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“The Exorcist” October Creature Feature

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OCTOBER CREATURE FEATURE

 

THE EXORCIST

 

The film that transformed an obscure Church ritual into a sought after global profession

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

In my lifetime from October 1955 through mid-December 1973,in the United States, if you needed an “Exorcist”, you would have few real options.

 

You could buy a plane ticket to go to the Vatican and try to convince a priest or the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

 

You could try and find someone who knew a root worker or conjurer in New Orleans, Louisiana, who might be willing to help you.

 

You could try and contact someone who had a friend, who lived out in San Francisco, California and was into “The New Age Movement.”

 

If you seriously needed an “Exorcist” before 1973, in the United States, you really had to look under every stone to find one and hope you could find someone who had an understanding priest in the Roman Catholic Church, who would take you seriously enough to actually look for an “exorcist.”

 

The Real Deal Exorcists

 

William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, “The Exorcist,” had aspects that were inspired by the actual Exorcism of Roland Doe in Maryland in 1949. Jesuit Priest, Father William S. Bowdern and Father Walter Halloran were the real exorcists.

 

There have been television shows that talked about the original exorcism and one fact all seemed to agree on is the family basically had to beg the church for an exorcism. The practice of exorcisms had become essentially a ritual that had been left in the past.

 

The “resurrected” ritual of exorcism did much not only for The Church, but for all churches. William Friedkin’s film, “The Exorcist” based on Blatty’s novel put God back up on the marquee that got people going back to all kinds of churches, temples, synagogues and mosque because Satan was real again.

 

Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Omen” were child demonic films of the late 1960s and early 1970s that also got people’s attention.

 

What always got me about “The Exorcist” was how such a “normal” little girl could be possessed ?

 

Effective Evil Effects

 

There were no Hollywood Computer Generated Images for movies in the 1970s, production and special effects people had to do create the effects the old fashioned way ‘– “They had to be creative.” Now, people smile at the “pea soup” that gets shot out of Regan’s mouth in the movie, but, it was one of those “Wow” moments in theaters in the 1970s.

 

The fashion sense, or lack there of, of the 1970s does much to make a film look dated, but, the story, the actors, actresses and effects did such a magnificent job Regan MacNeil, the possessed girl, is one of those Halloween characters in the shadow between vampires, mummies, Frankenstein and zombies that no one wants to think about because she just might be “The Real Deal after all.”

 

Face it, no one wants to have to tell their father or mother, “We won’t be coming home for Christmas because your granddaughter is possessed by Satan.”

 

The real fear of The Exorcist movie is that maybe, just maybe, your child could be possessed by Evil. The movie really does turn that parental fear into the worst case scenario by the use of suspense and the creative use of effects. It is little wonder why this movie has become an American Cult Classic.

 

You factor in the notion that you have a veteran priest, who has dealt with and faced Evil at various times and is ready for the battle. Then, you add the young doubting priest to the mix, who believes he is more “a man of science” than “a man of the cloth.” Basically, he let the Church pay for his education, so he could become a successful psychiatrist. Stepping into the ring, Satan has the upper hand and the odds are all in His favor.

 

Temptation Of Teenagers ?

 

Ellen Burstyn, who plays the actress mother, wants the best for her daughter. Linda Blair, who plays Regan Mac Neil, the daughter, is the average All-American Girl for the 1970s.

 

I grew up on a hog farm in the conservative Midwest of the United States of America, known as the Ozarks, right smack dab in “The Bible Belt.” My family, friends and neighbors went to the Baptists and Pentecostal churches. Some crossed the line into Taney County to go to Branson or into Greene County to go to Catholic churches, Lutheran, Methodists and Presbyterians.

 

The preachers and pastors of Stone County, Missouri took their “hellfire and damnation” lessons to heart and knew they were the First Line Of Defense against Satan and His Demonic Legions.

 

Thus, in the Ozarks and the Midwest, you never expected to see Satan walking down the highway or shopping for groceries in the local supermarket. But, in the 1960s or 1970s, if you are writing a story, script or play – how would you get Satan or any of his demons to realistically appear in the literary work ?

 

Demon Dare

 

As decadent and liberal minded as New York City was suppose to be in the 1960s and 1970s; there had to be a way to get Evil into the script and the movie. The All-American Fall Guy – the Ouija Board.

 

In the US, in the 1960s and 1970s, it seemed there were only two real ways for Evil to show up. Teenagers had to figure out some way to do “Satanic Rituals” or go to the store and pretend to be nave enough to buy and use a Ouija Board.

 

In this film, the Ouija Board is the culprit that is “The Three Mile Island” incident that starts demonic radiation leaking into the MacNeil home and poor Regan glows with it.

 

Use of the Ouija Board, helps explain how an East African demon gets through US Customs without a passport and visa. Then, again The Department Of Homeland Security is a story that doesn’t happen until the beginning of the 21st Century.

 

Max von Sydow, who stars in the role of Father Lankester Merrin really does come across as the devout veteran priest, who is ready to stare the demon in the eye and send it back to Hell.

 

Jason Miller as Father Damien Karras does an excellent job as the young priest, who really believes he is a long lost psychiatrist in his soul. One of the story twist is suppose to have the young priest broken up about his mother’s death. I didn’t get the message in 1973 and I haven’t gotten it since.

 

On screen the first time you see the aging, invalid mother, the film mom is sort of already a citizen of “The Twilight Zone” looking to move into “The Outer Limits.” Without more details or a back story to show the mother and son relationship, that story line to me wastes film. I’m a Momma’s Boy, so I’m critical.

 

Actor Titos Vandis, in the role of the young priest’s uncle works with Miller to pull off the story line, but, that is an area where I believe the movie falters and probably gets forgotten about in the overall bouts with the demon. In this movie, the mom character was dead before she was written into the script and she seems just as dead up on the screen.

 

Exorcist Era Excitement

 

This is the movie that “Really Did Start It All.” The obscure term, “exorcist” smoldering in the Vatican archives, “purified” the way for an American religious revival in Catholic and Protestant Churches and created battalions of televangelists and legions of lay (and lame) exorcists throughout the globe.

 

Satanic Seventies ?

 

The ongoing, relentless, never-ending Vietnam War had made young Americans jaded, cynical and skeptical. Grandparents and parents looked at the grandchildren and children and wondered if maybe “alien astronauts” had abducted” and switched their kids because “The Generation Gap” was the real deal.

 

Generations of Americans spoke English to one another in their homes and yet the message was like “A Day At The United Nations Without Translators “ – No one understood ‘nuthin’.

 

America’s politicians in the 1960s were the kind of leaders that people rushed to build statues to. By the 1970s, Americans politicians seemed to be like “used car dealers that you couldn’t get rid of.”

 

The Godfathers

 

America had the traditional movie and sports celebrities of their generation in the early 1970s, but, the “Godfather” movies did “the kinder, gentler dance” for Organized Crime. J. Edgar Hoover had gotten long in the tooth and the organized crime bosses of America had their own brash, public style that had to be the envy of America’s “stale bread politicians of the early 1970s.”

 

While American underworld figures weren’t holding their daily press conferences at their mansions, they were out and about and people couldn’t get enough of their exploits in the streets of America. The irony is the Crime Rate in America was pushing people to believe “Vigilante Justice” might not be such a bad solution as long as you don’t get caught. “Dirty Harry” had become the ideal lawman of America.

 

Nix on Nixon

 

Nixon had no use for the American news media and the American news media had no use for Nixon, other than the political cartoonists, who thrived on daily demonizing his facial features.

 

After Watergate, nothing Nixon said really mattered. The press didn’t seem to believe a word he said and his approval rating with the American public dropped faster than a bad day in the stock market.

 

 

 

Then, of course, Men in America actually got to wear something other than white shirts and black ties. Unfortunately, the Men’s Fashion Scene of the 1970s “overdosed” America’s fashion sense – too much, too soon. Wide ties, wide lapels, bright colors for men’s suits, white belts, white shoes, hounds tooth sport coats thrown into the mix with polyester and wide collars on mien’s shirts. Plus, there was the jogging suits to wear, even if you never intended to go jogging. And denim flared jeans and denim flared bell bottoms were still on the drawing board for the seventies fashion scene.

 

The early 1970s had America’s scurrying like mice on an exercise wheel – they just weren’t sure where they were suppose to be running to.

 

Demonic Days

 

If you look back at 1973, you wonder if someone on Satan’s staff had decided to literally “set the stage” leading up to the release of “The Exorcist.”

 

January 22, 1973 – US Supreme Court rules on Roe versus Wade and overturns states’ bans on abortion.

 

The Vietnam War “Officially Ends” January 27, 1973 with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. Nixon tries to take credit for the peace agreement. The American news media and many Americans actually see Dr. Henry Kissinger, America’s First Jewish Secretary Of State as the man who got the deal.

 

November 5, 1973, the term, “Shuttle Diplomacy” entered the American culture and described the efforts that Secretary of State Kissinger made in the Middle East at the end of the Yom Kippur War to help keep the region stable.

 

Despite Secretary Kissinger’s hard work to keep the Arab states and Israel living in a somewhat peaceful existence – some religious critics started shouting that Secretary Kissinger could be, “The Anti-Christ.”

 

March 29, 1973, the last United States soldier leaves Vietnam.

 

May 17, 1973, I wear the cap and gown and graduate from Galena High School, Galena, Missouri. It should have been a proud moment for God and Satan. It was a proud moment for me. By June, I was in college at the School Of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri.,

 

The US bombing of Cambodia ends June 1.

 

July 12, 1973 – The National Archives Fire – The entire 6th floor of the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis Missouri is destroyed by a fire. Countless US Navy and US Army records are lost, which will affect World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War military people and their families for generations to come in the area of honorable discharges, military retirement pay and documentation of earned and awarded military decorations.

 

Egyptian and Syrian military forces attack Israel, September 11, 1973, to start the “Yom Kippur War,” in the Sinai Pennisula and the Golan Heights. I am working at KSOZ-FM, to work my way through college. I look through the large plastic window at the huge gray Associated Press teletype thrusting down the keys to announce the start of the War. I’m excited about the story.

 

I rip off the yellow sheet of news copy and hand it to someone in the newsroom. They nod and comment, “Another War in the Middle East.”

 

I understand now, why no one rushed to get it “on air” as breaking news. It was the 1970s, and there was always bad news coming out of the Middle East.

 

I saw the War as a possible start to “Armageddon.” Everyone else in the newsroom just saw it as more bad news from the Middle East to be read after the day’s latest Watergate story.

 

The Yom Kippur War ends October 26, 1973.

 

October 10, 1973, “The Saturday Night Massacre,” Richard Milhouse “Tricky Dick” Nixon fires Special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus.

 

No matter What Nixon did – The Watergate Break-In June 17, 1972 – would not go away and each day’s newspaper brought a new “Watergate” headline in the continuing scandal.

By December 23, 1973, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, had doubled the price of crude oil at the pumps – just in time for “Christmas.”

 

American theaters flip the switch and Warner Brothers “The Exorcist “ flickers on to movie screens December 26, 1973.

 

By November 1979, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini labeled “America, The Great Satan: in a speech. Khomeini was the 1970s version of Al Quaeda’s Osama bin Laden.

 

In the early 1960s, Khomeini used his criticism of the Shah of Iran Pahlavi to rise to power among his Muslim followers. The Shah exiled him and he spent more than 14 years in exile between Paris, Turkey and Iraq. Khomeini did not like that the United States Government had close relations with Iran and that the Shah had moved to modernize Iran.

 

When you look back at 1973, it seems like God had gotten dropped off for church bingo and Americans weren’t sure if they were going to pick Him up or hand Him His “Pink Slip.”

 

Satan At The Box Office

 

The film brought in $66.3 million from theaters in the United States and Canada. It currently stands as “The Top Grossing R Rated Film Of All Time.”

 

The Exorcist” movie proved to be the “shakeup” that got God back in His penthouse and kept Him on as the CEO Of Heaven. “The Exorcist” woke up and scared Americans.

 

Before the movie appeared in theaters, many Americans were like Actor Lee J. Cobb in the role of New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant William F. Kinderman, something is wrong and you just can’t put your finger on it.

 

The approach worked for Cobb’s detective’s role in the movie and outside the theater in the streets of America, “something was wrong and no one knew how to put a finger on it.”

 

The Medical Men

 

Arthur Storch, in the role of the psychiatrist and Barton Haymen as Dr. Samuel Klein are the classic American “Medical Men” of the 1970s, “Of course, Science has an answer for it.” But, when Regan’s condition doesn’t respond to medical treatment, one of the doctors blurts out something about an “exorcist.”

The time devoted to the “Science” and “Medicine”approach in the movie is smart because by the 1970s doctors and scientists had taken to their academic pulpits and “preached” to anyone who would listen that science and medicine would find the cure for all the ills of humanity.

America’s New Prophets

America’s Psychiatrist were on a roll. Sigmund Freud had got them out into the limelight. People seemed hungry for the latest development from the psychiatric world. Hollywood didn’t let the fad pass by; they cranked out movies as fast as they could about doctors and psychiatrist saving the day.

Psychiatrists were America’s New Prophets. It did seem doctors, scientists and psychiatrist had an answer for everything.

The Supernatural” remained the chink in the psychiatrist’s armor. The responses of : “superstition”, “imagination”, and “all in your mind” worked until something happened before your eyes.

Find An Exorcist In The Yellow Pages

Before the movie, your best bet to find an “exorcist” would be to seek permission to search the Vatican archives for a vague reference to an “exorcist.”

After the movie, “Exorcists In America were thicker than hairs on a dog’s back.” At the current rate of growth in a few years America will probably be turning out as many exorcists as we do lawyers and doctors.

No doubt, none of the televangelists of the 1970s and 1980s will ever give “The Exorcist,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Omen,” or any of the other religious horror TV or movie spin-offs an honorable mention, but without “The Hounding Hell Horror Of The Satanic Silver Screen,” some of those preachers would of stayed on cable TV and still be going through the Ozarks trying to arrange “Brush Arbor Revivals” and church pie suppers.

A 21st Century Exorcist ?

Hollywood is silly if they don’t already have plans to do an updated version to compliment, but not compete with the original movie.

A new version could not compete because Linda Blair’s Regan MacNeil character had her unique unspoken, “I’m not going away. . .ever” look, near the end of the movie.

The silly 1970s wardrobe makes “The Exorcist” dated, but, hey, even in the 1970s, “We had to wear clothes.”

Casting Directors – Stellan Skarsgard has earned the right to be Father Merrin in an updated version. In Dominion: Prequel To The Exorcist,” Mr. Skarsgard became the role. In “Exorcist:The Beginning”, he became Father Lankester Merrin, Roman Catholic Archaeologist Priest.

Now, if the Department of Motor Vehicles could just get Mr. Skarsgard ‘s name on his new license right and the Vatican would quit sending him offers for another exorcism overseas.

Darling Demonologists”

In another more contemporary version, it would be nice if the screenwriter could write in a way to bring in a senior ranking demon with more established credentials in religious history, which would allow for even more suspense, special effects and (probably) a bigger budget.

And, since the “Name Of The Game Is Horror”, a senior ranking demon could up the on screen body count to stress the possibility that today’s dog walker shouldn’t count on being tomorrow’s “Darling Demonologist.”

Exorcist 2013 Script Session

Quick, get Warner Brothers on the phone. I’ve got it.

Camera Fade In: Regan’s granddaughter graduates from Oxford and returns to the US to visit “granny.” They are doing the girl, “shoot the breeze” conversation routine. Suddenly, Regan’s youngest granddaughter comes up out of the basement with something in her hands.

You guessed it, America!

Sometimes the old literary devices are the best. All together now, “Ouija Board !”

They chuckle. Of course, granny has had a wonderful life and completely forgot about the initial possession (and probably The Exorcist” spin-off movies after the original).

They open the box, take out the board and begin to play.

Too late “Granny” remembers.

The granddaughter is now “possessed.”

Granny whips out her cell phone hoping that she still has an exorcist priest on speed dial.

The granddaughter does her contortions routine, while the youngest granddaughter jumps up and down screaming.

From here on out. . .it is up to the Hollywood screen writers. You guys and gals run with it. But, go for a demon, who usually gets top billing, with “name recognition.”

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St. Peter’s Basilica from Castel Sant’Angelo showing the dome rising behind Maderno’s facade. Public Domain Photograph

 

Exorcists Resurrection

The Vatican is now admitting, “Exorcists exist” and is training them. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, a group of British school girls seem to be blurring the line between Fact,Faith, Fantasy and Fiction.

Based on the “Darling Demonologists” ages, someone should hand them an old mystic text and point to the section on teenagers,hormones and, “Oh, Look ! Puberty and Poltergeist ?”

Five Star Rating

The Exorcist” is an American Cult Classic, as it should be. Hands down I give it a Five Star Rating and remind viewers it carries an R rating.

For your Halloween viewing this is definitely a movie to watch on All Hollow’s Eve or the night before.

Incidentally, when you swing by Wal-Mart to pick up your Twizler’s and Junior Mints, you might want to make a quick stop at the church to make sure you have a crucifix and rosary beads handy. May, as well pick up a little Holy Water. . .to be safe.

Sam

 

 

Exorcist Information Links

 

Exorcism of Roland Doe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exorcism_of_Roland_Doe

Father Walter Halloran

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Halloran

The Story of a Modern-Day Exorcist

By Gilbert Cruz Monday, Mar. 16, 2009

 

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1885372,00.html


British School Girls Exorcists

We’re not like normal teenagers’: Meet the exorcist schoolgirls who spend their time casting out DEMONS around the world


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2024621/Meet-exorcist-schoolgirls-spend-time-casting-demons-worldwide.html

 

 

 

 


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

October 18, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Creature Feature, Editorial, Movies, Opinion

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Warren Land Sells !

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Warren

Land

Sells !

American flags at the Main Gate of Warren Land, beside State Highway 176, in southwest Missouri, between Abesville and Galena, in Stone County, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
3 WARREN LAND MAIN GATE PHOTO BY SAM  ND40 S7A_sized for Internet

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My Official Date Of Public Release – October 30, 2011

3 WARREN LAND MAIN GATE PHOTO BY SAM  ND40 S7_sized for InternetThree years ago, I asked the question, “Is it possible to sell farm land using the Internet ?”

Now, I have my answer.

No.”

Warren Land, the 70 plus acres of farm land in southwest Missouri, sold in August 2011.

I waited until my birthday, October 30, to answer this question because I wanted to take the time to answer this question based on my experiences.

The Pessimists

The pessimists and naysayers all snickered that our 70 plus acres of farm land would never sell.

Warren Land had traditionally been used as pasture land for breeds of cattle ranging from Black Angus and Polled Herefords to Red Angus. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND CATTLE IN ONE OF THE PASTURES_DSC_3192_sized for Internet


Childhood Change Inspires Confidence

I was a boy in the early 1960s, when the land in Taney County, known as Branson, was going for about a nickel an acre. The Baldknobbers had just started regular music performances in Branson and Silver Dollar City had just opened their gates. Ideas like “The Nashville of the Ozarks” and a tourist attraction of how people lived in the 1800s had yet to catch on.

As a boy, I had seen the land in neighboring Taney County and I knew the cliffs and bluffs made it

Rock cliff face on Warren Land. Missouri is known as a farming state, but the Show Me State also brings in major revenue in the form of mining. While Stone County has rock cliff and bluff faces, the rock cliff an bluff faces of neighboring Taney County was credited as one of the normal reasons for low real estate prices in the 1960s. The rock bluff in the photograph is located in one of the hollows of the property. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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difficult for farmers to raise livestock. There were even stories that sometimes a cow would stumble and fall to her death at the bottom of a cliff. I had seen the hills and knew there could be truth in the falling cow stories.

As a youth. I, Michael Cutbirth and Jack Gordon joined the Ozarks Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, which would meet for six months at a time in the Forsyth Masonic Lodge and six months at a time in the Branson Masonic Lodge. In attending these meetings, we had to travel on average about 60 miles round trip from Galena, Missouri to either Forsyth or Branson. Thus, I had a front seat to the changes that happened in rural Stone and Taney counties from the 1960s through the 1970s and had traveled the highways long before the Missouri Department of Transportation began major highway projects to widen the roads, install overpasses or bypasses.

Branson Blossoms

Bulldozers gave Branson a facelift and redesigned the farm terrain to go with the ideas of creative citizens and suddenly unnoticed farm land had a new lease on life. The Plain Jane of Ozarks Real Estate was suddenly the supermodel in training. Of course, the opening of Table Rock Lake also served as a necessary augmentation to boost interest in the local real estate market.

Having witnessed Branson, Missouri blossom, in my lifetime, and go from wall flower to debutante, I didn’t put much faith in the pessimists and naysayers’ warnings. If the forgotten farm land of Taney County could transform into a Midwest mecca of country music, then, Stone County, next door, should also be able to shake off real estate puberty and gain a place in the sun.

Seek Out A Successful Real Estate Agent

The tough decision was to part with land that had been in my family since the mid to late 1940s.

60px-Coat_of_Arms_of_the_PhilippinesMy wife, Christy and I decided to sell the 70 plus acres of farm land in southwest Missouri in an attempt to return to the Republic of the Philippines, where we could be surrounded by her large family.

Once the decision was made, then we decide to look for a real estate agent. Like most people we begin looking at newspapers, browsing the internet and talking to people trying to find a realtor or real estate agency. At the start, it came down to a yellow page in the phone book.

Dismal Real Estate Setting

The October 3, 2007 American Financial Fiasco described as the collapse of “Big Banks on Wall Street” became history, but the effects of that financial catastrophe were still being felt when we decided to try and sell our land. People were complaining that banks weren’t loaning money and so people couldn’t or wouldn’t buy real estate. Even though, we didn’t list our land for sale until 2008, people were still complaining that the banks were not loaning money to people to buy real estate.

Find Your Land’s Selling Points

A butterfly lands on a wild flower on Warren Land. Selling farm land is never easy because there is an emotional investment in the land. Thus, you should work to be objective and be honest about the land’s strengths and weaknesses. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND_ BUTTERFLY LANDS ON A WILD FLOWER_DSC_3201_sized for Internet

Be honest with yourself about the land. I grew up playing in the hills and hollers of Warren Land, so I knew I had an emotional investment in the property.

This white steer calf is symbolic of generation of cattle born and raised on Warren Land in southwest Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
6 WARREN LAND STEER STARE PHOTO BY SAM ND80 1_sized for Internet

But, what would a buyer want in the land ?

Goldie and Sarge play around the main farm pond on Warren Land. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND_DOGS PLAY IN THE MAIN FARM POND ON WARREN LAND_A018_sized for Internet

There is one big pond and two small ponds on the property.

There were no phone lines or electric lines

This small farm pond lies hidden in a holler on Warren Land and serves as a source of water for cattle and wildlife. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND A0221A_sized for Internet

on the property.

Several acres at the back of the property had been used to raise tomatoes commercially for about three years in the 1970s. In the 1960s through the 1980s, The Christmas Tree On The Stone County Courthouse Lawn either came from Warren Land or the adjoining DeLong Land – cedar trees love the soil of DeLong Land and Warren Land.

In 2010, about 17 deers were taken during the deer hunting season in Stone County and based on what hunters told me, basically, 10 of those deers had been taken on Warren Land.

From the 1980s through the 1990s, my mother had also let hunters hunt wild turkeys on Warren Land.

Hidden Spring on DeLong Land. DeLong Land and Warren Land have available water sources. Both DeLong or Warren Land was used to supply The Christmas Tree for the Stone County Courthouse Lawn from the 1960s through the 1990s. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
Hidden Spring on DeLong Land Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_sized for Internet
Warren Land contains a multitude of walnut, black and white oak trees that were cut over the years to sell as lumber. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
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Every three or four years from the 1980s through 2003, my mother, would contact a local logger and allow them to go in and cut down trees.

This skidder pulls logs over the terrain of Warren Land. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND SKIDDER GOES FOR LOGS_sized for Internet
Logs from Warren Land were destined to be milled as lumber. One log was selected for a local wood sculptor. Another log reportedly was selected to be shipped to China to be used for a dining table. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
WARREN LAND_0014 LOGGING 2_sized for Internet

Thinning out trees allows young ones the chance to grow. The last time walnut logs were taken off Warren Land, one was selected to reportedly be sent to China to be used to build a dining table.

There are some crude All Terrain Vehicle trails on Warren Land. There were four gates on Warren Land and three of those gates opened out on to the main highway: State Highway 176.

The Choice Of The Wrong Realtors

At least, a local real estate agency should seem like a good idea because they know the local area and should be familiar with the local property. I made all the wrong decisions in selecting a real estate agent. It was little comfort that I picked the first agency out of the yellow pages of the telephone book.

I should have realized that the selected agency was perhaps, too close, to Table Rock Lake, which should of suggested that they are probably more interested in selling lake front property than farm land.

Although the first real estate agents smiled when I told them about the history of the land and how tomatoes had been raised there and logs were cut for building and furniture; I should of realized that the realtors seem more interested in selling residential or commercially developed land or lake front property than farm land.

I also should have realized that when everyone starts singing the same song – I should listen to who is singing the song and how often they sing it. The realtors gave me the classic Top Ten response of the day about, “You do realize that in this economy property is not selling.”

I heard the song and dance about property not selling so often it should have been one of Billboard’s “Top Ten.”

The first real estate agency produced no results.

My Own Real Estate Initiative

You Can’t Sell Anything If You Don’t Tell People. The first realtors put up three signs around the property and they posted a small photo on their Internet page. Time passes and the realtors don’t call us to tell us of any offers. The phone does not ring.

I take my Nikon camera across the road and spend several days off and on shooting photos of the property. Then, I burn the photos to a CD. I thought outside the box, so I went on line and searched out the addresses of companies that I thought might be interested in using the property to build a warehouse or for other development.

Wal-Mart, Google, Yahoo, Paramount, and Walt Disney Pictures were some of the corporate entities that I thought might be seeking a location in the Midwest and rural land to develop for their own concerns. Then, I mailed out around 40 CDs.

I got a nice letter from Walt Disney Pictures that thanked me for thinking of them.

None of the other businesses bothered to respond.

My idea may have been a long shot, but when you consider the foundation stone was laid for the White House in Washington D.C., the original property was reported to be a swamp, so prime real estate is not always a consideration for building. Since Warren Land, already had a history of being successful agricultural land, why couldn’t it be used as a shooting location for movies made in the Midwest or as a warehouse facility for a corporation ?

The first real estate agency produced no results.

My Next Bad Decision – The Second Realtor

My next bad decision was to go with a national real estate agency. Again, the realtor sang the old, “real estate really isn’t moving in this economy. And, it will probably be a year or two, at least, before we see any property start to move” song. The realtor posted a small photo of the land on their Internet website.

Time passes and I called the realtor a couple of times. By the second time, I had called the realtor, the person talked “down to me.” Country boy that I am, it did not set well with me that the person’s tone of voice sounded like a school teacher scolding me.

The year passes.. The national real estate agency gave us no results. National advertising on television, in newspapers, on billboards and on the Internet should never be confused with the success of the realtor. I was glad to be rid of them.

Low Opinion Of Realtors

By the third year, my opinion of American Real Estate Agents ranked right down in the gutter with national Republican political candidates, the American Republican party, in general, and poisonous snakes in the Ozarks, in particular. I have no use for snakes, very little use for Republicans and American realtors overall were quickly battling in my mind for a spot between the snakes and Republicans.

Still, I believed what my mother had told me that land is an investment.

The Right Realtor

By the third year, Donna, my cousin, asked if we really wanted to sell the land. I told her yes. Then, she said, I have the name of a real estate agent for you. Donna looked me in the eyes and said, “If you really want to sell the land, call Katie. If the land can be sold, Katie can sell it.” I made the phone call.

When Christy and I began we knew nothing about realtors or real estate agencies. Three years later, Christy and I were being to feel like Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents responsible for doing in-depth sensitive personal background checks. We were to the point that we didn’t want smiles, promises and the standard catch phrases. We wanted to find a realtor that wanted to make a sale.

This time we knew the questions to ask and we expected honest answers. We didn’t want to hear the old, “Woe Is Me This Is A Bad Economy,” song. We didn’t want to hear the old, “American Banks Are Afraid To Loan Money To Buy Land” song.

Katie Philipps, our realtor, called us with two different offers within about a month. In three months, Katie had us a buyer ready to buy the land. Thus, the 70 plus acres of Warren Land in southwest Missouri sold. We found the right realtor.

The Sign Of The Right Realtor To Sell Warren Land. Among my initiatives to try and sell the farm land, I cleared away sections of tall grass on the highway embankment and tried to landscape a noticeable space to draw attention to the real estate signs from three different realtors in three years. This sign proved to be the right sign of the right realtor. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.
The Right Realtor Sign_sized for Internet

Epilogue

The naysayers were wrong.

The pessimists were wrong.

No, I don’t believe in 2011 the Internet is a good choice at this time to sell farm land.

Blackberries begin to ripen in a psture of Warren Land that was used to raise acres of commercially -grown tomatoes in the 1970s. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you talk to a realtor, who gives you the “Gloom and Doom” song about “this is a bad economy to try and sell land in” – then, you should seriously consider looking for another realtor. In 2011, it maybe a “bad economy,” but times change and sooner or later people will start buying land again.

While Warren Land – proper- the 70 plus acres sold, the Warrens still live on the few acres of Warren Land across State Highway 176.

Open Air Photography Studio - One added benefit of Warren Land through the years was Warren Land always provided a variety of natural settings for photography. Whether the goal was to shoot landscape, livestock, wild life, wild flowers or bring a prop into nature Warren Land always proved to be the Ultimate Open Air Photography Studio. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The moral to the story is if you have farm land to sell : talk to people and get yourself a good real estate agent if you want to sell your farm land.

Sam

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