Remembering moments that help you and the people around you grow as human beings…
The story below concludes Patrick’s experiences while researching, learning, making mistakes, feeling, practicing and moving on.
It is difficult to describe the feeling you get when you step into a home with a history – a checkered one at that, where the initial owner was a shady stock promoter and his guest, in the final stages of life, was none other than Errol Flynn.
Patrick has always been fascinated by Errol Flynn, and even more so by his sudden death in Vancouver over fifty years ago.
In the fall of 1959, West Vancouver businessman George Caldough hosted the Hollywood legend and the actor’s 17 year old girlfriend in his home, located at 1026 Eyremount Drive.
While in Vancouver, for what was only supposed to be a few days, Caldough paraded Flynn around to various hot spots to “be seen” – and in between, Errol’s condition was worsening. The compounding effects of a slipped disc and rapidly failing organs (helped along by copious amounts of vodka and heroin) caused Flynn to suffer greatly, and often during the visit, he would need to lie in bed at the Caldough house – sweating profusely yet shivering at the same time.
On October 14, 1959, Flynn, en route to the airport, dropped dead of a heart attack in the penthouse apartment of a doctor who was trying to treat him and a couple of years later Caldough was convicted of stock fraud and sent to jail for 6 years.
The house on Eyremount was occupied by a number of families over the years since then, and until recently, was very much intact.
Reading about something is not good enough, and seeing as though Patrick was researching and trying to develop a film based on these last days, paying a visit to the house was definitely in order.
Patrick actually spent time at the house many times over several years, mostly peeking through the windows at empty spaces and eventually was able to actually shot some re-enactment scenes of Flynn’s last moments prior to leaving for the airport.
Patrick found himself spending even more time there, as it was in the last stages of demolition. Needing to take even more detailed notes about the house before it was gone forever, Patrick would stop by from time to time, wandering through the door-less entrance and stepping over the broken bits of drywall and glass.
Leading up to Halloween, Patrick would stop by the house every single day, but each time he felt a little unsure of his surroundings: the feeling in his stomach was sending him many different signals.
Doors swinging open and shut (he was sure it was the wind) was enough to cause me to exit the scene rather quickly.
Patrick’s trouble is, however, that curiosity would get the better of him and draw him back to the house – over and over again…
This time, Patrick was not going to the house alone…
The first person Patrick decided to bring along was a professional photographer – someone to help record the last images of the house. She did her best, snapped some great images, but couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. She admitted to feeling sick and chilled to the bone.
Chilled to the bone Patrick thought…
That was something I too had started to feel every visit…
An unusual coldness inside the house, even when the weather was rather warm outside.
Patrick continued to ask others to come to the house with him…
Maybe, this was because he wanted to confirm his own beliefs that there was something unusual going on…
Patrick states that he is not terribly spiritual, or rather, he wasn’t before these visits.
There was definitely something unusual in the house on Eyremount Drive, and Patrick wanted to get second, third and even fourth opinions.
Every single time, the reactions were consistent – the place was otherworldly. Everyone felt the gut wrenching feeling, the cold, the “bad air” as some described it.
Patrick mentioned his research exploits to his co-producer on A Century of November Nicolas Awde, and if you know Nick, he never comes across as someone who is easily shaken.
At the end of Nick and Patrick’s work day, (Halloween), Nick agreed to come up to the house to check it out. We wandered through the house, and Nick was observing the conditions of the house – the piles of broken gyprock, the skeletal remains of the framework, the appliances carelessly dumped over the balcony and into the swimming pool, now filled with murky water. Nick even noticed a double sink in good condition that he might like to take home with him.
Patrick escorted Nick downstairs, exploring darkened rooms, cold and empty fireplaces, scattered documents – and then around the deck of the pool. And then - it started to get to Nick. The chill. The air. The damp and the dark. The gut instincts that tell you to get out while you can.
Pretty soon, that newish double sink wasn’t so attractive, and the need to exit the building intensified and before we knew it, we were heading for the vehicle. Enough was enough. And the experience was disturbing enough that Nick didn’t seem interested in discussing the house again.
Today, there is simply rubble that remains where this house sat for fifty years. The pain and suffering that film legend Errol Flynn endured during his last days on earth can only be left to the imagination. Who knows if others had suffered behind those walls since?
Who knows if others who had lived in that house over five decades had strange feelings about the house?
Patrick had heard one story, from a realtor, that the wife of a very recent owner refused to allow her husband to build their new home on the site because she didn’t feel right about the existing house when she entered. She even forced him to sell it.
Patrick imagines that this property, with the million-dollar view of the entire City of Vancouver will see an opulent mansion built upon it. He can only hope, for the new owner’s sake, that the cold and sickening feelings that everyone shared within those walls, crumbled away with each crushing blow off the backhoe that knocked the original structure down…
Remembering moments like these help you and the people around you grow as human beings…