1949. A small boy underwent an exorcism to rid him of the demonic forces that were killing him. 1971. Author William Peter Blatty wrote The Exorcist based upon the case. 1973. William Friedkin shocked audiences everywhere with his big screen adaptation. Enter 2013…
For their milestone 100th episode the “Ghost Adventures” crew, Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin, head to St. Louis to investigate the house where the actual exorcism transpired decades ago. Having already seen a sneak preview of this episode, let me assure you of this… it’s just as creepy as it sounds and stands as one of the absolute most frightening of the entire series.
To talk about this episode and more, the guys took to a conference call, and we have the highlights of what was said and what went down. Get comfortable, and check it out!
Zak Bagans: It’s been a long journey, and in that whole process of investigations, we have really matured as paranormal investigators because we have seen and felt and heard just how real and dangerous this field can be.
The 100th episode at the Exorcist house deals with something that we’ve all been through before, possessions. So this was about learning more about the experiences we went through. Experiences that Nick, Aaron and myself you know as brothers and as friends helped each other through. We were there for each other in those moments. And it’s something that the three of us will really only understand because we were there to feel it and to witness it.
To be at such an iconic home that housed the world’s most famous possession and exorcism and to learn the truth about it and to actually speak with an ancestor, a great niece of the chief exorcist, Father William Bowdern to interview her and hear her side of the story… To actually hear about her witnessing her uncle at a Christmas party and talking about the actual exorcism was a true honor for us. But to see her look inside our eyes and tell us “I will not go to that house for the interview. I will not even go down the street to do this interview.” That erased any skepticism that I had about if this house was haunted. I’m a firm believer that a haunting takes place where somebody dies a tragic death or a suicide. You know a supercharged emotional event attributed to a death that creates a portal, a doorway to a haunting and a residual energy that houses a nest for that entity. But I was unaware that an exorcism that housed supercharged emotional energy dealing with a spiritual event of Satan himself is just as powerful as the deaths or anything like that.
We went there to investigate a man who claims that he was recently attacked in the home in 2009. A man who’s credibility was really, really strong through the words of the great niece of Father William Bowdern. She validated his credibility. Ultimately this is what attracted us to the house and to investigate with the questions of did the demon reemerge itself from the exorcism in the 1940s, was him simply experiencing this psychic scars re-manifesting from the residual energy of the stone and wood surfaces of the home. That is truly what attracted us to the investigation.
From here, the conference line was open and the group took a series of questions. Read on for the transcript.
Question: I would like you guys to each touch on how this milestone of getting to 100 episodes has changed your life. Zak, you mentioned that you know you guys have really matured over the course of all these seasons. And then if you could also talk on the difference of intensity for each of you when you investigate area that had residual haunting, spirit haunting versus a demonic possession or reports of demon activities. Thanks.
Zak Bagans: Investigating up to 100 episodes has definitely matured us. It’s matured us on a level of knowledge within this paranormal field. And the way that we have learned and gained our knowledge is through our various investigations and the professionals in the – different professionals and scientists and demonologists and what not that we have interviewed.
Like on the 100th episode of the Exorcist, we brought in one of the most educated demonologists in the world, Dr. Bradshaw from Scotland. He and others like him are the people that we ultimately gain our knowledge from in this field. We will never be able – nobody, nobody on this planet will ever be able to answer the question what happens when you die? Nobody. But what we can answer are the questions that we have about how are we able to capture these voices, and how are we able to experience these compelling events and what not. You know these spirits are speaking.
They’re answering questions. We still don’t know how they’re able to do that. All we can do now is just capture this evidence. It just keeps getting more and more compelling it seems the longer and deeper we are in this field.
Nick Groff: Zak is absolutely right. Over the years a lot of learning just in general comes from experience with anything that you do. With Zak, Aaron and myself as paranormal investigators, we go to a new location week after week. We are learning so much about life, about death, about all the things that goes through everybody’s mind no matter what their background is.
That’s so compelling to us because we just feel like we skated on thin ice for so long on that other side. Like we’re almost in between 2 places, 2 dimensions with what we’re doing sometimes. To me that’s scary because most of the time, you don’t know who you’re communicating with or what dimension or what – you know it gets really. You can theorize and you can sit here all day and we can talk about different pathways you’re faced with after you die.
What we’ve learned through capturing evidence with intelligent spirits, with residual energy, with demonic presences, even negative energies, is that it is the positive and the negative energies that we are communicating with at different locations. I think that’s what I’ve learned. The scariest thing for me is coming into contact with something that’s negative and actually have it attach itself to me. It can affect on your health, your physical well-being, and your mental state. Ut can linger with you for a long time unless you put yourself in that positive surrounding where you don’t let it win and destroy your life and everything around it. And the 3 of us have gone through that. We’re still going through it. It’s very scary. It’s dangerous. And we didn’t realize that when we first started, did we Zak?
Zak Bagans: No. and Nick made a good point. I’ll tell you guys something personal. We are all dealing with attachments. I’m dealing with them right now, and I don’t know what they’re doing. I am seeking various people to help me with it. They’re very real, the things that they do in my home. The things that they do to people that I get close to.
Every girl that I ever tried to have a relationship will have an experience. I have a possessive female spirit. You know I was also told I have a demonic attachment. And they make me sick. They make me agitated. It’s a side that nobody sees. It’s something that Nick, Aaron, and I experience. Thankfully I can turn to these guys along with Bill and Jay and can talk about these things. It’s brought us closer together even though we’ll still have our stupid little friendly fights and stuff.
These 100 episodes have brought us closer together. We’ve been through all of this. We understand it. We are dealing with it now. Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s crazy. Going to the Exorcist house and seeing what can happen to a little boy in a worst case scenario, a diabolical possession, that’s when it gets bad. That’s when it goes from just having an attachment to having a full on diabolical possession where you’re not even in control of your own body anymore.
You know your body is not your body anymore. It’s the body of Satan. Even just saying that out loud in this hotel room scares me. It’s scary to know that I don’t know what else is listening to it around me. That’s how deep we are involved in these investigations, guys. This is why we get the help of the most educated demonologists in the world. We talk to the family members of the exorcists from the exorcism portrayed by the movie, the Exorcist.
This is the level that we’re at. While we were at that house, we communicated with something. We communicated with an entity. We shared that evidence with a priest, an exorcist, Father Jack Ashcraft who was supposed to join us on this investigation. On the way to the investigation with his brother, he had a medical emergency, a freak medical emergency in his car that he had to go from meeting us to go to the hospital.
During the filming of that episode, I also had a medical emergency happen that was just like his. The voices that came through actually have us asking ourselves, ‘how far do we want to keep going with this? Do we really want to keep doing demonic investigations? What have we gotten ourselves into?’ It’s crazy. But we’re involved in it and this is what we do.
Question: I was curious with this incident where you say a person was attacked. Can you provide a little bit of a detail about that? And I was curious when you did your investigation and if you can give us a little bit more of a teaser. I know you just mentioned about kind of the medical emergency that happened with the demonologist.
Zak Bagans: Greg [the person who was attacked] is a real nice guy. In 2009, he was doing an investigation at the Exorcist house. Not a lot bothers this guy. He’s a big guy. A tough guy. He didn’t believe the home was haunted. That’s what he told us. Nevertheless he went there to conduct his investigation. He told us that when he was in the little boy’s room the left side of his face started getting extremely, extremely hot. He started getting “disoriented.” The next thing that he knows is that another woman who was with him as part of the investigation that happened to be a nurse noticed the left side of his neck started forming white blisters all over his neck that formed a sort of white cross. There’s photographs of it, and we have some of the footage from the investigation.
Because Nick, Aaron and myself are extremely credible investigators, we will try to debunk things. We will separate facts from fiction in terms of urban legends and what’s true. We’re very big sticklers on credibility whether it’s the history or evidence. We wanted to get a better sense of who this guy is because we didn’t know him. That’s why before we investigated with him, we talked with the great niece of Father William Bowdern and asked her if she was aware of this guy. She really validated to us his credibility as an investigator. So we listened to him. And we listened very seriously. We heard him out and when he took us up to the room where this went down, he was visibly shaking. He was visibly shaking. And that’s it… that’s what he told us.
Nick Groff: To sum up what Zak was saying, when we went into the investigation… I’ll give you a little tease here about what we captured because I think personally it’s one of the scariest things that we’ve encountered or captured for a couple of different reasons. We were using our spirit box, our SB7 spirit box, one of our devices that communicates within the frequencies to capture spirit voices that come through, and Zak and I were… we had a Ouija board. Zak decided to bring that in and see what could come through. That was the greatest…
Zak Bagans: Well, for the first 3 hours we didn’t experience anything.
Nick Groff: That’s right. We were in there for a couple of hours…. We went up and down that house and nothing happened. We’re trying everything. Nothing wass going on. So we go back to our base camp and Zak says, ‘Hey, let’s bring in Greg’s Ouija board that he lent us. We can use it in the house.’ We brought it to the second floor right to the room where this boy was possessed when they were exorcising him back when that occurred. Zak put the Ouija board down. Aaron tried warning us before we went in not to use it, but you know we try to push the limit sometimes and do whatever it takes. Try to get evidence and capture things.
Zak had the spirit box and he put it on the Ouija board. There was a weird moment for a second where I asked myself and Zak – and you see me say it out loud – do you want to do this? I was scared. Right now I get chills thinking about what happened to us in that moment. There was nothing coming through, and then suddenly we get some voices…
The voices that scared the crap out of me. Two difference voices came through. One said, ‘devil’ and the other said ‘diablo.’ And it scared us. It scared us so bad that I was like, wow. I looked at Zak and for that split second, Zak’s face looked so different, like it shifted in the dark. Like his eyes went back. His eyes went black like something was there with us.
When I presented this evidence to Jack Ashcraft weeks later his face just dropped. As a priest, as an exorcist, his face – and this is a guy who has witnessed real exorcisms before – I’ll never forget it – his face just dropped when he heard those two voices. Devil and Diablo. He said, ‘You guys need to be very, very careful of what you’re doing because there was probably multiple – multiple demonic entities coming though.’ I was blown away. He pleaded, ‘Just don’t do it anymore. You guys need to seek help. Go seek help. Zak needs to get help.’ I was shaken up from that investigation.
Zak Bagans: We’re still shaken up from it and we’re at a new location right now. This is what we do week after week. It’s draining after a while not because of the traveling but because of what we encounter sometimes, the energies. It blows my mind. They drag everything out of you, sometimes… your own soul. You really have to mentally be stable or else you’ll lose it.
Question: If you could take just one investigative tool with you, what would it be?
Zak Bagans: My SB7 spirit box.
Aaron Goodwin: I would take myself just because you can sense certain things when it happens.
Nick Groff: For me it would probably be myself too just because I know what I feel and can sense and everything. But also a digital recorder that way I can hear what the spirits are saying to me.
Question What advice would give to a homeowner that lives on laylines, has a vortex on what was once considered sacred Indian grounds that are having unwanted paranormal activity?
Aaron Goodwin: Sell me the house!
Zak Bagans: Move. If you chose to live in a home that is living on intersecting laylines and to add to that layer of cake, you’re living on an Indian burial ground and you’re having paranormal experiences that are bothersome, you’re not going to get rid of them. They’ve taken ownership of that home and that area. I mean you’re laying on nest. You’re not going to erase those energies. Other homes where there’s a problematic spirit or an entity, you can go the route of the problem by trying to get the home cleansed or what not, and helping that spirit move on from there. When you’re living on a geomagnetic location – that the home is actually placed on top of- a geomagnetic intersection of energy on top of this burial ground, it doesn’t matter what you do. I don’t believe that you’ll ever be able to get rid of that. So it’s either you put up with it or you get out.
Question: Aaron, how do you feel about usually being the one that gets assigned to work in the creepiest places?
Aaron Goodwin: It’s the only way I know how. I used to dread it. And I still do. But something in me now just wants to go and see what can happen, because I get scared. I can’t help it. No matter how much you know, when a spirit is in there with you, it spooks you. And it’s good because me getting spooked and all that really fuels like energy.
Question: Has doing this kind of work sort of sensitized you too you know kind of fantasy horror?
Zak Bagans: Yes. I laugh at it. I laugh at these new paranormal movies and stuff like that. They’re cool. They’re raising awareness. But when I watch clips of them, they give me chills. They really do. I know that they’re just made in studios and stuff like that, but you know when I watch them… I think me and Aaron were saying this once… I’m that guy that it really has happened to. It’s like I watch it and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’ve really experience that.’
Question: What locations did you guys want to investigate because of their history?
Zak Bagans: I really enjoyed the La Purisima Mission in California. That location as well as Gettysburg. You asked me to pick so I’ll say La Purisima. It really got me because of the history. I felt something there that was truly powerful. I felt a real deep sadness that the Chumash Indians went through because of the Spanish. I don’t know what that experience was all about. I can’t answer why I felt so strongly about the Chumash Indians and the pain that was inflicted on them. It’s something that always stays with me. Every now and then out of nowhere I’ll just get those feelings again. It will re-manifest itself inside of me. It’s really strange. It’s crazy. It’s just an investigation that always stays with me.
Aaron Goodwin. I’d definitely say Romania [this episode is forthcoming; more details below]. The whole history of Vlad and how he’s just you know? And then the Hellfire Caves. Those are my two.
Nick Groff: Take one? Man, just take one? All of them have different experiences. I want to pick them all. We learned something different at each location we go to through the research that we do. They all have some sort of different history that I learn from that I didn’t know prior to going there. It’s almost like being in history class. If I had to pick just one I think the pivotal one would be Poveglia Island. That was kind of epic for me because of just the layers and layers of history that occurred there on that island… just surrounding the water right there. You had battle ships, mental hospitals, plague victims burned there and all these mysterious deaths revolving around just this small patch of land off of Poveglia in Italy. That would be the one and plus we researched that for 10 years before we even went there.
Question: Being that 100 episodes is such a incredible milestone, I was wondering what each of you feel was the defining moment of your careers since you’ve started doing this.
Zak Bagans: What I would say the defining moment for me was when I went from a boy to a man in terms of the paranormal world at Bobby Mackey’s Music World where I had an exorcism performed on me. I wasn’t expecting that. So Bobby Mackey’s changed everything for me. If I were to go back and talk to that Zak in 2008-2007, I would tell him, ‘Dude you need to chill out a little bit. What you’re doing right now is you’re screaming and yelling at something that is very powerful and something that you cannot fight with those muscles. Ssoon you are going to get a wakeup call. And you are going to see just how powerful these forces that you cannot always see and hear truly are.’
Once we investigated Mackey’s we did an event there and brought 100 people there to witness what a lot of people thought was maybe rigged or whatever. We’re a TV show. ‘Oh, this is really happening, blah, blah, blah.’ So we decided to bring 100 people there. For the 2 days that that event happened… it could have been a horror movie, a real life horror movie for all the things that happened to all the people there. It was nonstop. To sum this up… to see myself, the director of security, and the bouncer actually be taken away by one of the priests there… For the priest to put medallions and holy water on our foreheads and have it burn so badly that we couldn’t even bare… That eventually lead into another investigation with us. A return to Mackey’s. Bad things started happening, personal things started happening to all of us. When I fell under this possession and had to be exorcised… things that will never been shown on camera and will never be told to anybody except Nick, Aaron and myself and the priest that was there. That was a defining moment for me.
Aaron Goodwin: Mine was the Winchester Mystery House because during that moment, something snapped in me. Since then, I’ve been more aggressive. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the evidence. That was weird. The Hellfire Cave also, investigating there was another turning point in my life and career. Those two kind of changed me in a weird way.
Zak Bagans: In the beginning, you were a bit more of the shyer one.
Aaron Goodwin: Well, I was scared half to death. I never thought about ghosts. I was never into ghosts or anything so it’s kind of like this was a whole shock wave thrown at met. As soon as we went into that documentary, and when it’s just – you can’t – once your chosen for the paranormal it kind of like keeps you in it. So I just kept doing it. Now I’ve learned so much over the last 100 episodes that I’m completely different but still the same. It’s really weird. It’s a whole different way of life.
Nick Groff: Every time I say ‘Wow, that was the one that defines me like Linda Vista when I saw that lady standing there two feet in front of my face, I’m like ‘That’s the moment I’ve been waiting for.’ But then something else occurs at another location like Savannah, Georgia. This negative energy just overtook my own mental state. There are times when I think to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ Like at Central Unit Prison when I got ill in the moment we captured all this evidence revolving around this. Still, I think the defining, defining moment after the years of doing this, after experiencing all of this horrific things that you know took a toll on my body… To be completely honest, I think it would be the Exorcist house.
The only reason I say that is because all these moments, all these experiences lead up to where I’m at in my life right now. It opened my eyes and it made me think that something more evil, something more sinister lies out there that we don’t fully understand. Something that can actually linger on your own mental state and really destroy your well being, your own inner soul, your own spirit that’s waiting in this body that we’re living right now. I think that woke me up at the Exorcist house, hearing those voices come through… ‘diablo, devil.’ Then talking to the priest and really opening up my mind because I wasn’t such a religious dude. I was raised as a catholic but you know I think spirituality I’m more spiritual. In that sense, I’m open minded with talking to everybody from all types, all backgrounds. But that defined me to wake me up and say, ‘I need to calm down and be more cautious.’ Put a threshold on where I’m at in my life right now with the way we investigate and stuff.
Question: I know both Nick and Zak have kind of had experiences of near possessions and possessions. Did that cause you any you know trepidation in going into the Exorcist house at all because of your own personal experiences?
Zak Bagans: Yes, I think we were able to relate better to the story. I think being able to relate better to the story kind of put a more personal touch on the investigation. And in doing that, we wanted to take this investigation as deep as we could go. The three of us have connected with what happened there. A lot of things that we’ve been doing… it seems like other forces or even spirits or what not have been kind of guiding us a long to certain locations. These spirits have been at work to create this path for us and lead us to where we’re at.
Nick Groff: In a few locations I was more or less overtaken but something that I didn’t fully understand and my mental state I wasn’t there. I was blacking out. I heard this voice in my head saying, ‘kill him, kill him’ and then Zak snaps out of it by flashing a light in my face. There’s moments when you’re overtaken by energies and then there’s oppression which I think the three of us, Aaron, Zak and myself have gone through. Then there’s you know you get to depression and all this other mental state. I think is scary because you’re getting into a state where you just lose yourself. Where your soul is gone and you have this demonic entity in you. That scares me more than anything when we talk about possession and negative energies and the other demonic forces at work here trying to destroy the positivity in this world that we’re living in.
Question: With the way technological advances are going and the way you guys keep advancing what you’re using, do you think that you’re going to get to a point soon where you’ll be able to definitively say, ‘Well, here’s what we found. Here’s your four or five different pieces of proof.’ Finally find something that skeptics can’t you know pick apart.
Nick Groff: You know I think we’re already at that level and you know we live in the digital age. Technology is just it’s moving so fast that we can’t keep up with it. The one thing that the digital age is doing to the paranormal world and especially for us exclusively it’s enabling us to work with inventors and electrical engineers like Bill Chapel and Gary Galka who are so enthused about the world of the paranormal. They’re putting their knowledge and education into building and designing new equipment and making modifications to existing equipment. That is really enabling us to take a personal experience and validate scientific data to suggest that there is fluctuations within the environment that are occurring in unison to experiences that are unexplained. It’s so important for us to separate ourselves from being just a television show. We do “Ghost Adventures” because we love dissecting history. We love presenting the history of locations. We love to travel. We love to show our personalities and to have fun with each other as friends. But the most importantly we’re more serious about this because we know it’s real. How can we stay current and cement our credibility? By using all of these new different scientific pieces of equipment and working with engineers like Bill.
We feel that the audio that we’re getting now through the SB7 spirit box eradicates the skepticism of radio feedback or things like that. Sometimes we will let the spirit box just sit there for 3 hours and have not even have a single blip or speck of voice come through. Then ask a single question and get a response right away. Having environmental data measured while we do these experiments is crucial. It’s really getting to the level now to where we don’t know what to do. We’re showing this on television but we should really be having some more organizations come and witness this stuff. Can we call NASA, can we call the biggest of biggest scientific organizations and just have them sit with us? It’s getting to that level. The Travel Channel even knows. I send them emails and I’m like, ‘Guys, this just happened what should we do? Should we call NASA? Should we call…’ I mean this is getting really, really crazy.
No October would be complete without a special “Ghost Adventures Halloween Investigation,” and this year the guys are headed to historical haunted Transylvania.
Nick Groff: We have been to some very interesting and unique locations all over the world. Throughout our journey through our “Ghost Adventures,” it’s been crazy – a crazy rollercoaster ride. But there’s nothing like going overseas and feeling as if you’re traveling back in time, and we did that when we went to Romania to Transylvania to investigate Dracula’s castle.
It was amazing – just amazing experience to step foot on the ground and be some of the first investigators ever to investigate the site where Dracula ruled and actually go to where he was born. It was just interesting. We actually captured some amazing evidence in the process of being able to investigate his former castle. While there Zak was in this forbidden forest and that was absolutely insane too! Some of the greatest paranormal footage that I’ve seen was captured by Zak when he was alone with Billy Tolley in the woods of this very scary forest. Aaron and myself were back at Dracula’s castle and we got evidence through on one of our devices, the Ovilus 3 that Aaron was holding. That just blew our minds away. It was just absolutely amazing this experience to be a part of that.
Aaron Goodwin: Not only that but we got to see the beginning – we got to see where he born all the way to where he was ruled to where he was captured. Like his whole family history. It was awesome.
Zak Bagans: Some of the evidence that Nick was just talking was just talking about was insane. Aaron and Nick were investigating his castle and they captured 2 voices – one said ‘Vlad’ and the other ‘flowers.’ They had no idea what those 2 voices meant. Three days later somehow someway we were trying to interview Princess Brianna Caradja, Vlad Tepes’ last known ancestor through blood. She wasn’t going to interview with us. A couple of days after the investigation all of sudden Princess Brianna Caradja agrees to do our interview. It’s very last minute. She arrives and we are hurrying up to do the interview and we just interview her in this patch of flowers. Then while we’re interviewing her, she tells us that her ancestor Vlad tepes came through. We were not expecting this because Romanian people are not open to talking about ghost let alone the ancestor of Vlad Tepes. She comes out and tells us during in a Ouija board session about you know 15-20 years ago, her ancestor, Vlad Tepes comes though and spells out V-L-A-D on the Ouija board and starts giving her information and premonitions about her upcoming life. Once we connected the dots of the investigation and the interview we came to realize that it was Vlad that communicated with Nick and Aaron predicting that we were going to interview his ancestor. It was really interesting.
The fun doesn’t stop there though because there are many more “Ghost Adventures” to come…
Aaron Goodwin: We finally got to go Alcatraz, and that was an experience. We’ve been trying to do that for a while. Then we just did a cool reenactment scene in Prairieville and got some amazing evidence. I don’t know what I can say. we also go to a mustang ranch that’s REALLY haunted out there in Reno. That’s one pretty cool too.
“Ghost Adventures” is currently in its eighth season with new episodes airing Friday nights at 9:00 pm Eastern and Pacific. On Friday, October 4th, the series will air its milestone 100th Episode with a special investigation of the infamous Exorcist house in St. Louis. Leading up to this on Friday, September 27th, is a one-hour retrospective special, “Up Close and Personal,” in which the guys reveal their most memorable lockdown moments throughout the series history.
For more info visit “Ghost Adventures” on Travel Channel, and “like” “Ghost Adventures” on Facebook. In addition be sure to follow @GhostAdventures, @Zak_Bagans, @NickGroff_ and @AaronGoodwin on Twitter using the hashtag #GhostAdventures.
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