Ever since Paranormal Lockdown premiered earlier this year on Destination America, it’s quickly made a name for itself as one of the best ghost hunting shows on television. Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman, two of the most well-respected paranormal researchers in the field, have managed to bring something different to the genre by daring to use new tools, consulting a plethora of experts, and by literally locking themselves into haunted locations for 72 hours. Now, with the Black Monk House Halloween Special, premiering October 31 on TLC, Paranormal Lockdown presents its scariest episode to date, because this time, the ghosts are getting personal.
During the first season of the series, one of the standout episodes took place inside New York’s infamously haunted Hinsdale House. The dilapidated building has a long and storied history of ghostly activity, including levitating objects, appearances by non-human entities, and even exorcisms, making it the perfect target for a lockdown. During their stay, Nick and Katrina came into contact with an entity trying its hardest to burrow its way into the investigators’ minds. At the climax, Groff, worried about bringing the spirit home to his family, performed a cleansing ritual to shake off the bad vibes and left the Hinsdale House, presumably for good.
The Black Monk House two-hour special fills in the gap between Paranormal Lockdown‘s first season and the second (currently slated to premiere early next year) filling us in on the frightening paranormal activity that’s been occurring in Groff’s own home. It seems that despite his best efforts, something from the sinister Hinsdale House managed to hitch a ride after Groff’s New York lockdown. During an impromptu investigation of his own residence, one of Groff’s new ghost hunting gadgets spits out the word “Pontefract”, a supernatural clue that an infamous house in West Yorkshire, England may have the solution to his paranormal problems.
What follows is the longest paranormal investigation ever aired on television, a 100-hour lockdown inside 30 East Drive, ground zero for one of the UK’s most terrifying poltergeist cases. Lured here by a mysterious force, Nick and Katrina spend four harrowing days attempting to capture evidence of the building’s resident ghost, The Black Monk, on film.
For half a century, paranormal investigators drawn to the Black Monk House have reported incredible activity that ranged from objects levitating to people being physically attacked by unseen forces. One account tells of a young girl who was dragged up a flight of stairs by an invisible entity, an attack that caused her family the flee the home. To this day, ghost hunters who attempt to spend the night in the building find themselves packing it in early, afraid of the violent poltergeist that resides inside. Even the current caretakers refuse to spend time in 30 East Drive alone.
Without giving too much away, The Black Monk House special turns into the best episode of Paranormal Lockdown yet, partially because of the spooky evidence the duo managed to capture, but also because it’s the most personal of the series, an element that makes this lockdown even creepier than the others. Throughout the first season, we’ve only been able to glimpse the motivations behind Nick and Katrina’s ongoing search for paranormal evidence, but in the Black Monk House, their intentions are crystal clear: they’re seeking answers to some of the scariest questions posed by their past investigations.
Nick Groff is more open than ever about his motivations, and for the first time, we get to see the emotional and potentially spiritual aftereffects of spending countless hours trapped inside some of the world’s most haunted buildings. Knowing that these cases don’t cease when the cameras stop rolling adds a weight to Groff’s investigations that have only been hinted at until now.
Katrina Weidman is at her absolute best in the special, dredging up memories of an investigation that caused her to stop accepting residential cases for a period of time. It’s clear that she believes that their investigations have resulted in a potentially demonic straggler tagging along with them, and an appearance by demonologist John Zaffis only serves to further a case for the diabolical. While the paranormal activity in 30 East Drive escalates and Groff becomes increasingly affected by the forces at work within its walls, Katrina serves as an anchor in the storm, offering a level-headed approach to dark entities that harkens back to her work on Paranormal State. This is clearly her element, and it shows in the special.
Despite some of the stunning evidence collected during their 100-hour lockdown, including physical altercations by unseen forces and a particularly unsettling scene with a kitchen knife, the scariest moment comes at the episode’s climax, where we’re left wondering if these kinds of entities can ever truly be brushed away.
The Black Monk House special is a fittingly frightening Halloween treat for television viewers in the mood for a scare, but for a growing community of paranormal investigators, the episode serves as a sobering reminder that we don’t fully understand the forces we’re dealing with, and that we all-too-often underestimate the effect that the lure of the supernatural can have on our lives.