JULY 24, 2008
Coming Soon to a TV near You…
Brothers investigate paranormal occurrences in documentaries
BY LUKE HENDRY, THE INTELLIGENCER
If it’s spooky, psychic, or comes from another planet, Belleville’s Gray brothers are interested.
Adam and Andrew Gray run Graymatters Video Productions. They’ve just received the green light to create four documentaries for Vision TV.
All delve into the unexplained: psychic spying, a famous alien abduction and the legend surrounding Mayan crystal skulls.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Adam Gray. “The coolest thing is making your living coming up with ideas to do weird things.”
“Plus we get to go to Vegas,” Drew added.
Last March, their first original broadcast program, a documentary called The Nightmare, aired on Vision TV. It’s to air again on Space: The Imagination Station, which also funded its production.
The one-hour program investigated a phenomenon called sleep paralysis, a controversial condition experienced by Adam and one which has many mythological and spiritual interpretations worldwide.
Joan Jenkinson, Vision TV’s director of independent production, soon expressed interest in a half-hour version of The Nightmare. It and the three new films must be completed by Dec. 1.
Jenkinson said the new pitches were a “perfect fit” for her 13- episode series, which has a working title of “Do You Believe?”
“It was a no-brainer,” said Jenkinson, praising the brothers’ approach.
“They’re a delight. They’re very professional in their attitude, but more than that, they have very creative minds,” she said. “They know how to tell a story. It’s a great relationship.”
The globe-trotting shows will have an element of adventure and, while it sounds like fun, the brothers are preparing for some very intense work.
“It’s incredibly stressful putting these pitches together,” said Drew, noting they’ll be interviewing at least 25 people in several countries in August and September. Most of the work will be done by the brothers alone.
“In order to make a go of it we pretty much have to do everything,” Drew said.
But they will have some help, all of it with a local connection.
Adam’s brother-in-law, Rob Spence of Belleville, created the film Let’s All Hate Toronto and worked on The Nightmare. He rejoins the brothers as director of photography. Cousin Sean Fritz produced The Nightmare’s sound-track and is also returning.
Film producer Paul Stephens is based in the Greater Toronto Area but owns property north of Belleville. Another Nightmare crew member, he said he’s glad to be involved in another Graymatters project.
“They remind me of myself when I was younger,” Stephens said with a chuckle. “They’ve got real talent.
“I do mostly feature films, so to do a documentary is really refreshing,” he said. “I’m hoping these new three will lead to new frontiers for us.”
Each of the programs deals with vastly different — and unusual — material.
Despite its timing, the Grays’ show 13 skulls wasn’t inspired by the current hit film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
“We can’t get Harrison Ford. We’ll use the Gray brothers,” joked Jenkinson.
Adam said he’s long been interested in the story of the life-size quartz skulls which during the 19th Century were found in Central American ruins.
Legends say Mayan priests — who it’s believed did not even have the tools to craft such perfect objects — used the skulls to heal, talk to spirits and kill. At least one culture continues to worship them.
“It’s a crazy story, one that’s very hard to believe,” said Drew. “But it’s a mystery that can’t really be solved. There are other theories they were created by a higher intelligence.”
“And the most popular theory is that they’re all faked — which is still an interesting story,” added Adam.
The film will follow archaeologist Joel Palka as he treks to ruined Mayan cities, trying to uncover if the skulls are indeed Mayan or an elaborate hoax.
Psychic Spies, meanwhile, features science writer Jeff Warren and his exploration of clairvoyance, the ability to see things at a distance. Remote viewing was even studied by the United States government in a secret project known as Stargate, an attempt to match Cold War Soviet efforts to use psychics as spies.
Warren will watch psychics at work and try to learn the skill himself through a course in Las Vegas. Skeptic James “Amazing” Randi will try to debunk the practice by using trickery to duplicate remote viewing.
In Alien Memory Syndrome, the brothers take on the 1961 case of Betty and Barney Hill. Drew said it is has all the elements of a classic alien abduction.
“They’re in a car; a white light’s following them; it stops them on the road — all the imagery we’ve seen a thousand times.”
The Hills’ niece, Kathleen Marden, will serve as investigator. She’s spent 15 years researching it. Drew said it’s “one of the more authentic accounts” because there is physical evidence that something strange happened to the couple.
The series will air in January, though airdates for specific episodes are not yet known.