|“Paranormal Witness” is a newer show to the paranormal world, and during a Q&A, Producer Mark Lewis discussed the new series and where the idea for this unique show came from. The series is interesting because it tells single stories involving families, ordinary people from all walks of life, and they are interviewed about their ghostly experiences. Some are not ghostly, but just very unusual including a Bigfoot spotting and even a possible UFO spotting.
To get the stories on the air, Mark explains they are always on the hunt for the strange and unusual, as well as credible witnesses, who can properly tell these extraordinarily different stories about their experiences. The main goal is looking for legitimate stories that the series can develop a flow with. They reach out to many different types of people and all sorts of groups including paranormal groups. There is a lot of research done, and he combs through newspapers, and frequently checks the media for any odd stories that would fit the show’s “out there” type of aspect.
Mark mentioned the difficult part is tracking the people down because they are not exactly running to him. Some people are so traumatized they do not feel the need to relive something so horrific, so Mark has to approach them and reach out to the people who often feel “shell-shocked.” They are the ones they truly have to convince to appear on Paranormal Witness.
The process can be tedious due to finding credible applicants to appear on the show. Mark believes that conducting background checks is the most legitimate way to find out their credibility before they appear on the series. He does evaluations of everyone, and it can be an extensive process. He prefers having the stories be corroborated by newspaper reports, but they can also be corroborated by a real archive such as Radio Transfer, Trumbull UFO Chase, or even 911 calls, in which dispatchers often receive calls from people who claim to spot strange bright lights in the sky or unidentified flying objects.
One story that sticks out for Mark involves an Ohio dispatcher who took a 911 call from a town of people who all claimed to be seeing “bright lights in the sky.” There were around fourteen officers chasing this unidentified flying object around the country. The entire incident was recorded over the Trumbull County police 911 records offices, so they had all of those calls handy for him to review. It makes it much more reliable and different from other shows, because there is a present source and people who actually lived through these horrific stories to tell them.
Photographic evidence is also a big help. Mark relies on it for any type of poltergeist activity that is reported by those who appear on the series. It adds an extra layer of credibility and provides more visual details for the skeptics in this world. Mark prefers to have multiple sources; it is basically the more the merrier effect. The more people that contribute evidence and information to the stories, the more credible they are for viewers. He also goes to the families, not just to verify the story, but also verify the person and if what they saw or felt was actually paranormal and not just part of their imagination.
The reenactment aspect of the series came from Mark; he had an idea and stuck with it. He wanted to do something very different versus the current live investigations. He felt the reenactments, or drama documentaries as he calls them, would provide more of a dramatization, and the interviews would show the emotions of the real life people telling the stories. It is not just a group of people trying to figure out what or who is supposedly haunting a random building or location. He is not looking to replace any of the paranormal investigation shows, nor is he trying to tread on their toes.
Mark likes to keep the dramatizations as accurate as possible. For example, if someone says, “I stood up, and I saw the statue had been broken and on the floor,” the show gives a very detailed version of what was described, and the reenactments play while the real life people are interviewed. Some of the stories may seem out there, but they are being told to Mark as they happened to the individuals.
The stories have a scarier feel to them, because you can imagine what these people are going through and how they feel. The emotions are viable and lively. The tagline also puts the interest in there for all who are interested in paranormal and horror, don’t watch it alone. That scare tactic comes forth, and the series proves it does have several fearful aspects. Mark feels you should definitely not watch the show by yourself. He advises to be aware of episode four; it is one of the scariest of them all.
It is something that has not been done before, and it provides more of a real life, relatable effectiveness. Mark truly likes the documentary feel of the show. It feels like a testimony or a live therapy session. The audience witnesses the fear, sees it, and feels what they feel. If the episode is traumatic or sad, the fear and tears are there for the viewers. These situations become relatable. There are a lot of people who may not have been on a paranormal investigation, but there are always a few of us who have had an experience with something that goes bump in the night, yet there is never really an outlet to discuss it. Being able to watch Paranormal Witness provides some relief.
Mark likes to film the series as gritty as possible. He believes it gives it more of a realistic feel. Lewis has never personally had a paranormal experience but he said when you start working on a show like this, it obtains your interest further. It is something that is more freely discussed and more people believe in it.