Connecticut is a state in the north eastern US region, close to New York City.
The Jerry Springer show
Jerry Springer is a household name in America. He's a chat show host, but I like to think of him as a modern day marriage counsellor with his own methods of "encouraging dialogue", especially when confronting cheating lovers.
I scored some free audience tickets for a taping of the show in Stamford. I was soon seated in front of the famous set that has housed some of the trashiest TV over the last 25 years (it was in its 25th season). I was hoping for a topic as wild as "Shocking confessions" or "I'm really a man". While the audience was waiting, they were showing uncensored versions of the show on overhead TVs, mainly clips from the 1990s when the show was at its peak. Then a producer came out to go over the ground rules, such as:
"If you think a girl is a man, don't shout "dude, it's a man", just keep quiet as it's meant to be a surprise"
"Not all the girls who come on the show are whores, and I know all the whores"
Then the main man, Jerry came out to loud cheers. After warming up the audience with a few recycled jokes, he went backstage as it was time to begin the taping. The producer instructed us to make lots of noise when appropriate and to watch him for cues. As the signature music began to play, the entire crowd began chanting the infamous "JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!" as we pumped our fists in the air. There were three sets of guests centered around the topic of cheating and confessing.
First was Dominique, a tattoo artist who gave discounts to some of his female customers, in return for sexual favours. One of the girls he cheated with was actually a transgender man, it ended with a scuffle that sent the weave of one guest into the front row.
The second was a guy who wanted to get back together with his ex-girlfriend. However he first admitted to banging one of her friends behind the dumpster at Walmart. And of course, the friend came out and a brawl ensued.
Up last was Whitney, she found out that her bridesmaid has been sleeping with the groom-to-be, who then admitted to getting another woman pregnant. In true Jerry style, it ended with yet another heated brawl.
Towards the end of the show, the studio audience gets to ask questions and make comments towards the guests. A girl sitting at the back showed her boobs to the camera in exchange for "Jerry beads". I got the chance to make a comment, when the camera cut the producer said my comment was chosen as the best one so they got me to close off the segment by reading off the teleprompter. They also gave me a free Jerry Springer t-shirt that I will cherish for the rest of my life. After the show, Jerry said I was witty, I asked whether I was witty enough to replace him when he retires. It was such a fun experience, that I went again the following day.
Ed & Louise Warren
I always thought the horror movies "The Conjuring" and "Annabelle" in which a doll possesses people are just fiction, but it turns out Ed & Louise Warren are real people who investigated the paranormal for decades. I got to meet Louise Warren in her home, where just like in the Conjuring movies, they've kept many items collected from haunted places and exorcisms, as well as relics used in strange rituals.
Their house was pretty hard to find. On google maps, the wrong address is deliberately listed, so I had to ask a bunch of locals and eventually found it. I heard crows cawing as I was pulling into their driveway. Their house had crosses affixed to the walls. The 88 year old Louise was really friendly, she told me she went to Morocco 5 times and really liked it. Her grandson looking after her was not very talkative, he was twitchy and acrimonious, he sounded like he's had many sleepless nights and he was very coy. He kept mumbling, "this stuff is evil, it's very evil".
Adjacent to their house was the building holding the paranormal relics. It's filled from floor to ceiling with items such as the "shadow doll" that can apparently come to you in your dreams and stop your heart, a satanic idol found in the deep woods, the Conjuring mirror used for summoning spirit, a vampire's coffin used by a modern day vampire, and an organ that supposedly plays by itself. The centrepiece was the Annabelle doll, on which the horror movie is based on. The doll is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young girl. Though it was exorcised and is now caged under a cross, it apparently still moves about and growls at visitors, hence the bold letters underneath issuing a chilling warning: "Positively Do Not Open". The last person to touch it died in a motorcycle accident after leaving the house. He had apparently challenged the doll to do its worst before leaving.
Whether it's all true is a matter of personal judgement, the paranormal will be debated by most of us forever because it's just something we were told.
Yale is part of the Ivy League, meaning it's one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Situated right in the centre of New Haven, it was nice to walk around the campus and see the facilities. They were offering free orange juice that day, but it had been stripped out of all sugar, so basically meant it tasted like water.
Pez candy factory
A fun little trip in Orange was the Pez candy factory. It's a self guided tour through some Pez history, it showcases hundreds of iconic Pez dispensers from the 1930s to the current decade. Beyond glass walls, you can see employees working in the onsite factory. There's even the chance at the end to get a photo with your head on a Pez dispenser. The factory only requires about an hour or so, or maybe longer if you get hooked on trying to beat the high score on the match game, like I did.
Danbury is a cute little town that rarely gets any tourists.