An Interview with Author Marcus F. Griffin
1. Your first book was Extreme Paranormal Investigations, which detailed some of the more disturbing investigations you had conducted with WISP (Witches in Search of the Paranormal). Playing with the Devil is instead your own personal story. What compelled you to write a personal story rather than writing about the haunting experiences of others?
The simple answer to this question is that I finally felt that it was time to tell our story. But where the paranormal is concerned, nothing is really "simple," is it? My impetus to write the story of Entropy and the Gray Man was born more from need than desire. The amazing and oftentimes terrifying paranormal events we experienced have left a lasting impression on my life and have haunted me for over thirty years now. My authorship finally presented me with a venue to be able to pass along my memories and experiences to a larger audience, and doing so has been quite cathartic. I also felt that the story of Entropy and the Gray Man had broad implications and was far too astonishing to not be chronicled and revealed to the rest of the world.
2. Playing with the Devil details the real-life experiences of you and your band, Entropy, as you dealt with paranormal forces that threatened to tear you apart. When did you first realize that you were dealing with a force that was potentially evil?
I'll preface the answer to this question by saying that not all of the members of Entropy believed that the entity we came to call the Gray Man was "evil." Although it is true that several of my bandmates did in fact come to believe that the Gray Man was none other than Satan himself, I have never personally believed this to be true. The entity that made contact with us was powerful without question, but in my opinion a better word to describe the Gray Man would be "manipulative" rather than evil. Over time it became clear to the five of us that in one form or another the Gray Man was using the members of Entropy for its own agenda and to fulfill a specific objective. However, Entropy disbanded before that objective was fully realized; exactly what the Gray Man's primary goal was is anyone's guess. That said, one member of Entropy, bass player Trice Fulbright, believed that the Gray Man's long-term goal was to bring the band to the height of musical fame and to use the power that comes with fame to "enlist" members of our fan base into the ranks of darkness and evil. Trice further believed that the Gray Man intended to use the members of Entropy and our enlisted fans in an epic battle between the forces of good and evil that he believed would take place sometime in the future. Trice's notions about the Gray Man's intentions have always seemed a little far fetched to me, personally, but having lived in the Gray Man's presence for so many years now and witnessing the extent of his power, I cannot dispute that what Trice believed to be true wasn't beyond the realm of possibility. All I can tell you with any confidence is that exactly what the gray man's ultimate goal was for the members of Entropy, be it "good," "evil," or something in-between, has remained a mystery to all of us for over thirty years now.
3. In the book, you talk of your experiences with the Gray Man. How exactly would you describe this entity?
Allow me to break this question down into two parts for you. I should describe how the entity manifested itself into physical form as well as how it felt to be in its presence.
With a single exception, every time the Gray Man would appear to the members of Entropy in the physical world he looked exactly the same. The apparition of the Gray Man was large and hulking. He appeared to be dark gray in color and had no hair; his face was eyeless and featureless but we were able to make out a vague outline of his nose and ears. For lack of better words, he looked like an animated mannequin that had been spray painted dark gray. The visage of the Gray Man in physical form was terrifying, to say the least. The single exception to how he appeared to us in physical form occurred one day after I had followed him to the top of the stairs in my home. On that day he appeared to Entropy's guitar player, Chuck Weber, as a doppelganger, mimicking my own physical appearance in exact detail.
In sharp contrast, how it felt to be in the presence of the Gray Man was a totally different story. Being in the presence of the gray Man was empowering. His presence was magical in a way that I have always found difficult to put into words. When we (meaning the members of Entropy) were in the Gray Man's presence, we felt invincible, like there was nothing we couldn't accomplish. We wrapped ourselves in the presence of the Gray Man and wore it like armor. His otherworldly presence bolstered our confidence and we did our very best to incorporate and relay these feelings and sensations into our music and our stage performances.
4. And is it true that some of the band members continue to have terrifying, paranormal experiences today?
Sadly, and with few exceptions, the members of Entropy that are still alive today were very reluctant to speak with me about what we experienced in that long ago time. Entropy's guitar player, Chuck, did confess to me recently that the Gray Man has materialized in his presence at least two times after we disbanded. However, Chuck flat out refused to go into detail about the materialization with me. Whether or not the experiences were terrifying to Chuck is unknown. Trice, Entropy's former bass player, also confessed to me to he'd had a few encounters with the Gray Man in the years after we disbanded, but just like Chuck he refused to give me exact information or relay the details of these encounters. In my opinion, the silence of both Chuck and Trice speaks for itself. If I had to bet one way or another, I'd put my money on the fact that these encounters weren't exactly pleasant.
Speaking for myself, I've lived in the presence of the Gary Man for over thirty years now, and I doubt that's going to change anytime soon. The Gray Man rarely appears to me these days in physical form, but every once and a while I still catch glimpses of his unmistakable form walking through my home or standing in a doorway, silently observing me. The Gray Man still guides me when I am in need of his assistance and watches over me and my loved ones like a guardian angel. Or, perhaps, even a guardian demon. Given my eccentric personality, either one works just fine for me. He still speaks to me through numbers on the clock on a regular basis, and was my constant companion while I was writing our story in Playing with the Devil. Somewhere over the years, the Gray Man's presence became so commonplace that it no longer surprises or terrifies me. The Gray Man has become an integral part of my everyday life, and to lose that connection would in at least some small way lessen my very existence.
5. How much did your paranormal experiences with Entropy influence your current involvement in the paranormal and with WISP?
In a nutshell, my experiences with the Gray Man and Entropy have influenced my involvement with WISP and the paranormal in every way imaginable. This very question is the topic of a forthcoming article I'm currently writing for Llewellyn, so I'll leave a few surprises in my bag of tricks and choose to not reveal any more at this time.
6. What do you hope readers of Playing with the Devil will take away from your haunting, thrill-ride of a true account?
Just that there is much (much) more to our world and the unseen worlds that surround us than most of us are aware of. I believe that the story of Entropy and the Gray Man is both cautionary and inspiring, and it is my sincerest hope that readers of my work will at the very least consider that there is a larger picture than most of us can (or care to) see with our everyday eyes.