INTERVIEW — TAPE #7, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Gordon Russell (interviewer)M: Maxine Mc Wethy
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: AFTER PLACING A NEW MICROCASSETTE IN MY TAPE RECORDER, I RECORD SOME MORE LOCAL RADIO BROADCAST SAMPLINGS. A BLACK MINISTER IS DESIGNATED ‘L’ AND HIS CONGREGATION AS ‘C.’ A RADIO COMMENTATOR IS DESIGNATED ‘R.’)
L: . . . because she doesn’t know and understand with our brother and sister that we’re on the victory side.
L: I told the story once before how I came before God and I had a need. I came up believing God was going to do it. And I stood there like we often do and I had my hands up about so. And as I stood there, I heard the spirit say, “YOU’RE SAYING YOU WANT IT BUT YOUR ARMS ARE NOT LIKE COMMUNICATING LIKE YOU REALLY BELIEVE IT.”
L: “YOUR ACTION IS SAYING TO ME I DON’T REALLY WANT IT BAD ENOUGH TO DO EVERYTHING I CAN DO. HELLO. GOODBYE.”
L: And God said, “IF YOU REALLY BELIEVED I CAN DO IT AND WANT ME TO DO IT, I MEAN REACH UP FOR ME — UP.” At about this time I stretched my arms out. I said, “God left praying for me. It didn’t matter any more because I knew where my help was coming from.”
L: I mean I reached as far as I could and I opened my hands like, “God, I believe it so much You’re going to drop it right in my hands just as I stand here. All them things.”
( . . . )
R: The Bible says man’s spirit is made alive to the presence of the Holy Spirit and we become the possessors of the life of Christ. Now watch this. If a man has the life of Jesus Christ living within him and this life, which is perfect and holy and in this body, this body goes back into the world system. All possess it. You are not what you were before today. You can’t ever be what you were before because the redeeming grace of God has made you what you were not. You can’t ever be what you were because you have been regenerated, you have been born again, and you have been born a new creation. Now how does a person like that relapse back into sin? Well, is this relapse absolutely necessary for everybody? Is there going to come a time in every believer’s life when the ball drops in; well, no. They dump all of this real timid time to our life and we don’t have to be entrapped and ensnared with great havoc, having been snared before, so that the question is how do we present that? And that’s the most important point of this message.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I AM STILL DRIVING IN MY RENTAL CAR AND RECORD A COUPLE MORE THOUGHTS BEFORE ARRIVING.)
Q: Rachel, are you here? Rachel? Rachel, are you here? Michael? Rachel? Throw something if you’re here. Be that way.
( . . . )
Q: A possible title would be “Middle of Nowhere.”
( . . . )
Q: I can’t equate this to the other case where the entity didn’t like the father —
Q: — and caused his death. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t like Bill, you know?
M: Yeah. I know.
Q: Even if some — just one thing —
M: Oh, he does. He worried about Bill there for quite a while.
Q: But then again, you always have to wonder if they’re being truthful. Do you think Bill’s dehydration could be due to the hot weather and not getting enough water?
M: Probably. But I’ve given him ice water when he was here, though.
Q: Could there be something else going on there?
M: I don’t know, it may. I just don’t know.
Q: Because he’s not even a Bell. Let me know what happens with his diagnosis. I thought it was funny when he made that remark about “Maybe it’s a demon” or something and Twyla said, “Don’t even say that.”
M: I don’t think so.
Q: I don’t think so either. He’s too nice.
M: Yeah. He’s too worried about everybody.
Q: Has he ever made any religious remarks?
M: He’s gone to church with us.
Q: Now yesterday, when I sort of heard him speak and I didn’t hear him at the same time because I really wasn’t listening to him when he said, “I’M SO SORRY ABOUT —”
M: Yeah. “CARLTON.” If you’re not listening to it —
Q: Because it’s like normal conversation —
Q: — and when other people are talking it’s hard to zero in on. I was sort of like in a trance when he said that. It was one of the few times when my tape recorder was turned off. I think —
M: Me might not want you to hear him too.
Q: — he might even know that. Right. In the car was when I had the most clear sensation. The laugh is really unusual.
Q: The little childish laugh. Because sometimes he seems like quite an adult.
M: I think that’s so cute, though. That laugh. It’s so cute.
Q: It is. And then we have “OUHOUHOUHOUHOUHOUH” — who is Rachel. So the question is if it’s an act — these are two different spirits or if it’s one entity pretending to be different spirits.
M: Twyla and I have wondered about that.
Q: There might not ever be an answer to that question.
M: You never know.
Q: You’re probably as good a judge as anyone. If you had to give an answer as to why it was here, what would you say now? Make up an answer if you have to.
M: He can read the future. He knew that we would talk to him and communicate with him. I think that’s what it was.
Q: And your house made it possible for him to communicate.
M: That’s what I think.
Q: Because there are very few houses like this one, I would say. With the space up above and the space below and the weather-boarding. I think it has to be very specific — even though when Twyla and I were in the car we heard spirits so it’s more involved than the house alone but I think the house definitely has something to do with it because of the other cases. In terms of the other characters — the alien-type characters like E.T., Michael’s ‘brother’ who throws things — is there any further description you can give?
M: E.T. used to holler, “E.T. PHONE HOME” like in the film.
Q: Was the voice different?
M: It’s a little different from Michael’s. But not much.
Q: How would you describe Michael’s voice?
M: I think his is more high-pitched.
Q: And the sound of the laughter you sometimes hear is different from the sound of Michael’s voice?
M: Yeah, it’s different.
Q: It’s a little boy’s laugh.
Q: So those are two different aspects of Michael.
Q: Sarah is —
M: She has a real low voice. You really have to listen to her.
Q: And she doesn’t really talk, does she? She just sort of groans and moans.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I WAS CONFUSING SARAH WITH RACHEL.)
M: Well, she talks but you have to really, really listen.
Q: And what is she saying when she talks?
M: One night, Sarah wanted us to go to the living room. Well, Irma, Kim, her husband and all their kids were in the living room. There was also some people from Ada sitting there and there was a bunch in here. Sarah kept saying real low, “VISIT THE LIVING ROOM.”
Q: But you could tell it was her, right?
M: Yeah. And the Ada disc jockey was here too and he heard her say that.
Q: What did he say? Do you remember what he commented at the time?
M: He just said he heard that. And we couldn’t even get into the living room so we didn’t even bother. I felt so bad because she wanted us to go in there and we couldn’t.
Q: Why did she want you to go into the living room?
M: I don’t know.
Q: What about Leader? How would you describe him or does he have any traits?
M: He told us he was as big as Frieda’s car once.
Q: Oh, right. That’s the big one.
M: That’s the one that wrapped around Heather in here when she said something about being cold one day.
Q: So you have cold spots too? That was one thing I didn’t think —
M: This was in the wintertime.
Q: Okay. Some hauntings have cold spots.
M: Oh yeah. A lot of people have been out here and felt that.
Q: That must be hard to determine with the air conditioning. Do you really think there were cold spots?
M: Gosh, yeah.
Q: Because other poltergeist cases have not had —
M: Everybody had chills out here when I didn’t even have the air conditioning on.
Q: You’ve had everything.
M: Everything you can possibly do here.
Q: The full gamut. (laughs)
M: Anyway, Heather was standing there and she said, “Oo I’m cold.” Then, all of a sudden she started stomping and screaming. I said, “What’s the matter?” She said, “This great big thing wrapped around me.” And I said, “That’s Leader. He’s just trying to keep you warm. He won’t hurt you.” But it just scared her to death.
Q: Heather’s that cute little blonde girl?
M: The biggest one.
Q: All the kids are adorable.
M: Sometimes it’s nerve-wracking though when they’re all here at the same time.
Q: Some people think the spirit can draw energy from the kids. With that many kids around there’s a lot to draw energy from.
M: I don’t think they’ve got any of those kids’ energy, though.
Q: No, but they only need a little bit of it. Now which one is Tammy exactly?
M: I think she was the slut. They called her the slut.
Q: Did she have a voice of her own or was she just referred to?
M: Twyla should have told you all this. Twyla was going with this guy that lived in Caldwell. She and Desireé lived in an apartment building at Coalgate. Tammy was with them one night when they rode around until four o’clock in the morning. Tammy even showed them the place where she lived in Coalgate. She said she died with ovarian cancer.
Q: Did she say how old she was?
M: I guess she told them. That’s why Twyla should have told you about that.
Q: Well, yeah, but she told me so many other things.
Q: Twyla wasn’t very talkative yesterday. I think she was just sort of overwhelmed
M: I know it. About Kim starting stuff.
Q: Who is the spirit named Katie?
M: She was one of the little girls.
Q: So Tammy is a grown woman and Katie is a little girl.
M: I don’t know whether Tammy was a slut or not but that’s what they say. Now Katie never did talk to us much.
Q: She did once in a while?
M: But Sarah did. She was so sweet.
Q: Was Sarah a little girl?
Q: The groaning that we heard in the car was “OUHOUHOUHOUHOUHOUH.”
M: That sounds like —
Q: It was very, very low.
M: Twyla didn’t think that was Leader? He’s got a real deep voice like that.
Q: It might have been Leader then. It was “OUHOUHOUHOUHOUHOUH.”
M: Yeah. That sounds like him.
M: It scares you to death. (laughs)
Q: Well, it didn’t really scare me but, jokingly, I had said, “Bring Sarah along.” But maybe this was Leader.
M: It could be.
Q: So Katie was a little girl. You don’t remember any of the specific things she said, do you?
M: I sure don’t.
Q: And Ricky and Nicky are twins. Do you remember anything specific involving them?
M: No. I don’t remember whether they even talked or not.
Q: And Grandma and Grandpa probably were just referred to by the other spirits without ever really being there.
Q: And Trouble now — do you remember any remarks from him or is he another one that —
M: Wait a minute. I think they said that Trouble was the slut. But I’m not sure. I get it so messed up —
Q: There are so many of them.
M: But then she scared Brenda to death one night. She kept telling Brenda, “YOU’RE GONNA GET IT. YOU’RE GONNA GET IT.”
Q: Trouble said that?
M: Yeah. She’s jealous of Brenda and Michael, I think. This is so weird, you know? It’s just unbelievable.
Q: It is very weird. Isn’t it like split personalities? An externalized case. But that doesn’t explain the alien aspects.
M: Yeah. We wondered about that. If it was just one acting like all the rest of them.
Q: When you hear the profanity like “FUCK OFF” which one is doing that?
M: Oh, that’s Michael.
Q: That’s Michael. So Michael is the main one.
Q: He’s an eight-year-old little boy, though?
M: He’s supposed to be. I don’t know if he’s lying or not.
Q: But yesterday when he said, “I’M SO SORRY ABOUT CARLTON —”
M: Yeah. See, he gets sentimental too.
Q: Did he say that like a little boy or was it more like a man?
M: Like a little kid. (“ITTY BITTY GIRL”) Desireé can sound just like him. It’s high-pitched.
Q: And do you think the mewing is also Michael or —
Q: Also, I don’t know if I mentioned this to you or Twyla but that picture she drew of the figure with the three hairs I’ve seen somewhere else.
M: That’s exactly what he drew.
Q: I think he’s copying it, though, from some other occult case.
M: He could be.
Q: That could make other —
M: Throw us off.
Q: — or throw other people off when they see that. They’ll think, “Oh, these people just copied it.” He could be trying to make himself seem like a hoax.
Q: To certain people. I think that’s sort of ironic.
M: For all of us.
Q: Protecting himself. But it isn’t going to work with me. I’m going to try to find out what that was from because I do remember seeing that somewhere. What else? Tomorrow, before I leave, I’m going to scramble around to get some background information on the Indians in the area and what-have-you.
M: Too bad they weren’t open today?
Q: Nothing is open today. Everything’s open in L.A. on Sundays but this area’s much more religious, which is good in a way. Who drives the Dodge Spirit? Was that Twyla?
Q: Isn’t that ironic?
M: That’s what she said when they got it.
Q: There are so many little ironies that abound, you know?
Q: Did Twyla get the car before or after the phenomena started?
M: They’ve just had it a few months.
Q: Let me show you a picture and tell me if it reminds you of anyone in the Bell family that you know.
M: I didn’t know any of the Bells in Carlton’s family. Except Mom and Daddy.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I SHOW MAXINE A DRAWING OF JOHN BELL. [UPDATE: ACTUALLY THE DRAWING IS OF JOHN BELL JR.]
M: Is that supposed to be John Bell?
Q: That was the famous John Bell.
M: And he’s the one that died?
Q: He died. Before that, during the final stages of his circumstances, it was as if the spirit was trying to take possession of him. His whole face would quiver and change. And his shoes would keep flying off. The spirit was really punishing him although everybody said he was the most moral, upright person in the community.
M: Oh, is that right?
Q: Everyone wondered. People now who look back are trying to find a reason why. So they say he must’ve abused his daughter or something but no one knows. Even that wouldn’t explain it because in anything like that there’s more than one person really at fault. Which of Carlton’s relatives was named John Bell?
M: His grandpa.
Q: Where did he live?
M: I think he was from Tennessee.
Q: Well, then, they have to be related.
M: They might be.
Q: John Bell’s son, John Bell, Jr., had written a book about the witch. It’s too much of a coincidence.
M: It might be. And his grandpa’s daddy’s supposed to be from Tennessee.
Q: Doesn’t that make you wonder?
M: Yeah. Now. (small laugh)
Q: That’s where the Bell Witch was. Right outside of Nashville. Even though it might not (sighs) — but I don’t know.
M: (laughs) You’re getting spooked.
Q: I’m just trying to make sense of it all. So Twyla is a Bell even though — I don’t know how that works.
M: And they say it’s supposed to have happened to the youngest daughter.
Q: I don’t think it has to just be blood-related, though. That’s something for you to think about. Did Carlton’s grandpa live here in Oklahoma?
M: They lived in Coalgate when Carlton was little. He was a mean old thing. (“OH YEAH”) He left his wife to run off with another woman.
Q: What was his wife’s name?
M: I don’t even remember that. I didn’t even know her.
Q: But his name was John Bell? If he’s from Tennessee, that pretty much cinches it.
M: I don’t know what part of Tennessee.
Q: Oh my God. I’ll do a little bit of research at the library if I have time to go by there tomorrow. Even if there’s no direct descendence, the two families would have some shared ancestry somewhere on the Bell family tree. Before I forget, I must tell you I spoke to my attorney and, basically, I think we’re — you’re in a very good position — no matter what happens in terms of who does it. The single fact that you signed one page probably isn’t go to be binding because you could just say — my attorney didn’t say this; this is just me speaking and I’ll tell you what he said in a moment — but you didn’t have representation either. That’s also very important in terms of the constitutionality because you are entitled to a percentage. You need an attorney just so somebody can be looking out for your rights. Given the notoriety of this case, you probably would have no problem finding a good local attorney who’ll represent you in anticipation of a small percentage commission later. You wouldn’t have to pay him anything up front. It’s something to think about because you’re being penny-wise and pound-foolish by not having someone.
Q: In my case, after experiencing the events and hearing it, I’m very committed to the book. I have an artistic vision for this project after having done so much research and other creative writing. I also have the wisdom to know that there aren’t satisfactory answers.
Q: Which can be quite dramatic in itself. I’m not quite sure how to structure it yet. Right now I could write a fictionalized version but I’m more methodical than that and I would like to get a lot more details, which would mean working further with the family. In the usual circumstances — these aren’t the usual circumstances because you did sign the contract with LMNO — I would put together a treatment and have an agent auction it to the studios. We would get a lot of money as an option and then we could work on a book as we were finishing the script. The book and the film will be different for obvious reasons. For example, in the screenplay there would be composite characters.
( . . . )
M: What has Brenda done with the key to the box? I don’t think it fell out of there.
Q: We don’t have to worry about that right now. We can worry about that later. Is Brenda coming over?
M: She’s supposed to be in now.
Q: So then we can ask her when she comes over.
M: I don’t believe this. She said she’d come by. She went to the bar with her friends. That old man and woman.
M: This guy and his wife that come by. I locked myself out of the house last night. And had to go get Brenda’s keys for the house. I don’t know she’s done with the key to that box. She should let me know when she takes it. That key’s not up there.
Q: What I might do is give you the photocopies of these that I made and then keep the originals to photograph. There’s just four of them, right?
Q: You know what else I can do in L.A.? I can take this cryptogram to show a language professor at one of the universities and see if they mean anything.
M: I think they’ve checked them out around here somewhere.
Q: Yeah, but you never know. Experts don’t always agree.
M: I think the photographs are in that box. I bet Brenda put them in there and I can’t find the key.
Q: You never really know when something is missing if it has to do with Michael.
M: Here are the photos. Someone put them back in here. Do you need that one?
Q: This is the one with the pair of red eyes in the dark area in back?
M: Yeah. I can’t hardly see that anymore.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THIS PHOTO ISN’T INCLUDED IN THIS BOOK.) [UPDATE: I'VE ADDED IT ABOVE.]
Q: I might as well make copies of them. These are so important. I’ll protect them with my life. I’ll have to find a really trustworthy lab.
M: Oh, don’t worry about that.
Q: It’s something that people should worry about. Was there anything in this one?
M: Look there.
Q: Oh right. The little girl.
M: That was taken in Pomona, California.
Q: Oh my God.
M: When Twyla was little. See how little she was.
Q: Oh my God.
Q: So even back then there was something going on.
Q: This other one here was the one that I had problems distinguishing.
M: There are kids right in that door there.
Q: I don’t know if that will still come out in the copies.
M: It may not. Michael told us he’d been with us for a long time.
Q: Yeah. But he couldn’t talk for a long time.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: THIS PHOTO ISN’T INCLUDED IN THIS BOOK.)
M: (reading what was written on back of photo) Michael the ghost. And here’s a photo of some stuff he threw. Shirley Padley wrote that down on there. There’s a whole bunch more pennies and stuff in that picture there.
Q: The reason why I’m going to make sure that this happens is because I know that there isn’t anyone else who has enough information to do this the right way. If it’s going to be done right I’m going to have to do it.
M: Well, shoot. I don’t know what she did with the key to that box.
Q: Maybe Michael moved it.
M: I wish she wouldn’t treat me that way. (“WELL YEAH”)
Q: When Twyla’s not here he’s not as active, is he?
Q: He doesn’t talk or anything?
M: He talks more when she’s here.
Q: She’s got to be here for him to talk?
M: He used to do it.
Q: But more recently —
M: Because he called Brenda and I on the phone that time.
Q: Do you think Michael could be in love with Twyla?
M: He’s crazy about her kids is what I think. Desireé used to play with Michael out there in the yard and we didn’t even know it at the time. She was about two years old.
Q: She’s a very lovely child.
M: That’s when Twyla and Desireé lived with us.
Q: When Michael first began making his presence known, how old was Desireé or was it before she was born?
M: She was about two. We didn’t know he was here until he started throwing rocks.
Q: Kids aren’t beautiful at two, though.
M: Twyla went out there to check on her once and she heard Desireé saying, “Michael, that’s not nice.” She called him Michael then. Desireé said she never gave it a second thought
Q: Isn’t that strange for a child to be growing up with something like that?
M: Twyla said, “I thought she just had an imaginary playmate.”
Q: When I saw Desireé, I thought this is really an extraordinarily beautiful child. There are so many possibilities that play upon your imagination. Your mind could go wild over the possibilities.
M: Uh-huh. (laughs)
M: She’s just as pretty as she can be.
Q: And Megan is adorable too but she’s at the impossible age. She’s just as cute as a button. Well, I’m going to have to be very careful with these photos.