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The Dead Files
The popular paranormal TV series has been entertaining fans for nine years now. The series began on Sept. 23, 2011 and airs on the Travel Channel. It is now in season eleven, airing at 10 pm on Thursdays.
The show stars Amy Allan, a physical medium, and Steve Di Schiavi, a retired NYC homicide detective. The show is unique in that the two do not do an investigation. Amy does a walk-through of the location and reads the area. Steve does historical research on the location, looking for interesting events recorded in history that might explain the paranormal activity that the client is experiencing. They do not speak to each other and work independently until they meet with the clients to reveal their findings. The team shares their findings with the clients, and Amy makes recommendations as to what the property owners should do about their haunting.
Amy Allan claims that she had paranormal experiences as a child of four. She saw shadow figures in her Arvada, Colorado home. Amy studied psychology at the University of Arizona, and was mentored by world-renowned parapsychologist William Roll, and is said to have studied modern poltergeist theory under him. Amy’s abilities as a psychic/medium have been tested and studied by leading parapsychologists. She has worked with private investigators and police agencies and has conducted more than 350 investigations in both private homes and businesses. She was in the movie, “Haunting in Georgia,” where she played herself. This movie is said to have inspired the movie, “A Haunting in Connecticut.”
Every opening introduction to the show begins the same way, with the following:
“My name is Amy Allan. I see dead people. I speak to dead people. And they speak to me. But there’s only one way to know if my findings are real. I rely on my partner.”
“Im Steve Di Schiavi. I’m a retired New York City homicide detective. And I know every person, every house, has secrets. It’s my job to reveal them.”
“But Steve and I never speak.”
“We never communicate during an investigation.”
“Until the very end.”
“When we uncover if it’s safe for you to stay…”
“Or time to get out…”
We watch Amy walk through the location, attempting to communicate with spirits. Then, the show switches to Di Schiavi questioning residents, employees, local experts in genealogy, local historians and law enforcement, regarding the site’s history. We then watch Allan collaborate with a sketch artist, who turns Amy’s description of what she sees into a drawing.
The last scene of the show has Amy, Steve, and the clients together around a table. Steve and Amy share their results with each other for the first time, including the sketch. Then the client is advised by Amy about what she suggests they need to do to remove or live with the spirits in their home. Ofen, Amy will suggest a cleansing. Her instructions are detailed. She will often tell them what sort of person to bring in to do a cleansing. This could be a medium, a witch, a priest, or a Native American Shaman. You never know. Sometimes Amy tells the clients that, if they do everything she instructs them to do, they will be fine and can continue to reside in their home safely. In more recent episodes, the diagnosis tends to be more dark, with occasional warnings about possible illness or even death if they remain.
In my observations of trends in paranormal shows, and this one in particular, the activity seems to have ramped up to include multiple spirits, unusual types of spirits, demons, and creatures unheard of previously, and threats of extreme danger present.
In a recent episode Amy describes vine creatures. Vines seemed to be coming up out of the ground around the house and breaking into the home to harm residents. Vines?!
I was curious to see if my sense of things on the shoe being ramped up was true, so I viewed the very first and second episodes on season one.
In the episode, “Evil in Erieville, NY,” Amy and Steve investigate a farmhouse built in 1790. The client wants to turn the farmhouse into a B & B. The owner is a single man from California who purchased the property as an investment. In the episode, the owner admits to using a Ouija Board with friends in the house. This behavior, according to Allan, has opened a portal in the house to allow other spirits to come through. She suggests that he get a medium in to close the portal and cleanse the home. He is warned that this could be a very bad situation.
I then watched episode two. The location was a restaurant in Asbury Park, New Jersey. In this episode, Amy uses a sketch artist for the first time, and includes a sketch artist on all episodes thereafter. This episode involves demons. Amy suggests a weekly cleansing of the property done by the owner.
In the most recent episode, episode ten on season eleven, the location is Highland Park, Ill., and is tited, “The Blurry Man.” There has been no change whatsoever in procedure or order in the newest episode. Everything is exactly the same as season one, with one exception. Amy seems to see way more entities now. In this episode, she sees a man who murdered many women. Di Schiavi discovers a serial killer who murdered over 40 women near the property. The female resident of the house claims to have been sexually assaulted by an entity. The little girl of the home is made ill. Amy suggests they bring in a VooDoo Priest, a male medium, and a female psychic to cleanse the home and remove the evil. The clients do everything Amy suggests, and, according to the clients, the cleansing worked and all is fine now.
So, when I begin this article, I had two goals. One was to compare the early episodes with the recent, to see if my sense was right and the episodes have become more dramatic, with more entities, darker evil, more demons and more dangerous threat of harm, illness or death. Was I right? Well… yes and no. In general, I do think that the more recent episodes have more entities, darker evil, and a more serious threat to the clients. However, I did discover an episode in season one when Amy did mention that the client was in danger of being killed. So, in spite of the apparent ramping up of situations, Amy is fairly consistent in her readings and her diagnosis.
The second goal was to try and discern whether or not this show is primarily faked. Because they do not do an actual investigation, and actual activity and phenomena is not witnessed, it’s much harder to discern fakery. So, it’s all up to Amy. Is she for real? Is she an actual medium? Are her gifts and abilities to talk to the dead and see the dead real? Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I honestly don’t know for sure. However, I have changed my previous opinion of Amy. Even though the show has become a bit predictable, and some of the claims a tad hard to believe (like ghost vines that crawl up from the ground and break into the house) I think she is the real deal. Yup, you heard me. She is not a fake, and her readings are genuine.
I have met and interviewed only two other mediums; Chris Fleming and Alexandra Holzer. Both are very different from one another, and both are very genuine. Chris Fleming I found to be very believable, credible, knowledgeable, and intensely charismatic. He is selfless, giving, generous, and a very spiritual man. He nearly glows with his intensity. Alexandra is someone I feel very privileged to have met. She read me within seconds of meeting me. I felt her see right through me. She let me know the depth of both her knowledge and her compassion. She is small, and very beautiful, and has a powerful personality, filled with gentleness and power, all at once.
Now, I have a third issue that I want to address. Did you ever wonder whether two different paranormal teams, going to the same house, will get similar or the same evidence, or not? Well, we have a case that we can look at. In season six, episode three, called the Hanover House, The Dead Files investigates a home in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where the owners claim to have a severe haunting, including a demon. The Simpsons, Deanna and Tom, have both experienced activity, but Deanna has had much more happen to her, including being pushed down the stairs by an invisible entity, being scratched, seeing a black mist, shadow figures, and has heard voices. The haunting has gone on for years.
I know Deanna personally, and she is very sincere in her claims. Amy discerned multiple spirits in the house. Steve’s research turned up quite a story.
A man named John Diggs, who owned the land between 1727 and 1800, was a very cruel and violent man. His son dies on the property and John Diggs loses the property and moves to Maryland, where he dies. A woman named Lydia Small lived on the property around 1890 and lost four children and her husband. As a result of Amy’s reading, she tells the Simpsons that the property is unsafe for women. The entity hates all women. The information Amy provides is consistent with Steve’s findings. Amy tells the Simpsons to find a male witch medium, dominant and large, to call all of the spirits to him and force them all to leave. At the time, Deanna and Tom said that the activity had subsided.
One the new show, Ghost Hunters, with Grant Wilson and team, on episode three, five years after Amy and Steve go in, The Ghost Hunters team go to the Simpson house. The Simpsons have sold the property and moved out. But Deanna is concerned that they left all the evil and dangerous activity behind them in the house. So she has the team go into the now empty house to investigate. As always, the GH team is thorough in its debunking and procedures. On the first night, absolutely nothing happens. Nothing, Not a sound, not a peep, not a word, not a shadow, not an EMF, Not one EVP, not even a feeling.
Grant decided to send Deanna in with the team on the second night to test his theory that the haunting may be a poltergeist, with the source of the poltergeist activity coming from Deanna. Sure enough, when Deanna enters the house, activity begins. EMF meters are going off like crazy. The team senses dread and heaviness. When she leaves, the activity stops. So Grant declares his theory tested and proven. When they reveal their evidence to the Simpsons they explain that the activity is coming from Deanna, so, with them gone from the house, there is no reason for concern that there will be a haunting when other people move in. But Deanna is warned that they could possibly experience activity in their new home if Deanna experiences too much stress.
Grant, at the beginning of the investigation, tells the viewers that “other investigators” could be the wrong team, and could be motivated to relive paranormal fantasies. You have to be very careful whom you bring into your home to investigate. Who was he referring to? I sincerely do not know. Deanna has had many people into her home to investigate. But, I find this fascinating, because two teams whom I highly respect have concluded entirely different problems and got entirely different results at the same location with the same clients.
So, whom do we believe? They are all experienced, vetted, credible investigators. Could they both be right?
Information is from my own viewing of the shows the Dead Files, Ghost Hunters, and the movie, “The Haunting in Georgia.” The show’s image is from the Travel Channel. All other information is from my own research and information as a result of knowing and speaking with some of the people involved.