ET, Phone Centrahoma

It was in Centrahoma, Oklahoma, August 1992. It was my second time to visit the double-wide trailer in this tiny town, so tiny that its only road was unpaved. The first time was two years earlier, when a reporter named Judy and I came to investigate claims there was a poltergeist in the house, who went by the name of Michael, but also answered to “E. T.” He threw rocks and old coins at people mostly, though it was claimed he did other things to get your attention.

Now, however, I was visiting this same family again to do another story about the famous Ghost of Centrahoma, this time with Pam, the reporter I was dating at the time. Pam believed in all kinds of stuff. Just six weeks earlier she asked to see some film I shot at a fatality crash because she though she might be able to see the souls of the dead in my images. Pam also believed in Native American medicine, astrology, and much more “magical thinking” lore.

Pam brought a camcorder with the hope she would be able to capture some evidence of the ghost in the house, like a rock flying across the room or an unexplained streak of light or shadow. She was intensely serious about it.

I, however, didn’t believe in anything supernatural, nor do I to this day. (As an aside, I believe that “nature” includes everything in the Universe.) But since Pam was my girlfriend at the time, and because she was so beautiful, I bit my tongue when she said silly things about spirit photography and the zodiac.

During the interview I made a few images. There wasn’t much to shoot that I hadn’t shot in 1990 – it was the same dysfunctional family in the same trailer, talking about the same poltergeist that wasn’t showing its face. At about the 45-minute mark, I sat on the couch and dozed off, and Pam has (or had) some footage of me sleeping on their couch. Finally we were done. We thanked the residents, and I think I remember Pam saying goodbye to E. T.

In her car on the way home she announced, “I definitely felt an evil presence in their house.” I was made aware much later that Pam believed E. T. came home with her inside the camcorder.


  1. Supernatural concepts are a part of a larger cadre: magical thinking. It’s childish, and it stands in the way of real growth, creativity and achievement.

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