Bill Brown is a filmmaker, zinester, and tourist based in Chapel Hill, NC. Lately he’s been working on the next issue of his travel zine, Dream Whip.
If Bill had to name his favorite state, he’d say Arizona, though its boundaries don’t exactly coincide with the place he likes best, which stretches up through Nevada and over to western Utah. He likes these desert states with their lonely roads and the sun-faded little towns you find along them. Casino towns. Mining towns. Ghost towns, or towns turning into ghosts. It’s a part of the U.S. that’s good for hiding out or getting lost.
A place he wants to return to is St. John’s, Newfoundland. It’s an old cod fishing town at the far eastern end of Canada. It’s almost as far east as you can go in North America. The very edge of the New World. Bill lived there one October a couple decades ago. He rented a room in a house that some college kids lived in. They told him the house was haunted. A ghost in the upstairs hallway. There were also whale bones in the living room that some former residents dug up in the back yard. Big bleached bones that sat in the corner, gathering dust.
A supernatural experience occurred for Bill years ago, during a long Greyhound bus trip headed for Albuquerque. He was sitting there reading when suddenly, he heard some of the other passengers gasping. That’s the part that sticks in his mind: the sound of gasps. He remembers looking out the window, and he thinks he saw a light dancing around in the sky, way off in the distance. Then, nothing. The memory ends there. That’s actually the part that freaks him out. He can’t remember anything else. Like the memory got erased or sucked out of his head. He thinks something weird happened that evening on the bus, and it drives him a little crazy that he can’t remember anything about it.