Os­bourne and Wei­d­man take on trou­ble­some haunts on Travel Chan­nel’s ‘Por­tals to Hell’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY GE­ORGE DICKIE

There are haunt­ings and then there are phe­nom­ena that are more sin­is­ter.

Jack Os­bourne and Ka­t­rina Wei­d­man know the dif­fer­ence, both as peo­ple who grew up in haunted houses and Wei­d­man as a pro­fes­sional para­nor­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tor. To­gether, they check out places with sor­did pasts and dark his­to­ries in the new Travel Chan­nel se­ries “Por­tals to Hell.”

Pre­mier­ing Fri­day, April 26, the hour­long se­ries fol­lows Os­bourne (“The Os­bournes,” “Ozzy & Jack’s World De­tour”), Wei­d­man (“Para­nor­mal State,” “Para­nor­mal Lock­down”), their crew and an ar­ray of spe­cial­ized tech­nol­ogy as they cross the coun­try to in­ves­ti­gate lo­ca­tions with a his­tory of no­to­ri­ous spirit ac­tiv­ity. In the eight episodes, the duo look into haunt­ings at LaLau­rie Man­sion in New Or­leans, Philadel­phia’s Eastern State Pen­i­ten­tiary, Bobby Mackey’s World of Mu­sic in Ken­tucky and Ohio’s Twin City Opera House, among oth­ers.

In Fri­day’s opener, Os­bourne (who is also an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer) and Wei­d­man check in at the Alaskan Ho­tel in Juneau, a place with a rep­u­ta­tion for spir­its that men­ace lodgers in the night, where they set about chal­leng­ing the ap­pari­tions in the hopes of pro­vok­ing ac­tiv­ity.

“We try dif­fer­ent meth­ods to see what will get ac­tiv­ity to hap­pen,” Wei­d­man ex­plains, “be­cause some­times you go into it, like the Alaskan, they were telling us, ‘Oh, if you come down here and start chal­leng­ing them, that’s when you get ac­tiv­ity.’ So to me, it’s like, well, let’s put it to the test . ... Some­times it doesn’t al­ways work, some­times you get ac­tiv­i­ties that will start and some­times it’ll be light, some­times it’ll be heavy. It’s hard to say. There’s cer­tain pat­terns you look for but not ev­ery­thing is ex­act. You know, that’s part of the work we try to do is fig­ure out those pat­terns.”

While Wei­d­man and Os­bourne try to ap­proach their re­search ob­jec­tively, they do ad­mit to be­ing spooked from time to time. Such was the case for Os­bourne when he saw some­thing at Eastern State Pen­i­ten­tiary that got his heart pound­ing.

“I saw a shadow walk­ing down one of the cell blocks,” he re­calls. “It looked like it walked out of one cell and into another and then the cell that it walked into all of a sud­den, there was this art dis­play, like this in­stal­la­tion in the cell be­cause it’s an old prison that’s been turned into a mu­seum. Even the staff ... were like, ‘That should not turn on. It’s on a timer. It’s not sched­uled to turn on un­til 10 o’clock in the morn­ing.’ It was freaky. And then prob­a­bly about an hour later, one of our pro­duc­ers went into a cell to take a pic­ture and some­thing spoke to him in there and he was like, ‘I want out of here, now.’ ”

Jack Os­bourne and Ka­t­rina Wei­d­man star in “Por­tals to Hell,” pre­mier­ing Fri­day on Travel Chan­nel.

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