Is killing you worth risking prison?

Frank Bannister

psychic investigator

Do care that I'm a scumbag? by me
Player nickname: Red
Player LJ: None
Way to contact you: AIM, Plurk, PM
AIM: LilLegalGuru
Other: Plurk - RedGuru
Are you at least 15?: Y
Current Characters: Severus Snape

Character: Frank Bannister
Fandom: The Frighteners
Character Notes:
In 1990, Frank Bannister was a famous architect living in the small California town of Fairwater with his wife, Debra. He was over-seeing the building of their dream home when his own selfishness sent his life spiraling out of control. It was a decision that he would regret for the rest of his life.

While their marriage had been rocky for some time (this is speculation but based on the movie showing Frank as an alcoholic and how Frank is able to later see himself in Ray Lynskey and how his behavior must have affected Debra in seeing what Lucy goes through) Frank and Debra were still clinging to the American dream of a happy marriage and a beautiful home. The straw that broke the camel's back occurred on July 3, 1990. Debra was visiting the construction site when she found out that Frank had placed a four-inch slab of concrete over the spot he had promised to build her a garden - building a basketball court for himself behind his wife's back. A heated argument broke out between them which was only heightened by the fact that Frank had already started drinking for the day. Furious, the two left in their 1984 Volvo to avoid the curious attention of those working on their house.

The fight continued as they sped along winding roads. At one point, Debra demanded Frank let her out of the car but he refused and the car hurtled faster toward a tragic fate. At approximately 12:37pm on July 3, 1990, the car left Holloway Road, plummeted down an embankment, and crashed.

Debra was found 15 yards from the wrecked car with the number '13' carved in her forehead. As for Frank - he was found two hours later with no recollection of what had happened. The local police suspected Frank had murdered his wife even going so far as to investigate his work tools. They were unable to locate a utility knife that Frank kept in his tool box and which he had bought new blades for only that morning. The utility knife would have been the perfect instrument for carving the number into Debra's skin. However, it was here that the investigation reached a dead end and when no more evidence could be found the case against Frank was dropped.

Years slipped by and the small town didn't change much but Frank did. With whispers still abounding regarding what role he may have played in his wife's death and haunted by his own guilt, Frank withdrew from the community, threw away his career as an architect, and became a recluse, living in the unfinished, one time 'dream house'. With no windows, electricity only supplied by a main box outside, cutting up the frame of the house to burn for heat, and mainly plastic tarps for outer walls and roof, Frank's only company seemed to be the demons that plagued him - or so it seemed.

Frank had a secret - he could see and communicate with the dead. His own near-death experience in the car wreck altered his perception of reality to the point that he could see and interact with more than just the living world. His architectural future destroyed, Frank took up a new line of work with his newly awakened ability - psychic investigator.

The broken man heads to the graveyard and finds himself three wandering spirits - Cyrus, Stuart, and the Judge - and strikes a deal with them. The spirits come to live with Frank and, in turn, they become partners in Frank's new line of work as a 'ghostbuster'. However, instead of getting rid of ghosts Frank picks out houses with wealthy occupants and sends the three to haunt it. The unsuspecting victims contact Frank for help and he 'helps' excise the spirits for outrageous fees.

In addition to conning people into thinking they have haunted houses, Frank scans the obituaries for more work. He finds out who has died recently and stops by the funeral to offer his 'services' to the grieving families - offering to connect them once again with their loved ones. By and large, though, it is a scam - he tells them what they want to hear and takes their money.

His ill-gotten gains go toward keeping the bank from taking his unfinished house and, he claims, toward finishing said house. However, the Judge correctly observes that Frank will never finish the house because he is too far gone in his own world - hanging onto the past and a piece of the woman he took for granted and, in the end, caused the death of. One part of the house that is complete, though, is a garden - over top of a basketball court. The odd display is a quiet memorial and one of the few glimpses we get into who Frank really is - a deeply depressed and lonely man who sincerely regrets his past but feels there is nothing he can do to change himself or his future.

What Frank doesn't know and won't know for many years is that the car crash was not his fault. There had been a log placed in the road which caused Frank to swerve the car and crash. The log was there on purpose - Patricia Ann Bradley had put it there to cause a crash. She had recently been released from prison to the custody of her mother having been convicted of being an accessory after the fact in her boyfriend's, Johnny Charles Bartlett, killing spree in which 12 people were murdered at the sanatorium Patricia's mother ran and where Johnny worked as an orderly. Johnny was put to death and Patricia was given life in prison.

After being released, conditionally, in 1990 from prison Patricia returns to her family home that is located on the grounds of the now closed sanatorium and is near where the Bannisters were building their house. Patricia is kept under close watch by her mother but despite this Patricia goes about setting up a link to the Other Side and brings Johnny's spirit back using his ashes which she now has in her possession. She and her dead boyfriend go about continuing his 'work' as a murderer and Debra was victim number 13.

The trauma of the events caused Frank to block out his memories of the tree and swerving, a well as watching as Johnny squeezed the life out of Debra and Patricia carved the number into her forehead using Frank's own knife. Occasionally, he will have flashbacks and an image of a Grim Reaper-type creature haunts him but he does not realize that what he is seeing are memories of what really happened on July 3, 1990.

By 1995, mysterious deaths have been occurring regularly in Fairwater - deaths caused by massive pressure placed on the heart, as if to squeeze the life out of the victims. Frank sees this as nothing more than a boost for business. Unfortunately, what he hasn't realized yet is that these recent deaths are connected with Debra's death five years earlier. Johnny, with the aide of Patricia, is continuing his reign of terror, determined to make a name for himself with an even higher body count.

It is in the midst of the series of odd deaths that Dr. Lucy Lynskey and her husband, Ray, move to Fairwater. Only three months into living there, Lucy is tasked with seeing another doctor's patients for the day as he is attending a funeral. One of those patients is Patricia. Lucy is tricked by Patricia into believing that her mother is abusing her. Old Lady Bradley, former director of the psychiatric hospital, realizes what Patricia is doing and throws Lucy out, telling Lucy that she knows the truth about her daughter - that she is just as much a murderer as Johnny was.

Meanwhile, at the funeral, Frank has made his best efforts to hand out his cards before being told to leave. As he does his horrible driving lands him right in the Lynskey's front yard as he swerves to avoid hitting a truck. Ray threatens to sue Frank to get the money to repair the damage but Frank tries his best to shrug it off. However, he knows that Ray is cheesed enough that he will follow through on the threat. Frank comes up with a plan, going so far as to getting a copy of the blueprints of the Lynskey's house and diagramming it on poster board. Using sticky notes he plots out what activity will be done by which ghost in which room.

The scam goes off without much of a hitch - save Cyrus and Stuart not being able to complete all the tasks assigned because they were worn out by lifting a bed off the floor with Lucy on it - and Lucy calls in Frank to get rid of their ghosts. In exchange for forgetting about what he owes them for the damage to the front yard Frank 'clears' the house of ghosts. Ray sees right through Frank as a scam but Lucy has some faith in him and tries to keep her husband from completely alienating him.

Everything seems like it will be perfect until Frank sees a fiery number carved into Ray's forehead - something only he can see. Terrified he leaves the house. Later when he asks the ghosts which one of them made the number appear neither knows what he is talking about. The memory of his wife that the number evoked puts him in sour mood for the rest of the night.

As it turns out, the number was a sign - a sign that Ray was the next on Johnny's death list. Each one of his victims at the hospital had numbers carved in their foreheads and he has continued this habit even in death. Ray dies within hours of his argument with Frank leading some to believe that perhaps Frank had something to do with it. Frank, who is accustomed to being the subject of rumors by this point, ignores the town's whispering but when Lucy calls on him to help her contact Ray he can't say no - one, because he has bills to pay and, two, because he feels some sort of pull to help Lucy. Perhaps it is because she reminds him of his own wife - long-suffering at the hands of a selfish brute.

This is where I pull Frank from in his canon - right after Lucy talks to him in the graveyard as they are leaving Ray's funeral. A good chunk of this history is taken from the Director's Cut of the movie and from the director's commentary. As these are things that were supposed to be in the movie but were taken out for timing reasons I consider them to still be part of Frank's canon.

Frank likes to pretend he doesn't care about anyone or anything but it's a lie. The truth is that he is afraid to care - afraid to feel - after the tragic death of his wife which he still believes is his fault. He didn't murder her but he believes his actions of drinking and driving too fast were what led to the crash that took her life.

As such, Frank, while he will never confess it, does not believe himself worth loving or caring about. He keeps people locked out of his life so that he does not encourage the forming of new bonds. It is a form self-punishment that he is only vaguely aware he is taking part it - if anyone tried to call him out on it he would deny it. He doesn't see much of a purpose in his life and, in all likelihood, probably believes he should have died the same day as his wife. He cannot understand why someone as loathsome as himself was spared and yet Debra died. He can't make sense of the justice or reason in that and this is one of the things that gives him a very cynical view of the world - the universe is random and unforgiving.

The ghost hunter wasn't a very pleasant person before his wife's death -a self-absorbed, selfish, alcoholic - and Debra's death doesn't do much to improve his disposition. He is still self-absorbed and selfish - blatantly using his ghostly business partners like they are things and not human spirits and stealing from those who have lost loved ones. However, he it appears he has stopped drinking as he is not shown drinking in the movie after the car crash in 1990. Perhaps it is this fact that has led to him being at least tolerable to have around. His arrogant attitude has taken a nose-dive and he prefers to be ignored.

He keeps to himself in a house that no one would visit even if they were paid because he does not want anyone in his life. He has given up on the living world and only keeps company with ghosts. Logically, Frank knows that he is a loser - living life the way he does - but emotionally and psychologically it appears he is clinging to the unfinished house as a way to avoid the reality that his wife is dead. He contends he will finish the house someday but even he knows, deep down, it is a lie. He just doesn't want to acknowledge that the world has moved on - not while he feels his life ended July 3, 1990.

Still, Frank has a quick wit and is always ready with a retort or a cruel comment. He has little respect for the living as he sees them merely as sheep to be fleeced. While many think Frank is just a fraud the truth is that he is the real thing - he can see and communicate with the dead. In addition, he is able to pick up on psychic impressions on places that have had something emotionally charged occur there. But while others would use such abilities to help their fellow humans, Frank uses his gifts to make money and keep people away.

There is a certain amount of charisma that Frank possesses - a boyish charm. His slight height (not even reaching 5' 5"), expressive blue eyes, and ready grin serve him well in his con artist ways. There is a hint of handsome - the makings there and the impression that if he actually gave a crap about his appearance he would be very attractive. However, he seems determined to hide this fact. His clothes are ill-fitting (example: rolling up the legs of his pants when they are too long) and his hair looks like it's a self-done chop job (which is is) - serving as yet another barrier against others and are an outward expression of the darkness within him.

Generally, easy-going, Frank can turn from joking to raging in the blink of an eye. His moods are unpredictable and he makes no apologies for his temper. While it rarely comes out Frank's temper is vicious and cruel. In the years since his wife's death he seems to have curbed his outbursts to a great extent but we still get a glimpse at the 'old' Frank when something hits a nerve and he lashes out.

In the end, though, if someone can break through all the walls he has built around himself, Frank is a good person. He is tormented by his past and his abilities. Being so closely connected with death - such a powerful psychic - and yet using that connection to swindle is at odds with the good that could be done with his gift tears at his very soul. An astoundingly broken man, Frank Bannister is cold to keep away love when it is actually love he needs the most.

Other: Frank Bannister is a brilliant man as evidenced by his past as an acclaimed architect. He is seen in the movie as using his knowledge of buildings and building laws to plot his scams (seen in the Director's Cut when there is a scale diagram shown of the Lynskey house - something he could have only gained the knowledge for through getting a hold of the building plans). Despite his obvious intelligence he comes across as an uneducated slob. This is both by plan and by accident - he uses how people perceive him to trick them but his appearance and his use of words are also products of his hatred of himself and his deep-seeded desire to run away from his past. He has little regard for rules or authority and his driving is enough to scare even the ghosts he works with.

It appears that Frank is no stranger to using firearms as evidenced in his ease of handling even automatic weapons in the movie. While he is short, Frank is physically strong - probably a way for him to compensate for his height but also a result of his five years of work as a psychic investigator. He is not afraid of heights as he is shown walking around on the roof of his partially built house in the Director's Cut, even walking on the bare frame - no shingles. He appears to be sure-footed with quick, accurate reflexes. He won't shy away from a fight and is a scrapper - a lot of power and fight in a little package. Frank may not win every fight he gets into but you can be sure the winner will not walk away unscathed. He does not fear death - going so far as to being willing to commit suicide without hesitation in order to stop Johnny.

As far as Franks actual psychic abilities:
-He can see, talk to, and touch ghosts
-He can sense ghosts
-He has the ability when he himself is a ghost to pull the spirit out of a living person
-He can see portals to the 'Other Side' - tunnels of light
-He really can detect when a building is haunted
-Ghosts are able to touch and interact with him
-He is able to enter into memories that are left imprinted on places (he is able to transition, without meaning to, from the present abandoned hospital to the hospital on the day Johnny went on his killing spree in the blink of an eye and watch the events unfold but is not able to interact with or be seen by those in the memory)

Additional Links:

First Person (entry type):
So. Say you find a wallet on the sidewalk and there is no one around - what would you do? Would it depend on how much was inside the wallet? Would it matter if there were just credit cards in it? What if it had a driver's license in it so you could return it easily enough?

Would you turn the wallet over to police? Would you take out the money first then turn it in? Would you just walk on by the wallet and not bother with it in the first place?

Questions like these and their answers can tell you a lot about a person. The person who takes the money could be seen as a thief or as someone taking what fortune has dropped in front of them. Perhaps that wallet was something you were destined to come upon. Would you be denying your fate by not taking the money in the wallet? The person who returns the wallet or turns it over to the police could be seen as just and upright. They could also be seen as a uptight idiot who doesn't see an opportunity when it is right in front of them - a fool.

Me? I prefer to just walk on by and mind my own business. The fact that the wallet might be found by someone else with no money in it is of no concern of mine. I have more important things to think about - like what I'm going to spend the money that mysteriously showed up in my hand on.

Third Person:
It was raining again. The gentle patter of raindrops upon the tarps that covered a good portion of the house evidenced this as did the steady stream of water that was running down the wall in the 'kitchen'. Alone and unconcerned Frank Bannister sat at a table, mind focused on his bowl of cereal.

He preferred rainy days. Bright, clear days, full of sunshine mocked him. Such days served only to point out in glaring clarity his short-comings and his mistakes. Sunny days reminded him of a hot summer afternoon that he was forever trying to forget.

Of course, he would never forget that day even when it was as gray and miserable as it was today. Frank only needed to look across the room to be reminded of his past. Three men stood there, bickering over who was attracting the flies in this time. No one would know why Frank was favoring the wall with a weary smile because no one else could see the men - they were ghosts.

Frank would forever remember his past - his wife's death and that it was his fault she was dead - because his past allowed him to see spirits. His past had given him psychic abilities - abilities he now used to con the good people of Fairwater, California. His past was how he made his living and the three ghosts who lived with him served as a daily reminder of what a failure he really was. Death was how he made a living. It was his present and his future - his fate. It was a fate he alone had created. This was his richly deserved punishment for his selfish, arrogant ways.

The psychic prodded his breakfast a little more with his spoon, glaring at the now soggy flakes. Great.


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