Devil’s Road: Judy Spera Details Life Growing Up As A Warren


BY AARON SAGERS


When a child grows up with famous parents, it means dealing with overly eager fans, and invasive reporters. But for Judy Spera, the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren – arguably the most well-known paranormal investigators ever --  growing up with famous parents also meant dealing with dark forces, and one notoriously haunted doll.


Spera was an adult in her twenties by the time her parents gained mainstream attention for their work with the paranormal in the mid-70s. But before the Lindley Street Poltergeist case in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1974, or the Amityville Horror, and long before The Conjuring film franchise, Spera’s parents sold Ed’s artwork, and carved out a decent life for their daughter. Ed grew up in a haunted house, and Lorraine was a clairvoyant, and though they had explored unexplained phenomena for years, theirs was a normal existence compared to the talk show appearances, lectures across the globe, and attention that was to come.


And in the Travel Channel documentary, Devil’s Road: The True Story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, Judy Spera opens up about life with her paranormal investigator parents. The special includes rare audio and video from Warren cases. But Spera’s involvement is likewise rare due to her reluctance to be involved with most projects about her parents.


Ed died in 2006, and Lorraine in 2019, so Judy, along with her husband Tony Spera, are the caretakers of the Warren legacy – although it is a legacy she is hesitant to continue. In the following interview, Spera discusses what it’s like to grow up haunted. Along with responding to critics of her parents, she opens up about “that doll” Annabelle (safely contained in the since-closed occult museum her parents left her), her own potential psychic abilities, and what might be next for the Warren name.

Dan Aykroyd on busting out ghost stories on Hotel Paranormal




BY AARON SAGERS

When it comes to paranormal stories, you should listen to Dan Aykroyd. The actor, writer and filmmaker is best known as parapsychologist Dr. Ray Stantz from Ghostbusters, the 1984 movie he co-wrote. But the origins of Aykroyd’s belief in the paranormal has origins in his upbringing as a Spiritualist in Ottawa, Ontario.

Raised with the philosophy that communicating with the dead is a positive practice, Aykroyd’s Spiritualism is a family matter; his great-grandfather Sam was a prominent member of the religious movement, and his father Peter is the author of “A History of Ghosts,” which explores the rise of the public fascination with Spiritualism. Moreover, Aykroyd is a UFO enthusiast, and previously hosted the Canadian paranormal series Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, co-created by his brother Peter Aykroyd, Jr.

 

Now, Dan Aykroyd brings his love of the unexplained to Hotel Paranormal, the new Travel Channel series where the erstwhile Dr. Stantz presents stories of strange happenings occurring in everything from roadside motels to luxury spots across the globe. Premiering July 11, the series features chilling accounts, alongside re-enactments and eyewitness footage from those who check into a hotel, and believe they are sharing a room with someone, or something, that never checked out.

 

On a personal note, this is not the first time I’ve interviewed Dan. After some previous conversations with him about his Crystal Head Vodka and having a chat with both him and his father, we delve right into the paranormal. In the interview that follows, we discuss his family’s connection to Spiritualism, as well as his own Hotel Paranormal experiences, the potential ghost of John Belushi, and what he thinks about that psychokinetic Twinkie in 2020.

The Osbournes return to TV with new paranormal show, alongside believer Jack

The circle, it would seem, is complete. The Osbournes are returning in a new paranormal show. After the MTV series The Osbournes concluded in 2005, Ozzy, Jack, and Sharon are teaming up for The Osbournes Want to Believe, a "caught on camera" Travel Channel series.

Debuting Aug. 2 at 10 p.m., the new series is based around the concept of Jack convincing his parents of the paranormal. Of course, Jack has had a stake in the paranormal for some time now. Jack currently produces and stars with Katrina Weidman on Travel Channel's Portals to Hell. Prior to that, he appeared on the Syfy paranormal series Haunted Highway aired from 2012-2013, and with his father on Ozzy and Jack's World Tour on History, where they visited Roswell, New Mexico, and haunted locations in New Orleans. 

However, the new series combines all of the previous elements for a return of sorts where the "first family of darkness," but borderline skeptics weigh in on the "most jaw-dropping videos of supernatural activity ever caught on camera," according to the Travel press release.

Interestingly, the production company behind the show is Meetinghouse Productions, the same team behind Travel Channel's Paranormal Caught On Camera (which I appear on, in full disclosure). So Meetinghouse knows how to seek out footage. Add to that, the commentary of Sharon, Ozzy, and Jack as they check out allegedly haunted dolls, and Harry & The Hendersons, and this sounds like an entertaining combination that might capture some of the old MTV magic. 

Check out the press release below for The Osbournes Want To Believe:

Rhys Darby Examines Aliens Like Us In New Podcast


BY AARON SAGERS


You know Rhys Darby. You know him as the ever “present” Flight of the Conchords band manager Murray, and the non-playable character guide Nigel in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and The Next Level. You likely know him as a werewolf in What We Do in the Shadows film, and as a were-person in The X-Files revival. You might not know it, but you also know him as the voices of Coran, Princess Allura’s royal advisor on Voltron: Legendary Defender, and as a robot sidekick in the new Disney+ game show The Big Fib. From Jim Carrey’s boss Norm in Yes Man, to Psycho Sam in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, he is just one of those actors you know whose characters are often described as zany, quirky, eccentric.

But you may not really know Rhys Darby.

More than a decade before he first came to the attention of American audiences as the woefully under informed Murray on Conchords, the comedian served in the New Zealand Army as signaller who handled classified communiques. Long before that, he was an Auckland-born kid fascinated with the weird, and into Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World and The Usborne World of the Unknown: Monsters children’s book. This is the same Rhys Darby who previously hosted The Cryptid Factor cryptozoology podcast, and now leads Aliens Like Us, the UFO and extraterrestrial-themed podcast distributed exclusively on Spotify.

And despite the comedy of Aliens Likes Us, which includes songs and short sketches, Darby isn’t playing around when it comes to the otherworldly corner of paranormal pop culture – because this is stuff that’s been ingrained in him since his youth.

“Right from an early age I had a fascination with the weird,” says Darby in a recent video call from his home in New Zealand.

Guillermo del Toro on Gothic 'Graveyard Poetry' and Spiritualism


Guillermo del Toro doesn't do talking points. Rather than give bite-size quotes during interviews, the director has a conversation where he thoughtfully responds to a question.

And few topics seems to get him as excited as the paranormal.

Over the course of several interviews, I've had the opportunity to talk to the Academy Award-winning filmmaker of The Shape of Water, Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone, the Ron Perlman-starring Hellboy films, and more.

In addition to getting insight on those projects, I have appreciated the chance to discuss the paranormal with del Toro.

With that in mind, I dug up this video filmed at San Diego Comic-Con 2015. We sat down to discuss Crimson Peak, hia underrated Gothic Romance that was sadly marketed as a horror film.

This portion of the interview didn't make a final cut, but we are able to chat about how paranormal pop culture impacted the perception of "real" ghosts, and why del Toro likes to show the monsters early on in his films. 

Check it out.

-Aaron Sagers