Shows about the paranormal always need to be approached with an open mind. While that mind may be open, it should also be sitting on top of a nice stack of facts and reasonable skepticism. Ghost hunting and investigations of hauntings can provide an absolute thrill, primarily when filmed well. A spooky location and some decent night vision shots can go a long way even when there’s not one spirit in sight. Yet, when the meat of the show, that is the investigation itself, is dissected, we end up with more that is of gravy than the grave. I’ve not partaken in any show of this kind for many years. So, when the opportunity arose to review an episode of such a program that also dealt with a reasonably famous haunting, I could not refuse.
In the Season Four premiere episode titled “Hell House,” ‘Kindred Spirit’ stars Amy Bruni and Adam Berry set out to visit a farmhouse. Not just any old farmhouse, but the one associated with the famous ‘Conjuring’ haunting of the 1970s. Located in Rhode Island, the rustic home was once owned by the Perron family until a series of alleged ghostly incidents drove them from the dwelling. The site was investigated by the controversial Warrens, Ed and Loraine. Supposedly, beds were lifted, ghosts were seen, and the Perrons were not at all comfortable. Since then, however, multiple owners have lived in peace in the home … until now. The most current owners have been experiencing issues such as intimidating black mist and the odd spooky thing or two. What caused the sudden spike in activity after decades of silence?
To say I was unimpressed with the investigative tactics of Bruni and Berry would be an understatement. Rather than looking at the house as just a house and observing what happens while they are there, the ‘Kindred Spirits’ crew immediately treat the place as if the ghostly activity is a provable certainty. The issue with shows such as these is that we’re never 100% sure what information the investigators have been privy to. This ends up raising questions about the alleged encounters the pair have during the visit. Encounters, I must add, that never really get captured on camera.
What is the most aggravating is how little of the evidence is shared with the audience. In an early part of the episode, Bruni sits blindfolded while using a “ghostbox.” This device is a mere radio that is capable of scanning for signals. The box is connected to a pair of headphones that Bruni wears. As the paranormal transmissions come through, she repeats them out loud as Berry writes them down. However, the viewer is never given a chance to hear these voices from the beyond. I will admit that the audio mixing on the screener we received had weird spikes and dips in the levels, so the voices may have been there but accidentally muted. It’s hard to believe that invisible beings would drop random yet concise nuggets of information, but never full statements.
The most tangible occurrence was when a small black spot briefly appeared and then moved before vanishing. It could have been an insect flying too close to the camera, or a malfunction. The matter and the particular spot where this ghostly goo manifested isn’t properly examined. Was there some importance to that door or that area of the floor where the anomaly on the video appeared? If this is the most compelling event of the episode, it needs more airtime than just a couple minutes.
I did have a laugh when the pair were in the house’s basement and mentioned that they felt alone. The thing is, they aren’t. Each star was followed by the camera crew, sound crew, and possibly one or two producers. There’s no real alone time here. Could the presence of so many people affect paranormal activity? It’s hard to say. What did manifest was the ghost of unintentional laughter.
Something I will commend this episode on is that it did not further disparage the long-deceased Bathsheba Sherman. During the height of the ‘The Conjuring’ events, Lorraine Warren claimed that this woman was a witch and one of the spirits that haunted the home. No evidence was brought forth that showed Sherman had any history with witchcraft or demonic rituals. Thankfully the ‘Kindred Spirits’ crew went as far as to state that the claims were unsubstantiated, and for that, I give them credit. It’s one thing to chase ghosts where there are none, but a dead person should never be vilified to further a career.
There was nothing to be gained by this investigation. No substantial breakthrough or discovery was made. If you’re a skeptic of the Warrens and their questionable past, this show will do nothing to change your mind about them. Out of all the supposed phenomena that happened when Ed and Lorraine investigated the farmhouse, none of this transpired during the Amy Bruni and Adam Berry visit. There was an unprovable event or two, such as claims that a force brushed against one of the team. This isn’t at all surprising. In an age where nearly everything can be captured via some piece of audio or video equipment, fantastical claims of the supernatural always seem to happen just out of reach. This is either very convenient, or the spirits are quite shy.
You can catch the “Hell House” episode of ‘Kindred Spirits’ this Friday, January 10, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel.