Going to prison for entertainment

MAMmuseum MAMpipe MAMinterview MAMposter

Mysteries at the Museum is a series on The Travel Channel that travels to various museums and tells the story behind one of the artifacts; the more bizarre and mysterious, the better. Now in its fourth season, Mysteries decided to do a segment on Ellis Parker and to tape it at the Burlington County Prison Museum in Mt Holly, New Jersey.

Each of these segments features an expert “talking head” to comment on the story and since I wrote a book about Ellis Parker and his involvement in the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnapping,they asked me to do it. (You don’t write a book because you’re an expert, you become an expert because you wrote a book!) After carefully considering for about two seconds, I agreed and headed north.

The Prison Museum is a gloomy place in the best of circumstances, but on a rainy day, all it needs is Dracula. Anyway, the MAM crew arrived, fresh from their previous shoot at the Voodoo Museum in New Orleans. (I didn’t want to ask what the artifact was.) They set up the interview in an upstairs room with an ominous corridor as a backdrop and the taping was on. Between breaking for lunch, holding up the taping when a noisy truck passed by, and sending for a replacement camera from Philadelphia, I was interviewed for over three hours.

Ellis Parker didn’t leave a whole lot of artifacts behind, let alone mysterious ones, so they settled for one of his pipes, supplied by grandson Andy Sahol. (See picture above. Andy is on the left) With a little dramatic lighting, it will probably look mysterious enough, especially if they hint that he might have smoked it while pursuing the kidnapper of the Lindbergh baby.

The final show will be aired some time in the fall (2013)

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