Two of the area’s spookiest locations are about to find themselves in the national spotlight.
The house at Rocky Point in Harrodsburg and Perryville Battlefield are the subject of the Travel Channel show “Ghost Adventures,” which will air the episode featuring the landmarks at 9 p.m. Friday.
“Ghost Adventures” is one of several shows now featuring groups searching for things that go bump in the night, but the show's executive producer, Daniel Schwartz, said the crew members set themselves apart by going after a certain kind of spirit.
Schwartz said what really sets the show apart is that cast members Nick Groff, Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin are in search of more volatile — even violent — spirits known to cause people harm. In the past, Bagans has been scratched by a ghost, and large items have fallen on or near cast members, he said.
Schwartz said the crew, particularly Bagans, attempts to provoke the more dangerous apparitions to do their worst.
While they are at a site, the crew members go into a “lockdown,” during which they are the only ones at the site, and continue to film, measure and otherwise document their own experience. Schwartz said they constantly are making use of whatever technology they can get their hands on, from basic recording devices to infrared, to try to verify what they are experiencing.
While the cast members are known to taunt the angry spirits they are looking for, Schwartz said during the filming of Friday’s show the motivation was instead to tap into places where there was massive simultaneous loss of life. He said both cast and crew were mindful to maintain the proper amount of reverence while filming on what is considered hallowed ground.
The team chose Rocky Point and Perryville after meeting members of the local group Spirit Hunters of Central Kentucky — or SHOCK. Until now, the group, which gives tours of the battlefield, had been the only one known to do investigations at both locations.
Jeff Waldridge, a local law enforcement officer, said he has been doing his own investigations at the battlefield for the last eight years before hooking up with SHOCK’s Lee and Jennifer Kirkland of Harrodsburg. While stories from park employees and visitors abound, SHOCK is now the only group allowed to do widespread investigations at the battlefield and is the point of contact for others wanting to do the same.
A couple of years ago during renovations at Rocky Point, built in the late 1700s near Fort Harrod and believed to have been a hospital during the Battle of Perryville, the group started performing investigations there as well.
Officials, including battlefield preservation coordinator Joni House, are hoping to continue to draw people interested in the paranormal especially in the lead up to the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Perryville in 2012. House said several events, including tours of the Dye House, will be scheduled in the coming year.
Waldridge said he and other members of SHOCK are not interested in exploiting the history of the battlefield but rather trying to understand it better. Proceeds from ghost tours at the battlefield go back to preservation efforts at the park, which he wants to continue to support.
Waldridge and the Kirklands were around for much of the filming of the show, and interviews and recreations of their own experiences are featured in the episode.
One of Waldridge’s experiences at Rocky Point, during which he felt cold spots on a stairway and saw a large shadow moving on a wall, will be dramatized.
The longtime investigator was first drawn to Perryville because of how “active” he found it to be. During his time there over the years, he said he has heard cannon blasts with no other explanation at least five times and the SHOCK team has encountered a phantom horse.
As for what happened during filming, everyone close to the production is staying mum on what happened when the cast was at both locations.
Schwartz, who admits he is notoriously bad at keeping secrets, has been able to maintain a vow of silence.
Waldridge freely shares many of his experiences but would only say he believes it will be one of the better episodes.