Armchair Historians

Eric Walter, Dark Side of the Mountain,The Disappearance of Keith Reinhard

October 20, 2020 Anne Marie Cannon / Eric Walter
Armchair Historians
Eric Walter, Dark Side of the Mountain,The Disappearance of Keith Reinhard
Show Notes Transcript

Today we talk to Eric Walter about the mysterious disappearance of Keith Reinhard in Silver Plume, Colorado.

Eric Walter is an award-winning director, editor, and documentary filmmaker in Los Angeles, known for producing investigative nonfiction films that explore bizarre cold cases, unexplained phenomena, and the dark side of human psychology.

His directorial debut, My Amityville Horror, was named one of the top 10 festival genre films of 2012. The film was distributed theatrically by IFC Films and is currently available on streaming services

As a lead editor for feature films, docuseries, and commercial advertising campaigns, Eric’s work has spanned across a variety of platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, FX, AMC, Disney+ and many others.

He also frequently serves as an expert on the Amityville Horror case, having recently been profiled by networks such as ABC, A&E, and Travel Channel.

Eric’s second documentary feature, Dark Side of the Mountain, is slated for release in 2021.



Anne Marie Cannon:

Thank you for joining us today for armchair historians. I'm your host, Anne Marie Cannon, armchair historians is a Belgian rabbit production. Stay up to date with us through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Wherever you listen to your podcast that is where you'll find us. You can also find us at armchair historians.com armchair historians as an independent, commercial free podcasts. If you would like to support the show, you can buy us a cup of coffee through cofee or you can become a subscribing member through Patreon You can find links to both in the Episode Notes. Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of Halloween. I love dressing up in scary costumes, watching the classics, the shining Rosemary's Baby, Young Frankenstein, etc. So as a lead up to Halloween, armchair historians is celebrating the mysterious and the spooky with four special episodes starting today. Look for special release mini episodes over the next two weeks. Today I have a real treat for you. We're going to be talking to Eric Walter. Eric is an award winning director, editor and documentary filmmaker in Los Angeles, known for producing investigative nonfiction films that explore bizarre cold cases, unexplained phenomena and the dark side of human psychology. his directorial debut, my Amityville Horror, was named one of the top 10 festival genre films of 2012. The film was distributed the Patrick Lee by IFC Films, and is currently available on streaming services. Look for a mini episode later on this week on Eric's experience directing the documentary as a lead editor for feature films docu series and commercial advertising campaigns. Eric work has spanned across a variety of platforms including Netflix, Amazon, prime FX, AMC, Disney plus, and many others. He also frequently serves as an expert on the Amityville Horror case, having recently been profiled by networks such as ABC, a&e and the Travel Channel. Eric's second Documentary Feature dark side of the mountain, which is slated for release in 2021. Today, Eric talks about the mysteries and subsequent unanswered questions behind dark side of the mountain, which investigates the disappearance of not one, but two men in the rocky mountain town of silver plume, Colorado, and the ominous legacy surrounding their strange disappearances, which has been one of Colorado's greatest unsolved mysteries.Eric Walter, welcome. And thank you for being here.

Eric Walter:

Hi, how you doing?

Anne Marie Cannon:

Doing good. We're finally getting a little rain in that fire Laden, Rocky Mountains here. So that's nice. So I start every interview with the question, what is your favorite history that we're going to be talking about today? So Have at it tell us about your favorite history?

Eric Walter:

Oh my gosh, Well, I certainly have so many things throughout history that I'm interested in and passionate about. But this story of Keith Reinhard and Tom young from silver plume, Colorado, which of course is in Clear Creek County, nestled in the rocky mountains of Colorado, and has fascinated me since I've probably been my God. It was the early 90s. So I was a very, very young kid, who saw an episode of Unsolved Mysteries profiling the story, and I believe that was in 1990. So through subsequent re airings throughout the years, this story intrigued me because the story talks about Keith Reinhart, a journalist from Chicago, who left his job took a sabbatical from his job at The Daily Herald, which is a Chicago based suburban Chicago newspaper, where he had worked for 22 years. And he left his job and headed down to silver plume, which is a town of about 130 people at the time. And he had been going there for four years, he had a good very good friend named Ted Parker, who operated Kp cafe there in silver plume on its main street. He had been free. He and Ted were childhood friends, they had grown up across the street from each other and Ted had been operating this cafe and Keith was just fascinated with this lifestyle anyone who's visited silver plume or Georgetown or anywhere in Clear Creek County, but especially silver plume because it doesn't embrace its history, the same way that Georgetown does being Georgetown embraces a little bit more of the tourist end of things. And silver plume, by and large. And I know this from having talked to many, many residents there don't want visitors. They don't want people to come trooping through taking photos and they don't want the tourist trade to be a big part of that. But Keith was determined to hopefully he you know, he wanted to set up a residence. He was corresponding with his family writing letters talking about how excited he was he was there. That summer he was about to turn 50. And he was, as many friends have said he was kind of having a midlife crisis. Let's say he was a little bit despondent with a job. He was overwhelmed with the busy traffic of Chicago, and one of the simpler lifestyle and a place where he could start working on what he said the great American novel. Can I just interject there? I came to the mountains here because I live the next town over from silver plume. You mentioned Georgetown when I turned 50 that is so well. That is so interesting. There's a reason we're talking here today. synchronicity. Yeah. And so I mean, it's and I totally understand I would love to move there myself. Because I think that was part of what attracted me to Keith's desire for silver clue many people's insight began started working on this documentary for this project, or covering this story. have been, you know, asked me why Why are you so interested in you know, what is it about Keith and his story and I guess I've just as an artist, myself, understood what he was looking for it that solitude of the mountains and that silver plume is eerily beautiful. I've always told that's how I tell people you know, it's a dozen embrace the Torres Strait, as I mentioned, but it's it's buildings are just seemed to be very everything that has been designed there since its heyday, are, you know, actually two specks of original silver plume design. So getting back to the story, Keith, you know, is very interested in the town and wanting to write a novel while he was staying there. He had taken a three month leave from his job from Chicago newspaper, and being a journalist, and being that he had travelled to the town for many years. Subsequent about 10 years. I think the first year he gone to silver flame was in 79. There was a gentleman named Tom young who owned a bookshop on silver plumes Main Street that was operating at the time, in 1987. In the Kp building, that was Ted Parker's building that was the same building that Keith Reinhard was now moving into the same shop space because Tom young, had mysteriously vanished. Police estimate between September 7 to September 9, of 1987. No one's totally sure which day that really is. And what it makes it even more eerie is that Tom's birthday actually was the nine September so which is strange because Tom was not found for a year, questions mounted flurry of questions, people began to speculate because of Tom young, his background as a Green Beret, with the Army Special Forces, his solitude, him living on what has been called by Ted Parker. In various articles, we looked at the dark side of the mountain, which meant the side of Pendleton mountain, the silver plume is kind of wedged between two mammoth mountains that's republican mountain and Pendleton mountain. And republican has vast mining silver mining throughout, up and down its side now, so does Pendleton. But I would say its theory is very, it's not as much as the Republican side. But the town itself is kind of cloaked in shadow for about five months of the here is what it's been said. And because of the way the sun, you know, that the orbit of the Earth and basically it becomes, you know, casts a long shadow on that side of the mountain and Tom lived on this side, and in a frame house, and had lived there since the early 70s. He was a former school teacher, who taught at West Arvada high. He taught German because he was stationed in West Germany in the Army Special Forces that's I mentioned. What's curious about this, so was Keith. But he was in the Keith was in the Air Force, but he was in the military. And he was also in West Germany at the same time as Tom now, we don't know each other. Well, that's the big question. Look, there are many, many curious intersections in the story that your imagination can connect and say, Whoa, there might be something. And that's what's actually I think so interesting about this story is because there are so many connected issues but we have no direct evidence that they knew each other at time. But it is curious. Right? So Tom had gone missing. He and his dog he had a great big black lab named Gus. And Gus was essentially Tom's best friend. Gus was a beautiful black lab. It just was always with him. One of the residents in town has told us in interviews that had his name's Harry Holman who's lived in the town for many, many years and silver plume and told us that, you know, Tom was always out throwing a chewed up doll's head across the street, and that Gus would fetch the doll's head and it was just David's just kind of a quirky, you know, quirky guy who is very friendly with people, but also very kind of solemn and on his own. I do want to say that when I first came to Colorado, and was going to move here, I had an apartment and silver plume, and I was going to move to silver plume. So, you know, I don't think you can state enough how quirky silver plume is, unfortunately, the guy who I was running the apartment from took off with my money, and I ended up no doubt. Yeah, it's just, it's the Wild West out there, even though it's like our squatter town. It's also part of the Georgetown silver plume National Historic Landmark District, which has over 200 record buildings between Georgetown and silver plume that are protected from the 1800s. Except for when you come into Georgetown, it looks like an avant garde mining town. But when you go into silver plume, it looks like the Wild West, right? It does. And you know, I have a deep being that I've worked on this case for so many years, I have a deep love for the town and its people and really understand and have grown to respect their desire for staying anonymous, which is curious when you're a documentarian and you want to go to the town to research a story and talk to people, there's kind of a fatal attraction that some people did not at all, you know, get a door slammed in our face, but it was, and I'm getting my head in myself a little bit because I don't want to get off our story. But, you know, I had, it was a long process of getting people to slowly open up and talk but we'll get into that. But I totally understand. Yes, silver plume is very rooted in its history. That again, I've grown to respect that and respect, you know, the people in the town who have been so gracious with me.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I will say that it's quite a feat, that you have been able to ingratiate yourself in silver plume with so many people. I mean, they just I think like what you said they just want their privacy and to keep the town the way it is respected. And well

Eric Walter:

in these days, you know, you can understand I mean, there's so everything is one of the gentlemen when I my first trip there told me I don't go near the freeway. I wish I was rolling camera when he said that, but it's very interesting. you not go near so but anyway, getting back to the story. So Tom young, he had been missing from September of 87, all the way until July 31 of 1988. And Keith had moved to the town and moved in, he opened a little antique shop in that vacated bookstore. That was Tom Young's bookstore in the KT building empty space. So Keith was working in this shop. He was writing stories about some of them based on himself, some of them based on friends of his he was kind of having fun with it in kind of manipulating people's names. There's a gentleman who just recently passed away a legend in the town, George downing that Keith changed the name and they just named George uping and one of the stories and so Keith was kind of a you know, a quirky, artistic, really brilliant person. I mean, I've gotten to I feel like I know the man even though I've never obviously met him but haven't gotten to know him so well through his writings and you know, rifling through just boxes and boxes. You wouldn't believe the poetry he's written and handwritten letters and his family has been so open and giving with with the process of me researching the story, but he started writing about Tom young and his disappearance and had created this fictional character named guy gypsum, which there's a little town you know, if you keep going on the 70, past Clear Creek County, there's a town gypsum, gypsum, Colorado, which we theorize might have been the reason he decided to name him guide gypsum but so guide gypsum was kind of a composite character of himself, you know, character traits of himself Keith and of Tom. I mean, most writers write from experience, right. And so I was really fascinated with that end of it because this gentleman Keith was writing about this person who disappeared July 31 1987, to bow hunters were up in the mountains on Sherman mountain, which is past republican going towards Empire. And they were on the southeast side of the mountain. And it's pretty open up there actually, if you've ever hiked up there, but there was a small patch of trees, and they came upon the remains of Tom young and his dog Gus, they had bet both been shot in the head. There was a gun found in the scene. There were remnants of a green tarp on the scene that were shredded. It's theorized by police who determined that it was a suicide, Tom had covered himself with a tarp. And the animals had done the rest. Now, what's so curious about it, though, is why was he covered in green tarp? Now, obviously, Tom, wanted to disappear. He didn't want to be found if he had gone all the way up there to kill himself and cover him with a essentially a green tarp that would blend in with the terrain. Then, you know, I guess that makes sense. But it was curious. There were question marks. So that week, like I mentioned, that was 31st of July 1987. Seven days later, Keith Reinhard left his shop, there had been a huge party in silver plume at the Kp building where he was, you know, he had a shop where there had been it said to be 100 150 people in the town, some people said, 300, but you know how these stories get going. We don't really know how many but we've talked many people who were there and by and large, it was a huge gathering. And when there are 150 people in silver plum, even though it's population, you inject more people, you know, you're going to know because it's a very small town. So yeah, there was a party there. Keith, by all accounts, some people said he was drunk. Some people said he was just buzz, some people said he's just having fun. But Keith was notorious for drinking, and having a good time and love to party, and had been kind of talking to everyone and about it's alleged Tom young and his interest in talking to people that were there at the at the Kp building at the party. The next day, he which was August seventh of 88. That was a Sunday. He around five in the evening, four to five in the evening, announced to numerous people in town that he was going to hike the face of Pendleton mountain that he was going to do it quote unquote, Chicago style, which means straight up, bushwhacking. No trip because there are no trails on Pendleton mountain. I've hiked the mountain looking for Keith myself many times with other crews that have worked on this but so Keith would go around, he went to some people he knew some people were acquaintances of his some people he didn't know, like a gentleman named stormy Culp, who owns a garage there right outside of town. He was one of the last people to see Keith. And Keith just came by and said, I'm going up there and was telling him on purpose pointing saying I'm going up there. And, you know, it's around five o'clock and why storm is even told us, you know, why was he telling me you know, I don't know the guy. It was almost in people theorized that it was very, you know, poignant that Keith was making such a point of telling all these people that he was going up to this destination. And the point is, is that many people in the town, were telling him not to go that, hey, it's way too late. Tonight,

Anne Marie Cannon:

he goes hiking starts a hike like that at 430 in the afternoon. That's something you do in the morning. That's really bizarre.

Eric Walter:

That's right. And it's very strange that you know, and what's even stranger is that having gotten to know his family, you know, I've interviewed his former wife, Austria, you know, the mother of his children and his kids that even said he knew this, that he would warn when they would go on trips, hiking trips before Keith had hiked various mountains. And he was he was Rocky Mountains obsessed. Right. At the same time. There's been other people in town that said that Keith had a heights phobia. And Keith even wrote letters to his family saying that he saw the mountain as a challenge that he had this that he had been up there with Ted Parker and Ted Parker, we've interviewed as well also said that he had been up on the mountain and that Keith did, you know they were, they were into an area where they couldn't even see each other hear each other. And at one point, Keith was clinging to a tree with both arms because he was so terrified. Now, this had happened allegedly a week or two prior to this infamous July or I'm sorry, August 7, when he decided to take this crazy hike. So you know, five o'clock in the evening, and one of the Last things that he said to Ted Parker before he left his cafe that day, which was if I don't come back, send out the search party. So they did send out the search party the next day when Keith hadn't returned. Ted went looking for him and he you know, had even with a son a driven up to Ted sun and emcell they had driven to the base dependence mountain and shouting up into the darkness for him. Nothing. Next day, they left a note in the key with staying in the little church. That's right next to the Kp building. It's a beautiful Catholic Church, St. Patrick's Catholic church. And Keith was staying in the in the loft, which was the back where he was doing all his writing. Ted left a note for him, Keith, call me. I'm going to call the sheriff if you're not home by, you know, certain time. Well, he did call the sheriff and the sheriff deployed the Alpine rescue team. And subsequently Alpine rescue team deployed various other teams because this terrain, and many people don't understand many people from Chicago, especially did not they said oh, they can find him. It's no problem. This terrain is is seriously it's bushwhacking isn't even the word for it. I mean, it's it's extremely thick with heavy vegetation, decades, hundreds of years of foliage, you can easily if you were injured fall somewhere within that terrain and never be found. And I wish it was that easy, you know, because we could all draw it up to being just well keep went up there and there was an accident. And I will say that most of you know and i being a documentary filmmaker, I really value objectivity. And not giving my opinion too much. And I will say that the film itself is is not one that does have my opinion in it as everyone else's opinions are what make it interesting. And it's third act because there are so many opinions, but I will say that so everyone knows that. If I had to choose what happened to Keith, I do think he's on the mountain. I think he saw the mountain as a challenge and he went up there to conquer whatever fear he had now why he did it at five o'clock and why he told people finally come back send out the rest, you know call the rescue team is curious, a lot of people and so bloom found that very, very strange seriously. Most people in silver plume think that Keith stage this disappearance that he was unhappy with his life, he was unhappy about the turn 50. At the time, Keith was married to Carolyn Reinhard, his wife Carolyn, now his widow is said very little since he went disobey, you know, he disappeared since then. But she, you know, she came out to silver plume the following week, while they were searching for Keith, this search was massive. I mean, hundreds of people. It grew and grew throughout the days, there were hundreds of people searching for Keith on Pendleton mountain. And in fact, there were other side republican mountain they were sending search and rescue members from California from various other states that were deployed. And they were there to try to find any scrap of evidence possible. What's so interesting about this, though, is the police, of course, went into keys computer which was in the church and began looking into what Keith was writing. And Keith had been writing this as I mentioned, this guy gypsum story. I don't want to give away everything that was in it because for the first time, the the documentary that I'm making about this film is going to include the text of this, four pages that you know, there were many stories in case computer but the one he was reading about Tom, he apparently had written it was dated he had written in the week that Tom was found that you know, this seven day period. He had written it during that time, which is curious because throughout its text Keith the guy gypsum references suicide as being the right thing as being the right decision. The story takes place with many similarities to Tom Young's life, talking about him living on the dark side of the mountain talking about him living in a frame house with his dog, he would change like he changed the name of the town to white flume instead of silver plume and he would change all these things but guy gypsum and there are things in there that I can't really totally get into. But the final final paragraphs talk about guy gypsum understanding Tom's motivation and deciding to put on his hiking boots, put on a flannel shirt, and that he understood Tom now and his motivation. Guy closed the door and walked off to the lush shadowless Colorado forest above which is of course What Keith did the day that he disappeared Now many people have read into this and and of course, the the, you know, the sheriff's office, clipper County Sheriff's Office, took this into account and began looking, you know, developing some sort of psychological profile of key. Was he despondent himself, was he suicidal? Why was why did he go again at five o'clock and go around and announced this hike, it made no sense. Someone would have to be they thought, crazy or suicidal to want to do something like that. So during this mission, this search and rescue mission, there was, unfortunately, a terrible plane crash, Civil Air Patrol plane pilot pilot named Terry legends, and the spotter, Don drove me crashed into the side of Pendleton mountain. And Terry Lenin's sadly was killed in the plane crash that was the pilot. And this was on the fifth day of the search. And Don drove he survived. Yes. And you know, that raises the stakes of this entire story, because now we have a death on our hands. And again, I may have been getting ahead of myself a little bit, but this previous event mentioning silver plumes, the town the residents belief that Keith staged his disappearance, because, hey, now there's a death attributed to this search for me. Some people have theorized that Keith, having read the paragraphs that he wrote this story that he wrote about guide gypsum that he went up there to try to find inspiration for what Tom did, to go missing and to put themselves in TOMS shoes or guide ships and shoes. And then after he had staged his own disappearance, that he couldn't come back because this had happened. Obviously, you know, that

Anne Marie Cannon:

there's a lot of theories. I was reading some of the different boards this morning. One guy said that he lives in Utah, and then he's seen them. He's older buddy, you know, looks the same. Oh, you wouldn't believe

Eric Walter:

I've had various since we've started this so many people. And I love that and again, and if anybody's listening to this now, please send any tips because look, even though my theory is that Keith is dead somewhere up on that mountain, because obviously, still to this day, he has never been found. If there are any you know, if anyone has any tips or any any, you know, photos, anything you think, maybe Keith Reinhard, if you know of his location alive or dead, please send that into us. And you can reach us at dark side doc.com, which I think is a good segue because obviously, I am a documentary filmmaker. And I've been fascinated with the story. And this has been something that I essentially was haunted by just having seen a 12 minute segment on Unsolved Mysteries as a young kid, and there was very, very little explanation or, you know, the theories were really I mean, looking at what we've done was very watered down.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Well, I have a question, are we going to find out things that we don't know? Is there Oh, my gosh, information coming out in the documentary?

Eric Walter:

Yes, the documentary is is entitled dark side of the mountain based on a line from Keith's guide, gypsum story. And and obviously, that's where Tom young lives on the dark side of the mountain on Pendleton mountain. Now, yes, there are many things that revelations let's say of this case, obviously, we and we have tried to find Keith ourselves for many years. I mean, I I have been working on this. For six years, we have been working on this, as many documentaries take a very long time. But we have been. We have been visiting silver plume multiple times a year. I'm here I'm based in Los Angeles. And after I shot and directed by first feature, became just, I just had to go to silver plume. I wanted to go there. I wanted to know more about this story and visited the town. And like I said, it began that slow, arduous process of talking to people slowly ingratiating ourselves into silver plumes community and it was not an easy thing. And you start a documentary like this with a set of intentions, right? You're interested in the story and gray it's captivating missing persons case and whether the two are linked or related. And obviously those things are totally covered in the film in complete depth more than anything is ever done. And all theories are presented. You know, there's been a lot out there talk about online and TV and stuff that only show a fraction of the kind of sensational end of the story. We have covered every base. In fact, we have found people that the police have never found. So there are things that are going to come out in this that are going to change the entire paradigm of the case. There are there are so many aspects of this and I might want to stop there so you can get a question.

Anne Marie Cannon:

That was great. I heard about the story from my friend Frank young, who coincidentally is not related to Tom young, but lives in the same house as Tom young. I think he came here afterwards after Tom disappeared if I'm not mistaken, Tina's right. Okay?

Eric Walter:

Yes, I did. Yeah. And I know Frank as well. We worked with him on the documentary and such a nice gentleman. He was so gracious with allowing us to use his property. I don't believe that. And I, he can correct me if I'm wrong. But I don't recall if he knew Tom young or not, I don't think we ever even got to talk to him about it.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I don't think he did. And I think he maybe bought the house after Tom disappeared, is it? I'll ask him because I'm interviewing him this Friday, we're going to be talking about the history of homesteading in the western United States. So it should be fascinating. Oh, that is fascinating. Yeah. It's funny how this is kind of linked. So Frank told me about it. And it's always been that thing I've always been curious about. And I think about it every now and then. You know, I love silver plume. I have friends that live in silver plume. It's a great place. The people, they're really good. They like their privacy. There is a new energy coming in now, because there are a couple of new businesses there the bread bar, I don't know if you went there or not.

Eric Walter:

Oh, absolutely.

Anne Marie Cannon:

So things are slowly kind of changing. But we'll see. We'll see what happens. Well,

Eric Walter:

we certainly we've certainly gotten the the old guard, let's say in the film, who were there at the time at the epicenter of the story. In fact, like I mentioned, George downing, we interviewed George downing before it's passing. We've gotten numerous people who were there and knew both Tom and Keith. But also it should be mentioned, too, that silver plumes history is rich with odd incidents and dark history. Yeah, afterwards, silver mining days. There's the story of Clifford Griffin, who was a brother of mine owner, heneage Griffin, who you know, lived in Georgetown, but own the 730 mine, the Griffins had come over from England, and Clifford Griffin, the brother had been very also a very solemn and depressed character, and had committed suicide in a cabin up on, you know, near the 730 mine. But over time, the story's changed. And as these things do, folklore gets started, the stories of Clifford Griffin went from suicide, to whispers of murder, and to conspiracy and to ghost stories. And it just changed over time and snowballed. And what's so fascinating what part of my documentary dark side of the mountain illustrates very heavily is, today, we're seeing the same thing happening with Tom young and Keith Reinhardt's case, which has been intertwined. I admit, I was interested in that link of Tom and Keith. And, obviously, that's what drew me there. But then when I got interested and talked with the people in silver plume, there's so much there as well. So it's a little bit about all of that. It's about folklore, it's about loss. For the family's perspective, it's about the unknown. And it's a little bit about the human psychological aspect of needing answers when there are no answers. Sometimes you create your own conclusions when none exists. You know, it's it's a very fascinating story. And it's just because we have just a huge archive of opened up to us so graciously by the Reinhard family who my crew and I have become so close with the process of this many years of making this documentary. After my first trip to silver plume, I found out that Tiffany Brian Hart, as Keith's daughter worked down the street from me at the time. So I, you know, emailed her and we didn't write, right, so we ended up getting, you know, getting lunch, and the rest is history. So it's those types of things that just the stars align,

Anne Marie Cannon:

how long have you been working on the documentary?

Eric Walter:

Well, as I mentioned, it's been five to six years of work, physical work on the dock. Much of that was spent in preliminary interviews, talking with people getting to know the people in the town, as I mentioned, many poor people in Chicago and with the Daily Herald, and those people were immediately gracious, immediately open and wanting to talk, but there was the aspect of, we found, for instance, Tom Young's life, that even still to this day is still clouded in mystery. And but we

Anne Marie Cannon:

did Tom had family he

Eric Walter:

did at the time, his mother, his mother, and his stepfather is still alive. They've since passed. There are some distant cousins that I've been able to locate, but no close family that's still around. Sadly, he was a very, I guess, as I said, solemn character. And it is very curious that he did disappear on his birthday, or close to his birthday. And if he did kill himself, you know, it's incredibly sad and there's been many theories. Often his death gets overshadowed out shine by Keith's bizarre disappearance, but just to look at Tom for a minute. There are so many theories about what happen with him, you know, again, my opinion is that I think it was a suicide. There are some strange coincidences and weird things about it as well. Well, he

Anne Marie Cannon:

was agreeing already. And that's pretty right for all kinds of imagine, well,

Eric Walter:

people, this is where the snowball gets started, people in the town started talking about the after he had disappeared. And before he had been found, they were saying that maybe he was a spy and had been killed for his knowledge. Maybe he was get killed by drug dealers or something. And then the top tier of this whole conspiracy people email me all the time about this. And it is covered in the documentary. But this is kind of one of these theories that has kind of latched itself on to the story is the whole issue of Rocky flats, the former nuclear waste facility in Rocky flats, Colorado that in is sure, you know, in 1989, was a raid that went there, and it was shut down by the federal government for, you know, illegal waste dumping for illegal practices, there have been rumors and whispers of illegal toxic waste, being dumped into buying shafts and Clear Creek county and other places just to get rid of it by the plant. There also had been actual fact that rocky flats, employees, who had acted as more as whistleblowers to what was going out going on before it had been exposed, they had come out and started talking about it to the press were threatened, sometimes they were threatened with death. And so people have theorized over time, that Tom Young was an environmentalist, and that he had witnessed some of this illegal dumping that was going on in the area being that he lived in a in a remote area of silver plume, that he was killed for his knowledge of this this illegal dumping operation. Now, I will say I, I speak on this subjects with a bit of skepticism, because it is a little bit more of like the Roswell theory of the Reinhard case, Reinhard young case, if you want to combine the two or even just the young case, it really is very, because some people have said that keeps disappearance is because of the rocky flats situation to they keep was going to uncover this dumping operation. And, you know, it takes a bit of stretching your mind to make this fill the void. But what is fascinating about it is we actually have found some things and I won't give away what they are attributed to this theory that make it something that you can't completely write off. There are some exclusive things that are going to be in the documentary that are very interesting with some things that Keith actually was researching, and was saying and telling people at a time that's related to this incident that has never been revealed before. It is, as I mentioned, one of these things that it's very fascinating. It's certainly the most conspiratorial, and as I alluded to, with the gypsum story, shifting gears is many people thought that Keith committed suicide as well that he was mimicking Tom's method of disappearing.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Did he have a gun? I mean, did he have a gun on this person, or my understanding is he had nothing. And if somebody who is saying I'm going up there, they would have noticed if he was back in,

Eric Walter:

by all accounts keep was wearing worn out white sneakers, a black and red flannel shirt, and jeans, and carrying a can of pop. And that's it. They're why anyone would leave at five o'clock with no supplies and a can of soda. Just says to me that and like his family believes again, I don't want to speak for them. But it certainly his his son, and his his ex wife and everyone's talking to me as they believe that he was just playing to take a walk that he wasn't going to go all the way up there. You know, there's no way many of them don't think that he went that somebody intervened and prevented him from going up there. They feel that it was a murder some of them

Anne Marie Cannon:

and must be really hard for the family to know I can't even imagine that to not know what happened and all the different ideas and things and wondering and there's no resolution.

Eric Walter:

That's right. And you know, again, the the film is so heavily focused on that and i and i should mention about Tom Young's death. The scene, which there are photographs of the scene in the dock in the documentary, most of the remains were gone. his skull was laying right next to the body of Gus. Both were just skeletal remains there was a gun right next to the skull there were tattered, you know clothing and tattered tarp as I mentioned, there was an open Bullet box with the shells all over the ground, like someone had just in a backpack or red backpack had been taken up there. And a mat which at the time according to news reports and things people who knew Tom found it curious as he knew he knew the mountain so well, why why would he need the map but who knows you need to have map in his backpack, but he had bought the gun, Tom young had purchased the weapon. Some people have said that Tom definitely committed suicide. Some people find it interesting that the night before he disappeared, he went to the grocery store and purchased frivolous items like trash bags, and food and all the normal things just the night before. And then suddenly he asked himself, I don't know, maybe maybe that could be part of throwing the track

Anne Marie Cannon:

because even though they found his body, there's still questions. And I read somewhere that they couldn't connect the bullets with the gun. And I think it's because the gun was it had been out in the elements for so long. And it

Eric Walter:

my you'll, you'll see in the film that we actually have footage of it, we were able to get the sheriff's office to bring that out of the evidence, the actual spent bullet, which is the only thing that's still in evidence, unfortunately, this is to great frustration of our team, I assume for storage reasons and the you know, because it's the guard is turned over there. There's very few people at the sheriff's office that were there at the time. Rick Albert's who's the current Sheriff was he was on the scene actually. And I know that only because it's written in Dave down hours report. That's the detective date down Hauer, who covered both young and reinartz cases that Eric Albert's was there. Don Krueger, the former Sheriff was there. I don't know how many years you've been in Georgetown. But okay.

Anne Marie Cannon:

But I do know a lot about the history. The people you've talked about i i think you interviewed the registers. They're like the royalty of silver plume. Gary,

Eric Walter:

so I definitely Gary is a wonderful, wonderful person. So he has been immensely helpful and loyal to us. And I can't thank him enough for that. And, and that goes to the same amount of people. And like I said, You know, I know that this story. Many people as I mentioned in silver plume, when they even hear the name Keith Reinhard, they roll their eyes because they think that it's brought all this attention to the town, we have not been a fly by night operation. You know, there's so many TV shows and things that come in and just come in in a weekend or three days and they're gone. And they try to make something we've spent so much time trying to get everything. And as I mentioned, there's some things I don't want to give away. But there are some subjects in this film that are completely have never been heard from before. that are going to be even a shock to even the sheriff's office.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I do want to say that before I came on. I watched half of my Amityville Horror. Haha,

Unknown:

yeah. Uh huh.

Anne Marie Cannon:

So you're you are I you know, I love the cinematography. And that, by the way, it was beautiful.

Eric Walter:

So excited. Dark side is even better. So I've gotten even better since I did that.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Look, looking forward to that. But yeah, so I did start I hadn't seen it years ago, but I just started watching it again, because I knew I was gonna going to be talking to you.

Eric Walter:

Right, are you gonna appreciate that?

Anne Marie Cannon:

Well, let's just kind of finish up with the silver plume. The Reinhard story in documentary, when is the documentary coming out.

Eric Walter:

So we are currently obviously with the challenges we had intended, ASAP this year with the challenges of COVID in the industry right now. And so we are working on it. Basically, it's still ASAP but my previous for so for my Amityville Horror, we traveled internationally, we had, you know, a real premiere in our US premiere and European premiere, and all of that, you know, the typical premiere process, and then we go and do the rounds at festivals. And we have full intention of doing that with dark side of the mountain. However, given the challenges of the pandemic, right now, obviously, theater capacities, and all of that have been shuttered. It's definitely thrown us and obviously the entire industry for a loop. So we are right now looking at other options. And that includes possibly going straight to streaming and then going to Netflix to prime these types of things immediately prior to our festival run. But we will see obviously, your premiere matters very much in these in these whole scenarios. So it's you know, where you premiere and if you've already shown online, sometimes you can't show at a certain festival premiere status and all the rest of it. So it there's a lot of talk right now internally and with our team. And well, I will say just so people know, the film has been completed in editorial, and that we are talking about strategy for the best strategy of get the film out there ASAP. And so we're tremendously excited for people to see this. And you know, we've kept the cap on this thing for many, many years. And I'm very excited to finally uncapped this for the world to see.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Wow, I'm really excited about this, and I'm thrilled that you took time out to talk to me about it. And I would like to talk a little bit more about who you are and about your background. And

Eric Walter:

yeah, absolutely. I'm a good question. You know, I'm originally from Maryland, as many filmmakers do grew up making, you know, short films and documentaries, as you know, as a child, with always with an interest in unsolved mysteries and unexplained phenomena. As I got older and began working in broadcast and television back east until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008. began were, you know, basically working up the ranks and working mainly in editorial. During that time, I was contacted by a gentleman named Danny Lutz, who was the son of the Lutz family from the infamous Amityville Horror case. And that is a whole nother long story that I won't be able to completely tell here. But I had also been very, very interested in that story in that case, and it started a website Amityville files.com, which right now, it's only a shell of itself back in the day was a little bit more thorough, and I haven't up kept it as much as since I've been working on this Reinhard thing. But it was popular back, you know, and I was frequenting the boards and things and you know, as a teenager, in my early 20s, you know, was contacted by this gentleman, Danny Lutz, who was the oldest son of that family who lived there for 28 days, and then fled and left everything that they owned inside the house. And, you know, prior to their family living there, there had been a series of, you know, mass murder in the house at the failed family. The oldest son Ronald defeo, Jr, who was 23 at the time had dispatched his mom and dad, his sisters, his brothers inside the house on two floors of the house without any neighbors hearing anything. All the bodies have been found facedown in their beds, some shot in the head most in the back and hit had been unexplained how no one had heard a 35 Marlin rifle going off ballistics was able to determine there was no silencer used on the weapon. So the round three in the morning this gun is going off killing all these people. No one gets up no one runs very strange the Lutz family moves in after Ronnie's convicted you know that would have been in December of December 18 and 1975 and they stayed for 28 days and since then it's the story has blown up into a massive as we all know I sub genre in Hollywood.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I think what I'm going to do is this part that we're talking about my Amityville Horror, I might clip and put more towards Halloween. Oh, that's okay. And then I can link out to your you know, whatever. I'll be your Hey,

Eric Walter:

you're welcome. You're welcome to I'm Welcome to jump back on with you if you want to do an entire Amityville episode I would be more than happy to do that with you because we haven't even talked about what they said happened.

Anne Marie Cannon:

We are going to table that discussion for now. But stay tuned for the release of a mini episode later this week, in which Eric and I discuss his experiences making my Amityville Horror.

Eric Walter:

Well, you know, it's uh, I remember telling my producer friend who came with me to my first trip and silver plume. And I hate to say this about the silver plume, because, you know, it's such a beautiful town and but I said that the whole notion of a stigmatized property, right. And while there were no murders in the Kp building, which was Ted Parker, you know, formally Ted Parker's when we first began shooting, he still owned the building. He is, like you mentioned, there's been kind of an influx of younger people in the town. Now. At that time, there was a little bit, the bread bar was opening, it's still kind of, at the very tail end of it's the older phase. The Kp building was always kind of this, you know, even seeing on unsolved mysteries and seeing pictures of it. You know, this is the building where Tom had a store and Keith that his store, not to say it was sinister, but it looks spooky. You know, it's this old. It's this old, you know, beautiful, mind you but very old storefront. It's actually I believe two buildings put together it's a false front. And that was originally in a different location that was put together in that location. I know Ted Parker, it

Anne Marie Cannon:

paler doesn't help be there that brown, you know, have any color. If they slide the paint paint on it. I think it might look a little different.

Eric Walter:

I know that the current the current owner, or owners, certainly have embraced the Reinhardt story. They seem to be, you know, open to talking about it, which is great. I mean, again, you know, I don't know what the consensus will be after dark side of the mountain releases and start streaming, but it will be fascinating to see you know, what kind of effect it has on I I hope that it doesn't have an effect on the town. Ted Parker told us that, after Unsolved Mysteries aired was subsequently in syndication. Would air ever throughout the 90s and it would go in reruns in early 2000s. And things that people would come back to the town and say there's the building that there is there is talking about Ted. Ted certainly has been very reluctant to speak. I mean, we were extremely lucky to speak to him. Very, very limited. He did speak to us and Ted was very, very gracious and certainly one of Keith reinartz. They were they were best friends. And as I mentioned, they grew up across the street from each other. is over Deerfield, Illinois, in Deerfield, Illinois.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I was wondering about that, okay. Yeah,

Eric Walter:

yeah. Ted had gotten divorced, had been formally moved to Boulder, got divorced and then moved out to silver plume where he had purchased the Kp building and renovated itself from from scratch and filled it with antiques, you know, whenever he lets up, which is fine. Is there

Anne Marie Cannon:

a coffee shop? There was a coffee shop in there? Yeah. Wasn't there? There's a

Eric Walter:

there's a coffee a plume coffee shop there now? Yeah.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Yeah. I've been to that quite a few times. I don't know if they're open right now because of COVID or not.

Eric Walter:

I believe they are. I think I've seen on their social that they are still operating. Yeah. So yeah, I every now and then. I haven't been there this year because of just everything going on. But well, because the film has been completed. I I haven't had a need to go back right away. I will be back I'm sure very soon. But yeah, I know. It's a beautiful building. There were different groups, fraternities that operated in that, you know, the Knights of pythias. I hope that silver plume is able to, for the next century continue to preserve its history, because it's it's really just what makes it stand out in so many different ways. More than the bizarre story we're talking about today. There's so much more history to the town. It's just absolutely fascinating. And certainly, even beyond the Clifford Griffin story, there are other ghost stories and other weird incidents that are worth looking up attributed to silver plume. Yeah. And to Georgetown, Idaho springs. Right.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Well, uh, one more question. And then it will jeweler goodbye. But um, well, two more? Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to talk about?

Eric Walter:

There's plenty of other things I want to say. But maybe we should do a another chat after the after you've gotten to see the film. Okay. And then we can we can maybe talk again, but because there's gonna be a lot that comes out. I think after that about. Hopefully Keith comes out, but we'll see.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Oh, that would be nice. That would be really nice. How old would he be today? He'd be in his 80s.

Eric Walter:

Yeah, that's right. That's right. At 8182, something like that. I forgive me. I knew that number. But all the years are running together.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I know. I think he was born in 39. My mother was born in 32. Was she died a couple years ago, she was 84. So he'd be in his 80s.

Eric Walter:

That's good. That's right. He was he would be in his 80s today.

Anne Marie Cannon:

So what is next for you? What is there another project on the horizon that you want to tell us about?

Eric Walter:

I am always working on several things, as I'm sure you can relate. But without identifying specifically what it is I am working on another cold case in Florida, that I've been working on for several years that's been going on kind of under the radar, as many of these things have to happen that way. But it's pretty, pretty big deal. And we'll see where it goes. I'm very excited for this film to come out. And to be able to devote, you know, full time to that project. I've already begun shooting quite a bit for that and working with some investigators on that right now. And hoping to get back down there. Pretty soon. We're just I'm hoping that the world reopens safely and that we can all go back and we can. I know it will. So so we'll be able to do that. And yeah, but I will I will be creating projects until I disappear myself, I guess.

Anne Marie Cannon:

I'm a projects person myself.

Eric Walter:

I've just recently moved out of I'm still in LA area, but I moved a little bit outside the city to just escape everything right now. This has been a strange year. But Ty was like I would love to move to Georgetown. It's still I met I meant that when I sent that to you. Yeah, it's an absolute dream. I mean, I I wouldn't exclude the possibility because it is just so beautiful. And I just feel so incredibly enlightened when I'm there. That's just fodder for my mind. You know?

Anne Marie Cannon:

Yeah, I like it. It is a different way of life. It takes some getting used to, but I haven't looked back. So.

Unknown:

Yeah.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Yeah. So thank you so much.

Eric Walter:

All right. Well, we should we will We'd love to meet you in person when I'm back in town some

Anne Marie Cannon:

definitely let me know. Do you know Kevin Clark at the Hotel de Paris?

Eric Walter:

I know the Hotel de Paris.

Anne Marie Cannon:

Yeah, he's the executive director there. But he told me about you as well. I know did he guys yeah, he follows your Facebook page or something.

Eric Walter:

The word is definitely out. So I'm happy to do this podcast, let people know that it is coming. It's on its way and people are not going to be disappointed with the amount of things that are gonna be revealed within the documentary, dark side. doc.com

Anne Marie Cannon:

check it out. And check out our episode notes because that'll it'll be in there as well. Eric Walter, thank you for joining us.

Eric Walter:

Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure. Take care. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

Anne Marie Cannon:

There you have it, Eric Walter and the dark side of the mountain. Be sure to check out our episode notes to find out more about Eric, dark side of the mountain release date in about my Amityville Horror. Thanks for joining us today. Have a great week.