Celebrities Reveal Their Personal Encounters With the Paranormal in Travel Channel's 'Famously Afraid'
In the new Travel Channel series, stars relate their terrifying, true tales of encounters with the supernatural and unexplained -- from hauntings to UFO sightings, to demonic possessions and beyond.
It's no secret that Hollywood has a strong affinity to the otherworldly, the unexplained, the terrifying and the occult. Today's big-screen offerings in the genres of horror and speculation offer ample testimony to that, as do enduring modern classics like The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, The Shining, Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project. What's perhaps less known are some of the real-life supernatural encounters that certain Hollywood's stars report having experienced in their own lives.
Travel Channel now has a new series queued up that promises to fill that gap. It's called Famously Afraid and it premieres Tuesday, November 5 at 10p|9e.
“For many of these celebrities, it's the first time they are choosing to share their personal accounts with the paranormal,” said Matthew Butler, general manager, Travel Channel. “From unexplainable encounters to strange run-ins with spirits, even superstars can have terrifying experiences with the supernatural, and we're excited to share these spine-tingling stories with Travel Channel’s viewers."
In the series premiere episode, Howie Mandel, known most notably as host of the show America's Got Talent and for his earlier dramatic role on the critically acclaimed series St. Elsewhere, tells the story of how a spirit invaded his home and targeted, first, the family's au pair — who awoke to see the apparition appearing as a bearded man sitting at the end of her bed.
Later, Mandel's preschool-age daughter, who had been present in the home at the time, was frightened beyond reassurance when she spied a portrait of a bearded man at her grandmother's home. The image in the portrait bore a marked resemblance to the description the au pair had given of the ghostly specter.
Mandel's telling of the story is a harrowing account of an experience for which he admits he has no ready explanation, but which he recounts with bone-chilling detail and specificity. The event was sufficiently frightening to cause Mandel to put the house on the market and move his family out immediately.
I was not a believer in the paranormal. Though sometimes things happen to you or you experience something, and you look at every possible other avenue. You use words like "coincidence" or "figment of my imaginantion". But as those boxes are checked off the list ... I don't have any other answer for what my experience was.Howie Mandel
In a second segment, Queer as Folk actor Hal Sparks recalls how he was able to connect an event from his childhood in rural Kentucky — ostensibly a UFO sighting and alien encounter — to one of his first jobs in the entertainment industry. He also describes a memory gap associated with the encounter, a mysterious government manuscript he discovered years later by chance, and how the effects of the entire event have had lasting and dramatic impact throughout his adult life.
Finally, former Dance Moms stars Christi and Chloe Lukasiak detail how a tour through the notoriously infamous LaLauire Mansion in New Orleans — where gruesome atrocities had allegedly once occurred — left them both profoundly unnerved and terrified. What they encountered during their visit was something well beyond a typical "haunted tour" experience and had a deep and powerful emotional effect on both of them.
You could feel the presence and the heaviness of it. There were clearly dark forces in this house.Chloe's mother, Christi Lukasiak
Following their unsettling experience at the LaLauire House, Chloe turned and snapped a series of photos of the front of the house. A strange figure that appeared inexplicably in one of the snapshots on Chloe's cell phone would serve as portent for a supernatural visitation that would occur later that night in her New Orleans hotel room. Chloe feels strongly that there was a definitive connection between the ominous presence that she and her mother had felt in the mansion, the disturbing image that appeared on her phone and the entity she encountered that night in her hotel.
It's these kinds of experiences that leave lasting and indelible impact on the lives of those touched by them — including the famous and celebrated. And with Famously Afraid, this is just the beginning of the story. Be assured, it's going to get stranger.
In addition to those mentioned, celebrities from season 1 sharing details of their their supernatural experiences and their excursions to "the other side" will include Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy), Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Kate Flannery (The Office), Richie Ramone (of The Ramones), R.J. Mitte (Breaking Bad), Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live), John Melendez (The Howard Stern Show), Parker Stevenson (The Hardy Boys) Ty Pennington (Trading Spaces), Jake Busey (Stranger Things) and many more. Tune in on Tuesday, November 5 at 10p|9e for the series premiere on Travel Channel