The Blackwell Ghost (2017)—A Fake Documentary
Sitting in my home in Atlanta, Georgia, I spent our Tropical Storm Irma days off flipping through my streaming services looking for something new to watch. Full disclosure: I’m a binge watcher. I will watch and rewatch favorite movies over and over again. It is safe to say that I’ve seen Jaws over 100 times. Same for The Shining. At least 50 times for Scream (not including sequels). I was overjoyed to see a new movie pop up: The Blackwell Ghost, a meh fake documentary but a good representation of paranormal investigations where nothing much happens.
Last year a video went viral. I ended up discussing it on a couple of paranormal radio shows. It featured supposed security footage of a hallway in a hotel. Paying close attention, viewers saw a white form cross in front of the camera. It was a fake—an obvious fake. Little did I realize that this video was the teaser for The Blackwell Ghost, another fake documentary.
Fake documentaries differ from mockumentaries because they are not a parody. Mockumentaries are parodies of real events. The 1984 movie This Is Spinal Tap kicked off a wave of mockumentaries including Best in Show (2000), Bob Roberts (1992), and The Blair Witch Project (1999). Mockumentaries are known to be fictional at the onset. Fake documentaries try to fool viewers into thinking the story is true. An excellent example would be Mermaids: The Body Found. This movie was pure fiction; however, it was not a spoof. The production intended to fool people. The same applies to The Blackwell Ghost.
This short film, clocking in at 59 minutes, profiles one man’s quest to prove the ghost of a female serial killer is haunting a small house. The movie opens with the viral video. The evidence mounts showing this to be fictional. First, the movie is not listed in IMDb.com. Both documentaries and mockumentaries appear in this vast database. A Facebook page exists with less than 5 entries dated either June 16 or June 21. A web address redirects to Amazon to purchase the movie. Essentially, this is a low-budget short film.
The “facts” don’t add up either. I searched Ancestry.com for a James and Ruth Blackwell residing in Pennsylvania during the 1930-1940s. The only couple is an African-American couple. I searched newspaper databases and Google for a female serial killer in that time period. Nothing. I even searched for death records from Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Still nothing. Conclusion: The movie is made up.
However, it’s still entertaining. As I’ve written before, most paranormal investigations are boring. Ghosts don’t perform on command. This movie shows how frustrating these investigations can be. It also highlights how two people can conduct an investigation. Support low-budget filmmakers and check out this movie.
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDmE0zv2oo4