“The Dead Files” on Travel Channel
For many years I’ve watched just about every paranormal related show there is. Around 90% of them include a medium or some kind of sensitive who usually ends up making things seem silly what with their “feelings” and such. On “The Dead Files,” however, this is far from the case.
Amy Allan is the co-host of the Travel Channel TV show “The Dead Files” and also a physical medium who uses her abilities to communicate with the dead in some of the most frighteningly real ways imaginable. Simply put, she’s either the greatest actress in the world or 100% legit. Together with her co-host, retired homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi (interview here), the duo investigate hauntings and phenomena all over the country including Alcatraz and the famed Lizzie Borden House. They bring with them a no bullshit approach that’s rarely seen nowadays, and to say it’s compelling is a bit of an understatement.
Recently Amy sat down with us to discuss not only the show but also what led her to it.
“The first memory I have of dealing with the paranormal was when I was four years old and had encountered shadow people,” says Allan. “I really thought they were my friends. They came every night and I would see them on the walls. It was actually a male and a female presence. They were really friendly and nice. We were friends over a long period of time, and eventually they asked me to go with them. They told me to bite the electrical cord on my humidifier, which I did and was electrocuted. After that I realized obviously that they weren’t good, and that’s kind of when they got scary. They would peel off of the wall and stare at me, or they would scream at me. It was a very traumatizing experience, not only because they were shadow people and they were negative and they tried to kill me, but also because I really thought that they were my friends. They betrayed me in the utmost manner by trying to inflict harm on me.”
Growing up, things only became more confusing and frustrating for the young woman.
“Throughout my younger years there would be random experiences like when I was eight or ten years old. I would see people when I was with my friends that they couldn’t see. and I really didn’t understand that. For instance, one time my friend and I were playing in the living room of my house. We had set up like a little Barbie kingdom of sorts. We then went to get some food, some snacks. When we came back, everything was ruined. Things were all tossed around and torn up, and my friend just screamed and ran out of the house. I was just standing there looking at this little boy who had lived in my house and who was dead. I didn’t understand why she would freak out and was afraid. She didn’t see him; she only saw what had happened to the Barbies, and that was one of the moments where I was like, ‘Hmmm… that’s odd. She was afraid but couldn’t see him, but I could and wasn’t scared at all.’ That was just one of those moments. It took until I was about thirteen years old for me to realize that I was different, and I was really upset by this. I just wanted to be normal. I didn’t want to see these things. I just wanted to be like everybody else.”
Realizing that being normal would never be the case, Allan tried to learn more about what was happening to her.
Amy continued, “For years I had studied the subject of death and the paranormal. I read all of the books and research papers… I was very into the science of it all. In my twenties I started using my ability professionally. I said to myself, ‘Okay, I have this thing and it is not going away. What can I do with it?’ I started doing lots of research to help me get a handle on these abilities so that I could start helping others to understand what they were going through. At first I started giving readings as a means to help people find closure with their loved ones. That was good, but my thing was always that I was seeing all these dead people who were trapped in homes and couldn’t get out. I felt really bad for them, and above all it was them that I wanted to help the most. It really started with me wanting to help the dead more than the living!” *laughs* “The way that the living deal with death and dying and the dead sometimes irritates me. Trying to understand living individuals’ perspective on these things has been a real learning experience for me. I try to educate them so that they have a bit more compassion for those who have passed. We tend to Westernize the subject of death here. It’s very sterilized and we try to keep the subject away from us, but it’s not. It’s something that we’re all going to experience.”
That being said, Amy got immediately to work.
“Over the years I began working with private detectives and police officers and agents. The way that we do the show is very similar to what I did while out in the field. When the idea for the show came about, it was imperative that my partner be someone that was an outside source. Someone who wasn’t biased by me and hadn’t worked with me. That was Steve [Di Schiavi]. It’s an amazing thing that we have together. We work really, really well with each other. He’s an amazing guy, and he knows his shit! *laughs*
Collectively Amy and Steve have now worked dozens of cases together. Most infamous for this writer is “Fear at the Family Tree” (Season 2, Episode 2), in which she encountered something truly ghastly that could only be described as demonic in nature.
“Its appearance was a bit like that,” says Amy of the demon-like misshapen creature, “but what this being consisted of was actually the souls of ordinary dead people. These souls were combined to make up this being which took all of these individuals’ negative aspects and created this incredibly negative entity that is still tagging people who, when they die, will have their soul claimed and integrated into this thing’s whole. Just last week I received an e-mail from the clients, and they are now moving forward with the cleansing I suggested. The actions of this entity were a big worry for me because not only are the owners at risk of dying and being sucked into that hell, but everyone who goes there is as well. It wasn’t just about the legal occupants. It was about all of these people.”
Pretty frightening stuff, and lord knows in order to do this kind of thing you need a pretty rough exterior. So then the question beckoned, has there ever been anything out there that she has encountered that was too much for her?
“I really didn’t like the Santa Fe Prison” (Season 2, Episode 10). “That place was really bad. It made me violently ill. My experiences there have stayed with me for a long time. I absolutely hated that location. I have never ever seen such evil. There was an entity there that I would call a devil. It had so much power, and I could sense that it was never human. It was beyond anything I’ve ever known or dealt with. They didn’t show the scene on the show, but we went into the execution room and I was literally rendered absolutely speechless. It was so overwhelming and horrible. Yeah, that place needs to go. Knock it down… if you really need to put something there, just put like a parking lot.”
With “The Dead Files” returning to Travel Channel this October, we asked Allan what viewers could expect from the new episodes. Being that they’re still shooting, there wasn’t much that she could say; however, she did have this to offer fans:
“Steve and I have been talking about new places that we’d really like to cover,”>says Allan. “One of them is the Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa. That’s something we both would very much like to do to see if we can find out what really happened there and who was behind it. I personally still wish for the Amityville house. I want that so bad. It’s just a fascinating case. For the new season Steve and I have run into a lot of creepy things thus far. Things we have never seen before. It’s shocking, ya know? I think I’ve seen it all, and then no. I’m going to places that I never would have had access to before. The living people I’m encountering along with the dead who surround them… Every time it’s different. Some people ask me, ‘Well why were you so shocked? You’ve been doing this forever.’ What they don’t realize is that it’s not a cookie-cutter kind of thing. It’s never the same. You just cannot expect anything.”
She added, “There’s no place that I wouldn’t investigate. I’m up for anything. I would LOVE to do some international locations. I’d do it in a heartbeat. I lived in Yugoslavia for a long time and have done a lot of traveling, and let me tell you, there is A LOT out there.”
There are a lot of dangerous things in the paranormal field that fledgling ghost hunters and even people just screwing around could find themselves facing. It’s really easy to do something wrong, and Allan had this to say about a very common practice – the usage of Ouija boards…
“Yeah, I don’t like Ouijas. The thing about them that is different than other tools is that it’s a summoning device. What you are doing is you are calling out things… whether it’s dead people or some kind of other scary thing, you are opening a door to let everything and anything in. People need to look at that. This is not just a game; it is a summoning device. You are summoning things to you. When you do that, you are in it for the long haul. You’re screwed.”
From there Amy had some words for people out there who are interested in this most controversial subject… advice on how to go about investigating the proper way.
“There’s a true learning curve to doing this. If you’re passionate and this is something that you really want to do, take some time to read the literature that’s out there. Read about parapsychology, look at the studies. Look at what the proper instruments you need are and find out how they can be applicable in the field. Always do your research first before you go running out there and jumping off the cliff. Through that research and study you will learn how to do it right and, more importantly, how to do it safely. “
Sounds like some good advice, if you ask us. New episodes of “The Dead Files” return beginning Friday, October 5th, and this season also features a number of “Dead Files Revisited” episodes in which Amy and Steve look back on previous investigations and follow up with the clients.
Big thanks to Amy for her time, and a shout-out to Stephanie DePietro for her help in making this happen.
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