Welcome to the official site and blog for the 3 O’Clock TV/iThentic web series, Guidestones. As we gear up for the launch of the series, I have been asked to use this blog as a means of giving some context for the Georgia Guidestones, a mysterious structure in Elbert County, Georgia, USA. However, the story of this series goes far deeper, as my preliminary interview with the director of the series, Jay Ferguson, has revealed to me. Below is a discussion of the rather unsettling reality behind this series.
Chris: Tell me how you first became interested in the Georgia Guidestones?
Jay: In May of 2009 I read Randall Sullivan’s article in Wired and was of course fascinated with the story. My background is both in fiction and documentary and I felt this would be a good mix of the two, but I had no idea where it would lead me. Having read the article, I decided to do a little snooping at various forums pertaining to conspiracies – you know, things that would not necessarily be easily placed into an article in a major publication.
C: That must have been difficult. I can’t imagine a community like that would easily be accepting of strangers.
J: Absolutely. I was just looking for more information on the Guidestones, which I wasn’t expecting much to be offered, but I think because I had a link to my previous work that explains what followed. A person who called herself Sandy – certainly not her real name – made contact with me and seemed to have interesting insights. We kept in touch loosely for a few months – I was naturally skeptical – but she kept coming back to me, asking me about my research, other work, etc. It was a bit strange.
C: I would guess so.
J: Suddenly she asked me to meet with her in person. We met in a local – very busy – coffee shop. She was a very together and strong woman, which I admit I wasn’t expecting. We chatted about my work, which she confirmed that she had found and seen. Something about having met in person maybe allowed her to finally tell me why she was so interested.
C: Is this where the series began?
J: Exactly. She started to tell me stories about how she came to Toronto as an exchange student to study journalism. I won’t give away too much of the story, but at some point she took interest in a death that she believed had been covered up. She and one of her classmates started investigating it on their spare time and slowly were wrapped up in a legitimate murder mystery. She told me of how they were partially led by information carefully left on the internet – some kind of ‘deepthroat’ figure – that helped pushed them along further and further.
C: How was she when all of this was happening.
J: She was very intense and serious, but careful. Both because of those around us in the coffee shop, but also because you could imagine her experiences have lead her to be suspicious, despite the understandable desire to have this story be told.
C: Did you immediately believe it?
J: You know what? I wasn’t expecting to, but I did. At least to a reasonable degree. But I left it for a bit as I was busy with a few other projects. Eventually I had time to do a little searching and I actually found some of the things she had told me about, some of the evidence they had found, and I was able to find it as well. It was just enough for me to invest in hiring a part time researcher for general information on the Guidestones, which was when we brought you on board.
C: Yes, my work was not as dangerous as Sandy’s exactly…
J: [laughs] Not at all, but we needed to get a scope for this story I was becoming more interested in pursuing. I would contact Sandy to clarify certain things and she would often fill in some important gaps, but she would only talk to me and we never met in the same place twice. You never met her and, importantly, not even I have learned her real name.
C: Did you ever want this to be a bona fide documentary?
J: The story was so captivating that I definitely wanted to do a documentary. Sandy would have nothing to do with it and most of the other principals were either dead or impossible to find. It didn’t look promising. I was sorry she would not go on record, which also required the story to be put aside for a while.
C: How did you settle upon a fictionalized web series format?
J: On the side I had been nurturing my company 3oclock.tv, which I started in order to create online content. Both fiction and documentary. One day after not talking to Sandy for a few weeks it suddenly dawned on me that I could fictionalize the story and make if very inexpensively and put it out on the internet.
C: Which would also fit in nicely with the role the internet played in the story itself.
J: It would be a perfect hybrid of the fiction and doc work I have been doing all along and allows me to kind of replicate the hunt that Sandy went on. We took Sandy’s story and tried to remain as true to the spirit of the thing, but of course took many creative liberties and changed all the names. I think that what we have created is as close as you can come to retelling an event while still keeping the principals involved safe and have it be an entertaining story – there’s a lot more downtime in real life.
C: And it’s turned out well?
J: We’re really excited over how it’s come out. Our tagline reads, “You are one click away form the truth.” I did not write that. That is from Sandy’s mouth to me. She told me it was the phrase that ran through her head at one point during the ordeal, when it occurred to her how important it was to find the information she had. Given everything that was happening, the knowledge that this information could reach the right people was what kept her sane.