Los Angeles is rife with ghosts, and paranormal investigator Zak Bagans is on the hunt. The host of the Journey Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” and his crew of spirit sleuths have roamed town, capturing all method of unexplained phenomena on digicam. Among the many haunted locations they’ve explored are the dreaded Cecil Resort, the Black Dahlia home, Hollywood’s American Legion Submit 43 constructing, downtown L.A.’s Roxie Theatre, Pasadena’s Ritual Home and the Los Angeles Police Museum.
“We focus on Los Angeles because the locations here offer so much in the form of hauntings and mysterious history,” Bagans says. “It’s a smorgasbord of pure, haunted dreams.”
Right now we’re on the Comedy Retailer, the Sundown Strip membership recognized for 2 issues: launching the careers of such comedians as Richard Pryor, Jay Leno and Roseanne Barr and scaring the bejesus out of numerous performers and patrons throughout its half-century run. Demonic growls within the basement, flickering lights on stage and manifestations of a person wearing a World Conflict II-era navy uniform are accredited to the constructing’s former life, when the cavernous construction was house to Ciro’s nightclub. Celebrities and mafia bigwigs like Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen frequented the venue all through the Nineteen Forties and ’50s. Legend has it that the place was used to extort, torture and kill those that crossed the mob, and the spirits of these unfortunate victims nonetheless hang-out the place immediately.
“Did you see that?” Bagans asks throughout our interview within the Comedy Retailer’s empty important room. “I just saw an amber orb fly into your shoulder.”
Go forward. Make enjoyable of us. However I’m formally freaked out as a result of I undoubtedly felt one thing, be it a waft of chilly air from the AC vents, an adrenaline rush from this morning’s espresso or an otherworldly presence tugging at my sleeve. One factor’s for certain: I’m a ghost-hunting light-weight. Bagans and his crew of Aaron Goodwin, Jay Wasley and Billy Tolley often lock themselves in a location in a single day and shoot in pure darkness. I requested we do our run-through throughout the day, with the lights on. It must also be famous that I keep away from Ouija boards and have by no means made it by all two hours and 12 minutes of “The Exorcist.”
Bagans and I search for spikes on the electromagnetic meter he’s positioned between us on the sticky cocktail desk. Nothing. However that doesn’t cease us from speaking in regards to the orb incident for the subsequent two hours as we scour the remainder of the membership.
Religion is every part within the paranormal enterprise, and these guys are true believers. They’re not alone. Creepy investigations, from multipart collection to bite-size social media posts, have proliferated on cable TV, YouTube, TikTok and different platforms lately. If you happen to haven’t seen certainly one of these exhibits earlier than, think about the “Scooby-Doo” crew poking round a haunted resort, besides these are actual of us armed with high-tech gear and the offender is rarely the innkeeper. “Ghost Adventures,” which can be obtainable on the streaming service Discovery+, leads the pack within the spooky realm of paranormal programming. Bagans has misplaced depend of what number of episodes the collection has aired, between greater than 20 seasons and a raft of specials, however he is aware of it’s nicely into the a whole lot.
“People keep complaining about how weird I am, and I’m like, ‘Wouldn’t you be if you did this every other week, at the darkest places you can find?’” Bagans says.
At 45, he doesn’t seem all that eccentric. Actually, you may mistake him for some other tattooed, spiky-haired dude in his hometown of Las Vegas, if not for his sixth sense and his bouts of possession caught on tape. He says he at all times felt “different” and had “experiences,” which is why he made the 2004 documentary “Ghost Adventures” detailing an eerie run of occasions he had as a movie scholar in Detroit. The movie paved the best way for the Journey Channel collection.
The tall, darkish and bespectacled ghost detective now has hundreds of thousands of followers and followers who gravitate towards his earnestness and depth. With every investigation he addresses spirits in a booming voice, coaxing them to return ahead, and half of the fun is witnessing his reactions. Bagans is a human meter tuned to occult vibes. He’s typically startled, terrified, unhappy or overwhelmed “by the energy” he feels. He’s change into bodily unwell from the encounters, or shuts down utterly. It’s actual, he says, and accusations on the contrary sting.
“I am sick and tired of people calling me overly dramatic,” says Bagans, who in particular person is a mild soul, if not awkward and barely nerdy. “It really upsets me. I’m a magnet for energies and I can’t turn that off. I’m a hyper empathic person. … You start crying, I’m probably going to start crying too. There’s someone bad in the room, I’ll sense that and it’ll give me a headache. I can’t turn it off.
“Within the human brain and the conscious mind, there is an electromagnetic energy field,” he continues. “When you die, that electromagnetic field doesn’t disintegrate. Ghosts have an electrical charge to them and I’m sensitive to that. I feel it, I’ll get those goosebumps. I’ll feel that static charge.”
Our hunt by the Comedy Retailer isn’t a extremely charged encounter so far as the annals of “Ghost Adventures” go. I blame myself for insisting this be a daytime affair. The spirits are disgusted by my cowardice. Bagans and the crew say I shouldn’t be so laborious on myself. Ghosts might be shy, like folks, and simply because there was no quantifiable response to Bagans’ repeated requests that entities present themselves, it doesn’t imply they aren’t there.
We stroll up a slender staircase to the Stomach Room, the crew loaded with extra gear than an Space 51 surveillance crew. Together with the aforementioned EMF detector is a extremely delicate audio recorder that picks up digital voice phenomena (EVP), a digicam with a particular lens, a temperature-sensitive video gadget and Goodwin’s old-school Polaroid. “I snap like a billion of these just to prove that whatever we see on the other cameras isn’t doctored.” Goodwin is the comedian reduction. Followers of the present seek advice from him as “Zak’s bait of choice.” He’s despatched into the worst conditions, alone, simply to see how he’ll react: “I want to market a ‘Ghost Adventures’ diaper because I’m always getting the s— scared out of me.”
Not so much occurs throughout our mini-investigation, however, to be truthful, it’s extra of a walkthrough designed to point out this Instances journalist how the method works. My huge discovery: Lugging all that gear round is a chore. “We want to show there’s a whole other dimension of life that’s undetectable by the human eye, Bagans explains of the infrared light, ultraviolet light and digital recorders when I ask if all this stuff is really necessary. By the time we reach the spooky green room, the tiny space is so hot and claustrophobic I put aside my fear and hope for an evil presence to chill the air. The more sinister, the better.
It’s rare that the team catches a fully materialized apparition on film. They say their best catch was a cowboy materializing on camera during their exploration of California’s Cerro Gordo ghost town in 2019. They do capture unnerving EVPs of disembodied voices demanding they “GET OUT,” “DIE” or “HELP.” The present season of the present options such hair-raising “evidence” from the so-called Los Feliz homicide home — two episodes’ price of scares — and the shuttered Los Padrinos Juvenile Corridor in Downey.
Bagans, the crew and I wind up again down in the principle room, the place we attempt as soon as extra to conjure a response from lifeless gangsters or the poor stool pigeons rumored to be buried within the basement. “We usually have to pick through 30 hours’ worth of footage, recordings and other stuff for the few minutes we capture on the show,” Bagans says. We’ve solely two and a half hours for our investigation, however the Ghost Adventurers have been right here earlier than they usually documented loads of mysterious exercise. I’m fairly certain I’ve put a damper on the hunt — till I verify my very own cellphone footage and spot a frenetic spec of sunshine jetting across the guys. They watch it excitedly, however my discovering is debunked as a mirrored image from a mirror. Disproving phenomena can be a part of the method.
After I get house and go over the remainder of my footage and spot a floating orb of sunshine about Bagans’ head. Lastly, one thing! I e mail the footage to a consultant for the present who passes it on to him. The “dust particles wouldn’t be picked up like that without your phone light,” he advised his rep, “and the trajectory of it is also a little unique and jagged, whereas a dust particle would have more of a floating effect, like a snowflake.” Bagans couldn’t definitively say it was supernatural however was “definitely intrigued” given the “other light anomalies he experienced earlier.”
I’m hooked, and prepared for the Cecil Resort. Deliver it on, haunted L.A.