On Monday, Oct. 31, TLC will be airing the Halloween special of “Paranormal Lockdown: the Black Monk House.” The special is scary and suspenseful – and if you like to be thoroughly spooked – then tuning in is an absolute recommendation.
The Black Monk House is famous for being home to some of the most violent hauntings in England, if not the most violent hauntings in the world.
After watching a preview of the premiere, The Hofstra Chronicle got a chance to attend the “Paranormal Lockdown” panel at New York Comic Con and speak with paranormal investigators Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman about what happened in this infamous house in Pontefract, England.
Hofstra Chronicle: What made you guys want to lock yourselves inside the Black Monk House for 100 hours instead of your normal 72?
Nick Groff: I guess it was the idea of instead of just, three days, 72 hours, we really wanted to push ourselves because we know the history of the location and the hauntings that have occurred there. We felt that three days wasn’t enough to conquer. We really want to just go the distance and try to stay there as long as we possibly can to try and document as much footage as we can. I guess if I had it my way in some sense we probably would have stayed there the whole year. But we probably would have been extremely injured or something probably would have happened or we would have lost a life.
HC: What was the most memorable moment inside the house?
Katrina Weidman: Hmmm, I don’t know. I had something physical happen to me and I had never had that happened to me before. So that definitely shook me up and I think I probably lost my mind for about 30 minutes. I was just, you know, trying to comprehend what had happened to me. So for me it was getting physically attacked.
NG: I would say what we documented. I mean personally having all these things happen to us; Katrina was shaken up, I was shaken up. I mean I felt like I was going to throw up constantly just by, I don’t even know what I was. It felt like things were moving through our body. We felt really vulnerable and then it was also what we documented that helped validate some of the things that were happening to us. It’s possible there could be these lingering kinds of entities that were in this location. So I feel not just personally what we experienced but also what validated our experience in the footage that we captured.
HC: Nick you said before you went to England that your family was being haunted and that’s one of the main reasons you went there. Have the hauntings in your home subsided since then?
NG: Actually the other day we had things happen. I feel sick right now and I have a cold but I think that’s just probably because I’m run down and the location we were just at kind of just hit us with where we’re up for so many hours and the weather changing, so I think it’s just that. As for the hauntings it calmed down a little bit because I did sage the house and everything and we tried to ignore it and I tried to accept kind of things that have happened. But recently we had an incident in the kitchen. My cousin came into the kitchen and he saw this like white mist floating through the air he actually thought the house was on fire. No joke and he was freaking out. He texted me because no one was at the house and he was staying there. He was like your house is on fire, he was freaking out and then all of a sudden he goes through this like kind of smoky apparition I guess type of stuff in the air and he lost his mind. He’s very skeptical and a logical thinker so he’s like freaking out thinking the house is on fire and then suddenly he said it just disappeared into thin air. So that was an incident that happened recently and some other stuff has happened but it’s like in the basement with our doors rattling, weird things like that.
HC: Katrina what about you; has anything happened for you since then?
KW: Oh yeah. Actually we just had something happen the other day. It’s really funny, since Hinsdale House [a house the two explored in upstate New York during the first season of Paranormal Lockdown], Nick and I have had things happen in our own homes. We had a shared experience one night, he lives outside of Boston and I live outside of Philly, and we both had something happen in our homes that felt kind of similar in nature. And it’s funny because the Hinsdale House was the first episode we shot for the series and I feel like ever since there stuff has been this cloud of stuff happening. Since the Black Monk House, there have been a couple things that happened it seems really out of character for my house in general. I already live in a haunted house so things happen from time to time, but there were a few things that just seemed a little different. My boyfriend actually, he house-sits for his dad from time to time, and it’s really weird because that’s not a haunted house. But since we’ve been back from Black Monk we’ve had a few things happen there.
HC: You guys did a lot of research before even thinking about going to England. What did you expect going into this house?
NG: I think it was more on a personal level when we started this. This was like almost a year and a half in the making. It started at Hinsdale House and it was weird how we decided to go to 30 East Drive in Pontefract, England. I feel like it was a draw just like Hinsdale House was a draw and everything is bigger and [more] connected than we think because it wasn’t just another location where we were going to do this because of the reported hauntings that intrigued us. That was only a small part of it I think it was more of what we documented and led us to this kind of journey and where we just felt like we had to spend 100 hours at this location to really get to the bottom of it. So in the end you know walking in and we knew all the research but we tried to separate ourselves so we don’t let that psychology kind of play with our minds, but it’s kind of hard not to when even prior to going there we were having nightmares and things were happening to us and that kind of ultimately did mess with our minds. So when we stepped into it, it really became surreal you know feeling sickness feeling these things happen to us and it really just kind of put the whole world upside for that 100 hours.
HC: The neighbor who locked you into the house, what was her take on all of this because she had to have some objections or think you were at least a little bit crazy to go in there?
KW: Oh yeah, Carol was awesome. She gave us a really good backstory about the place, tips really I guess for going in there since we were going to go and do this. We asked her to take us through the house and she said she wouldn’t. But everyone that we met over there was pretty much like all right if you guys really want to do this we can’t stop you but we don’t recommend it. It’s funny because you know it didn’t start off as like a crazy experience right out of the gate. There were kind of little things here and there that made us question stuff but it was kind of getting to the point where I’m like maybe it’s not as crazy as these people keep saying it is and then of course like all hell breaks loose once you start thinking like that.
HC: What do you guys think you’d be doing if this weren’t your career, like if you had nothing to do with paranormal investigation?
KW: Oh, hmmm. Oh, Nick, I’ll let you take that one first.
NG: I’ve thought about it several times and I think ultimately your life kind of guides you in your direction and there’s so many things that you know that as an individual you want to do in life but I think ultimately you come to a point where you realize that this is your destiny. I’ve had a passion for the paranormal since I was a little kid. I used to talk to my grandma about it all the time. I was just so interested in everything to that aspect and its led me to this point in my life where I just realized that you can’t escape it. This is a part of you and this is what you’re doing and you know I’m still fascinated by it and I think it’s just a personal quest. So I think I’d still being doing this.
KW: Yeah I think for me too. When you work television and you work with the paranormal it affords you the chance to make a career out of it. But I think I would be involved in the paranormal regardless, you know kind of like Nick said I have been interested in the paranormal ever since I can remember, and I’ve always had experiences. So even if I wasn’t doing it quote-on-quote professionally I think I’d still be involved in some way. But [I] went to school for musical theater and I’m sure I’d be involved in the arts in some way. My other career choices before I went into music and theater was law, so maybe being a lawyer and also maybe working the food industry as a chef or pastry chef.
HC: Can you remember the moment that made you a believer?
KW: I don’t remember having a moment. I had experienced from when I was so small, I was like 3 or 4, so for me [it] was always you know there’s this stuff in our world that happens and it’s just there. I don’t ever remember having like a moment of like, oh my gosh I’m a believer. I was always a believer.
NG: For me it was that moment in Linda Vista Hospital in East LA where I turned around and saw that lady spirit standing 2 feet from my face. There was no denying what I saw and she saw me and I personally felt that connection, and I think that was the moment that really changed my mind and my perspective on life and everything. That made me think there’s more to just dying, and basically I had to see with my own eyes rather than a camera document [it] or what not and that was the mark for me. That was a game changer.
HC: Do you guys have any rituals before going into or before leaving a haunted place to make sure that nothing comes negative with you?
NG: Recently I’ve been using sage in my house to try to like calm it, but sometimes that just doesn’t work so I use salt to kind of rinse myself of negativity. I try to ignore it; I do not want to deal with it especially at my house because I think [the] more and more you feed into it the more it increases because I think that’s what it wants. It feeds off of fear. And I kind of go into locations with an open mind so I don’t get my mind set in that state where I’m going to like have mind games playing tricks on me or something like that. So I don’t want it to emotionally disrupt my own thoughts and stuff but logically think about the paranormal and these stories and what our goals to accomplish during our investigation.
HC: How does a place become haunted, especially like a place as dark as the Black Monk House? How does one location contain that much negative energy for so long when no one has been there?
KW: Well, it’s location by location and every location [is a] little different, but generally speaking it seems that some places are haunted because of the dark history. Some places are haunted, where it’s possible that somebody invited something in or they did some kind of ritual or something. We run across that a lot where there are people that are like, you know back in the ‘80s somebody lived here who practiced dark and old activities and ever since then it’s been haunted, and so things like that happen. Sometimes people manifest it themselves. There was a study done in the ‘70s in Toronto – I think it was, it was definitely in Canada though – where a bunch of scientists got together and they kind of created their own ghost and they would get responses based off of that. There’s also these more negative and intelligent spirits and they can be latched onto a person. In theology there’s a thought that if you ever go through what we would call a demonic haunting that you’re chosen before you’re born. So there are all these kinds of different areas of how a haunting can start.
Whether you’re a believer or not, this special episode will make you think and make you jump out of your seat. The premiere of the special “Paranormal Lockdown: The Black Monk House” will air Monday, Oct. 31 at 9 p.m. on TLC, followed by an encore presentation on Destination America at 11 p.m.
Interviewed by Robyn Kass-Gerji