If the last time you watched Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures was before you cut the cable cord, then you probably have vague memories of small household items going bump, said adventurers running away from things, and the occasional demon shouting through several dimensions, coming through as a staticky muffle on a fancy ghost walkie-talkie.
God help us, Ghost Adventures is not that show anymore. Most recently, Zak Bagans and his crew filmed a four-episode miniseries airing this October called Ghost Adventures: Serial Killer Spirits, where they track down the specters of H.H. Holmes, John Gacy, Jake Bird, and, Ted Bundy. It’s insane. All of it. There are new gadgets (one lets the investigators basically text the ghosts), plus they do these cruel experiments where they lock themselves in pitch-black closets, baiting the ghosts to come. And it’s all backed up with research into the serial killers themselves, pointing out how they would often talk about feeling possessed by another entity.
It all leads up to what feels like the ghost-hunting Super Bowl, which airs this Saturday at 9 p.m. ET: The Ted Bundy Ritual House. Here’s the story: On November 8, 1974, Ted Bundy abducted 17-year-old Debra Kent at a parking lot in Bountiful, Utah. Bundy later admitted to authorities that he took Kent back to his home, where he kept her for a period of about 24 hours. But no one knows where he actually murdered Kent—only that her remains were found decades later buried in Fruit Heights, Utah.
Locals claim that Bundy killed Kent at a now-abandoned house 100 feet away from the parking lot where she was abducted—which also happens to be a known place for satanic rituals. Combine that with the fact that Bundy often talked about an “entity” that would come over him during his crimes, it was enough for Bagans and co. to cap their cross-country, serial killer ghost-hunting trip with a visit to Utah.
Given that the episode starts with a little boy bringing a tree branch to the house’s doorstep, pissing on it, and telling Bagans that demon children living inside would kill him if he went in there, it’s a hell of a ride. And since Bagans made it out alive—but not totally intact, as you’ll see in the episode—we gave him a call to see what was really going on in the Ted Bundy Ritual House.
ESQUIRE: Just to start, how did the idea come about to do a series about serial killer spirits, and then go on a cross-country trip finding them?
ZAK BAGANS: I had a real fascination with serial killers. Not because, obviously, of what they did, but what would drive somebody to do something like this? It brings such evil into the world. At my museum I collect a lot of serial killer artifacts. But on a paranormal extent, like on Saturday’s episode, what got me going was: I always see a common thing with these serial killers, about them hearing voices in their heads, and a lot of them practicing dark rituals. Being devil worshippers. And I know for a fact that if you start dabbling in that kind of stuff, and you start honoring that kind of stuff, it can possess you and drive you to commit murders.
ESQ: Right, right.
ZB: And Bundy abducted Debra Kent at that school in Utah, and a lot of people speculate that Ted Bundy may have taken Debra Kent to this abandoned house. Because even Ted Bundy admitted that he did have Debra Kent for a period of time before she was murdered. So there is speculation that he may have taken Debra Kent to this abandoned house that was already known for doing devil rituals, so we investigate that. We don’t ever state factually he took her there, but it is a possibility.
ESQ: Well, that’s what I’ve found really interesting with this episode—the journalism to it. I mean, you dig up that Bundy has actual quotes where he describes being under the influence of another entity. Could you talk about the idea that Ted Bundy may have been under possession by something?
ZB: I believe in possession, I’ve dealt with that, I’ve been part of multiple exorcisms. With these different serial killers, and Ted Bundy stating that he has heard voices and that there was this presence over him at the time of these killings, we can’t ignore the fact that he may have practiced some form of devil worshipping that brought this demon onto him and attached itself to him. And he’s having to fulfill these demons’ orders. And we just don’t know the level of possession that—even if he did have it—we can’t argue with the fact that he did state that he did hear voices and have this entity around him. So, in finding the house a hundred yards away from where he abducted Debra Kent— the legend is that he took her there. Once I walk inside this house, it was entering into a whole other domain. It was nothing but a portal to Hell.
ESQ: Before we get to the you kind of inside the house—how did you come across it in the first place?
ZB: There’s an individual that told us about it that lives in Utah, and then we were able to find a woman who apparently was nearly abducted [by Ted Bundy] right around the house. So, we do know that Ted Bundy was around that area. The evidence that we were able to uncover was that, yes, this house was a known house for devil worship, going back decades. The effects the house had on us were… obvious. So it’s an interesting thing to theorize, that he may have taken Debra to this house. And if he did, did he use her in some way or another in somebody’s rituals? It’s all theoretical at this point, but we did find a house that is literally a gateway to Hell.
ESQ: I just want to clarify: It seems like you theorize that this house was a site for devil worship first? And then Bundy might’ve been called to it after he abducted Debra.
ZB: The information that I was given is that this house has been used for these rituals. And obviously upon entering you can see it’s graffitied everywhere with devil-worshipping and Satanic symbols. So, if that’s the case, we went in there and were able to measure the center of that devil circle on a concrete surface. There’s no electricity to the house, and yet we’re receiving extremely high electromagnetic field readings on the center of the circle, which we could not explain whatsoever. So there is some type of open portal there, in my belief, based upon scientific readings, and evidence we collected, things that we all felt. I mean, I lost Billy, he just lost himself in there. As soon as we felt that energy from the center of that circle, I had to kneel down for a moment. I could feel it, so I do believe there is a very dark portal, or gateway at the house. And, even that little kid in the very beginning…
ESQ: Oh my God, yeah.
ZB: I mean, a little kid taking this huge piece of tree and laying it there, and what would appear to be urinating on it or something? And then we went over there, just unannounced, and I asked the mother if I could talk to her kid. Thankfully she let me, and I mean, did you hear what the kid was saying?
ESQ: That was straight out of a horror movie, like even his tone.
ZB: I was expecting him to just be like, “Yeah I took a tree over there, I wanted to mess with you guys,” you know? But then he just got, talking about all these spirits there.
ESQ: So weird.
ZB: I’m just like, “Oh my God, did we just hear that?”
ESQ: I mean it was, like you said, very clear the influence the house had on you guys. But what you felt there—was that different in any way from anywhere else you visited for the show?
ZB: I mean I’ve run into that before, but it was straight demonic. I mean, it was grave evil—there was a history of the house that we can’t go into. But it’s obvious what is being called to that house. People are going to a doorway to Hell, okay? That’s a fact. So, when you go there, you have no essence of time out on the outside world. It was just as dark as you can imagine, very foreboding—you’re just waiting for something bad to happen. But, to me, that’s like, really cool. Not because of devil worship or anything, but if you want to feel something and you’re a skeptic, that’s the place for ya’.
ESQ: Who do you think was at that house? The episode seems to suggest that it was just various demons and possible devil worshippers, but do you think the spirit of Debra Kent was at that house?
ZB: I don’t know, you know? I can’t say fact or anything on that. I would hope that she isn’t trapped there. I know we captured some voices. We got some voices, it could be. I mean that would be an awful thing to know that she would be trapped there in this web of demons, so I would really hope not, but we did capture some interesting voices.
ESQ: Was there any part of you that thought some remnant of Bundy’s spirit would be at that house when you went there?
ZB: Yes. But I couldn’t tell you exactly it was Ted Bundy, but there was an evil presence there. At times it felt like I could feel him there, but at the same time we’re trying to contact him. All I know is that we encountered just pure evil. I mean, we encountered demons, and that’s what he was, so it was hard to state: Oh, this was definitely Ted.
ESQ: Stay safe, man! I’m worried for you.
ZB: Okay, I’ll try! I will try.