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'Shadows in the Desert' Documentary Set to Begin Filming in Anza-Borrego Desert in June


Last updated 6/7/2021 at 8:30am

Have you or someone you know seen something unexplainable? New documentary, ‘Shadows in the Desert: High Strangeness in the Borrego Triangle’ seeks to investigate strange phenomena in the area, in hopes of uncovering what’s really going on in the desert.

The storytellers behind this documentary are Derek Hayes, host of Monsters Among Us Podcast, and David Flora, host of Blurry Photos Podcast.

Flora has been podcasting since 2012. He came to it from a performance background, having acted in/directed/produced numerous shows and groups in Chicago since 2005. His interest in strange phenomena goes back to childhood and a fondness for mythology. He takes an open-minded but skeptical approach, and likes to test theories and claims logically and scientifically to see if they stand up to scrutiny.

Flora hasn’t appeared in any productions on the paranormal, but has moderated paranormal podcasting panels at AlienCon in L.A. and Wizard World in Chicago.

Hayes worked in Hollywood for a decade on films like Underworld 4, The Boy, and Lincoln Lawyer. He has also been an expert panelist on four seasons of Travel Channel’s Paranormal Caught On Camera, as well as several Travel Channel documentaries; but he is best known as the creator and host of Monsters Among Us Podcast. ‘Shadows in the Desert’ will be the duos first documentary collaboration.

The two friends and paranormal investigators will not only produce the film, but also star in it. The project began as a Kickstarter campaign, and after a year of COVID-related delays, will film in the Anza-Borrego area June 15 – 17.

Hayes received and heard of several reports of high strangeness coming from a centralized location in the desert. Upon further research, the phenomena seemed to be taking place in and around the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The area is also not too far from his home, and he’s visited several times, and growing fond of it, which made it even more of a place of interest. It was also difficult to find any mention of the strange things going on in the park in media or popular culture, which is what prompted him to want to do the documentary.

“It started with hearing about the Borrego Sandman and researching that story. Then we began finding more stories, and more stories, of all kinds of strange phenomena - hauntings, legends, UFOs, cryptids, etc.,” Flora said.

“There are a ton of stories out there that seem to get overlooked in the world of strange phenomena, and they’re all concentrated in and around the State Park. There was no official book or collection of all this stuff, so we thought we’d look into it and see if there was something tying it all together.”

Hayes and Flora seek to tell the story of the fascinating history of the area, as well as share real experiences from residents.

“I’ve been visiting the park for years now, hearing about all this strange activity, it’s high time someone did some poking around. I mean, ghost lights, UFOs, and a desert bigfoot, come on, who wouldn’t want to go on that adventure?” Hayes said.

So far, while researching for pre-production, they have been thrilled to find there are even more reports of high strangeness than they expected, but can’t wait to get their feet on the ground in the area again to uncover even more.

“There are more reports than we initially thought there would be,” Flora said.

‘Shadows in the Desert’ is currently setting up pre-interviews ahead of their June filming dates and Hayes and Flora are searching for locals with unique experiences involving the Anza-Borrego Desert region who are willing to speak on camera.

Experiences could include but are not limited to UFOs/UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon), ghost lights, paranormal activity, bigfoot or mysterious creature sightings, energy vortices, etc. The duo is also seeking biologists, geologists, and other professionals connected to the desert to interview. Please know the crew will be as respectful of residents’ stories and knowledge as they will be of the desert itself.

To tell your story, or for more information, contact producer Roxanne Smith at 504-914-1075 or email Interviews are currently being conducted over the phone or Zoom, but the production hopes to set up in-person, COVID-compliant interviews, as well. If you prefer anonymity, production can accommodate you.

For more information about Shadows in the Desert, visit:

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