The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Vampire Ball: Sacramento’s own haunted actress raises money for kids

Scenes from Shannon McCabe’s 2015 Vampire ball.

On a warm fall night fiends and phantoms wander through the California Auto Museum in Old Sacramento, the professionally designed stage and lighting sets highlighting the museum’s collection. Skeletons dangle from antique cars and trucks or hang out in a 1950s camper. A witch rides in an old Studebaker. Zombies, evil clowns and creatures of the night lurk in dark corridors, and the side chambers manifest into a haunted house.

This is Halloween at the Vampire Ball.

Amid the eerie décor, lanterns on tables illuminate the staggered balconies with ghouls and goblins of all kinds. Party-goers sip at a bar stocked with Vampire wine and Blood cocktails, complete with rising mist in every glass. They can smoke hand-rolled cigars prepared by escaped convicts disguised as orderlies, listen to soothing music by The Montanes or tunes to waken the dead by DJ Bryan Hawk. A legion of erotic dancers delights the audience, while an enchantress with a 6-foot python provokes evil inclinations, enticing a local victim to sip champagne from her toes.

In the back of the museum local spirits congregate to watch a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-released video, “The Hunted,” featuring Shannon McCabe, Sacramento’s own “actress of the night” and creator of the Vampire Ball.

For seven Halloweens, McCabe has played the good vampire, generating thousands of dollars for local charities. She is also the lead actress in “The Hunted,” a film by Twelve/27 Production Company, which opens in December. She stars as a formidable assassin in the movie, but acting is just one of her many accomplishments as an entertainer of the night.

Actress, event coordinator, paranormal investigator, and even part-time florist, McCabe calls herself a “Jill of all trades,” although the Vampire Ball takes precedence in her mysterious life.

She and a close friend decided to host the first ball in 2009.

“I actually was sitting around having a glass of Vampire wine with my friend Carol Gillis, and we were asking ourselves what we were going to do for Halloween,” McCabe says.

Her house was too small to entertain a large group of friends, so Gillis suggested a Vampire Ball.

“I laughed and said, ‘Yeah, why not?’” McCabe recalls. “The movie ‘Twilight’ was very hot in 2009. We had about 125 people that year. We’ve grown over the years from word of mouth and a truly charitable group of friends helping us out. Last year we had about 700 people attend, and we raised over $90,000 for the UC Davis children’s hospital.”

Over the years McCabe has adopted different themes from vampire movies. The theme of this year’s Vampire Ball was Quentin Tarantino’s “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

“We decorated the museum like the Titty Twister Bar in the movie; we even had a dancer, Jessica Will, with her 6-foot python, perform the snake dance that Selma Hayek’s character preformed in the movie,” McCabe says.

McCabe credits her team of Leslie Breitspredher, Erica Breitspredher, Daniel Stanfield, Wendy Russell and Carole Gillis, as her main core group of creative minds.

“I’m proud of bringing this group together who may not normally co-exist in an event, and bringing my friends from everywhere to work together in a nice cohesive unit,” she says.

Before branching into the entertainment business, McCabe attended Sacramento City College in 1994. Since then McCabe has been associated and has worked with movie and television productions examining the paranormal for several years.

In 2007 she was the head paranormal investigator and creator of HPI (Haunted Paranormal Investigations) group. McCabe has been a paranormal investigator and the owner of H.P.I. International since 2004 but has had previous experience with paranormal activities. She has written articles for Haunted America Tours and has been on many paranormal radio shows.

McCabe was invited to be a guest star, because of her paranormal expertise, by Two four Productions UK in “Conversations with a Serial Killer, Richard Trenton Chase.” Chase was known as the vampire of Sacramento, a serial killer with an unusual provocation for drinking his victim’s blood and cannibalizing their remains. She also guest stared as a research specialist on the Mayan Apocalypse with Showtime for the broadcast of “Bullshit” with Penn & Teller in 2009. Additionally, she participated with the cast that hunted for the ghost of Michael Jackson with TV psychic Derek Acorah for Sky 1 network in London.

This year McCabe chose three charities to receive the proceeds from the Vampire Ball — The Spirit of Children, UC Davis children’s hospital and Shriners Hospital will receive equal portions of the charitable donations from the Vampire Ball.

“We were shooting for $150,000 this year,” McCabe reports, “but we will donate whatever we made and look forward to increasing that amount in years to come. I guess you could say that we are taking a bite out of hospital expenses for sick children and their families.”

Editor’s note: The story and photos were provided by Mainline magazine photo editor, Tammy Kaley.

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