The next stop on our tour was Georgia. I was particularly excited about this appearance as the person who we booked it with was setting up a spectacle. First we were to have an elegant charity dinner with fans who bought exclusive tickets. Then that night we were to arrive in a stretch limo, walk a red carpet with tons of local press and then enter a grand set up where there would be a set, and a massive “Jason” themed cake made by a world famous baker… and that part was to be filmed for an episode of a new Food Network show. There were to be thousands of people. The location was going to have billboards all over, some even fifty miles away. It was going to be an event for the ages.
Of course, Kane was a bit skeptical that this one haunted house was going to pull all of this off. I kept telling him to relax, that it was going to be awesome! Boy was I wrong… Now, I have always been a trusting person, too much I guess. I just never had much experience with liars, cheaters, thieves, scum bags and all other sorts. Most of the people in my life have been good honest folk that I trusted. Kane on the other hand has worked in an industry where he has met thousands of those bad apples. And one bad apple of course spoils the bunch. Once you get tricked or screwed over once, you never trust again. Kane has the belief of, “I’ll believe it when I see it”, when it comes to a lot of things. I always thought he was just too negative, but after this weekend (and another situation which will be discussed later), I have taken on this theory.
In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t stated the actual location or even the name of the town. Part of me wants to point this guy out to the public, but I don’t want to cause any more of a headache than this situation caused, so we’ll call this guy… Dick. And we’ll call the location The Haunted House.
After arriving in Georgia, I eagerly looked at each billboard on the drive in from the airport, waiting to see one advertising our event… though I didn’t catch one. After freshening up in our hotel, Dick showed up to bring us to the charity dinner. He was dressed in a nice suit and seemed like a good guy. His vehicle was an expensive SUV, jumping in, Dick started to talk in his southern accent about how amazing the event was going to be. Kane and I asked questions about his life and the event. Come to find out, he owned the location that the haunted house was at and rented it out to the owners of the haunt. He wanted to put on this event to keep his renter happy as he was looking to move next year. I was impressed he would drop so much money just to keep his business. The talking continued, Dick told us about how he owned vacation homes in the Smokey Mountains that he rented out and that his wife was a former Atlanta Falcons cheerleader and his father a former professional baseball player. I was pretty impressed by this guy. Kane on the other hand was skeptical. While he was polite and formal to Dick, in private he said to me, “I don’t trust this guy.” I laughed Kane off and told him to have a little faith for once.
On the ride, that was supposed to be five minutes, but ended up being about forty, Dick went on to say that the charity ticket sales didn’t go as they liked, but there were still a few people. I could see Kane get a bit uncomfortable by this, but I tried to keep positive. When we arrived at a Chucky Cheese type place, my heart sank. This was not a fancy charity dinner. Being ushered into a back “Party Room” with folding chairs, I was starting to feel a pit in my stomach. Sitting in the rickety chair, I noticed there was only four other chairs, gulp.
After all four fans came in, I was starting to sweat, but Kane handled it like a champ as always. Even when we were given the choice of fancy chicken fingers or a slice of pizza for our “fancy” lunch, Kane was great. Regardless, it was still nice to see these fans get to sit and eat with their idol, even if it was junk food at a kid’s arcade. At first they were so nervous none of them talked, but Kane and I pushed some stuff out of them, they finally opened up. After an hour or so, the dinner was over and my excitement for our “Gala Event” that night was dwindling. I later found out these poor guys paid almost $200-500 a piece for this dinner, I felt horrible, but regardless of the situation, they were all happy to spend time with Kane.
With the lunch done, we headed to the haunted house for Kane to do a local news interview to promote the event. That went rather well and we met the owners of the haunted house, who seemed very nice and excited. Afterwards, it was back to our room to take a break.
When it was finally time for the event to start, shockingly, no limo showed up to drive us. Instead we piled into another SUV along with Dick’s many kids. There was barely a slight mist in the air, Dick started making excuses about how the weather will probably keep people away that night. Starting to get the gist, I understood this was an excuse. When we arrived, there was a decent line (which I have come to expect), but it was not the thousands we were promised. The red carpet was also a… well sort of towel laid on the ground. It was maybe three feet long and not even noticeable. Walking the red carpet meant, stepping over it. And there were no photographers or media, just a few fans.
Inside the tent they set up for us, I was still not impressed. It had some cheesy Halloween decorations and a cool thrown type chair which Dick tried to tell us used to be Rob Zombie’s personal chair. We took our places and got ready for the fans to come through the line, but then things got even odder. Instead of our typical set up of selling books and autographs, the location was selling stuff themselves and pocketing the money, it was confusing and a mess. While they did buy books from us ahead of time, it was extremely shady what they were doing. They weren’t even letting fans take pictures; they had a “professional” taking them and selling them, though we relaxed when we were told the profits went to charity.
After an hour or so, I remembered about the so called “cake” show that was to be filming. I ventured out of the tent to find a really, really crappy cake that was some sort of… tree? I still don’t know what it was and there was definitely no camera crew filming this person, if it was it would be for the “worst cakes in America” show. Trying to keep a straight face on, I went back into the tent and met Dick’s wife, she was very beautiful and looked like a cheerleader, but when I asked her about it, she seemed to panic a bit and avoided the question… I was starting to wonder what the heck was real and what wasn’t.
Near the end of the night Kane was suddenly asked to sign about a hundred free autographs, at this point, we both had enough and made an excuse of an early flight (which was true), to get out of there before any more crap happened. On the way back I wanted to vent about how miserable the night was, but one of Dick’s so called associates was driving us, so I kept my mouth shut.
A few weeks after the event, Dick contacted me wanting to return the un-sold books and merchandise they bought from us. We agreed to this ahead of time, so it wasn’t a big deal. That is until he tried to tell me that they received almost twenty books fewer than they ordered and that another twenty masks they bought, they never got. Even though I know they got everything as I checked when I arrived. I refused to return the money for these so called “missing” books and it got a big ugly. Dick told me that the haunt people refused to pay the rent until they got the money back from the return. Annoyed with Dick, I finally called the owners of the haunted house myself, as they were the ones who paid for the merchandise… that is when everything became clear.
Come to find out, Dick had lied about everything. At this point I already had this feeling, but I had no clue how deep it went. In fact, Dick did not even own the location for the house. He also told us that he was best friends with the owner for years. In reality, the guy didn’t even know him until a few months ago when this man just showed up and said, “I can bring Kane Hodder to your location.” They took him up on the offer, but that was it, they paid for EVERYTHING themselves, Dick was just the contact to Kane. Worst of all, the so called charity lunch and charity photos… they weren’t for charity, they were for the haunted house to make money. Dick just lied to us knowing we wouldn’t allow for them to charge fans for photos. That part made me angry, but mostly, my mind was blown….
This was the first time in my life where I experienced something like this. Of course people have lied to me here and there, but always something small and nothing crazy. This was…. I don’t even know what it was. Why would someone lie like this? I can understand making stuff up in order to do a scam and get money, but from what I knew, Dick wasn’t making money off the event. So what was the point? To feel like a big shot? Was he a pathological liar? What did he get out of making so much stuff up? Was his wife ever a cheerleader, or his father a major league baseball player like he told us at lunch, I doubt it. I had a hard time with these thoughts as I just could not wrap my mind around why someone would be like that. While I’m an author and I make up characters like Dick all the time, I just never knew they existed in real life.
In the end I learned two things. The first one being, don’t trust anyone until they prove themselves to you. The second one, Kane is always right! Sadly, a few months later, Dick’s lies would be nothing compared to the deceit that was about to be revealed….