'Tis the season to be creeped out, and what's creepier than a pair of angry spirits haunting the Vermont woods? Even if those spirits and their story happen to be folklore of, shall we say, rather recent vintage.
Jim Gallagher of Montpelier sent us the 13-minute film embedded above (note: contains very brief NSFW language). He created "The Haunting of Broken Shackles Mount" without crew or actors (save himself) using what he calls "an audio/video-book style of presentation."
You might also call it a mockumentary. Gallagher paired captions with footage shot at Waterbury's Little River State Park (and Montpelier locations) to tell the tale of an ill-fated farming family who lived in the former area during the Civil War era. Or ... did they?
This is Gallagher's second short film; his first, "Complications," played in 2010 at the Green Mountain Film Festival. (Read more here.) For "Broken Shackles Mount," he used Adobe Premiere Pro to achieve effects such as "a dark sepia-like tone." The goal was "to make it look less like video and more film-like," says Gallagher, who's also done video work for local musicians, and hopes to produce more creepy shorts in the future.
Gallagher admits that, while the setting of the film's story is real, its particulars are fictional. "I carefully wove fact with fiction in order to blur the lines between the two," he writes in an email. "The first question almost everyone asks after seeing the film is, 'Is this a real story?'"
It isn't, but the film does seem to draw elements from real tales told about the "ghost town" of Ricker Basin, located in the current Little River State Park. The area is spooky enough that, in the past, the state Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has run "night ghost hikes" there.
If the film whets your curiosity about the abandoned settlement, its crumbling tombstones and its legends, peruse Vermonter.com and Obscure Vermont for more info.