After my first interview with Liane Langford, I knew that I’d just scratched the surface and she had a lot more tales to tell. I also knew the best time to for a follow-up interview with her would be during the Halloween season. Her blog post “It Only Comes Once a Year,” and video of her shopping for caskets at Costco (yes, Costco) should save me from having to explain why.
The first thing Liane told me during our most recent conversation, was that she has an upcoming project in the works with our mutual friend and her fellow psychic, Scream Queen Debra Lamb (whom I’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing for this site). Going from what preliminary info Liane was willing to give me on that, it should be hilariously awesome that fans of dark humor should love.
Focusing on Halloween-related topics, we talked about such things as the old ladies who gave walnuts and pennies instead of candy when you’d come trick-or-treating, those cheap-o costumes they sold at department stores that tied in the back and had those PVC masks that made you sweat profusely, and her favorite graveyards. Speaking of which, Liane gives this site a shout-out in the above photo taken at the El Carmelo Cemetery in Pacific Grove, California ….one of her favorite resting grounds. After the jump are excerpts from my conversation with Liane.
On Her Upcoming Project with Debra Lamb
CHRIS CHARLES: I know Halloween’s your favorite season, so I figured this would be the best time for a follow-up interview. LIANE LANGFORD: Yes it is Chris and I have a surprise for you. Debra (Lamb) and I are going to be doing this project and it’s going to be called “The Worst.” CHRIS: The Worst??
LIANE: (Laughs) Uh huh, so far, that’s the name of it. We’ll be working together and it’s gonna be like talk show gone all wrong. It will be on the Internet and it will just be the two of us unhooked, basically. We’ll be working together on her events and since we’re both psychics, we’ll be doing things in that area. It’s going to be an unhooked, fabulous thing.
CHRIS: The two of you are going to be physically together on webcam?
LIANE: Yes, it’s going to be a fun fest of videos, vodka, and uh ….
LIANE: (Laughs) ..subjects that no one would even talk about or even walk near. It’s just going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully, we’d like to eventually interview people.
CHRIS: I sure look forward to that! You’ll have your own website or Youtube channel?
LIANE: We’ll have a website and we’ll (also) put it out on social network. I think Debra sent you some photos and links… So, I thought it would be fun to kind of intermix the two since it a Halloweenie thing. CHRIS: Okay, great! I’ll probably be speaking with Debra later about the inclusion of all that here.
CHRIS: I remember the story you told me about how one particular Halloween, your mother, Toby, dressed you up in sort of a makeshift ghost costume and what come to mind when you told that story was the Peanuts Halloween special where Charlie Brown would throw a sheet on his head but could never get the eye holes aligned right so he ended up going out ….. LIANE: (Jumping in) No, that was Pig Pen, because he always had dirt rising up all around him … CHRIS: Mmm yes, but it was Charlie Brown who had the sheet with holes all over it. LIANE: Was Pig Pen also a ghost?
CHRIS: (Laughing) Uhh …I don’t remember what Pig Pen dressed as but I do also remember that Charlie Brown would always get a rock instead of candy when he went trick-or-treating.
LIANE: Yeah, that was in my blog post and we knew better. I mean, sugar was our reward. We knew the ones who were going to give us candy and the people who were going to give us walnuts and pennies and quarters and those horrible, like …hard candies nobody wants, that have probably been sitting in someones’ bowl for a really long time. CHRIS: Oh, yes. (Recalling the “walnut lady” in my neighborhood when I was a kid.)
LIANE: ….and this involves my mother, actually. we would take turns as to who was going to give the candy out to kids ….and then we’d take the kids out, and our house was one of the biggest house that they’d visit. There are certain houses that you visit because you know something great is going to be there. So, we’d always have like 10 pumpkins up in the trees, (the song) “This is Halloween” on a loop that would play as the children would come up the walkway …and we this horrible dead latex thing hanging that they’d have to pass to get to the candy. I think as I grew older, being able to experience my childhood again through other children, and seeing how incredibly excited they were. It was like magic. For one night they were literally something and could go around and be anything they wanted to be, and the streets were filled with them. Our household would come alive ….we partied, we just loved Halloween.
CHRIS: Was your mother, Toby, the one who got you so into Halloween? LIANE: Yes. I think my mother was somewhat of a child herself (laughs). We had this garage where we would put on plays and we would put on horror shows in the garage. So you know, we’d have the dead body on the table and charge five cents for people to come see it. She was very supportive of anything theatrical in nature.
On Halloween Costumes
LIANE: ..and you know, like every year going to …I think it was Woolworth’s or JC Penny’s would have these costumes, and that’s mentioned in the blog too, and I hated those. First of all, you couldn’t see out of them and you’d sweat profusely. And they tied in the back, they were made so badly.
CHRIS: Haha, yes, I remember those, too. I’d now like to fast-forward to when you were an adult. You told me you made the Stormtropper’s outfits for Pink Floyd’s movie The Wall ...
LIANE: Um hmm, I have a picture of that for you.
CHRIS: Oh, great! So, do you have any particularly memorable Halloween’s as an adult?
LIANE: Oh god, well, Halloween’s just like Christmas to me and working in a combination theater/dance studio where we not only costumed theater groups and I did makeup …and that room that the photo for The Wall was taken was the room where I did all the Halloween makeup every year for everybody. They would make their appointments and come in and get costumed and it was just so much fun …
CHRIS: Does anyone stand out in your mind as being the most difficult to work with ….was anyone just real fussy about how their makeup looked or their appearance?
LIANE: Well, my daughter I insisted on dressing as a pumpkin and I put her in purple hi-tops and then I stuffed the pumpkin with pillows so she couldn’t walk (laughs).
CHRIS: How old was she at the time?
LIANE: She was probably four and she waddled when she walked in that suit. She just looked hilarious and she was miserable.
CHRIS: She didn’t want to be a pumpkin?
LIANE: Um, I think she wanted to be a pumpkin. I would always let me kids pick out their costumes and if they were being too persnickety, I would just have them be what I wanted them to be (laughs). You know, like a unicorn ….my daughter was a bumble bee one year, and who would want to be a bumble bee? That’s just like death among your friends.
LIANE: ..I’m a master at makeup, so I’d have to say the most difficult adults were (ponders) ….I’ve done Marilyn Monroe impersonators ….I had one guy who came to me every year for Dracula because I do a great dead person ….but one of the most difficult ones was doing (the cast for the musical) Cats. Everything had to be exact. I had to sculpt the hair, create the costumes, I mean everything! Spray on the body paint ….and it got pretty messy back there.
CHRIS: What would you say has been your favorite character to dress as? I know you’ve mention Morticia …
LIANE: Well, I loved the Stromtrooper. I really loved making the (crossed hammers) armband, the flag, the whole thing. Ahh, god. I’ve been so many things. I’ve been a Grecian Goddess with a little short outfit …but my favorite….I would have to say ….death (laughs). Yes, a vampire! I used to work with this wonderful theatrical lavender makeup that was translucent so your own skin came through it. and you would work with other tones to get that look. Almost like the chic Bride of Frankenstein. Like Robert Smith from The Cure! (Laughs) Or like Edward Scissorhands without the scissors. We kinda looked like that. CHRIS: Ahh, so sort of Goth dead.
CHRIS: Do you remember the first time you visited a graveyard? LIANE: Oh wow ….I was a teenager and it was Marilyn Monroe’s grave in Westwood Cemetery because I’m such a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe. We had rolling Hills Veteran’s Graveyard in Los Angeles and I had never walked through it and there was a cinema in front that I remember waiting in line to see Star Wars at. Anyway, I remember seeing (her) Marilyn Monroe and seeing the red rose and the walking around and thinking, “oh, my god, I love this place.” So, when I went back East in my early 20s, I went mad for the graveyards there because they go way back. Puritanical graveyards. I went to Salem to visit the grave of the first witch buried. There are a lot of myths about Salem and witches. Like witch hunts, which were done in Europe, not here. That’s more of a touristy thing when you hear about witch hunts in Massachusetts.
On the Paranormal
CHRIS: Do you believe in hauntings and the paranormal? LIANE: Yes, I’ve actually explored that. I was asked by my agent to do this gig one on Halloween and I dressed in a sari. It was an AIDS benefit being held at Stokes Adobe restaurant. I was one of the tarot readers there. So I walked upstairs and as soon as I sat in my chair, I bolted out of it. I went and got the owner and asked him to come with me. I took him to the room where I was and sat him down
and I told him; “see that woman there in the corner?” I told him how old she was, she was in her 80s, and that she had died here, and that it was her bedroom. Her looked at me and said “how do you know all this? I said; by the way, the room next door was a nursery. So he then took me on a tour of the whole place. It turns out that Stokes Adobe is one of the top haunted houses on the Monterey Peninsula ….but I didn’t know that at the time. I was just there to do this gig! Now it’s a restaurant called 1833. There were also two houses in my childhood that were haunted and I was very sensitive (of the paranormal) from a very early age. So actually when I’ve done readings now, I’ve captured Class A EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), and the last session I did was least Halloween. It was amazing …I was shocked. We put pictures of everybody they loved up, their favorite foods, whatever it was and we just started talking about them. we turned on the EVP recorder and we started asking them to come. Whoever wanted to talk just started asking questions. sure enough, after I went into audacity from what we recorder; the EVPs were there.
CHRIS: Have you witnessed any paranormal activity?
LIANE: The only aberration I ever saw was in the house where both my kids were born. I would wake up and just see a shadow figure walk across the room. Always the same time in the middle of the night and always the same path. One morning my daughter ran into my room and said; “Mommy, come see the angel! Oh, wait’ I’ll go get it!” but when she came back she said it was gone. That’s when I thought “Oh, time to change the rooms!”
LIANE: ..There’s a house here called Wexler House
CHRIS: Ah, yes, I’ve heard of it.
LIANE: Oh, have you? Well, I hadn’t when I first went in there. My ex-husband knew someone who owned it. I really had to pee and I went to the back of the building where the restroom was and as I was coming back, I felt something go through me. I grabbed this man’s hand and said; “Do you know this place is haunted? He started at me and said “come here” and took me to show me articles that dated back to the 60s on the subject. CHRIS: I interviewed another lady who likes to visit places or recorded paranormal activity and infamous happenings. For example the Lizzie Borden house, which is now a bed and breakfast
LIANE: Oh, I couldn’t do that. I would have to get out! I’m too sensitive. I don’t do well in places that have a lot of negative energy.
CHRIS: Have you ever been in a place that had a lot of negative energy, like the site of a murder? LIANE: I’ve been in situations with clients where I’ve had to stop the reading. There is a place in Half Moon Bay called the distillery and there was a room and I remember thinking that I had to get out of there. I remember telling somebody there that I saw a body on the floor. The worst and scariest spot I’ve been in has been the Wexler building. There’s a lot of history in that place and a lot of creepy residual shit there too.
LIANE: I actually have a terrible horror story about Thanksgiving, too. I’m not a Thanksgiving person and I hate going to people’s houses on Thanksgiving but we were forced to go. This is whole other discussion, but they (the hosts) wanted us to play Twister …after we ate. CHRIS: Oh okay, I see where this is going. LIANE: (Laughs) So it involves Twister and vomiting. I’m getting a lot more involved in the legacy of my family and the more I get into it the more it makes sense why I like what I like and why Halloween is so much more important to me than Thanksgiving or even Christmas. My mother loved holidays. The way she celebrated sort of threw us. You’re talking about the woman with the pink (Christmas) tree, and the woman what has us run in the house to watch Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. She’s set up a whole evening around these events.
CHRIS: So, what are your Halloween plans for this year? LIANE: I’m not really sure. We have this film and art festival here and probably go to whoever’s doing what in town.
CHRIS: Steampunk? LIANE: Steampunk is like Jules Vern, futuristic ….it’s an anachronistic style of dressing and there are really extremists of this, it’s pretty wild. There are many different styles of dress and mine is turn-of-the century, which has a corset all the way up the ribs with metal all around it, and a skirt with ruffles ….and there are like old watch parts on it. It’s a Nicoli Tesla-era kind of feel.
On Vampirism and Witchcraft
LIANE: ..I guess vampirism really fascinates me. I’ve studied it. I love and adore Francis Ford Coppola’s remake of Dracula. I don’t like silly vampires. I’m not a True Blood fan (laughs). I’m sorry but you’ve got a fairy, you’ve got a Wiccan, you’ve got …how many different things are living in that town? You know it’s gotta smell in there.
CHRIS: Have you also studied witchcraft? LIANE: Yes I have! For over 20 years now. I had a website called Practical Majick and I had photographs of some of my products like a candle called “Why aren’t you dead yet?” Products I made were very simple for people to use. I studied it very in-depth. I would help people I would work with. Maybe they would want love spells or money spells. It’s really fascinating and goes back a long way but when people think of witchcraft, they think of the devil and it really has nothing to do with the devil at all.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the quarterly magazine, Effective.