If you're a fan of paranormal shows, you're probably getting a bit fed up with some of the silly programming that's been hitting the airwaves, from psychic Bigfoot to so-called investigators who go to crazy lengths to provoke spirits. If that's the case, Paranormal Lockdown is going to be the answer to your prayers.
This new series on Destination America brings together two stars from shows you already know. First, you have Katrina Weidman from Paranormal State, one of the first great paranormal shows on TV, and Nick Groff, from currently running series Ghost Adventures, which he left in 2014.
Now, if you're a Ghost Adventures fan, you're probably expecting a lot of over-the-top drama and some great tongue-in-cheek humor, and Ghost Adventures fills that niche in an incredibly entertaining, over-the-top way. But you're going to see an entirely different Groff in Paranormal Lockdown, and that is meant in the very best way.
The first episode aired Friday night, with the pair investigating the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia. Groff had been to this location before, but it was Weidman's first time in the sprawling institution that closed in 1994.
Paranormal Lockdown, at least in this first episode, focuses on the human element behind the hauntings and bears a closer resemblance to Paranormal State in that respect, although without the sometimes hilarious commentary by psychic Chip Coffey. Having said that, the pair bring on some great -- and very respected -- ghost hunting guests from other shows in several episodes, including Amy Bruni and Adam Berry from Ghost Hunters in the series premiere.
Fans of old-school paranormal investigations will be pleased to see these dream teams working together from their favorite series. Another great twist that separates this new show from previous ones is that they take the lockdown element from Ghost Adventures but extend it for three nights. Also, expect some new gadgets, including a "Geo-Box" used in this episode that is a one of a kind piece of equipment designed for the hosts of Paranormal Lockdown, which uses EMF, vibrational wave, and radio frequency.
All of these elements make for a great paranormal series, but the real clincher in this first episode is how Groff and Weidman embrace the human element of this investigation. They brought in a former employee at the asylum to talk about a gruesome murder that had occurred there, where two men murdered two other men who were residents. Beth Nease told the gruesome story of how the two murderers first hung the men, and when that didn't kill them, they took them down and took off metal pieces of a bed to stab them in the head to kill them. The former employee also described how the two men murdered had the mental capacity of children, and one of her co-workers had spent the morning with the pair sitting at her feet coloring as children do.
Not only did that story have a profound effect on Nease, but Groff and Weidman were also moved, and Weidman talked about how that human element really brings home the story behind a building.
"When we talk to somebody that was actually there, it brings in a human element that sometimes as researchers we lose. It's not just paper and words and dates. It becomes souls."
Paranormal Lockdown captured some great evidence in this episode, so there's definitely also a strong element for hardcore paranormal junkies, as well. This is definitely a show for fans who like to see professional paranormal research techniques as well as compelling stories behind the investigation. It's also great to see both Groff and Weidman come into their own outside the shadow of their former paranormal group leaders and take their place in the spotlight, or in the shadows, as it were.
Upcoming episodes of Paranormal Lockdown include visits to Anderson Hotel in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky; Franklin Castle in Cleveland, Ohio; and Randolph County Infirmary in Winchester, Indiana. Upcoming guests include Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters and Lorraine Warren, who was a frequent guest on Paranormal State but is best known as the psychic researcher of the Amityville Horror house. The film, The Conjuring, is about Warren and her husband's experiences with the paranormal.
Paranormal Lockdown airs Friday nights on Destination America at 10 p.m. ET.
[Image via Destination America]