Zak Bagans and his team have taken viewers on “ghost adventures” for over a decade. He continues to take on new investigations, collects spooky items for his “Haunted Museum” in Las Vegas, and tries to live a normal life outside of the paranormal. Most recently, Bagans investigated the Cecil Hotel for his long-running show Ghost Adventures.
What’s so great about this hotel? It’s been linked to serial killers, murder, and was even inspiration for American Horror Story: Hotel. In a press release for discovery+, Bagans revealed, “We’ve been trying to get inside these rooms for more than a decade, so this is really a big deal – the first-ever paranormal investigation in the Cecil Hotel. It has a dark history and reputation and it’s one of the heaviest places we’ve ever been in. This is not your average hotel. With its connection to serial killer Richard Ramirez and the disturbing death of Elisa Lam, it’s undeniable that there are spirits inside this building. But the question is who, or what, are they.”
Ahead of the special airing on discovery+, Bagans took some time to give us an inside look at his investigation, as well as his life outside of ghost hunting. If you’re ready to go on a “ghost adventure” with Bagans, read on below for our exclusive interview.
HEAVY: Zak, so nice speaking with you. You’ve been sharing your paranormal experiences on TV for well over a decade. What do you think draws people into Ghost Adventures so much?
Bagans: I think it’s just the raw natural enthusiasm we have every time we investigate. It never gets old for us, every investigation is a new story to tell, new people to meet and hopefully great evidence to capture. We have the same excitement as we did from episode one. We love what we do, and people see that.
HEAVY: Loving what you do is definitely important. You’ve had so many specials, zeroing in on hotels, prisons, asylums, and infamously haunted locations. You even have a new one coming up. Which one has stuck out most to you over the years?
Bagans: Well the Cecil Hotel we just did sticks with me like no other, but you asked for years so I’ll say our investigation we did for Halloween in Transylvania. To be able to trace the steps of the real Dracula in Romania was unforgettable. A part of me felt like it belonged in those castles. Who knows maybe I’ll go there in the afterlife … “Zacula.” The haunted forest of Hoia Baciu was one of the most terrifying moments in my life and for that I love it.
HEAVY: Zeroing in on the Cecil Hotel … What made you pick this hotel for your investigation?
Bagans: The elevator footage of Elisa Lam and the tragic mysterious circumstances of her death have haunted me for years. In a place like that with soooo much dark history, serial killers, devil worshipping, murder and suicides you can’t help but theorize she may have been affected by a dark unseen force. This place allows NO ONE to investigate – to finally get permission to investigate after 10 years of countless requests, and to have the whole building closed to the public, is monumental for us. Everyone HAS to watch this special.
HEAVY: Well, what struck you as the most odd about Lam’s death?
Bagans: What stands out most for me is her behavior in the elevator, and how she ended up in a water tank with so many questions about how she could have even gotten on that roof with the access door locked and alarmed. They ruled her death accidental, but how could she have closed the heavy metal lid to the tank after she allegedly jumped in? Why did her clothes have sandy particulate in them, showing they fell to the ground… why would she go pick them back up and throw them in the tank? If she was having a manic episode from her bipolar disorder, how could she have performed such a calculated journey to end up in the roof-top tank?
HEAVY: I heard the Cecil Hotel has been an inspiration for books and movies, even American Horror Story. Two serial killers lived there and the Black Dahlia was found murdered there. What can you tell us about what you found during your investigation?
Bagans: We discovered that the building would affect everyone’s mental state … we had multiple interviewees that had to end the interview from this. One of them worked for the LAPD as a crime scene photographer … imagine what it would take someone who had this type of job, to see what he’s seen, to have to end an interview from being so disturbed by the dark energy in Elisa Lam’s old room. The energy is inconceivable. You could feel the spirits moving around you everywhere, passing through you, watching you. I’ve never felt so uneasy in a hotel in my life. This hotel marked me, physically … on-camera.
We captured some of the most incredible audio evidence ever in Elisa Lam’s room, and in the room of a serial killer who lived there while he was killing. Poltergeist activity was documented, and we captured sequences of events and evidence that proved to us that dark forces and spirits are there and will manipulate you. We captured something on camera that was a full manifestation of an entity near a black mass on the floor … we could not debunk this piece of evidence. This is a place that you never forget. It’s different … it’s just so different.
HEAVY: So, switching gears a bit … You’ve done several specials at your museum in Las Vegas. They’re so intriguing to watch. What’s it like to be surrounded by so many “haunted” elements in one space?
Bagans: There is a part of me that is attracted to very dark and cursed objects because of the supernatural mysteries and powers they have. To own things people fear I guess gives me some type of satisfaction. I am a hardcore collector that has to always be on the hunt for the next item and see how it reacts when I put it in the museum. I guess I kinda feel like a mad scientist adding all types of dangerous chemicals together to see what reactions (manifestations) will occur.
HEAVY: Have you ever felt like any spirits have followed you home? How do you deal with those kind of situations?
Bagans: Oh yes too many times to count. Actually, it’s like a waiting game because it usually wears off in about 2 to 3 days. When I feel it’s very heavy, I will go on walks near my house to areas that have very positive cleansing mother nature energies … I do have a secret spot where I go for this. The same spot is where I will see and talk with the spirit of my father
HEAVY: Aw, that’s nice. Your museum is a collection of so many deadly possessions. If you were to add something from the Cecil Hotel to your museum, what would it be?
Bagans: That’s funny you ask because I asked the owners if I could take the original wooden ladder that is leaning on the water tank where they found her body, and also the mirror from her former room. But they unfortunately rejected my request.
HEAVY: Oh, man. That stinks. At least you got to take away an awesome experience. When you get away from paranormal investigations like this one, is it easy to separate yourself from it and go about normal life?
Bagans: Most of the time yes, it is, because I feel that I have built up spiritual armor through the years, after doing hundreds of investigations where I’ve absorbed so much energy and had so many attachments follow me home. Sometimes though, like the investigation I did last week, they hit me really hard. After interacting with a couple of very powerful spirits while I was there, it really had a bad effect on my physical body and took me about five days to fully recover from.
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