As many of you know, I am a budding paranormal investigator as a hobby and passion.
Nothing like a very active haunt in your own home to make even the hardest skeptic into a believer.
I am also a fan of many paranormal shows on television as well as a history buff.
So this past weekend, I had the rare opportunity to experience all of these things in a once in a lifetime event aboard the WWII aircraft carrier USS Hornet, permanently moored in Alameda, California.
I discovered recently that Ryan Buell (executive producer and star of PARANORMAL STATE on A&E) had teamed with his friend and fellow paranormal investigator and director Chad Calek to make a documentary highlighting a terrifying series of paranormal events at Calek's family home in Persia, Iowa. Events that had haunted the family for 20 years.
Calek, Buell, and their team are touring the country with AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER and screening this film to dedicated audiences across America.
Audiences like the one I was a part of on the USS Hornet Saturday night.
It was an all night event. I took our oldest daughter, 12, an up and coming ghost hunter herself. We were excited long before we pulled up to the historic (and very haunted) WWII aircraft carrier.
It was hard to believe we would be meeting the cast and crew of one of our favorite television shows, PARANORMAL STATE on A&E. The audience was limited and it was nice to be able to get so much one on one time with them.
They were all larger than life to us on our television sets. But in real life, they turned out to be down to earth, friendly, and approachable REAL people.
The screening was preceded by various lectures on the paranormal, ghost hunting, and mind boggling displays of evidence collected from their various investigations over the years.
I am normally crashed out by 11pm at the latest, but the adrenaline and excitement was pumping hard, allowing me (and even our 12-year-old) to be wide away for the 2am start to the film.
We were blown away.
AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER is an amazing documentary film. Chad Calek poured his heart and soul and shared aspects of his life and family's history many would easily have shied away from. He braved the literal demons of his life and, with the help of Ryan Buell and their team, emerged stronger after the grueling spiritual quest he endured.
This is not a movie about testosterone poisoned jerks running through a haunted house yelling at ghosts. It's about a personal journey 20 years in the making. A journey that really was never an option for Calek. It was something that HAD to be done. He was destined to make this film, I believe.
And with his dedicated team of friends and colleagues, the end result is an experience that everyone should witness. It's for the believer and the skeptic alike. It's important less as a paranormal adventure and more as a journey of the soul. It's lessons and challenges are those that tap what it means to be human.
The movie is slated for release sometime next year. But those in dozens of select cities will have the golden opportunity we had to see it now. The website even has a link where people can share their wishes to have the movie screened in their community. If the demand is high enough, the AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER bus might just roll into your town.
I want to thank the cast and crew for being so personable and making such a huge impression with my daughter and me.
But mostly for making this critically important work, their journey of mind, heart, and spirit.
Dealing with the unknown and particularly paranormal phenomenon can be difficult on its own.
Facing the demons of your own family is a challenge most of us could never surmount.
Calek, Buell, and company DID surmount it. And they continue to for others families facing similar challenges.
Contrary to what many people think, paranormal investigating isn't just about night vision and fun and being spooked. Although it can be all of those things.
It is about finding serenity and consolation and peace of mind for those you are trying to help.
And sometimes, that can be the face in the mirror.
Thank you Chad Calek, Ryan Buell, Mary Beth Wylie, Sergey Poberezhny, Justin Holstein, and Joe Ansley for your tremendous work. And thanks to the staff of the USS Hornet for hosting the event. We couldn't have asked for a more impressive venue.
Please see this film if you can. For information and tour schedule, visit http://www.aghthemovie.com.