If you want to be scared this Halloween—deep in your bones shook—just talk to Zak Bagans. The Las Vegas local and host of Ghost Adventures (Fridays, 9 p.m., Travel Channel) has been the subject of exorcisms and seen things straight out of horror movies. “For me, Halloween is year-round,” he says. “But my Halloween is the real Halloween—dealing with the real dead.”
“This one’s really f*cked up,” Bagans says, his voice serious. He’s on the phone from Rawlins, Wyoming, where he’s filming for Ghost Adventures, and he knows exactly what he wants to talk about. “When spirits get stuck in purgatory,” he begins, you can still catch glimpses of them with the right equipment. “That’s what you call a haunting. The Sedamsville Rectory is a different type of haunt.”
The Rectory, which will be featured on Ghost Adventures on October 19, is located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and dates to the late 1800s, when it served as housing for priests from Our Lady of Perpetual Help next door. Today, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and Tim Brazeal and Terrie Scott are restoring the local landmark. But ever since they started, both have been victims of violent attacks and harassment by invisible forces in the home.
The Horror Issue
- Events guide: Haunted attractions 2012
- Creature creator Miriam Writer spills her DIY Halloween secrets
- Scary tips and stories from casual sadist the Amazing Johnathan
- Beating Fright Dome’s freak-outs with basketball skills
- Horror and more at the third annual PollyGrind Film Festival
- The dubious history of horror movies set in Las Vegas
In the blog they keep on the Rectory website, Terrie writes on September 16 about a particularly traumatizing nightmare and her general state of mind: The only other thing I have noticed recently is my thoughts have been darker. … It’s almost like I am constantly fighting something that wants control over me. It’s very weird and disturbing to me. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, but the migraines I have been getting at my home and at the Rectory are becoming unbearable. ... I have made the comment that I don’t feel like we own the Rectory. I think the Rectory owns us right now. It is really trying to mess with us.
“A priest was sent here for molesting a young child,” Bagans says of the Sedamsville Rectory. “He’s now deceased. But it is said in the Bible that God’s most harmless creatures are children and animals. If you harm either of those, you’ve sinned greatly to where you’re a product of Satan. So what happens when a man of God commits that most heinous crime? What happens when you’ve taken an oath to serve God and you’ve committed molestation against children?” Bagans pauses before answering his own question. “You’re sent to Hades.”
In movies, demonic oppressions are full of over-the-top antics—spinning heads, spewing blood—but when Bagans and crew go to investigate along with exorcist Father Ashcraft, the Rectory is relatively calm. Ashcraft performs an exorcism on the building with holy water; Tim and Terrie seem fine; and after a few hours they’re almost ready to wrap up. But first the group heads down to the basement, and that’s when Bagans notices Tim. He’s acting strangely—twitching, moving erratically. His behavior’s changed, and as they head upstairs, Tim turns, suddenly furious. “You know what, f*ck this. Get the f*ck out of my house!” he shouts, before storming out the door.
Outside, Tim starts crying, incredulous about what he’s just done. But when the group moves back inside the Rectory, Tim changes again. He yells at the priest and says he’s going to hurt him. He seems like someone else entirely.
On this night, they all escape the Rectory safely, but Tim and Terrie are still battling their demons inside the old building. In a recent blog post, Terrie tells the story of her first unexplained scratch in the Rectory, “deep marks running from wrist to elbow” that appeared out of nowhere and burned for days. I have no idea why the Rectory chose this moment to bite me back, she writes. Feel like it’s the Rectory’s secret handshake.