Zak Bagans is following in the footsteps of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Figuratively, Bagans opened The Haunted Museum, 600 E. Charleston Blvd., as a repository for the supernatural-tinged artifacts he’s collected, much like the Warrens did in their Connecticut home.
Literally, he’s looking into one of their cases for the first time with the two-hour Halloween special “Ghost Adventures: Curse of the Harrisville Farmhouse” (9 p.m. Thursday, Travel Channel), in which he and his team examine the 18th-century dwelling that inspired “The Conjuring.”
“Ed and Lorraine Warren had received so much attention because of the movies and Hollywood that I really wanted to get in there and see the other details that weren’t really portrayed in the Hollywood films,” Bagans says. “I know there’s truth to it, but at the same time, I wanted to do my own investigation in such an iconic and well-known case.”
Bagans had tried to explore other sites connected to the Warrens, portrayed in the “Conjuring” franchise by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, but apparently surviving any encounter worthy of their time has left homeowners more than a little spooked and unwilling to dredge up all of that.
Then in June, Cory and Jennifer Heinzen bought the farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, that dates back to 1736. The family began seeing “flashes of lights where there shouldn’t be any lights,” Cory says in the episode.
With that, Bagans had his opening.
For the special investigation, the Ghost Adventures Crew was joined by demonologist brothers Carl and Keith Johnson, who investigated the farmhouse before the Warrens. They’re met at the house by its former resident Andrea Perron, who, along with her parents and siblings, is portrayed in the movie.
“I think that they had the very best of intentions,” Perron says of the Warrens in the episode. “Lorraine told me 40 years later, ‘Ed and I were in over our heads as soon as we crossed the threshold. We just didn’t know it.’ ”
‘Just weird energy’
The estate, which was home to eight generations of the Arnold family, had a history of tragedies and uncommon deaths long before the Perrons moved there in 1980.
“What we can’t argue is the fact that there was a huge curse put on the Arnold family,” Bagans says in an interview. “I mean, there was suicide. There was murder. There was just unusual deaths. Poisonings, throats being slit. Something was plaguing that family.”
Something seems to have plagued pretty much anyone who entered the house while filming the episode.
Las Vegan Aaron Goodwin, who’s been with Bagans since the beginning of “Ghost Adventures,” complains of pains in his chest at one point in the episode. In another, he has to rest after being overcome with … something.
“I had to sit down, dude. It was either run or sit, because I was going down,” he says in the special. “It was just weird energy. Not normal. Not like we’ve felt before.”
But Bagans may have had it worse than anyone.
At various points throughout the house, he expresses feelings of dizziness, anxiety and agitation, along with difficulty breathing and kidney pain.
“I was extremely ill, very sick, for about three weeks after that,” he says now. “I wasn’t myself, albeit I was on a long trip. There were things going on with me that just seemed out of the norm. It really, I believe, made me sick. I had anxiety and panic levels that were just so unusual. Just that feeling of sickness. I didn’t look like myself. I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t wanna be around anybody.”
“I never felt possessed,” Bagans clarifies, “but I felt like something was drawing the life out of me.”
After one investigation, he developed a permanent case of diplopia, aka double vision, for which he’ll always need to wear prism glasses. But that was for his 2018 movie, “Demon House.” When it comes to “Ghost Adventures” episodes, Bagans says this latest exploration affected him more than anything since visiting Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder, Kentucky, where he revealed mysterious scratches on his back in what became the series premiere in 2008.
“While very scary, it was incredibly awesome,” Bagans says of the Harrisville Farmhouse and its ties to the Warrens, “because it really proved to me that the stories of the Perrons were true, and there’s something there.”