We’ve been back from California and Comic-Con for a few days now; the suitcases have (mostly) been unpacked, the merchandise handed out or given away, the laundry has been washed, and life has been returning to some sense of normalcy. Except, and no one is quite sure how, apparently Greg has gone viral as the Hearst Castle Ghost via his sign making fun of the religious protestors outside the San Diego convention hall.
Let me stop, rewind, and start over at the beginning. Greg and I met up in Los Angeles, CA two weeks ago for Comic-Con International. The plan was (as it has always been) to see some sites, have some fun, and then make our way to San Diego for the convention. The moment we both landed in LA we promptly headed up the coast to San Simeon to visit the most haunted place on Earth, the Hearst Castle.
Now, I need to pause here a moment as well because if you have never been to visit Hearst Castle before you are (A) missing out and (B) not aware that they take a green screen photo of you before getting on the tour bus. This is important to note because Greg was wearing a dark green shirt and I had surgery three weeks prior. This combination might not seem like a big deal except in order to ensure Greg’s upper body didn’t disappear from the photo they made everything more yellow to offset the dark green shirt from the bright green backdrop, no problem unless your skin was very pale from surgery.
I make issue of this because after seeing the resulting pictures Greg immediately dubbed me “Skeletor” (a name he used the rest of the trip) and purchased the pictures. He has since started up an Instagram account for Hearst Castle Ghost and I am certain that this photo will get scanned and uploaded by him at some point and time. It is not a very flattering picture, but what is a person to do?
We eventually made our way down to San Diego in time for Comic-Con. As promised, I dressed as Brad Guy on Thursday and Friday of the con. While no one knew who Brad Guy was or that there was an upcoming web comedy called Hearst Castle Ghost, I did get to meet a lot of people who had visited and loved Hearst Castle (many of whom thought I was an actual volunteer there). I, of course, used this terrific opportunity to educate people on the most haunted place on Earth.
Additionally, and as alluded to by our promo video, Greg made several appearances as John Doe, a.k.a. the Hearst Castle Ghost. We hit some panels, we had some fun, we shot some pictures, and all was good until Sunday – the last day of the convention. Greg, still dressed as the Ghost, pieced together a sign and decided to head down toward the convention. Camera in hand, I followed.
Greg setup shop in the main pedestrian thoroughfare across the street (and train tracks) from the San Diego Convention Center. His sign was made up with an erasable whiteboard that he decorated to advertise for HearstCastleGhost.com, which was great and he even had a nice friendly message on the board which he paraded around…
This might seem well and innocent enough; just a good bit of advertising for our website and web-series until you realize exactly where he happens to be standing…
Yes, those are the preachers that haunt Comic-Con International every year, telling all of us that we are going to hell for wearing t-shirts that have the names of fictional people on them (let the irony sink in as you look at the pic). And yes, all the way over to the far left of them is the Ghost holding his “I’m just here for the free cookies” sign. Despite his choice of location, his sign reflecting “true peace and love” caught the attention of several people in the crowd. As the police were setting up the barricade around the Christian protesters, one of the protestors saw Greg and his sign and informed the police officer, “He’s not with us.” Greg, not skipping a beat, and in perfect Hearst Castle Ghost vocals responded, “Hey, com’n buddy. We’re all brothers in Christ, aren’t we?”
All and all not too bad. Someone came by and gave him a fuzzy purple hat to wear, which was very nice. What was most amazing, and for reasons that they will probably later come to regret, the NBC Superstore stand workers took the Ghost over for photos and sent him away with a cookie.
How nice is that? Thus, all was well and right with the world, until he remembered his sign was an erasable whiteboard…
The Ghost changed the whiteboard from his love of cookies to one of true fear…
To one that made a few mothers passing by cringe and speak up against the Ghost and his sign…
Seriously, several mothers (I am assuming it was their own children they were dragging around and not just little-ones they kidnapped) had unkind words to say about the Santa sign. The hypocrite that stands out the most was the con-going mother with two children between the ages of 8 and 11 who complained that, “He needs to erase that sign, there are children present,” all the while a guy was on a megaphone shouting to her children that they were going to “burn in hell with the gays and child molesters” (his words, not mine) because they worshipped false idols. Yea… Piss off lady and get some perspective there.
Anyway, the sign eventually landed on the following message and remained that way for the next few hours until the “Jesus People” packed up and left.
Oh, the look of pride in that last picture as he holds his sign brazenly pointed at the religious preachers which reads, “Secretly Masturbates to Tentacle Porn.” Shortly after this last change was made, Greg became swamped by people telling him he was their hero, giving him high-fives and fist bumps, or asking to have their picture taken with him. He’s a celebrity Ghost afterall, so it was not that surprising. What was surprising is the number of women who wanted a picture with that sign pointed AT them. As Greg has said before, “these are our people.”
A good con was had, Greg got to make fun of people and almost gave himself heatstroke, and we packed up and left. Fast forward a few days later when, back home, I was telling someone about the con when she interrupts my story with, “Did you see that guy with the tentacle porn sign? He’s everywhere on social media.” Umm, yea. Apparently, Greg, as the Hearst Castle Ghost, has spread far and wide across the Interwebs, yet no one knows who he is. But now you do.