As a renowned paranormal investigator, Chad Calek has seen it all. Ghosts, spirits, apparitions—regardless of what you call them, the seasoned supernatural sleuth has encountered it. But nothing prepared him for the one called Sir, the subject of his new documentary and tour Sir NoFace Lives.
Calek spoke to EU Jacksonville about his early experiences and the events which led to the Sir Noface Lives Tour coming August 11 to the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. The tour includes a screening the documentary, which he says contains footage of the first full-bodied apparition ever captured on film and offers undeniable proof that ghosts exist.
An award-winning documentary filmmaker and paranormal investigator, Calek is the subject and director of such documentaries as American Ghost Hunter and A Blood Red Sky. He also co-starred and directed five seasons of A&E’s reality series Paranormal State and the spin-off special for A&E, The Ghost Prophecies. But his supernatural history began at a home in Iowa where, as a teenager, Calek struggled to substantiate the spirits that plagued his family. “I had my first run-in with the paranormal at that house in Iowa. In a nutshell, I went from being a complete atheist who did not believe in or speak of any such things to moving into a haunted house in Iowa. That was officially the beginning,” he says.
The spirits in Calek’s boyhood home left him alone. At first. His parents weren’t so lucky. Calek describes his first dive into the paranormal pool as an attempt to gather evidence that proved his parents weren’t crazy and show his friends that he wasn’t either. “I wasn’t experiencing the activity that they experienced. It was very accidental how the whole ‘ghost hunter is born’ thing happened. I was just trying to get people to see that I wasn’t crazy. It’s an itch that the more you scratch it, the more it itches. It’s very easy to keep going deeper and deeper,” says Calek. “After experiencing so many things at so many different locations, I made it a goal of mine to capture the definitive piece of footage that proves that ghosts exist. After doing it for 25 years, I had not captured that piece. I had captured some of the most mind-blowing stuff you’d ever seen, but there was always just enough of an argument that could be made that you couldn’t say this was definitive.”
Calek was on the verge of retiring when he was introduced to Sir. Following a meet and greet during an Australian tour stop for his film A Blood Red Sky, he befriended a fellow ghost hunter named Craig Powell, founder of the West Sydney Paranormal Research Team. “About a year later, I ended up going back to do a ghost hunting event and asked him if he knew anywhere that he could set up for a ghost hunt,” says Calek. “He said, ‘Sure, I can get you out to this place called Cockatoo Island. You’ll love it. There’s nothing like it.”
Cockatoo Island was unlike any site he’d ever investigated. The property is owned by the Australian government where a decommissioned Naval base was built upon an ex-convict prison. When he first entered the beautiful island located off the coast of Australia’s Sydney Harbor, Calek was puzzled when he discovered that it was completely empty.
“As I’m walking around and setting up I’m thinking, ‘How the hell did he get access to this place?’ So I asked him, ‘What gives?’” says Calek. According to Powell, the Australian government sanctioned a two-year paranormal investigation based on hundreds of supernatural sightings by civilians, ex-military and contractors working on the island. Calek says the government erected hundreds of huge tents, constructed barbeque pits and offered ferry rides free to the public in an effort to draw visitors to the island, yet the island remained mysteriously empty.
“I’ve been back there four times since, and nobody is ever there, and it’s because of these haunted legends. That alone is a great story. No one has ever, at least to my knowledge, publicly sanctioned an investigation,” says Calek. “We experienced a ton of bizarre shit in a pretty short amount of time. Let’s not forget, this whole thing started because the government had over 500 reported cases. There are so many layers to this story that are mind-blowing.”
Calek hosted over 50 ghost hunters at his event on Cockatoo Island, displaying his findings to the audience, which included Powell and his team. Since it was their location, he invited Powell’s team to show theirs as well. Powell ended up giving Calek the exclusive rights to release the raw footage of the evidence captured during the length of the investigation, which includes footage of Sir.
“Craig nonchalantly starts out and shows clip of a white flash of light going off in this room. Little did I know that this piece of footage was going to go in a whole new direction,” says Calek. “Craig says, ‘Not only did this happen but we became such good friends with this spirit that he would do this on command for us. We’d say, ‘Sir, can we see your light?’ And the light was so bright that there would be no shadow cast’.”
The next clip showed an image of the ghost himself. Sir decided to reveal himself to the crew, resulting in the only full-body apparition in history. Sir, thought to be a former military member, steps out about eight feet away from the camera and turns to look directly into the lens. At first glance, Calek says he thought of so many other things it could be but says, “You just start knocking them off, one by one.”
“You have to understand that the full body apparition is the ghost world’s Bigfoot. Much talked about, much revered, but never actually seen. Tons of hoax footage out there and nothing that is verifiable. I’m watching this and I’m thinking in my head, ‘If these guys are acting, they’ve got Marlon Brando acting skills’,” says Calek. “I knew right away that it was one of two things. It was either the most elaborate hoax ever assembled or it was the real deal. I knew I wanted to tell this story. I cornered Craig and said, ‘We’ve been friends for like a year, and you’ve never told me about any of this, showed me any of this, and I have tons of questions that make me skeptical as hell. I want to tell your story if it’s real, but I want you to think about something. I want to make a documentary, but that means I’m going to make one of two films. It’s going to be about footage that proves this exists or I’m going to make a documentary about a guy I busted. If you say yes to this, you don’t determine which one I make’.”
While Calek is a known as a renowned paranormal investigator, part of his shtick involves debunking supernatural theories and unraveling elaborate set-ups like what transpired on Cockatoo Island. He spent an estimated 20 months dissecting the raw footage from every angle trying to prove that it was a hoax, at one point asking a renowned CGI animator in Hollywood to review the clips.
“I dug into this man’s life like you wouldn’t imagine. I interviewed every member of that team. I put them in different rooms like cops do. I grilled them,” says Calek. “There’s two ways to fake it. You can do CGI or you can do it physically. I said, ‘Is this footage tampered with?’ and he said, ‘No, it’s not’.”
Spoilers aside, Calek says there are two “jaw-dropping” moments in the documentary that “seal the deal.” “Bottom line, this footage is real and proves that ghosts exist. Period,” he says. “I’m absolutely making that statement and I’m the last guy that would’ve made that statement when this all started. You’re talking to someone who’s seen it all, but there is no other statement to make and that’s what you’ll see when you watch the film. When you see it, you feel it.”
Will seeing make you a believer? Check out Sir NoFace Lives August 11 at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall.