Today at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Travel Channel announced their new series Portals to Hell starring Jack Osbourne and paranormal researcher/investigator Katrina Weidman.
Katrina and Jack, who is also an EP on the series, were on stage at the Discovery’s TCA panel on Tuesday, February 12.
In new series premiering on Friday, April 19 on Travel Channel, Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman explore locations described with “dark, sinister histories” that may be doorways to the spirit underworld according to lore and legend.
What will occur is the two investigate each haunted location in search of “irrefutable evidence” that paranormal energy is present and exists, and that death is not the end.
In our exclusive interview with Jack and Katrina, interestingly we find out that his famous mother Sharon Osbourne thinks the opposite of this.
Where are some of these hellish locales they visit?
New Orleans infamous LaLaurie Mansion, the Alaskan Hotel in Juneau, Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Kentucky and other haunts of hair-raising atmosphere.
While in each location, Osbourne and Weidman cover the actual incidents that spurred said paranormal activity employing specialized technology “and a network of experts to help document and uncover the truth.” In other words, they peel the evil onion’s layers away!
Braving the evil (smelling) fertilizing of the Langham Pasadena’s vast lawn, Monsters and Critics sat down with Jack and Katrina today and talked about the spooky side o’ life.
Monsters and Critics: I believe in spooky, evil places…
Jack Osbourne: Cool!
M&C: Do you want to talk a little bit about the premier and what fans
Jack Osbourne: I think we’re still tossing up which episode’s going to be the premier episode. Because we went to the LaLaurie Mansion, so I think we might make that the premier episode.
That’s in New Orleans. It’s the place where American Horror Story based one of the series about.
M&C: That was a bad place.
Jack Osbourne: Yeah. Really bad place. Yeah, it’s pretty cool, because we’re like the first paranormal show to get access to it, so it’s kind of awesome.
But, I think, yeah. I would say we’re definitely in the running for a couple of different ones, because they’re all so good. Figure out …
M&C: What hotel in Alaska? Where are you going?
Katrina Weidman: It’s called The Alaskan. It’s in Juneau. It was built in 1913, so it has a lot of history. And pretty much, I mean, for decades, people have been experiencing paranormal activity there.
Jack Osbourne: Fun stuff. We [also] went to Trans-Allegheny in West Virginia, which is an old mental hospital. We went to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Went to Emerald Hill Hell House just south of Pittsburgh.
We went to the Uinta Basin in Utah, which is near Skinwalker Ranch. Where else?
Katrina Weidman: Bobby Mackey’s, which is a haunted honky tonk, right on the border of Kentucky and Ohio.
That one’s pretty infamous, and they literally call … They have an old well in the basement, and they literally call that “the portal to hell.”
M&C: Wow. No place in Idaho, though, huh?
Katrina Weidman: No, not yet.
Jack Osbourne: No, not yet.
M&C: The Idaho Penitentiary. There are some haunted things there. Really evil, haunted spots…
Jack Osbourne: Are you one of the million Californians that are moving or moved there?
M&C: I believe Idahoans refer to us as “evil”…
Jack Osbourne: I was just there not long ago, and I was driving around in Bosie with my truck [with California plates], and someone went, like, “Oh, you moving here, too?” I’m like, “No. I’m just visiting.”
M&C: Heh. Okay, so. Of all these places, which was the most profound experience for you, as far as sensing a palpable evil?
Jack Osbourne: I thought Eastern State Penitentiary was pretty twisted. I had a really, just uncomfortable … It was the only place where I was like, “I need to get out of here.”
Katrina Weidman: I think, for me, it’s more Bobby Mackey’s. This was actually my second time investigating there, and ever since I started in the paranormal, people are always like, “Bobby Mackey’s is evil. It’s horrible. Don’t ever go there.”
And when I went, for the first time, we had
Jack Osbourne: Possessions.
Katrina Weidman: Possessions. Things like that. And so, when I was there the first time, we had experiences, but not to that level. So, I left being like, “You know what? Maybe it’s not what everybody says.
Maybe some people are having the power of suggestion affect them,” things like that.
Katrina Weidman: And when we went the second time though, there was this weird energy about it, that I-
Jack Osbourne: People were on edge.
Katrina Weidman: People were very on edge, and the pattern I noticed was that was the energy that we had the first time I went. So, again, it’s this consistent pattern of people just feeling this negativity, and not asking themselves, and then it escalated to the point where, I mean, we definitely had experiences.
But, when we went home, a couple days after we left the investigation, Jack and I both ended up in the emergency room, and he’s in California, I’m out East. But, we both ended up in the emergency room, same day.
Jack Osbourne: And we both had mediums contact us randomly, like, it was unreal…
M&C: May I ask what you were admitted for?
Katrina Weidman: I sprained my ankle, and then-
Jack Osbourne: And my daughter had a random little accident, so we both … It was kind of …There was something, it could’ve just been coincidence, you know.
And here’s the thing with our show, we’re not running around, being like, “Nope, it’s absolutely Beelzebub.” Like, you know, we like to kind of come at things from a really, kind of …
M&C: Give it historical context?
Jack Osbourne: Yeah. And logical standpoint.
M&C: Why it could be evil. Okay, Katrina, so how does your Paranormal Lockdown partner, Nick Groff, feel about this series? Did he miss you?
Katrina Weidman: [Laughs]
Jack Osbourne: He was sending sad-face emojis.
Katrina Weidman: Yeah. You definitely form relationships with people that you work with, and I think it’s always sad when you don’t get to see people every day. But, you know, for the most part, especially in the paranormal community, most of us are all friends with each other.
And so, when somebody does something, we always show support. I’ve been getting text messages all day from my colleagues in the field, who are just like, “I’m so happy for you. Congratulations.”
So, you know, it’s such a small community that we always really try to show that support.
M&C: Absolutely. And Jack, your reality TV partner in crime is your dad.
Jack Osbourne: Yeah.
M&C: Which, by the way, how’s he doing?
Jack Osbourne: He’s doing very well. Yeah. He’s on the mend.
M&C: That’s great news to hear. Well, what conversations do you have with him about all this? Or does he think it’s a load of bollocks?
Jack Osbourne: You know, it’s funny. We’ve seen things together.
One of the most profound, like, what-the-hell-was-that moments, he was with me, and he saw it, too. And he’s just like … And he’s such a cynic when it comes to it.
He’s like, “None of that’s real.” He just thought it was like … But we saw a girl with long, dark hair walking down our staircase at our house when we had a beach house.
And we both sat up and looked, and we thought it was my older sister, Aimee, because she’s got long, dark hair. And I’m like, “Is Aimee here?” And it was just us in the house.
And I mentioned that to him. And he was like, “That was just … I don’t know what that … That was our mind playing tricks on us.” I was like, “What? We have the same mind?”
I’m pretty sure we don’t.
M&C: You’re mum Sharon is so opinionated and outspoken about every issue. That’s what I love about her. You know exactly where she stands on everything. Does she ever say to you, “Oh, this is … “
Jack Osbourne: My mother does not believe in God. She does not believe in ghosts. She does not believe in the afterlife, nothing. She thinks, when you die, the lights just go out.
M&C: Interesting. Okay. So, how did you two get together?
Jack Osbourne: So, we’d been, kind of-
Katrina Weidman: Kind of a Ghost Friend Finder dot com.
Jack Osbourne: Yeah. Ghost Friend Finder dot com. Yeah. No…
M&C: …And you swiped right?
Katrina Weidman: [laughs] Yeah, yeah.
Jack Osbourne: I did Haunted Highway a few years ago on Syfy, and kind of, you know, edged into the paranormal community, and we’d been friends on social media.
And when I pitched the show to Travel, we were kind of coming up with like, “Who should we partner Jack up with?” And Katrina’s name came up, and I was like, “Ah. I know Katrina.”
So, I reached out and it happened very easily. I was like, “Hey, you wanna do this?” You were like, “Yeah.”
Katrina Weidman: And when we met, we had the talk about the show, we had the same philosophy about what we wanted to do, and how we viewed the paranormal in general. So, just, it made a lot of sense.
M&C: So, you [Jack] had the idea for the show.
Jack Osbourne: Yeah.
The original concept of Portals to Hell was going to be almost like a spelunking show. We were going to go to … Because you know everywhere has those, like, holes in the Earth, that everyone’s like, “Oh, that’s the Hell Hole,” or “That’s the … “
And so, that was the original concept. And then, we were like, “It’s too limiting. Not everywhere has got some weird hole in the Earth.”
And so, we just kind of developed it with the network, and yeah, ended up here. So. It was awesome.
M&C: Eight episodes for season one. And season two, we think …
Jack Osbourne: If the good people of America tune in, most likely will happen.
M&C: Okay. So, I am
Katrina Weidman: We hope international.
Jack Osbourne: Yeah. I’d like to do a few more international. I just spent five months investigating over in the UK, and I had some of the most profound experiences I think I’ve had in the field over there.
And it’s interesting, because when you go to other countries, they’re not as …especially the UK, they’re much more open to talking about this stuff.
Because, my thought is, their history is so old. So, it’s like every place you learn about has a ghost attached to it.
So, it’s like just part of their culture growing up. Where in America, you know, we don’t have, as far as buildings go, we don’t have that same history.
So, it’s like, we’ve kind of grown up with, “This stuff isn’t real.” You know what I mean?
So, when a little kid comes to you saying they had an experience, it’s not real. “Don’t worry about it, it’s all fake.”
So, we already come at it from a very skeptical viewpoint, where I found in the UK, they’re more embracing of it.
M&C: What’s the takeaway that you want to impart with fans reading this interview?
Jack Osbourne: This show from, obviously, the producer standpoint as well as hosting it, we strived to make this show
And we tell the whole story, and we dispel myths, and we get to the actual facts of these places. Some of the places we went to, we ended up telling them, like, “No. Your history is all wrong. Your house, you know, we did research and we found ‘this, this, and this.'”
It’s different. It’s the only way to kind of put it. It’s very, it’s not … And it kind of feels like you’re watching a real horror movie, too.
Katrina Weidman: And I think, too, with … Jack and I have unique backgrounds in the field. So, I think that brings a whole different perspective to the show that other shows won’t have, just because of us and how we’ve done our work in the past.
M&C: How big is
Jack Osbourne: I guess five or six. We’ve got two field producers, supervising producer, executive producer, myself, Katrina.
Portal to Hell Premieres Friday, April 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
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