with some kind of surprise party and oranges were very noticeable in the scene. Now oranges are also used as symbols in many other films, including “The Godfather” trilogy, “The Day of the Locust” And “Valentino,” just to name a few.
I: And horses are always symbols in a lot of good movies and songs.
Q: Right. Exactly.
I: Such as the Stones’ “Wild Horses.”
Q: And it’s all very mysterious where this inspiration comes from.
I: It’s an earth connection. It’s a heaven and earth connection. Because horses have been around for a very long time. The United States was once Indian territory. (small laugh) And they were highly spiritual people. Their life had that spiritual connection and celebration. I think that’s some kind of soul connection.
Q: Definitely. Okay, let’s finish our word game. Mozart — I think Amadeus means ‘beloved of God.’ Who is the contemporary Mozart? Your contemporary Mozart?
I: My contemporary Mozart for a long time in my life has been Aerosmith. The rock band. Because they’ve gone through many different periods and —
Q: So Oliver Stone is your favorite director?
I: He’s one of my favorites. He’s managed to depict many shades of life.
Q: Did you know Fassbinder rarely gave his cast any direction during the making of his films? He just hired the best actors and technicians and let them do their jobs. Have you ever heard that expression, “Every movie that gets made is like a miracle?”
Q: I believe that every talent is a legacy.
I: I believe that.
Q: A talented musician is one of my neighbors. And he has one of those Darwin fishes on his car which makes me want to ask him what he does when he gets home from the Music Center after a concert? Pray and give thanks to Darwin? So are there any other films you’ve been in where the titles might present symbols or provide intriguing parallels in terms of religious connotations? What was the name of that film you just did?
I: “Welcome to Jericho.” Life is Jericho. (“JERICHO”) And I did a video but it didn’t have religious connotations. You mentioned waiters and waitressing — and I played a waitress in “Playboy’s Playmate of the Year” with Anna Nicole Smith. She was a waitress too at one point in her life.
Q: She was also in the third “Naked Gun” movie.
I: Yes. For Paramount. She’s done lots of things.
Q: Now didn’t you once see Bill Gazzari in a club after he died?-
I: I cocktail waitressed for a long time at his club and, yes, I did see him after he died.