When I was a kid, there were few things that scared and unsettled me more than stories about mysterious disappearances. In History class I can well recall learning about the Mary Celeste, a merchant ship that was discovered adrift in the Atlantic Ocean with all of her crew seemingly vanished into thin air with no solid indicators as to where everyone might have gone. Upon examining the interior of the ship, investigators discovered enough provisions to last a crew at least six months. Everything was found to be in perfect working order with absolutely nothing out of place. The ship was still seaworthy. Most chillingly, a table was discovered that had been set neatly with dinnerware, almost as if the ship’s captain and his family were preparing to enjoy a hearty meal before their world descended into shadow and mystery.
A little later on, too, I learned of the vanishing colony of Roanoke, a British settlement that, like the Mary Celeste, evaporated into nothingness. An entire colony of able bodied men, women and children dropped off of the face of the Earth, leaving behind only one perplexing clue: The word Croatoan was found carved onto a wooden post, obviously indicating something but then nothing at the same time, proving that History is a jealous mistress who hides her secrets well.
These inexplicable vanishings and others like them has become our global sort of boogeyman and they collectively prey on our inherent sense of cohesion and order, providing us with an overabundance of questions that there are no answers for. H.P. Lovecraft was dead on the money when he whispered the following bromide to his reading audience: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Damn right.
All of these childhood fears have been nagging on me lately after viewing the first full-length trailer for the new drama series Limetown (premiering on October 16) which itself is based off of a popular fictional podcast of the same name. Starring Jessica Biel (Ulee’s Gold, Hitchcock) as an investigative reporter and podcaster, the story centers around her quest to unlock the mystery of what happened to the 326 people in a small Tennessee neuroscience research community who one day, with no warning, disappears. Intrigued by the case, Biel’s reporter begins to pick and prod at the story until it unravels on her in a maze of conspiracies and sinister goings on, threatening her own sanity and finally her life and the lives of her loved ones.
Film-wise, this is not new territory and has its origins rooted in such diverse works as Oliver Stone’s JFK, Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men and even Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. Yet the trailer that dropped today promises something a little more than political intrigue and skewers closer to Serling and those creepy fireside ghost stories we used to tell one another when we were children. That feeling you sometimes get that someone somewhere has just walked over your grave is the same sensation offered up in the trailer for Limetown. The two minute and some spare change trailer for this new ongoing show reeks of late night October graveyards and half-recalled nightmares and you just know that if you turn around quite quickly and unexpectedly you might just come face to face with the ghosts and goblins that populate all of our psyches.
When I was a kid, there were few things that scared and unsettled me more than stories about mysterious disappearances. Watching the trailer this late afternoon for this new Facebook Watch series has reinforced my old fears and a sick sort of dreaded anticipation for a new nightmarish Mary Celeste or Roanoke that goes by the deceptively benign name of Limetown is now my new boogeyman.