By Sam Levin
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Next Monday, October 15, the Paranormal Task Force takes to the small screen in a straight-to-DVD release of Children of the Grave, an "action-oriented hard-documentary" about child ghosts.
Featured in the film is the group's research on Zombie Road, an area of West St. Louis County infamous as the site of several deadly accidents and as a destination for teenage debauchery. While research to determine a link between the phenomena is pending, Unreal seized the opportunity to chat with task force co-founder Greg Myers.
Unreal:What kind of zombies are we talking here Night of the Living Dead or28 Days Later?
Greg Myers: The name "Zombie Road" comes from an urban legend. There was an old mental institution that used to be in existence, and there is still one in the area, one of those where you can go and come as you please. Rumor has it there was a patient in the hospital named Zombie and one night he took off and never came back and all they found was his bloody nightgown on the side of the road. Another theory was back in the '70s when hallucinogenic drugs and zombie movies were popular, that could have been code for kids to meet and party.
In high school we used to drive the Camaro out there to listen toThe Dark Side of the Moon on eight-track. Does the area still have a reputation as a place to party?
I couldn't answer that. When I go down there on legal explorations and that's something I want to stress, that there is no trespassing allowed in the area I haven't encountered any of that. But you know how teens are.
If someone was to go, would playing, say, Rob Zombie attract or repel actual zombies?
If you play certain era-related music say there's a spirit there from the 1800s and you play 1800s music you'll get some activity. On the other hand, if you play Rob Zombie for an 1800s spirit, you might get something because they don't like it.
There's a miniature train for kids on Sundays that runs through the area. Doesn't that sound dangerous?
Paranormal experiences anywhere can be a danger there can be a one percent or a half-percent chance of something happening. But it's not that kind of area where it's demonic and people are getting attacked or possessed and things are more malicious and dangerous.
But it is haunted?
I'd put it in the top ten on my list of the most haunted areas I've been in. Every time I've been down there, there's been an experience. There were even black panther sightings: Hunters in the 1950s and '60s, when they were out hunting coons, said they saw them, and black panthers weren't rich in the area then. So maybe they were seeing something else.
When you say "black panthers," do you mean the political activists? Or the cats?
The cat, not the political activist. The actual black panther cats you would see in Tennessee.
Look! Up in the Sky!
Charlee Chartrand may be the only superhero in St. Louis with a résumé. By day he works in the children's department at Dillard's in the Saint Louis Galleria, but on certain evenings and weekends, he dons a cape and tights and roams the city's streets and comic-book festivals in the guise of Superboy.
Unreal reached out to Chartrand via the magic of cell phones while he was on his lunch break. We're thinking of fixing him up with our other bestest superhero pal, Glitterous, who graced RFT's cover back in April.
Unreal:Can you leap tall buildings in a single bound?
Charlee Chartrand:Not really, but I sure do look the part. That's how I got into this. Two years ago, when I was eighteen, my dad and stepmom convinced me to wear a Superman costume for Halloween, and everybody said how much I looked like him. So I got a better costume, and I've been appearing everywhere. I was at Fair Saint Louis back in the summer, and I got tickets to the Rams game on Halloween.
What's your greatest superpower?
My positive attitude. I always try to be nice to people. I'm great with kids. I try to be a people person, and it usually pays off.
What's your kryptonite?
I haven't found it yet. I'm trying to get to LA and be on the silver screen. I'm still looking for my big break. I'm not finding much in St. Louis.
Do you ever want to break free and be your own superhero?
Actually, I'm working on one right now. He's called "The Memory." He's empathetic and telepathic. He controls people's emotions. He can tap into people's nervous system[s] and speed up the healing process. He had a bad family life when he was a kid, and that's how he got his powers. It's totally complicated. I've got a color journal at home full of drawings. I'm trying to create a costume, but I don't draw very well, so it's mostly stick figures so far. He's going to wear black and white, though, and have a mask.
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