I did not say “anyways”

Otherwise the section on Boneyards and me in this National Journal article by Simon Van Zuylen-Wood is accurate except where otherwise noted, which is everywhere. Ever feel icky and used by a fellow writer? This article seems disappointingly slanted at every small, contrived opportunity against the Amtrak superliner and against the writers’ residency. How smarmy and petty of the writer to cobble together his thesis in such a desperate way.

Otherwise the section on Boneyards and me in this National Journal article by Simon Van Zuylen-Wood is accurate except where otherwise noted, which is everywhere. Ever feel icky and used by a fellow writer?


LAST YEAR, AMTRAK LAUNCHED an odd initiative called the Amtrak Writer’s Residency. The idea was to send 24 writers wherever they wanted, on a long-distance train, where they would basically stare out the window and type on their computers. The program was bashed by conservatives and lightly mocked on the Internet; yet an astonishing 16,000 people wound up applying. Among the eventual winners were several high-profile media figures, including the writer Jennifer Finney Boylan and the public-radio host Marco Werman.

In mid-March, I met up in D.C. with Jeff Stanley, a 47-year-old Amtrak resident writer who would be taking the Capitol Limited to Chicago, before heading to San Francisco on the California Zephyr. Stanley, who wore an Ed Hardy–style Western shirt, is a playwright, performer, and adjunct professor both at New York University and Drexel University. A fan of all things occult, he staged his latest production in the basement of a South Philadelphia synagogue, where he used a Ouija board and a martini shaker, among other instruments, in an attempt to connect with the dead [see Boneyards].

“Now, supposedly, the old station at Harpers Ferry is haunted,” Stanley tells me, as we approach West Virginia, sitting in his sleeper car. He goes on for a while about a ghost called Screaming Jenny, [Um, no. I spent about 30 minutes between DC and Harpers Ferry explaining to this writer that I had visited Harpers Ferry many times due to my love of history.  I told him that the Capitol Limited runs the route of the former B&O Railroad, and that many times I’ve stood outside the small building that was the Federal arsenal which was seized in 1859 by radical abolitionist John Brown and a group of 20 followers including his son and five African-Americans. They holed up in the arsenal and were thwarted by a detachment of US Marines under the command of a young Robert E. Lee. 

I told him that in 1865 as the Civil War ended, Storer College opened in Harpers Ferry to educate recently freed slaves.  

I told him that years before John Brown’s raid and Storer College, Meriwether Lewis came to Harpers Ferry and waited while a local iron worker created a collapsible canoe according to his specifications. Lewis started out from here in 1803 in a Conestoga wagon following almost the exact same route that is now the very train line we were following. Lewis  met up with Clark near Pittsburgh to continue their journey West.  

Talking about the Lewis & Clark expedition got me thinking about Thomas Jefferson who funded it, and I mentioned to the writer that one of the many reasons I admire Jefferson is that whenever a slave in Virginia sued for his freedom Jefferson would represent them pro bono. He knew they would lose in court but he wanted to force the issue, make the judges, juries, reporters and politicians discuss the curse of slavery and the need to end it.  

All of the above got boiled down by the writer to “but, anyways.”  See below.

Continue reading “I did not say “anyways””

Yours Truly on Coast to Coast

Just a quick note to let you know I’m going to be a guest on Friday night 4/17/15 on Coast to Coast AM. – Jeffrey Stanley

(News Flash: Jeffrey Stanley’s BONEYARDS reincarnates in Philly this June at the Art Church of West Philadelphia as part of the 2015 SoLow Fest. Tickets and full details here.)


Dear Friends, Just a quick note to let you know I’m going to be the primary guest on Coast to Coast AM on Friday night 4/17/15. I’m a longtime fan of this nationwide show so this is a dream come true for me. I’ll hopefully be talking about the screenplay I’m currently writing (LITTLE ROCK, a bio-pic of artist and Navy Ensign Vernon “Copy” Berg, the first officer to legally challenge the US military for anti-gay discrimination; my script is an adaptation of a memoir written by his partner at the time entitled Get Off My Ship: Ensign Berg v. the US Navy by E. Lawrence Gibson), BONEYARDS of course, my ancient hit play TESLA’S LETTERS and my recent experiences on my Amtrak Residency trip looking for ghosts in Chicago’s Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and exploring the supernatural with the adorable Iowa ghost-hunting family I fell in with for a few days in Colorado (please go here to have your mind blown).

Coast to Coast AM is a North American (United States and Canada) late-night radio talk show that deals with a variety of topics but most frequently ones that relate to either the paranormal or conspiracy theories. It airs seven nights a week 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. EST. Originally created and hosted by Art Bell, since 2013 the program is hosted mainly by George Noory. Coast to Coast AM has a cumulative weekly audience of 2.75 million listeners, making it the most listened-to program in its time slot. It’s heard on nearly 570 stations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Guam.

Film industry guests have included screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, screenwriter Laurice Molinari, veteran comedy director Tom Shadyac, Big Bang Theory executive producer Eric Kaplan, and others. The format consists of a combination of live callers and long format interviews. The subject matter covers unusual topics and is full of personal stories related to callers, junk science, pseudo experts and non-peer reviewed scientists. While program content is often focused on paranormal and fringe subjects, sometimes world-class scientists such as Michio Kaku and Brian Greene are featured in long format interviews. Topics discussed include the near-death experience, climate change, cosmology, quantum physics, remote viewing, hauntings, contact with extraterrestrials, psychic reading, metaphysics, science and religion, conspiracy theories, Area 51, crop circles, cryptozoology, Bigfoot, the Hollow Earth hypothesis, and science fiction literature, among others. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the events of that day (as well as alternate theories surrounding them) and current U.S. counter-terrorism strategy have also become frequent themes.

 Where can you hear it?  http://www.coasttocoastam.com/stations

Many thanks for your continued interest and support, and I hope to see you on the radio next Friday night.

Jeffrey Stanley


How to Rig a Ouija Board

Jeffrey Stanley
with Michael Wiener
Saturday 7/26/14 at 9pm
Sunday 7/27/14 at 2pm
$10 tickets here


The following is from July, 2014…

A recent conversation on the Social Network…

Jeffrey Stanley July 9, 2014 at 9:40am · Philadelphia, PA

FYI in case any of you are in the Philly area at the end of July. Stick around post-show and be sure to introduce yourself.  http://www.broadwayworld.com/philadelphia/article/Seance-as-Theatre-Experiment-BONEYARDS-Continues-on-726-727-20140708#.U71FgfldXAk

Seance-as-Theatre Experiment BONEYARDS Continues on 7/26 & 7/27







Fan #1 Dude that’s awesome! You psyched??!

July 9 at 2:01pm


Fan #2 I’ll be there!

July 9 at 2:16pm


PARANOID MORON Do you tell people it’s all an act or do you let them believe it’s really their dead loved ones ?

July 9 at 5:48pm 


Jeffrey Stanley Paranoid Moron — can’t act to make a Ouija board work, it’s all audience volunteers, I don’t touch it. Would that I had the power of some late 19th-early 20th century mediums to make horns blow in midair and Cherokee chiefs appear but it is what it is. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening, sometimes moving, sometimes boring. It’s the only unscripted part of the show. Transcripts and EVP vids are posted online the day after. Here are the previous results if you’re curious. Go here and click on “voices from the dead.” My earliest “ghost auditions” one is my personal favorite. http://www.brain-on-fire.com/boneyards

Also my WaPo story from this past Halloween, enjoy–http://brain-on-fire.com/jefeblog/tag/washington-post/

Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing

Washington Post

October 31, 2013



July 9 at 8:58pm


PARANOID MORON Actually there are many ways to gaff a Ouija board. The most thrilling way I’ve seen was a clear plexi glass planchette and board used by Todd Robbins in his spook show Play Dead. It gave out exact answers to two users from an audience members dead loved one. He never spilled the beans on how it worked but no good magician does and Teller was a part of this production so I bet it was beyond clever.

Todd let’s the audience know everything he performs is an act and yet people still believe he communicates with the dead. Trumpet levitation. Cold reading. Spot on details about multiple lost family members.

Guess that’s the thing about grief. Most people would give anything to hear a dead loved ones messages. Shitty when a predator comes around and preys on that vulnerability.

All the mediums of the past are frauds. Even the Fox sisters. Or should I say ESPECIALLY the fox sisters.

So I’m assuming you genuinely believe you yourself communicate with the dead ?

July 9 at 9:36pm


Jeffrey Stanley Paranoid Moron — rather than ass u me, why not read some of the links I’ve sent, especially the WaPo article? Again, I do not insist that I can communicate with the dead in my show. I DO claim that I TRY to contact the dead in front of a live audience because I am at heart a SKEPTIC who WANTS to believe, nor do I claim to personally have a special paranormal ability, and I especially don’t tell anyone they can hear from dead loved ones, nor, if you read any of the links I sent to past transcripts, has anyone ever tried to contact a dead loved one or believe they’ve heard from a dead love one in the show. I am not a medium nor am I billing myself as one. I am a playwright and a performance artist. This is documentary theatre, autobiographical storytelling, performance art, entertainment, that also involves a real live ouija board session led by the audience. As previously stated sometimes it’s exciting and sometimes it ain’t. I have no control over it. Do you see any testimonials anywhere online from anyone saying I’ve got supernatural powers or that they talked to their dead grandmother during my show? Thanks for the tips on how to trick an audience but that’s not my thing. I do however, urge you to come to the show gratis and debunk it — come sit in on my rehearsals, the setup, the show, the post-show breakdown, anything you like —  although there’s nothing to debunk but have a blast.

And here’s a review of the show — by a theatre critic, because it’s theatre. http://brain-on-fire.com/…/city-paper-review-of-boneyards/





A special edition of Jeffrey Stanley’s Boneyards, normally a solo show, will run for two performances featuring additional guest actor Michael Wiener:

Saturday 7/26/14 at 9pm

Sunday 7/27/14 at 2pm


$10 tickets here


Continue reading “How to Rig a Ouija Board”