I saw the signs that Maggie Evans was Josette Dupres rather quick. When Victoria Winters went into the past I was predicting she would automatically become Josette. Nope! Well, there goes that idea. And so I didn’t plan for Victoria and Barnabas to be together. Peter Bradford, however much people diss on Roger Davis, is the one who put himself on the line for her. And on top of that, there is her potential relationship as Elizabeth Stoddard’s daughter to work out.
Ideas for The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows don’t spring from my own imagination alone. I adopted these people to help and work things out. I listen to them, I watch the programs. I’m not the usual fanfiction writer blending up some studious contemplation and then throwing it down. Each character, Dark Shadows, or bonus, gets analyzed, spoken with and listened to. For Maggie Evans? She was the one, she was Josette and is Josette, but she’s also Kitty Soames, as well as herself.
Do I believe in reincarnation? Like many things I’m open ended, but it’s completely fascinating to study. In my analysis I found Bridey Murphy. I saw it as a total fake until I looked further. The woman who went through hypnosis and told her past life tale was not in it to do so. She wanted to quit smoking and was hoping hypnosis would work. As a result the tale of Bridey Murphy was littered throughout the globe and she received the worst treatment from it most of her life. She wasn’t out to make a name for herself. She just wanted to quit a bad habit. That’s when I questioned the claims of it being a publicity stunt. I also altered how Mrs. Johnson felt about it in my third episode of The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows. Mrs. Johnson had been much harder on Bridey Murphy in episode three. I decided to let her mention it dismissively but not as an outright lie. Showing a little compassion for the lady whose life was made worse.
I did more extensive research to online websites, watching videos galore and came upon a much more recent story of a little boy, James Leininger, who had nightmares about being a WWII pilot who died after his plane crashed into the ocean. (A link-up to Maggie’s night-terrors, perhaps?) James convinced his father who had always flatly refused to believe in reincarnation. He was dead set against any need for it as guided by his faith. James received closure by visiting the approximate vicinity of his “previous death” on the ocean near Japan and performing a ritual of farewell.
And as many children who have these experiences of knowing their past life so early, the memories began to fade for James around puberty. For Maggie Evans, however fictional, this is not the case.
A longer lived example is Barbro Karlen, who explains herself as once being Anne Frank. The text to The Diary of Anne Frank was so familiar that she questioned why everyone was reading her private journals in school. Anne Frank’s remaining cousin, Buddy Elias, got in hot water with the public when he expressed, “If anyone is Anne, it’s Barbro.”
More can be read about her here.
There were gobs of videos I watched, the best being the one claimed to have been banned but now it’s on youtube.
In one of these there was a woman who drew something in an old home she “knew” through hypnosis, but when they went out to investigate the grounds she “remembered”, she drew something else with the opposite hand. One commentator on youtube pointed this out and the program didn’t. (I often wanted a joke made of this on Dark Shadows when Professor Stokes writes out a message from Benjamin Stokes, but alas…) Also some people tend to speak in other languages during regression-therapy. Which is what Maggie Evans does in episode 12 of The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows.
How many people do this much research for one character in fanfiction? I’d wager not too many.
And so, as I was only writing the text I wanted to make bloody sure there wasn’t some other character played by KLS that might have some Josette lodged in her too. I did look up Rachel Drummond but I wasn’t seeing a strait reincarnation. I believe there was some idea to create that in her but it fell through. Later on I found out more about Kitty Soames, also known as Lady Hamphire, from England but also from Pennsylvania.
I looked over what evidence about her I could find. Crap, she truly is a reincarnation. So I wrote her in simply but I was so damned frustrated that in order to get it all accurate my job was made this much harder I said, “SCREW IT! If I have to unravel the life of three women in one I’m going to throw a man in there too for good measure!”
Ah yes, one of my rare original characters in this series, who I picture looking like Cary Elwes, the World War One double agent, Hansel Bachmeier:
And, of course, with the gap between Kitty’s existence and Maggie’s life, and with my studying The Great War like so much else because no one would talk about it, Hansel is from that time period in between. I also made sure there were no Hansels, and no Bachmeiers in Dark Shadows to get in my way. I also wanted to give him the nickname Jaegar after the beverage Jägermeister. I checked for a Jaegar in Dark Shadows. There was a Yaeger but with a Y, not a J. So that’s fine. With Bachmeier I looked up a name I was barely seeing anywhere. So if you type “Hansel Bachmeier” right now on google search you won’t find much but my work.
And this all shows how hard I do work. The oblivious invalidation I receive as a result is beyond irksome. This is major research into tough regions, not making my own decisions but letting the characters decide, using multiple fandoms and researching those, acting all of the parts, paying through the nose to get everything done including the postcards, editing audio, adding sound effects and music and getting so little in return for this program as it continues to be downloaded. So much effort just to go into the waste-zone of the internet. Really, why not go to college radio after that?
Is it because for so many decades this pairing with Barnabas to a reincarnation of Josette has always been a taboo in fanwork? Reincarnation itself is taboo. The Dark Shadows movie of 2012 is a bitter type of taboo and has such a story. And now, for some reason, discussing The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows with its creator is the latest taboo.
Tilda Swinton expressed to Charlie Rose that loneliness is a big taboo and no one wanted to solve it because it wouldn’t make any money. If people were together sharing their lives that cuts into money spent shopping for something to do, at least I gathered that from how she put together her explanation.
I’ve heard a ton of excuses as to why no one is filling The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows with the commentary it deserves. I’ve also heard plenty of reasons why I should be giving it away without that commentary regardless of how much it makes me lonelier and hurts to the point that I wish the whole thing would be over. These reasons are not only unwelcome to me, but I don’t believe them and I don’t believe they’re right. Is the true reason total awe or utter laziness?
Like much in the radio series itself, and this character of reincarnation, it’s likely a blend.