- In the great tradition of late night scares - Manifestation is a UK based one hour TV show which takes a skewed look at all things paranormal
- Journalist Stefan Saint Maarten, Cameraman/Producer Ian Wallace and their compact team research the truths, lies and speculation regarding things that do (or don’t) go bump in the night.
- Ghosts, apparitions, fables, legends, folklore - Manifestation brings you a case by case study of ghouls in the house, nightmare scenes and chilling night-truths... just before bedtime.
- Series 4 Manifestation coming soon on ITV.
Stefan looked at the TV listing one last time and wished he’d written it instead of some dullard at the broadcaster’s office. He’d have to have words with the commissioning editor and insist that his production company has to rubber stamp any future press release. However, he did like the phrase ‘chilling night-truths’ and hoped this up-coming series would have even more frightening moments than the last series.
The way Manifestation approached its subject was as a news report. Stephan and his team would initially take the story and bring it ‘alive’ as if it was being reported on at the time of the incident. Ian, his business partner and husband, was very clever at reproducing a visual element to what happened perhaps hundreds of years previously. It was the hook that made their show different to all the others.
Some stunts were staged as part of the ‘report’ but, as the crew found from the first series, thick padding and robust protection had to be worn when dealing with the paranormal because you just didn’t always know where that eerie creak or screech came from. #
Twenty-eight year old Stephan (or Steve Martin as he was really called) and partner, twenty nine year old Ian Wallace, had come up with the idea for Manifestation whilst they both worked in the newsroom of a local TV company. They’d cleverly put together four ten minute ‘shorts’ about local spooky goings-on as a lead up to Halloween for local news. The programme’s senior editor had loved its quirky approach and suggested that it be put together as an hour special, which they would run late night on Halloween.
It was a huge success and led to the duo being head-hunted by ITV to produce a paranormal series of its own. Steve and Ian set up a production company and a series of ten shows were immediately commissioned.
There were already too many people called Steve Martin in the industry so, to give the new programme a more exotic flare, Steve used the name Stephan Saint Maarten and adopted a rather suave, trendy image. #
Originally the show would follow the same format as their Halloween special, simply because the two main characters, Stephan and Ian, didn’t actually believe in ghosts… well, to begin with that is. They wanted a more formal approach and less night-vision cameras and dark corners. However, they loved the idea of scary stuff and knew that they could, with clever camera techniques and strange angles, present a spine-chilling show for their new bosses.
At various pre-production meetings, ten ghost stories were agreed and the method of presentation discussed. However, Stephan knew from the many horror movies he’d been addicted to as a kid, just what the mind can do without the need for visuals. A hint here, a sound there, an ominous musical tone… he understood they could create a bloodcurdling account of whatever story they pursued.
However, on their very first days shoot at Woldover Castle, the eerie and scary meant that none of them went home without stained underwear. They’d been terrified from start to finish by the unexpected turn of events and discovered that the strange acrid aroma that followed them everywhere… was in fact themselves. To say they were shit scared would have been an understatement, when the notorious ‘Green Lady’, the ghost of whom they’d come to de-bunk, whispered her greetings in the very first room they’d come to investigate.
It took the small team by surprise. Stephan pissed his pants, as did Shagufta the researcher, Ian, carrying the camera was surprised to find a wet slimy mass trickling down the back of his legs. The shock encounter made them reassess the way to proceed and how they would prepare themselves for future shoots.
The appearance of the apparition was so sudden the team hadn’t started recording. No cameras were switched on, although the fourth member of the team, technical wizard, Oskar Mahler, simply could not believe why his scanning and recording instruments, which were just being tested, went into melt down.
Mercifully, he was the only one to save his underwear but because of his messy compatriots planned a complete upgrade to his scientific equipment and, on the advice of the others, to upgrade his ‘groin padding’ for future investigations. Added to the list of equipment were spare disposables, substantial rubber pants, wet-wipes and baby powder… enough padding for the entire shoot for four people, which they were thankful for on more occasions than they cared to admit.
However, the public weren’t to know about the extra protection they now wore for each episode but the story of the ‘Green Lady’ was a lively and convincing start to the first series.
Something else that became quite apparent… to Stephan at least… he had an affinity with the spirit world. Despite the fact that he started as a sceptic/non-believer he soon found his body would react when a ghost or some such entity was around. He pissed himself.
That warming glow in his pants was a dead giveaway that the spirit world was more than just something for him to base a programme on. The apparitions he saw, the broken and confused spirits, the evil and vindictive souls, the harmless but inquisitive phantoms all made themselves known by making sure that Stephan had a soggy memory of their visit. #
The first and subsequent series were a success because of their unique approach to ghost stories, which also meant that Stephan was in demand for conventions and paranormal events. He’d become a young, sexy, trendy expert on all things paranormal with a fan base growing with each show. He was a regular guest on chat shows and what had become remarkable was the bush of thick black hair he started with on that first episode about the Green Lady had turned almost white by the end of the first series filming.
Perhaps annoyingly for other similar programmes, Manifestation was getting better results; less screaming and hysteria, more actual based evidence. The reliance on night shoots and night-vision cameras, which often distorted the light levels to give false imaging, was of secondary importance. By cleverly re-enacting the scene and giving a straight-to-camera description of events, followed by a re-telling of eye-witnesses accounts all helped create in the viewer a feeling of actually being there and observing each incident. Stephan was a master of delivery and Ian just brilliant at interpreting the event visually.
It also appeared that ghosts and apparitions under investigation let themselves be known in different ways than just the occasionally unseen flying object or a clatter of some moved furniture. The Manifestation team got unbelievable first hand evidence from practically every subject; words, shadows and, yes, manifestations were captured on a variety of specialised equipment. So sophisticated was Oskar’s unique tech, that many claimed it had to be a con. The crew knew from the state of their underwear that the proof of these encounters… was deposited in their pants.
The list of gear now included boxes of heavy duty disposables and thick rubber pants. #
As they appeared to be the only such show that was getting such uncanny results it was up to the show’s frontman Stephan to dispel this negative publicity. Even his white hair was used as ‘proof’ that the team were out to deceive the public because he now used the fact it had gone white to adjust his image and present a more forceful and eccentric ‘investigator’. He’d coloured the side of his hair black so there was just a white shaft down the middle of his head, which gained him the sobriquet, Badger.
Stephan and the team had no need to explain their success to each other. There was no denying the results as far as they were concerned, it appeared that the various entities liked how they did things. The other thing was that quite a lot of what the team knew and experienced happened off camera, when the ghosts seemed more able to communicate and make an appearance.
Many times Stephan would be sat writing his script only to find an apparition watching over his shoulder.
Of course not all encounters were such silent, friendly affairs, some of the spirits they happened across (not even being aware of their existence in the first place) had often left them scared and mentally drained. The rattling of windows, the screech of an unhinged door or the scream of a person in immense pain was all very chilling but what was worse… physically being thrown across a room or a menacing voice demanding they “GET OUT”.
Although he tried to keep his own fears in check many times he felt the creeping anxiety that announced some kind of bizarre event. Stephan had a connection between this world and another but he didn’t know why. Sometimes his body would be badly bruised (all recorded on tape as evidence to what had just taken place) and proof of something though even he wasn’t too sure what. Often he’d strangle a scream only for it to escape in other ways. He never left a shoot without his preventative nappy being full to capacity. #
He didn’t let the public know about this affect but he did find out from most of the other people who dealt with the supernatural also took similar precautions when out investigating. #
The disbelievers continued to disbelieve but Manifestation was being watched by millions worldwide and had become ITV’s top rated show. One of the reasons for its success was the way Oskar had set up his equipment. He’d insisted that all members of the crew should wear body cameras, Stephan had two; one facing forward the other back, that way they always had a shot of the main camera that was following behind him.
There were locked off cameras all around Oskar’s technical area where he could monitor the many sensors and video feeds. The screens were lit with a dull orange glow which gave way to Oskar being nicknamed – the Tangerine Ghost by his own rapidly growing number of fans.
Shagufta had her own cult following. Twenty-one years old, demurely Asian, she appeared unflappable but had often thrown herself protectively at Stephan when he was being ‘attacked’ by some malevolent entity. Trying to pull him free from whatever struggle he was embroiled in… her fans called her the Nightmare Ninja.
Cameraman Ian was perhaps the least happy with his nickname, The Screaming Eye as a result of one of the programme’s early episodes. He was so taken by surprise by a white shadow that walked right through him that he let out a chilling scream. The name stuck, much to his dismay. #
Steve and Ian had been boyfriends since they were at University together. After graduation they both sought jobs in the Media and were lucky enough to be taken on by a local Television Station which was sourcing freelancers. They impressed from the word go and as they were a reporter and cameraman together were immediately set to work gathering local stories for the lunchtime and evening news programmes.
The lively and youthful way these two presented their take on stories was appreciated by the young owners of the TV station so were given more and more projects to do in their unique style. They seemed to know exactly what was needed from each other all the time so that seamless connection was what made them partners in every way. #
After the second successful series of Manifestation they took the plunge and married living together in an apartment over-looking the town square. However, since that first series of their show something else had become part of their relationship - their desire to wear nappies.
Although that had become a real need when out filming the paranormal, it had also become normal for them to wear them away from the shoot. They both loved the thick, reassuring protection a bulging nappy and its comforting pleasure offered when they were together.
When it was just the two of them in the apartment they would enjoy the freedom to parade around using the padding for what it had been created to do. Ian’s hirsute body and Stephan’s lack of body hair was a wonderful contrast, especially when set off by a thick white nappy and slinky, tight-fitting plastic pants. The guys enjoyed their new found interest.
Not only that… the sex was wild and… different. They hadn’t noticed the subtle changes in their own make-up or how daring, kinky, exotic and carefree they’d both become. Where once there had been whispered endearments, soft caresses, long loving screws… this had been replaced by paraphernalia based erotic indulgences that lasted several days. Sex had gone from sweet vanilla licking to multi-flavoured poundings… with added crushed nuts.
What they hadn’t realised was that some of the naughtier spirit ephemera from their investigations had got caught up in their heads and found a home there. The short-lived spectre had become more permanent and the soft, warm and often wet material made the perfect base to exist… in their heads and in their pants. The two lovers had no idea that their desire to wear nappies was driven by the needs of often ancient entities they knew nothing of but to a certain extent now ruled their lives. Nappies weren’t only for now… nappies were forever. # tbc #