If you’re a fan of the popular Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures, you should know that the TV exploits of the spirit-hunting trio started on a much smaller scale: a documentary DVD sent to Las Vegas critics to help drum up positive buzz for their independent film.
Roughly seven years later Ghost Adventures just marked its 100th episode on the network.
Sandusky resident Chris Bores has a similar paradigm in mind for his own ghost-chasing documentary, Pursuit of the Paranormal, which the 34-year-old financed himself and is hoping will attract network attention, beginning with a local premiere.
“At this point it kind of mirrors” Ghost Adventures, Bores said. “I want to get fan traction and see where it goes. I’ve done all I can pretty much do with our show, with the movie premiere and showing it, and what kind of buzz I can get.”
Pursuit of the Paranormal is an hour-long ghost investigation of the St. Augustine Lighthouse in St. Augustine, Fla., by Bores and his ghostchasing partner, Alan Cicco. The former is a YouTube personality (you might know Bores as Irategamer youtube.com/user/Irategamer) who works as a Toledo-area videographer for weddings and commercials and the latter is a Buddhist priest and author. Friends in college, Bores and Cicco bonded over, among other things, a shared fascination with the paranormal.
A few years later, inspired by the success of ghost-hunting shows such as Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters on Syfy and frustrated by the programs’ failure to ask some of the bigpicture questions about the afterlife, Bores and Cicco decided to make a go of it themselves.
“We hit a point where nothing new was added to the field,” he said. “In the past couple of years every ghost-hunting show is just emulating what’s already out there ... and they always drop the ball [when they communicate with a spirit]. I wanted to see how can we go further in an investigation and not hit the same sticking points that they did.”
Armed with the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Egyptian Book of the Dead, Kabbalah, books on psychology and philosophy, and ghost-detecting equipment, the friends honed their skills as paranormal investigators at more than 50 allegedly haunted locations mostly in Ohio, until, by early 2012, they were ready for the initial push into the big-time world of ghost hunting. With a $10,000 investment, Bores hired two cameramen to document his and Cicco’s investigation of the lighthouse, regarded as one of the top haunted sites in the country.
The pair and a lighthouse tour guide named Matt Hladik spend much of the film interacting with the spirit of a dead teenage girl, and what they document will, depending on your belief in spirits, prove as fascinating and compelling evidence of the afterlife or as a crafty hoax. You can judge for yourself at the documentary screening and post-film lecture beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Collingwood Arts Center, 2413 Collingwood Blvd. Tickets are $12.
For $50, stick around for Bores to lead you and others on a Collingwood Ghost Hunt and Tour from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Collingwood Arts Center is said to be haunted, including by the spirit of a nun who hanged herself.
“Ask anyone who grew up here — the Collingwood Arts Center is a local legend that’s got that history,” he said. “This is the first time they’ve ever opened their doors to the public like this, so it’s kind of cool.”
For the believers who regularly tune in to myriad ghost-themed TV offerings, Bores said Pursuit of the Paranormal aspires to be something different than what they’re normally accustomed to seeing.
“This really is a cut above what you’ve seen on TV ... we talk about the afterlife, get the psychology of things,” he said. “We really try to come at it from an angle and use things that aren’t normally used in the field of ghost hunting.”
And to the skeptics of his investigation who are nonetheless curious about the possibility of an afterlife, he offers this: “These are some great questions posed, even if you don’t believe our evidence,” he said. “Take those questions and try and answer them yourself and try and get a better answer.”
Contact Kirk Baird at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6734.