A Return to the Paranormal

After playing in the quantum world for some time with my feature film Displacement, I find myself returning to the paranormal with a new project called Echoes.

I suppose one could argue the two worlds are essentially the same, or at least connected in some way. I’ll leave that for scientists and spiritualists to debate. Suffice to say I believe there is something beyond our physical existence, and enjoy exploring those worlds in my work.

Perhaps it has something to do with a story my parents told, about the time my would-have-been sister died. She was born four years before me and passed at a mere 11 months, so I never knew or met her. But I feel her presence and guidance to this day.

At the time spina bifida was a pediatric death sentence. A birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly. Thanks to huge strides in medical and surgical interventions over the past 40 years, children who are born with spina bifida today lead active and productive lives. According to the Spina Bifida Association, approximately 90 percent of infants affected with the defect live well into adulthood.

My sister Donna Marie was not so lucky. Given 3 months to live at birth, she nevertheless powered through to nearly quadruple that prediction, and shock her doctors along the way. They couldn’t explain her resilience beyond an incredible will to live.

My mom was a concert pianist at the time and had a piano in the house. I’m told my infant sister loved to hear her play. Perhaps the music helped sustain her.

When she finally succumbed to the defect, she was in my mother’s arms. And this is where the story gets a bit… paranormal.

The way my parents told it, the moment Donna Marie’s life left her, the piano began playing. By itself, like a child’s hammering on the keys. And they saw a kind of shadow, what they described as, and believed to be, her soul, flying around the room. My mother yelled, “Let her out of the house!” My dad ran and opened the front door. At which time they say the shadow disappeared.

And the piano stopped playing.

Perhaps this was the hallucinating imaginations of two grief-stricken parents. Perhaps something else. All I know is they truly believed what they saw, and always became very emotional when retelling the story.

A somewhat similarly weird experience happened to me the night my mother passed. I was staying at their house, sleeping in my mom’s old room (she had been suffering from cancer and convalescing on the couch in the living room where she was more comfortable) and after returning from a shower that night I swore I could smell her distinctive perfume.

That alone was weird enough, so I walked around the room to see if I could find the source (and convince myself I wasn’t crazy). To my shock I looked down at my feet near the bedroom door to find her perfume bottle and favorite soaps impossibly scattered on the floor, across the room from the adjoining bathroom where she kept them.

No one but I had been in the room. And I certainly hadn’t put them there.

A poltergeist-like message from mom? Who knows. But it sure did freak me out a little.

As a result of these personal experiences, and frankly a childhood of growing up on episodes of The Twilight Zone and other supernatural fare, I’ve grown an appetite for ghost stories and the paranormal. Stories of ‘otherworldly’ events fascinate me. So I’m returning to explore that realm once again.

We begin filming in March. Stay tuned.

Have you had any paranormal experiences? Leave them in the comments section below.


To see my previous paranormal film check out Passing Darkness here.

To watch Displacement with Bonus Features including Extended and Deleted Scenes and Director’s Commentary, you can get the DVD here. To own just the movie it is available for download on iTunes. Or you can stream it on Amazon Prime here in the U.S. or across the pond in the UK here.


Kenneth Mader is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and self-determined dreammaker. Much to the chagrin of his ex-wife, certain family members, and the “committee” in his head.

His award-winning feature film DISPLACEMENT was released theatrically in Spring 2017, was acquired by A+E Networks for broadcast on Lifetime, and is now available on VOD and DVD. For more info click here.

He is the founder and operator of Maderfilm Studios, a full-service boutique production studio specializing in high-quality films and entertainment projects. He was named one of the “Top 100 Indie Filmmakers in the World” in the book by Action On Film’s Del Weston. He also runs the actor services company PerfectReel specializing in high quality demo reels and short films for actors.

He is available for consulting on scripts and film projects as well. Contact him here.


2 thoughts on “A Return to the Paranormal

  1. Yep, I totally agree that much that’s inexplicable happens. It’s so common to see people who’ve just died. I was reading recently that studies show that our brain may be still working an hour after our hearts stop. Perhaps astral projection happens during that time. Once Lowell and I shared the same dream of us flying through the mts. above the trees with his grandmother who’d recently died. We wanted to show her the house we were building. I sensed my body slamming back on to bed as I awoke. Lowell shared his dream and it was almost the same except for his perception being different since he was “flying” in front and looking back at us.

  2. Paranormal activity – brings back a lot of memories from when we were teenagers. I cannot wait to see how Echoes evolves.

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