Danielle Mick writes for Bleeding Cool from New York Comic-Con. Trigger Warnings for Ghosts, Death and Illness…
Let me start out by saying that I am a huge believer in the paranormal/supernatural. I have had too many squicky experiences to debunk the whole “ghosts aren’t real” thing. That being said, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this panel at all. We were there to discuss the two-hour special episode of Paranormal Lockdown: The Blank Monk House, which premiers on October 31st, part of Destination America’s Ghostober. We were joined by host Damien Holbrook, who kept repeating how stupid their decisions were, which made me laugh. The panel consisted of America’s favorite paranormal investigators Nick Gross and Katrina Weidman, along with their cinematographer Rob Saffi.
When we walked into the room, the tone was set with dim lighting and a creepy soundtrack. (Which was literally just The Exorcist on a loop, basically.) Here’s the gist of the situation. They were both experiencing strange nightmares and hauntings in their own homes and felt drawn to the infamous Black Monk House. They had to stay there for 100 hours. They did not shower. They did not change clothes. They slept on the furniture that was already in the home. The Black Monk House is known as England’s Most Violent Poltergeist. The home has experienced a lot of death, being built on a battleground. The family that originally lived there tried to do an exorcism on the home, but it made the poltergeist, lovingly nicknamed “Fred”, angrier. Unbeknownst to both Weidman and Groff during the time of their stay, the father actually died in the bathroom when he choked on his own vomit. When they first entered the home, they felt sick immediately. The pair of them, along with their cinematographer, experiences extreme fatigue, intense negativity, and complete mental fog during their visit. They made it clear that rest makes you vulnerable. When there were moments where they had “down time” or tried to relax, Fred became more active.
I could not take what they were saying seriously at all. They kept looking at each other and interrupting one another and it sounded incredibly forced, way too rehearsed. We were shown a couple of tricks from the upcoming season of Paranormal Lockdown as well as a first insider scene from the Black Monk House special. There was an excessive use of choppy camera angles and overly dramatic music to make the footage seem more intense than it actually was. There was a point where they “heard something fall” and a steak knife appeared on the stair case. It was perfectly polished, sitting perfectly straight. As they discussed how this was “beyond a warning sign”, I couldn’t help but stare at the mirror in the background that had obviously fallen at some point, into two very even pieces with no jagged edges. Hmm. Interesting.
Apparently both investigators were experiencing hauntings from a previous location. The host joked about how a demon is “like the worst souvenir possible” which I thought was hilarious. We were also shown a sneak peak for a new TLC show, Kindred Spirits, which stars Amy Bruni and Adam Berry of Ghost Hunters. It premiers October 21st.
The icing on the “I’m Annoyed” cake was the response they had to an elementary-school-aged boy. He informed them that he kept seeing his cat, even though the cat that had passed a couple months prior, as well as continuously waking up at midnight and having a hard time going back to sleep. The panel laughed, possibly because the child was adorable, and told him not to worry about it, that it wasn’t a big deal, and he should just roll over and go back to sleep. The child was visibly uncomfortable and seemed to be looking for an actual answer. He kept fidgeting and pulling on his shirt. I wanted to give him a hug.
Groff kept making Jared-Leto-as-the-Joker worthy comments. He commented how the three of them “have a weird, dark sense of humor,” which clearly makes them edgier than the audience. The best quotation came from a fan question who wanted to know about their scariest experiences, which, interestingly enough, were both experienced during their time at the Black Monk House. “Every second I’m talking, we are passing, which is kind of crazy to think about.” Weidman also had a clear message for those skeptics who do not believe their experiences: “Our equipment isn’t hallucinating, it’s not tired. Our equipment is capturing everything we are experiencing it. Our equipment is validating it.”
Believe what you want to believe about shows like this, but remember that Hollywood is an industry and they have a pretty high budget for each episode.