Chad Calek sees dead people. The documentary filmmaker best known for the TV show “Paranormal State” and his film “American Ghost Hunter” has spent a good part of his life proving and debunking spiritual encounters around the world.
But none has convinced Mr. Calek more absolutely that ghosts are indeed real than an encounter he had with an Australian spirit dubbed Sir No Face. The featureless visage is the subject of Mr. Calek’s latest film “Sir No Face Lives.” That film is the centerpiece of a live tour that has Mr. Calek coming to The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, Sunday.
Before that materializes, Mr. Calek and I spoke about hauntings, skeptics and all things paranormal.
Question: How did you get into ghost hunting to begin with?
Answer: I’ll give you the abbreviated version because it is completely detailed in “American Ghost Hunter” the documentary. Growing up my family would never speak of God. Never spoke of ghosts. My dad had been in an accident. He had third-degree burns over 3/4 of his body. He was fully expected to die, but he didn’t. He made this miraculous recovery, but not fully because he was covered with scar tissue.
We had to move from southern Texas because scar tissue doesn’t sweat and you could easily have heatstroke. My parents then decided to move back to Omaha, Nebraska. They got this incredible deal on this massive old country home in a tiny town. We were told the two previous families moved because they thought it was haunted.
Q: You moved into a haunted house?
A: Yes. But because my family did not believe in that stuff, we didn’t care. My parents were always very open and we didn’t hide anything.
When we moved into this house, suddenly I started noticing my parents were leaving the room to have these little whisper conversations. I asked what was going on. Eventually they said, “There are weird things happening in this house.” They said they saw a black figure standing at the base of their bed. They also saw two young children with green glowing eyes looking through the window laughing. I just thought they had lost their minds. I saw nothing.
Eventually my little sister wakes me up one night because a green glowing hand came out of the wall and tried to tuck her in. My older brother started telling me things were happening. I was the last one in my house to experience anything until one day I was alone in the house daring whatever was there — what would be called “provoking” today.
Nothing happened. Until that night.
As I was drifting off to sleep, it sounded like somebody punched the wall hard. Everything shook. I ran into my brother’s room. I asked, “Did you hear that?” He hadn’t. I climbed into bed with him, and as we’re both falling sleep, it happens again, and it starts going around the room. Boom! Boom! Boom!
We are both screaming and running downstairs. Boom! I was terrified. We ran into my parent’s bedroom and see my mom wincing in pain. Her hair is being jerked away from her head by a totally unseen force. I snapped a photo of it that can be seen in the “American Ghost Hunter” film.
My mother looked at me, and nothing was as terrifying as that moment. She said, “I’m going to get you, boy!”
Q: Where did you get a camera from?
A: At that time my parents had already talked to multiple priests and preachers to try to get help. The only church that took them seriously was the Catholic Church. The only way to actually get help was to submit three pieces of hard evidence to the archdiocese. My dad was trying to capture three pieces of evidence, and we had these disposable cameras all around the house.
Q: What about that event inspired you to make this your life’s work?
A: We lived in that house for seven years. I developed all these ticks, and it was like post-traumatic stress disorder. It finally got to a point where I said I can’t let the rest of my life be dominated by this. I really need to find an understanding of what this is and face this.
Q: What do you say to skeptics?
A: Most skeptics have never stepped a foot inside Chillingham Castle. They’ve never stepped foot inside Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Never been on a ghost hunt. Most skeptics have never spent the time to determine if it’s real or not.
Q: Are all haunts negative?
A: Ninety-nine percent are positive. But we’ve just heard about the negatives because they make great movies. It’s just like people: Most people are good, but you’re going to have your percentages that are bad.
Q: What is the “Sir No Face Live 2017” show all about?
A: I have officially retired from ghost hunting. And the reason I have retired is this movie. When I started out to do this, my goal was to find that piece of footage that was undeniable, that thing that would take away the conversation that “ghosts aren’t real.” “Sir No Face” does that.
The show is two things — a chance for the “Sir No Face” documentary and a paranormal evidence presentation where I demonstrate the most intense stuff that I’ve captured over the last 25 years.
Q: Why do you think ghosts hang around?
A: The only one who could answer that would be a ghost. We could be looking at dead people. But I believe what is going on is we are having interdimensional blips. Mathematic string theory will tell you that it is not only possible but probable that up to 13 different dimensions exist. Space and time bend and wobble and vibrate. Dimensions do as well.
Time is a dimension, and I do believe it is traversable. Maybe not by us.