This is the week fans of Zak Bagans and “Ghost Adventures” have been anticipating for a long time, as it sees the release of his new documentary Demon House (review) on March 16th. For those of you not familiar with this insane case, Demon House surrounds the events that took place at The Ammons House back in December of 2014. Paranormal/demonic activity was witnessed and reported by police, by clergy, by the medical staff of an Indiana hospital, and even by members of Child Protective Services. This was no ordinary haunted house story… and Demon House is no ordinary documentary.
I sat down with Bagans for an extensive interview regarding the film, the effects the haunting had on him, and LOTS more. Below you’ll find some of the highlights of that interview. For the whole unedited and extremely candid conversation, tune in to tomorrow night’s episode of Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.
Steve “Uncle Creepy” Barton: So this is an exciting time for you. Number one, you’ve got the museum, you’ve got the next season of “Ghost Adventures,” and you fucking have Demon House finally coming out on March 16th. I can’t tell you how happy I am for you, that you are finally able to put an end to this fucking saga of a production because when we spoke last, you were telling me it’s just never-ending.
Zak Bagans: It still never ends… I’m serious. That’s the thing with a documentary and with the Demon House in that it doesn’t end; it never ends. Documentaries, they require a commitment of a lot of time and footage, hundreds, thousands of hours; and sometimes you see it all and say where do I begin and where does it end? This story kept going and going, and at certain times during this whole investigation I just wished I would have pushed it to the edge a little bit more. I had a big wakeup call during this. I arrived and I wanted to try and ask all the different questions that everybody else would ask about this. Was it massive hysteria, was it a hoax, was it legitimate? And I was so intrigued by the number of credible witnesses who gave testimony to support that they’ve never seen anything like this in their life, and we’re talking about the chief of a police department, the captain of a different police department, a detective from a third different police department, a CPS case manager, other CPS workers, police officers, clergy, doctors, emergency room staff, psychiatrists; and that was incredible.
SB: I saw the movie the other night, and it’s one of those films that just stick with you. And it offers a very, very different look at you personally, but before we get into that, there are a lot of people out there who are expecting a ninety-minute version of “Ghost Adventures.” This is not that at all. There are some similarities, but those are the similarities that you would expect there to be. So what was your direction in making a feature documentary?
Zak: I didn’t know what to expect, and to be honest with you, I was more interested in being there and being a part of this and the investigator side in me, seeing what I could see, feeling what I could feel. I literally was there filming two weeks after I bought the house. A tiny little crew and we just started rolling the cameras, anybody we could talk to, from squatters living in the house when I bought it, people not paying any money to live there, but I couldn’t get them out of the house. You know, the only interviews I had set up were Captain Austin and Father Mike. You’re correct when you said this is a whole different feel and vibe than a “Ghost Adventures.” I’ve been there several times and it’s one of those things, Steve, that I can’t get it out of my mind. The house… the people…
I interview people for a living, I’ve interviewed over a thousand people combined from all my different shows, and I’ve never come across people before that when I spoke with them… they were just different. It was like, if you were going to go and interview a bunch of people who had been abducted by aliens and they got dropped down back on this earth and you interviewed them, they would just be different from everybody else you interview. I use that as an analogy because it was like instead of going in a spaceship, they were exposed to this house and I was starting to see, as an investigator and as an interviewer, that something was going on, something really affected these people. Then I started getting involved in it and I started visiting the house, my crew started visiting the house, and I don’t want to give too much away but I’ll just say the house… the forces at the house… they are still with me. They are a part of my mind; they are a part of everybody’s mind that went to that house. It’s really hard to put into words, but I think about it all the time.
When I do talk about the forces from the house… I feel it. You could go in the house and come out and your phone would go from one hundred percent to zero in your own hand, this also happened in the hand of Chief Brian Miller of the Police Department and I’ve witnessed it three other times and with two other people as well. It was just a really different experience, and instead of me being in total control, like I am on “Ghost Adventures” all the time, high energy, talking about doing this investigation, for once I was just really submissive, and I think something there knew about this whole thing, about me coming there, everything, it didn’t want to be exposed.
SB: That’s like the most interesting part of the whole movie because it’s just you; and as you said, everyone is used to seeing you confident, you knowing exactly what you’re doing…
Zak: The show is not about me, it’s about these people, about the unexpected people who are going to have these experiences, these moments in their lives; and to me, I just sat back and spectated and then I saw and heard manifestations and that will imprint in my brain for a very long time. This is about one of the most well documented cases of demonic possession, going out into the media and me showing up with a small crew and just observing. There were things that I wanted to do that I just couldn’t, there are certain things I wish I would have done but I didn’t, but all those decisions, that I would have loved to see make the show more intense in my investigations and go deeper, for once I saw that what was going on there had put people’s lives in serious danger, for once it really, really hit me. That’s why when I watch it, it kind of brings back all that stuff; and the sick part of all this is that I miss the house, I miss the way I felt in it, and I wanted to go back. There were people in there, I wanted them the hell out, this was my place. It was this feeling of a drug, of a high, of just something that wasn’t you.
SB: Well you know, on “Ghost Adventures” you would say that you have run across people who had been investigating, independently, certain locations over and over and over again, it seemed like it was almost an addiction for them. Is that how you felt with this place?
Zak: Yeah, it was a fear that you craved and that’s the best way I can put it. Yes, bad things did happen, but it was so damn intriguing. I was so intriguing to see, witness, feel and it was like, you want to get that thrill, you want to do this, you want to be a surfer and ride the biggest wave knowing it could kill you but hell man, it’s the ride of your life. This was like that, you could take anybody there and just kind of feel something different, I don’t know. I kind of wish the house was there in a way, it was demolished for a purpose, but it was bizarre, man.
SB: Would you say there’s a part of you that even though you wish the house was still there, that you’re glad it’s demolished?
Zak: No, I don’t. When the house was there, I had cameras rigged in it; and for a very long time, months and months, I would just be obsessed with watching the security cameras on my phone, just like it was watching me. At this point, other people that I know that were dear friends of mine, we’re trying to make contact with the forces there remotely. Everybody that was very close to me, psychics, friends, people in the industry, which is just a handful, they all started getting visions, recordings, things that indicated to them that this was something that was very complex and intelligent and this to me is the dangerous part of demonology and being an investigator.
What do investigators want, what are they looking for? They’re looking for evidence, experiences, and when you do this for a very, very long time, you just want to keep going deeper and having the more powerful experiences. This was one of those places where that was the place, that’s the place you go to witness others be messed up; and for a certain time I was getting enjoyment, while I was in the house, seeing people fall ill. That’s when I knew things started getting bad, I would smile, I would laugh.
SB: Do you think maybe that the house was using you to bring it more people or bring more people into it? It’s kind of hard to say because you also said it, it didn’t want to be exposed, but then it realized maybe that it could bring you that exposure and you were like feeding it in a sense?
Zak: Yeah, Dr. Barry Taff is in the movie and he measured my body being a capacitor for the energy there, we were able to document that on camera, me discharging this energy, affecting his instruments. I could feel it, he detected it, there’s your proof, that what you just said was going on with me, yes. You find that in a lot of cases with demonic places, you’ve got Bobby Mackey’s Music World, he’s the guy who owns it, he’s the guy who brings people there, keeps that place open, and during that time long ago, when these things were going on at his place, that’s how I get my research and come up with my conclusions.
It’s much like how doctors will experiment with different medicines, or they’re trying to diagnose a mysterious disease, is by grouping all these different patients and their symptoms together, lining them all up and these different locations by all the little parallels that they have by the source of the quote unquote demonic infestation, demonic haunting. The part about all of this that is the most fascinating is that with most of these locations where there [are] demons, you have a story, and they’re all different from one another, and somehow, in some way, there is a human, a living person, who created this demonic haunting, through ritual, murders, sacrifices, and the intent that person had to create these forces and conjure them. And I believe demons can be manifested or conjured in places where they can feed off of pain and suffering, negativity, and unfortunately with Gary, Indiana, they had a lot of problems there with violence. Violence breeds that, and I believe that a lot of people who have violence are being manipulated by demonic forces, that’s what they want, that’s their drive, their feeding frenzy, that’s how they survive, that’s what they want. To me, I don’t know, I’m looking at all of these places that have these demonic influences in cases like this, and why that house in the middle of Gary, Indiana, why this address, why this family, you know what I mean? There are so many layers to it, and like I said, these documentary investigations, I didn’t ever want it to end just because I was becoming fascinated by it, but at the same time I had to break free from it.
SB: Right, and you’ve been to some of the world’s most disturbing places to be, Poveglia, Linda Vista, you know all of these places that quite frankly, I tell you after every episode yeah, scratch that motherfucker off of my never going to list, because I text you after almost every episode and say yeah, not going there, fuck that, I’ll just sit here and send you funny gifs, it’s much easier that way. Having been to these historically fucked up places, what is it about that little house that, like you said, was just different, or was it the same? What is the difference between a place like Poveglia and a place like the Ammons house?
Zak: Yeah, look, theses other locations, they look different, they have different histories, but just walking in that house, it was just tuned differently. There was something there that would trigger the anatomy inside of you, the nerves inside of you, your own consciousness. Whatever was there had an agenda, it had a plan, you were in that plan and you knew nothing about it, and that was a spider web of darkness. If you crossed through it, you got entangled in it and you now had to see what was coming for you. Throughout the film you will see how many people were affected, and to be honest with you, I did plan this huge investigation there, Steve. I wanted to go in there and get the full spectrum cameras and do all this, but you know what, this was more about observing and seeing the dynamics that these forces had with these different people. To me it was more important to hear what these credible sources had to say and examine what happened to them and put myself in there, isolate myself.
I could have made five other films there, I could have made Demon House 2, 3, 4, 5, but I didn’t and I’m not going to, even though I know I could have. I saw enough, so did everyone else; and again, this is what I documented when I was there. The expectations that people will have when they watch the show, I don’t know, with a name like Demon House I can imagine what they’re expecting, but simply put, this is a part of a big story, with many people involved and something else involved that knew we were there and trying to film and share this story. I think some of them felt the wrath of that and were permanently affected, physically, for trying to do that and to be honest with you the thing that happened to me the next day, after I decided to try and spend the night there, was really enough for me because it can’t be explained, not by any doctor, the four that I went to, so it became a really big thing for me; and it was like, you know what, what more do I need to do? What else do I need to document?
SB: You’ve got to come to a point, your crew too, like haven’t we had enough of this fucking place already?
Zak: It was so fascinating, though, I have to give it that. I was so absolutely fascinating to me, and when you see this, you’ll see all the people involved and the stories they shared and the things that happened to them. I mean, will there be another thing that comes up like this? I don’t know. We do a lot of demonic investigations, but this was somewhere I could spend a lot of time and I wanted to do some things I just didn’t do, and the reason why is I was confronted with some very serious situations where people were in danger.
SB: Did you have any idea you were going to be affected that deeply because one of the most interesting things about the movie is there are times when you lay out the story, this happens, that happens; and you’re like fuck! This can’t possibly get any crazier, and then the shit just gets fucking crazier and you can see it even in you. There are times during the movie where you’re like, what the fuck, man? It’s so fucking nuts.
Zak: But now that this is all over, I wish some of those parts that were nuts got even more nuts. I had to make decisions like, you know, this is going too far, something very dangerous is going to happen if I keep this going, and I have to stop it right now, end of story. Yeah, those different moments that occurred, they were pretty crazy and some of those people who were affected by these moments, they still have not spoken to me since that time. It’s almost like people who go through a very, very traumatic situation and they never speak again because if they do, it brings that situation back, so that has happened here.
SB: So what would you say, looking back at the whole thing? Because this was something you were working on for a very long time… you’re still working on it, which is fucking nuts. What would you say was the most compelling part of the whole experience for you?
Zak: Hearing what I heard in the house, it stuck in my brain to this day. What I heard in the house at one particular moment, that’s honestly it.
Demon House will be released in North American theaters as well as on VOD platforms on March 16, 2018, via Freestyle Digital Media.
As mass hysteria breaks out over an alleged demonic possession in an Indiana home, referred to as a “Portal to Hell,” “Ghost Adventures” host and paranormal investigator Zak Bagans buys the house, sight unseen, over the phone. He and his crew then become the next victims of the most documented case of demonic possession in US history… the “house of 200 demons.”