Two Stephens filmmakers are in the final stretch of their journey traveling to all 50 states in just 50 days.
Meredith Jacob and Madeline Carl left last month and have since visited states along the east coast, stopping at notable places such as the district’s Capitol and more obscure locations such as the bar where poet Edgar Allen Poe was last seen.
While they're mostly staying with friends alumnae and whoever will take them in, one night spent in a former lunatic asylum in West Virginia, was by far the most “memorable” overnight stay, Jacob said.
“It is a haunted, abandoned asylum with many deaths and crazy stories (like most asylums) and maybe got a little scared when we got audio of a spirit saying ‘killer’ and grunting after asking questions,” she said.
While site seeing is one aspect of the trip, it’s not the filmmakers’ mission. Their ultimate goal was to collect film of amazing, previously untold stories from across the country about perseverance and achievement.
“Our mission has been wonderful,” Jacob said. “We have met a lot of characters and many diverse people along the way. We have met a guy who pulled over O.J. Simpson while on the L.A. Police Department and a girl on Times Square nearly naked in body paint. We have been told many goals and stories that are vastly different … goals ranging from medical school to seeing their grandchildren again.”
The students plan to turn that film into a full-length documentary.
Public response has been overwhelming. The women have been tracking their adventures on Facebook and are traveling in a Subaru with a link to the page written on the back windshield. The result has been strangers taking photos of their vehicle and posting them on the Facebook page with messages of encouragement.
A few days ago, the students couldn’t get in touch with their host. They posted a plea on Facebook and ended up staying with strangers who immediately became friends.
But while they’ve had a few bumps in the road—figuratively and literally—both Jacob and Carl agree they’re glad they went despite any initial misgivings.
“The trip so far has been pretty incredible and totally full of surprises,” Carl said. “We have learned a lot about ourselves and about each other.”
The trip is scheduled to end with a flight to Hawaii next month.
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Reader.