Friday, May 26, 2023

Paranormal Investigator's Fascination With Kolchak.


When I was growing up, girls generally idolized icons like Mary Richards on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, but not me. I daydreamed of being Kolchak!

I would need the suit. The hat, oh I had to have a straw hat with a wide black band that looked like hell. Instead, as an adult I found this straw hat and went - yeah, this is southwestern me!

I was missing the classic convertible, but I live in a hot desert, so convertibles are miserable, especially for the sunburn-prone.

Alas, the idea of taking my camera and hunting out clues would become a huge part of my adulthood.

Here I am decades later, and I am chasing after the unexplained, abandoned sites, monster sightings, UFO sightings, ghost sightings, with my trust camera. 

Have I ever had a Kolchak moment? 

I've been chased out of abandoned sites I was photographing, one time slept in a Civil War hospital inn in Gettysburg and a ghost kept pulling my comforter off the bed and dragging it further and further away each time, was stalked by a shadow person in a cemetery when I was alone in the dark, had rocks thrown at me by a Bigfoot, witnessed dancing red orange orbs that came and went on my command.

Yeah, that's just some of the adventures of a para-seeker. 

add a 1970s era camera with flash cubes, a neck strap, and you're Kolchak! 


Kolchak used a Rollei 16 film camera
Asahi Pentax ME 35mm SLR

recorder - Sony TC-55

If I did the Halloween costume, I would probably add a large wooden cross hanging from my belt. 

Although the series didn't last long at all (McGavin got bored with the routine scripts), the episodes live on forever!

Season 1

1. 1-1 13 Sep 74 The Ripper
2. 1-2 20 Sep 74 The Zombie
3. 1-3 27 Sep 74 They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be...
4. 1-4 04 Oct 74 The Vampire
5. 1-5 01 Nov 74 The Werewolf
6. 1-6 08 Nov 74 Firefall
7. 1-7 15 Nov 74 The Devil's Platform
8. 1-8 29 Nov 74 Bad Medicine
9. 1-9 06 Dec 74 The Spanish Moss Murders
10. 1-10 13 Dec 74 The Energy Eater
11. 1-11 20 Dec 74 Horror in the Heights
12. 1-12 10 Jan 75 Mr. R.I.N.G.
13. 1-13 17 Jan 75 Primal Scream
14. 1-14 24 Jan 75 The Trevi Collection
15. 1-15 31 Jan 75 Chopper
16. 1-16 07 Feb 75 Demon in Lace
17. 1-17 14 Feb 75 Legacy of Terror
18. 1-18 07 Mar 75 The Knightly Murders
19. 1-19 14 Mar 75 The Youth Killer
20. 1-20 28 Mar 75 The Sentry


S01. 1-0 11 Jan 72 The Night Stalker (75 min)
S01. 1-0 16 Jan 73 The Night Strangler (75 min)

Admittedly, the descendants of Kolchak today utilize spiffier equipment and don't usually answer to an editor, but to blogger readers and podcast listeners, but the scenario is the same - 

I had fun doing a series based on the narration-style of the series.  Here's one of them (use search bar upper right to type in "Kolchak" and get more episodes!

The quiet and beautiful Lake Ronkonkoma in Long Island, New York has long been sought out as a summer getaway from the heat and the city. The lovely lake was formed in a bowl of melting glaciers from 10,000 years ago. It offers beauty and retreat for many.

Families rush to the sandy shores and children excitedly sprint to the water with their blow-up rafts and inner tubes. But all this pleasure comes with a dark cost, the lake has a reputation: It takes one swimmer each year. From the years of 1877 to 1977, 147 people drowned, reportedly all male.

The curse of the lake began long ago with an Indian Princess who fell in love with a white settler named Hugh Birdsall, who claimed a homestead near the lake. Her father forbade his daughter from marrying the man. Although she respected her father's wishes, the princess could not stop her heart from melting at the sight of her one and true love.

The couple repeatedly sent each other love messages. The princess would paddle halfway out on the lake and push a message toward his shore.

After seven years of this lovesick connection, the princess lost her mind. She sent her lover one last note of farewell and the note and her boat washed up on his shore. She had killed herself on the lake.

It would have been a romantic case of unrequited love in a natural setting, but the lake took on a reputation over hundreds of years involving the spirit of the angry princess.

The legend also says that over the past 200 years, one man has died on the lake each year.

August 2014, at 3 p.m. *John Doe went kayaking on the lake. It was a lovely day and no reason to think he wouldn't reach the shore and load up and go home like any other day trek. He paddled along happily, thrilled to get a day off and some time with the breeze as his only company.

Or was it his only company?

Some time later, John's boat showed up, but not him. His body was later recovered, another male victim of the lake.

The lake has been taking male drowning victims at a rate some have placed at one body a year. It also has murky waters that make it impossible to find the submerged and can disorient those who fall in. Could this be the perfect cover for a vengeful princess who never got her one true love? Are the men pulled down into the recesses of the murk and the muck of the "bottomless" lake to her netherworld lair? It gives the mind chills to think it.

What Jaws did for ocean swimming, this spirit's reputation has done for lake swimming.

The lake has a reputation in history for many supposed motivations for murder. At various times, it has been referred to as the cursed lake, the lake of healing, the lake of the spirit gods and by some skeptics, an unusually randomly unlucky lake.

The story takes yet another turn that elicits goosebumps upon the listener. The lake once had a waterway that led to the sea and it is said pirates utilized it, came into the lake and sunk their treasures and killed their enemies, depositing their bodies in the murky depths. In fact, there was a rumor that a skeleton in chains was found on the shore.

We may never have an answer to this mystery, but we can be sure that the latest victim is not going to be the last victim....

More info:
The history of the lake
Book: The Curse of Lake Ronkonkoma
Full history with interesting details

Maiden in the Lake

A legend tells the story of
A pretty Indian maid
Who loved a handsome pale-faced lad
But marriage was forbade.
Her father chose another mate
A fine strong Indian brave.
The Indian girl could not comply
And so her life she gave.
Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma
The lake of sparkling water.
Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma
Where rests the Indian daughter.
In summertime the Indian girl
Would call out from the lake
To lure below pale-faced lad
She vowed that she would take.
And so the legend ends of Indian
Maid with lonely wail
Who lingers in the murky depths
But calls in no avail.
Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma
The lake of sparkling water.
Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma
Where rests the Indian daughter.

Author: Lois J. Watt


It's hard not to think of Kolchak when one is in the dark, sitting in wait for a phantom to appear. 

Perhaps what we investigators get from the series is Kolchak's tenacity and his gut instincts. 

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