Discovery+ Tackles Roswell with The Final Verdict

Discovery+ is getting even more out of this world. While the ghost-focused unscripted paranormal programming has dominated the network, the streaming platform is still on the light side when it comes to aliens (with exceptions such as Paranormal Caught on Camera, Ben Hansen's UFO Witness, and older episodes of Ancient Aliens). 

But that's about to change with Roswell: The Final Verdict

The six-part miniseries, premiering with the first three episodes July 2 (the anniversary of the 1947 Roswell Incident), with the following three released on subsequent Fridays. 

Roswell: The Final Verdict will examine the infamous incident at a New Mexico ranch, which then engulfed the entire nearby community of Roswell. Most people directly involved with the event have died, but the show promises to analyze "haunting first-person accounts from the past ... in a totally modern way, using artificial intelligence (AI) lie detection software to test if the eyewitnesses are telling the truth." 

The miniseries is produced by October Films for Discovery+. For October Films, the executive producers are Chris Muckle and Mike Warner. For discovery+, the executive producer is Ron Simon. Ben Hansen also appears to be involved in some capacity, although it is not yet stipulated to what degree. 

Below is the official press release synopsis and episode breakdown. Will you be watching? Is there still a mystery to explore with Roswell, or has every question been answered?

Be sure to follow Paranormal Pop Culture and share this page. 

Did aliens really crash-land near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947? As the world anxiously anticipates the release of declassified UFO secrets from the Pentagon, ROSWELL: THE FINAL VERDICT invades discovery+ on Friday, July 2, the 74th anniversary of the most notorious extraterrestrial incident in U.S. history. 

 The mini-series debuts on discovery+ with three episodes and then the final three will drop on Fridays. In 1947, a rancher near Roswell, New Mexico, claimed to have discovered mysterious debris on his property, triggering decades of official government denials, and countless conspiracy theories, about aliens. Now, tapes of haunting first-person accounts from the past are being analyzed in a totally modern way, using artificial intelligence (AI) lie detection software to test if the eyewitnesses are telling the truth. 

Although most of the witnesses are now deceased, AI permits truth to be separated from fiction and the most important UFO event in world history can be weighed in the balance with all the evidence at hand. Truth seekers will now decide ... the final verdict. "DNA analysis revolutionized crime fighting by reopening cold cases from decades past. Now another type of technological breakthrough is blowing the lid off the secrets the government has kept from the public regarding alien visitation,” said Ben Hansen, former federal agent and UFO expert. “Using new AI analysis, ironically developed in large part for the government, we can now quite accurately ascertain the truthfulness of statements and events as told by witnesses to the most controversial UFO event of all time.” 

Over six one-hour episodes, harrowing accounts drive an explosive and cinematic minute-by-minute exploration of the Roswell incident through the eyes of those who were there. Haunted by a string of sudden terror moments, this is a frightening new journey into the heart of the nation’s most disturbing alien encounter. Like voices speaking from the past, these Roswell witnesses now have science to back up the truth of their claims. 

 Episode 1 – “Crash Landings” – Begins Streaming Friday, July 2 On July 2, 1947, a rancher discovered otherworldly debris strewn across the desert near Roswell, New Mexico. When a U.S. Army intelligence officer investigated the evidence, he concluded, "It was not anything from this earth." Sophisticated lie detection software puts his bold claim to the test. 

Episode 2 – “Alien Invasion” – Begins Streaming Friday, July 2 In July 1947, visitors to the south of Roswell, New Mexico, described stumbling upon a crashed UFO. Some witnesses even claim to have seen the bodies of aliens. Their historic testimony has been dismissed for decades. Now, powerful AI lie detection software puts their extraordinary claims to the test. 

Episode 3 – “Silencing Witnesses” – Begins Streaming Friday, July 2 With mounting evidence of a UFO crash, a future four-star general ordered a press release to announce the news to the world. But just as the Roswell incident is grabbing headlines, the story is suppressed. Cutting-edge AI lie detection software probes the truth behind the cover-up. 

 Episode 4 – “Discredit and Humiliate” – Begins Streaming Friday, July 9 Eyewitnesses claimed to see strange debris and the bodies of aliens in secretive Hangar 84 at Roswell Army Airfield. As activity intensified, the U.S. government revealed its official version of events – a crashed weather balloon. An advanced AI program asks whether any of it can be believed. 

 Episode 5 – “Alien Autopsy” – Begins Streaming Friday, July 16 Did the U.S. government conduct an alien autopsy at Roswell? It has always been one of the most explosive claims about the Roswell incident. Now for the first time, the world’s most sophisticated lie detector probes the evidence to unveil the shocking truth. 

Episode 6 – “Extraterrestrial Truth” – Begins Streaming Friday, July 23 Decades after the Roswell incident, the U.S. government fights to suppress public interest in UFO sightings and extraterrestrial contact. Cutting-edge AI compares the government's account of the crash with what it has uncovered. After 70 years, are we getting closer to the truth?

'The Night House' [Trailer] From Director David Bruckner Looks Scary As Hell

"Do you guys believe in ghosts?"

That's the first line in the trailer for The Night House from director David Bruckner, and starring Rebecca Hall. And it pretty much sets up the next two minutes of a creepy tease for the movie arriving in theaters July 16, 2021. 

As reported by Bloody Disgusting, the film debuted at Sundance last year, and was acquired by Disney Searchlight. The plot "follows a widow who begins to uncover her recently deceased husband's disturbing secrets."

The trailer sets up that Hall's character Beth begins to believe she haunted by her husband, who died by suicide. As she seeks to learn more about the potential haunt, she discovers what appears to be more to the house her husband built. 

Meagan Navarro's review of the film from Sundance said Bruckner (The Signal, the "Amateur Night" segment of V/H/S) "wasn’t content to deliver one well-done scare; Bruckner delivers back-to-back scares within a single sequence." Indeed, there is a great tease of a moment in the trailer that plays with the shape we see in a room that almost looks like a person — and maybe it is. 

Check this out, and let us know what you think. This looks like a fun one. And by "fun," we mean "scary as hell."

(Also, great to see Sarah Goldberg from Barry as Beth's friend Claire.)

-Aaron Sagers


Arnold Schwarzenegger first choice to lead Earth against aliens

Forget "I'll be back," because the Terminator himself has got our backs in the event of an alien invasion. At least that's the opinion of 2,000 British adults, according to a poll commissioned by the network BlazeTV, and conducted by OnePoll.

The study revealed the Top 20 celebrities and world leaders best suited to lead Earth if not-so-friendly E.T.s come knocking, which also tracked belief in life on other planets. After Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith came in close second (he did show his alien ass-kicking chops in both Men in Black and Independence Day, after all). Interestingly, third place was British national treasure and natural historian Sir David Attenborough. But the desire for a calming presence, and great narration of the invasion, is short-lived because fourth and fifth place was Bruce Willis (Armageddon) and Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds). 

Indeed, Cruise's inclusion makes sense, not just because of his on-screen prowess, but his belief in Scientology, rooted in the idea that humans are connected to ancient extraterrestrial civilizations. Harrison Ford (Star Wars) and Sigourney Weaver (Alien) were next up, and The X-Files co-star Gillian Anderson coming in at Number 9 — right after former president Donald Trump.

Trump was the first politician to make the list at No. 8, with Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson further down, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris rounding out the list (full list below).

The rankings, and rankings of politicians, would likely change for a U.S. audience — especially as the new president is in office longer — but a spokesman for the network noted a concern about the lack of real-world leaders in the list:

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is a strong choice for dealing with an alien invasion, bearing in mind he’s not only a screen action hero but was also Governor of California ... although it's worrying to see that so many celebrities with fictional alien experience are considered by many to be better candidates than our current crop of world leaders."

Beyond the celebrity rankings which draw headlines, OnePoll also included impressive statistics about eyewitness accounts of UFOs, and belief in alien life. 

Among the data collected:
  • 11 Percent (one in 10) of Brits: Believe they have seen a UFO. 
  • 56 Percent: Believe intelligent life exists beyond Earth.
  • 26 Percent: Think aliens exist in our solar system.
  • 33 Percent: Aliens could already on Earth, living among us.
  • 30 Percent (about a third): Aliens would visit the planet for scientific research.
  • 52 Percent: Would be frightened at the possibility of an alien invasion. 
  • 31 Percent: It is necessary to establish a dedicated government task force to address potential extraterrestrial threats.
  • 27 Percent: Humans need a battle plan now for invasions. 
  • 26 Percent: Would stock up on supplies if aliens landed. 
  • 20 Percent (one in five people): They would hide out at home until things settled. 
  • 20 Percent: Trust the experts to deal with the threat.
  • 11 Percent: Would try to reason with the aliens to secure peace.
  • 15 Percent: Earth will be dominated by aliens within the next 20 years.
Considering the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and extended lockdowns, there is a lot of interesting parallels to be seen in these poll results. It's difficult not to think of toilet paper hoarding, anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers, when reading about stocking up on supplies, or such a small percentage of people who would trust experts. 

Nick Pope — who investigated UFOs with the British Ministry of Defense — commented that, "if one in 10 people think they've seen a UFO, that suggests there have been literally millions of UFO sightings in the UK ... Sadly, now the MoD has stopped investigating UFOs, there's no focal point for this and most sightings go unreported." 

Pope, who is working with Blaze on its UFO Week, added: "There are some fascinating findings in this survey, and I was particularly intrigued to see how many people thought not only that we're being visited by aliens, but also that they're already living among us — and that they'll dominate Earth in the next 20 years."

However, for his part, Schwarzenegger is ready to lead, according to his Twitter reaction to the poll.

Check out the entire list of Britain's preferred leaders against aliens, and let us know who you think should have made the cut.

TOP 20 CELEBRITIES WHO WOULD BEST DEAL WITH AN ALIEN INVASION

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger (former governor of California, Terminator)
2. Will Smith (Independence Day, Men in Black)
3. Sir David Attenborough (Planet Earth)
4. Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
5. Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds)
6. Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Air Force One)
7. Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
8. Donald Trump (former president)
9. Gillian Anderson (The X-Files)
10. Nicola Sturgeon (Leader of Scotland, First Minister)
11. Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy)
12. Boris Johnson (Prime Minister)
13. Piers Morgan (TV host)
14. William Shatner (Star Trek)
15. Simon Pegg (Paul, Star Trek)
16. Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black)
17. David Duchovny (The X-Files)
18. Mel Gibson (Signs)
19. Kamala Harris (Vice President)
20. Joe Biden (President)

-Aaron Sagers

Britney Spears' House Was Haunted, According To Her Makeup Artist


So it looks like in addition to supporting the #FreeBritney movement, we here at Paranormal Pop Culture need to launch #ExorciseBritneysHouse because her Sunset Strip home allegedly has a ghost problem

In the Feb. 24 episode of the We Need to Talk About Britney podcast, Spears' friend and former makeup artist Julianne Kaye shared that the Sunset Plaza home Britney lived in was haunted. And apparently the haunting was disturbing enough to force the musician to leave the mansion.

Kaye told the podcast Britney called her up and shared she had a reiki healing at that house after a "crazy partying weekend and needed to relax."

"He left, and she swears to God that he opened some spirit portal or something, and these bad spirits had come in…and they were trying to, like, push her down the stairs or something crazy," said Kaye.

The makeup artist said the spirits included a man and woman, who were "very disturbed."

The Ghost Brothers are Flipping the Switch in New ‘Ghost Brothers: Lights Out’ Series

"What do you get when you combine a celebrity barber with two fashion designers, all with a strong curiosity in the unknown?"

That's the question posed by discovery+ about the new series Ghost Brothers: Lights Out. The show follows the Black paranormal team of Dalen Spratt, Juwan Mass and Marcus Harvey, and premieres April 17 on the streaming platform.

According to the network press release,  Dalen a.k.a. “The Bad Boy of Paranormal” is the risk taker; Juwan a.k.a. “Paranormal Poppy” is the suave, pretty boy of the group; and Marcus a.k.a. “The Soul Brother” brings a combination of heartwarming soul and comedy. 

Together, these guys are entertaining and unique in their approach. Plus, the trio has enjoyed longevity in the paranormal TV world going back to their first series in 2016, on Destination America, and most recently on Fright Club with Jack Osbourne.

According to the press release, the approach of Lights Out is as follows: 

Video: Primatologist Dr. Mireya Mayor of 'Expedition Bigfoot' on Unexpected DNA Results

Expedition Bigfoot is currently airing its second season on Discovery+, and the show is touting mysterious evidence of a "non-human primate presence in the Appalachians." This possible discovery is based on eDNA evidence collected by researcher Ronny LeBlanch and primatologist Dr. Mireya Mayor. 

This is going to be explored in the March 28 Season Two finale of Expedition Bigfoot, but I recently had a chance to talk with Dr. Mayor for Den of Geek. She is the real deal when it comes to her scientific work. Dr. Mayor is a Fulbright Scholar and National Science Foundation Fellow, and for nearly two decades, she has been a wildlife correspondent, reporting on wildlife and habitat loss while advocating for solutions to the alarming trends. Her explorations have led to several scientific discoveries, most notably her co-discovery of the world's smallest primates, a brand-new species to science. 

In the following video, we discuss what eDNA evidence is, and why it matters. Additionally, she opens up on the reason she thinks Sasquatch research should be taken seriously. 



Discovery+ Unveils March Paranormal Programming Highlights

The still-new Discovery+ streaming service continues to heavily lean into the paranormal and unexplained genre this March with a sizable rollout of spooky programming. From new episodes of Paranormal Caught on Camera (featuring our own Aaron Sagers), to new Holzer Files, and the season finale of Kindred Spirits, there is a lot for fans to take in. Additionally, we'll be seeing new shows premiering, such as Aliens in Alaska, Nostradamus: End of Days, Fright Club, and Mountain Monsters: By the Fire.


What are you looking forward to in March?


PARANORMAL CAUGHT ON CAMERA

New Episodes, Now Streaming on discovery+

Some of the most amazing, eye-opening and downright scary paranormal videos from around the world are featured as a panel of experts break down the footage and analyze what exactly the eyewitnesses captured. Insights from some of the most knowledgeable specialists in the field and firsthand accounts from the people lucky enough – or perhaps unlucky enough – to witness these strange phenomena for themselves just might make a believer of even the biggest skeptics out there. [Hour-long episodes]

 

“Haunted Goldfield Hotel and More” – Begins Streaming Friday, March 5

A woman is attacked by ghosts at a notoriously haunted Nevada hotel. A Swedish lake monster interrupts a man's morning cup of coffee. Large triangular UFOs loom over Bolivia and New York.

 

“Rainbow Portal in Connecticut and More” – Begins Streaming Friday, March 12

A colorful anomaly in the sky dazzles onlookers in Connecticut. A parade of orbs floats through an abandoned Texas jail. An alienesque monolith pops up in the remote Utah wilderness. All this and much more paranormal footage you have to see to believe!


ALIENS IN ALASKA

New Series, Now Streaming on discovery+

Alaska is a hotbed for UFO sightings, abductions and extraterrestrial encounters. Why are these otherworldly visitors drawn to America's last frontier? Shocking new evidence and personal testimony from local witnesses shed light on the alien activity. [Hour-long episodes]


“Night Stalkers” – Begins Streaming Monday, March 1

An extraterrestrial stalker leaves a family frozen in fear outside of Juneau. A maritime monster nearly capsizes an aircraft on Alaska's famed Lake Iliamna. A hunter thwarts an attempted abduction by a fireball-spitting UFO.

 

“They Walk Among Us” – Begins Streaming Monday, March 8

Hunters unearth new clues about Bigfoot's cosmic origins. An Air Force veteran receives a shocking response when he reports UFO activity over Fairbanks. Piercing lights from above disrupt a late-night party near Wasilla, Alaska.


THE DEAD FILES

New Episodes, Now Streaming on discovery+

Former NYPD homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi and physical medium Amy Allan are back on the case. In each episode of THE DEAD FILES, DiSchiavi and Allan first investigate each case separately. Utilizing his detective skills, DiSchiavi interviews witnesses and experts, and researches the history and facts behind each location. Allan, a physical medium who sees and communicates with the dead, assesses the property to identify what underlying entities reside there. Keeping their findings hidden from each other, the team avoids all contact with one another – coming together only at the very end to reveal their shocking discoveries to the property owners, and each other. [Hour-long episodes]

 

“The Deadly Picture Show” – Begins Streaming Monday, March 1

Steve DiSchiavi and Amy Allan investigate the historic Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles. Phantom footsteps, disembodied voices and physical assaults have the staff on edge, and the manager fears the worst is yet to come if he can't get the sinister activity under control.

 

“Death’s Gallery” – Begins Streaming Monday, March 8

Steve DiSchiavi and Amy Allan investigate a Lancaster, California, museum that's under attack by an evil presence. The manager fears if they don't put an end to the supernatural siege, the dead will assume full control and force the museum to close its doors for good.

 

FRIGHT CLUB

New Series, Now Streaming on discovery+

In a frighteningly friendly competition to freak each other out with the creepiest, craziest paranormal evidence ever caught on camera, Jack Osbourne and the Ghost Brothers – Dalen Spratt, Marcus Harvey and Juwan Mass – each reveal the most mind-blowing supernatural footage they can find. They'll speak to the terrified eyewitnesses who captured it, get insight from psychic mediums, ufologists, cryptozoologists and other renowned experts, before deciding on each episode's “nightmare clip” – the one that haunts your dreams and keeps you up at night! [Hour-long episodes]

“Misty Business” – Begins Streaming Tuesday, March 2

Jack Osbourne, Dalen Spratt, Marcus Harvey and Juwan Mass try to scare the hell out of each other with paranormal evidence of uninvited spectral houseguests, a fleet of UFOs, a mind-blowing mirror mishap and an imaginary friend who isn't so imaginary.

 

“Ghosts Gone Wild” – Begins Streaming Tuesday, March 9

Jack Osbourne and the Ghost Brothers strive to astonish each other with creepy paranormal evidence of a poltergeist picking on a pair of pugs, a glowing donut-shaped UFO and hilariously disturbing footage of ghosts getting freaky in an old brothel.

 

NOSTRADAMUS: END OF DAYS

New Series, Now Streaming on discovery+

This all-new eight-episode series reveals exactly how the world will end, and what will be behind it, as predicted by history’s greatest prophet, Nostradamus. Combining the infamous seer’s ancient words with paintings from a mysterious lost book bearing his name, the series decodes new prophecies and causes of the world’s demise. Nostradamus saw the impending apocalypse 500 years ago, and now it’s up to experts to reveal the terrifying truth his visions can prepare us for. These groundbreaking interpretations uncover the destruction soon to be inflicted upon us by earthquakes, floods, fire, nuclear war, disease, asteroid strikes and more. Are you prepared? [Hour-long episodes]


“Nuclear Apocalypse” – Begins Streaming Tuesday, March 2

Nostradamus prophesied nuclear terror attacks would destroy humankind and decimate the planet. Scholars analyze his horrific predictions to find out when we will face our radioactive apocalypse.

 

“Death From Space” – Begins Streaming Tuesday, March 9

Nostradamus predicted gigantic asteroids would smash into land and sea, obliterating everything and everyone on Earth. Scholars decode his prophecies to determine when our world will be shattered from above.

 

THE HOLZER FILES

New Episodes, Now Streaming on discovery+

After a groundbreaking freshman run, THE HOLZER FILES returns with all-new investigations, from a woman's terrifying dreams that seem to bleed over into reality in her family's coastal home to the origin of the hauntings that lie in a strange rock formation. Led by investigator Dave Schrader, psychic medium Cindy Kaza and equipment technician Shane Pittman, THE HOLZER FILES investigates terrifying true hauntings from the recently discovered case files of America’s first ghost hunter, Dr. Hans Holzer. Recognized as the “father of the paranormal,” Holzer’s legendary four-decade exploration into disturbing hauntings like the Amityville Horror house helped spawn legions of supernatural enthusiasts, more than 120 books and even inspired Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis to write “Ghostbusters.” Now, with the help of Holzer’s daughter, Alexandra Holzer, Travel Channel exclusively reopens Holzer’s most captivating case files – digging into thousands of documents, letters, photographs and chilling audio and visual recordings dating back to the 1950s. [Hour-long episodes]


“Don't Send Them to Heaven” – Begins Streaming Saturday, March 6

In 1968, Hans Holzer fled an unassuming farmhouse out of fear of possession at the hands of a powerful entity. Reports of the current owner’s paranormal encounters sends the team to Waterford, Maine, to confront the dark presence haunting the historic home.

 

“Dead Calm” – Begins Streaming Saturday, March 13

The team embark on an investigation unlike any other aboard the completely empty and notoriously haunted Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. They discover an unsettling presence Hans Holzer confronted in 1976 has risen to the surface, and it just may pull them under.

 

KINDRED SPIRITS

New Episodes, Now Streaming on discovery+


Professional paranormal investigators Amy Bruni, Adam Berry and psychic medium Chip Coffey are facing hauntings unlike anything they’ve seen yet in the new season of KINDRED SPIRITS. Bruni, Berry and Coffey dig deep into the past to identify the restless spirits haunting America’s oldest inns, homes and estates. Utilizing a range of tools and techniques, their multilayered investigations tackle frightening tales of possession, aggressive entities and more. Together, the team elicit shocking evidence and connections with the other side that lead them closer to the truth, as they search for answers behind each haunted tale. [Hour-long episodes]

 

SEASON FINALE: “Hidden Passage” – Begins Streaming Saturday, March 6

Amy Bruni, Adam Berry and Chip Coffey face a residential crisis as they investigate a sudden haunting in Massachusetts. The case takes a bizarre turn when it appears a family member’s actions control the aggressive entity.


EXPEDITION BIGFOOT

New Episodes, Now Streaming on discovery+


The EXPEDITION BIGFOOT team – Bryce Johnson, Dr. Mireya Mayor, Russell Acord and Ronny LeBlanc – have reassembled to respond to the uptick in Bigfoot sightings, just this year. Using an advanced data algorithm, they are honing in on a massive swath of forest in southeast Kentucky, where the mathematical odds of a Bigfoot encounter are greatly increased. This year, their analysis has uncovered something new – possible Bigfoot migratory patterns that may reveal precisely where the legendary beasts will be and when they will be there. Using the latest in advanced technologies, evidence of Bigfoot begins to pile up – including vocalizations, unexplained structures, DNA samples and massive footprints that no man could have left behind. [Hour-long episodes]

 

“The Government Knows” – Begins Streaming Sunday, March 7

Strange unmarked helicopters fly overhead as Russell Acord, Ronny LeBlanc and Mireya Mayor try to make sense of abnormal thermal images they captured near a river. Bryce Johnson reaches out to former federal agent Ben Hansen to get to the bottom of the suspicious activity.

“Lake Fear” – Begins Streaming Sunday, March 14

Russell Acord tracks an unknown creature to a mysterious lake hidden in the mountains. The team enlists a thermal drone to scout the potential Bigfoot hideout but soon realize they are the ones being watched.

 

MOUNTAIN MONSTERS

New Episodes, Now Streaming on discovery+

The surviving members of the AIMS team meet up for the first time after Trapper’s passing to discuss the team's future and embark on brand-new adventures Trapper had set up for them before he passed. Equipped with his personal journal filled with everything he ever learned about the woods, the team travel to the mountains of the Tygart Valley on a mission to prove that there are still wolves in West Virginia. A bounty was put on them, and the last wolf was said to have been killed in 1900. As the team investigates, they soon believe that not only are there wolves in the Tygart Valley, but something much more mysterious and deadly. Throughout the season, the team learn from locals of massive K9 cryptids with glowing red eyes that inhabit the land and are known by locals as Smoke Wolves. As they dig deeper, they realize that Trapper, in fact, knew about these creatures back in the 1970s. [Hour-long episodes]

 

SEASON FINALE: New Episode – Begins Streaming Sunday, March 7

Episode description TBD

 

MOUNTAIN MONSTERS: BY THE FIRE

New Series, Now Streaming on discovery+


The AIMS team gather around a rip-roaring campfire to watch fan-favorite episodes of MOUNTAIN MONSTERS. They add colorful commentary, swap hilarious behind-the-scenes stories and share never-before-seen footage and bloopers, all while making fun of each other as only this group of bearded brothers can. [Hour-long episodes]


“The Hellhound” – Begins Streaming Sunday, March 7

The AIMS team gather around a campfire to look back at their wild pursuit of a freakishly fast canine in Kentucky. The guys revisit an iconic piece of video evidence and give a rare look at Wild Bill's unforgettable exercise regimen.

 

“The Bear Beast” – Begins Streaming Sunday, March 14

The AIMS team gather around a campfire to revisit their hunt for a red-eyed menace in the hills of West Virginia. They recall their deadly showdown with the 1,500-pound beast and get a visit from Elvis.

Ghost Adventures Checks into the Cecil Hotel: Zak Bagans on Investigating the Crime Landmark


BY AARON SAGERS


In Stephen King’s novel The Shining, the Overlook Hotel is an expansive structure with a dark past, located in the remote Rocky Mountains. Despite its opulent beginnings, the hotel becomes a place where brutal murders occur, madness sets in, ghosts lurk, and evil itself is a permanent occupant.


Relocate King’s Overlook to Downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row, and you have its closest real-world equivalent: the Cecil Hotel. The hotel’s checkered history, and lore involving curses and ghosts, has made it a dark tourism landmark situated at the crossroads of true crime and paranormal fascination. But despite lots of interest on the internet, the Cecil, since rebranded as Stay on Main Hotel, has never officially permitted cameras inside for a paranormal investigation.


Until now. Enter Zak Bagans.


(Disclaimer: I have previously worked with Zak Bagans on television shows, and currently appear as an expert on the Travel Channel series Paranormal Caught on Camera.)


Executive producer and star of Ghost Adventures, the long-running paranormal reality series on Travel Channel, Bagans leads his team of investigators on an exploration of a location he calls “spectacularly frightening” in Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel, a two-hour special streaming exclusively on the new Discovery+ service.


For fans of the ghost-TV genre, Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel boasts evidence of scratches, disembodied voices, light anomalies, a faucet seemingly turned on by an invisible force, and more. But regardless of one’s personal beliefs about the unexplained, the special lives up to its hype of a “first time ever” examination of the infamous hotel.


Bagans tells Den of Geek the special is also a culmination of a decade-long pursuit that began “before Elisa even died.”


The “Elisa” that Bagans refers to is Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian student with a kind, sarcastic sense of humor who loved fashion and Harry Potter; she frequently blogged observations about guys she liked, figuring out a place in the world, as well as her own insecurities and mental health struggles. Lam was a daughter and sister, and a real person on a journey of self-discovery before her life ended too soon, and she made the Cecil internet famous. 


While on a solo trip to California in 2013, she went missing and died while staying at the hotel. An elevator surveillance video showed the young woman acting erratically as she pushed buttons, paced in and out of the elevator, and even appeared to be hiding from someone. Her body was discovered in a rooftop water tank weeks after she disappeared. Despite her death being ruled accidental, with her bipolar disorder deemed a contributing factor, questions remained.


But before that two-and-half minute viral video made Lam a popular topic for podcasts — and before American Horror Story: Hotel drew inspiration from the landmark’s past — the Cecil’s reputation was more tied to tragedy than travel despite its beginnings in 1924 as an LA destination, complete with a grandiose lobby.


Multiple suicides took place at the Cecil as well as infanticide and the unsolved murder of Goldie Osgood in 1964. Elizabeth Short, aka the Black Dahlia, was reportedly seen in the hotel bar in the days leading up to her murder in 1947, and two serial killers are known to have stayed there – including Richard Ramirez, who committed a murder spree in the 1980s, and the investigation of whom is the focus of the Netflix documentary series Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer.


“I knew the history of Richard Ramirez there, and the deaths, and knew it was a big creepy building,” Bagans says.


Although prior attempts to gain permission to film there had been rejected, he thinks maybe the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdowns convinced the hotel’s owners to allow it because of the location fee paid by production. “Or maybe they had things happening to themselves and had enough of it,” Bagans says.


Either way, Cecil fits neatly into Bagans’ pursuits, and it comes as no surprise that the hotel has long been on his bucket list. He has a fascination with the darker sides of this world — as well as the next. When not investigating the paranormal on television, he collects and exhibits haunted dolls and possessed possessions, along with “murderabilia” from serial killers, such as drawings by Ramirez.


“I collect his things. I have his death row TV, his sketches, his clothing,” says Bagans before adding, “I study these people.” Bagans says he even visited the Concordia cemetery in El Paso, Texas, where Ramirez “got started” and was said to practice satanic rituals.


As a result, Bagans believes that Ramirez was engaged in a “top-tier possession” with the horrors he was committing ultimately in the devil’s name. Bagans doesn’t give a pass to the murderer but does theorize that the serial killer was generating more negative energy and entities at the hotel.


Saying he believes the Cecil is “saturated with dark energies,” he thinks Ramirez’s satanic rituals added an evil residue to the building. Interestingly, however, Bagans also thinks there’s something supernatural about the grounds upon which the building stands.


Though he references The Shining, he says he also thinks of the Cecil like the vampire-infested strip club in From Dusk Till Dawn. In the final shot of the film, it’s revealed the club sits atop an Aztec temple. Bagans equates the hotel to this, saying it’s part of some ancient “machine.”


“I’ve been to a lot of places throughout the world, but when you walk through the doors of the Cecil Hotel, you know there are other doorways to other worlds,” he says. “If we were to see deeper dimensionally, you would see all these other doors and rooms, and I believe it goes way down into the earth and draws a lot of energy through the earth. It is then magnified by the dark energy and criminal activity of Skid Row, and amplified by the rituals [serial killer] Jack Unterweger and Richard Ramirez did.”


For the Discovery+ special, Bagans says he wanted to be delicate when discussing the circumstances of Lam’s death. He references the hotel’s history of suicide, and murder attributed to temporary insanity, and believes malevolent energies fed off her mental illness and influenced her.


It is admittedly a problematic theory for skeptics and non-believers of the paranormal, but Bagans — like many with lingering questions about Lam’s strange death — looks to her past behavior as telling. Lam had previously disappeared and required treatment but wasn’t known to have suicidal ideations. There were no unusual drugs detected in her system and the initial cause of death was deemed inconclusive.


“It didn’t make sense she was having a manic episode,” he says. “From my research, no one was able to say she had had a manic episode this bad before. If she was having an episode and acting that bad, how could she have taken such a calculated journey to end up in that water tank under that manic sense?”


While Bagans strives not to diminish Lam’s death, he says, “that building has the power to mess with your mind.” During the investigation he says teammate Aaron Goodwin was overcome with feelings of rage, and that his interviewees, including a crime scene photographer, were so disturbed they often needed to leave the hotel.

“You don’t know what you’re feeling there. There’s too many spirits, too much energy.”


Indeed, during the course of the special, the Ghost Adventures crew believe they encounter several spirits, including those of Lam, Ramirez, Osgood, and more. 


For Bagans, investigating Cecil, or even conducting interviews about it, only serves to charge the battery of this machine. But, quoting his favorite film, 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, he says, “there is much to be learned from beasts.” Bagans is seeking to understand the unknown despite the risks.


Whether or not viewers of Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel choose to share his paranormal theories about the building — or simply view it as a strange nexus of true crime — Bagans says there is no denying its inescapable reputation.


“You can renovate it, change the name, or paint it a different color, but you’re never going to erase the darkness of the Cecil Hotel.”


Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel is available to stream on Discovery+.