I’ll admit it- one of the big reasons I jumped on the chance to see “American Ghost Hunter” on tour was because I would get to meet Ryan Buell- who I have had a ridiculously stupid celebrity crush on for a long time now- but the main reason goes much deeper than that.
My entire life has been a series of paranormal events. For the first 15 years of my life, I was plagued by what I to this day consider a haunted house. Years of sleepless nights, and when I could fall asleep, it was only after hours of crying in my bed, and hiding under the covers, because I was too afraid to look into the darkness to see what was there making all of the noises I was hearing coming from all of the corners of my house. My family never bought into any of it. I was never told to hide what I was experiencing, but I was told time and time again that what I was hearing and what I was seeing and the feelings I got while alone there were figments of my imagination.
Once I moved out of that house, the hauntings seemed to follow me wherever I went. 27 years of hauntings. 27 years of being unsure of whether I was just imagining things or if I was truly haunted.
Once I heard that two of the people I trust the most in the paranormal community, Ryan Buell from A&E’s Paranormal State, and Chad Calek, an award winning documentarian, had made a film, a documentary about the paranormal, I knew I had to see it- no matter what I had to do to get there, I HAD to see it. It was as if it was calling to me, for some higher purpose, to see it.
I’ve never been a fan of the Hollywood paranormal films. The special effects and the exaggeration of all events, even if based on a true story, just rubbed me the wrong way.
That was never what “American Ghost Hunter” was advertised as. It was REAL. It was Chad’s true story. And from the trailers it was powerful.
I wanted to go in unspoiled, so I didn’t read any of the reviews of the real backstory behind the movie- so other than what i’d heard from word of mouth by Chad and Ryan themselves via their Facebooks and websites, that this was the story of Chad’s family and their experiences in the paranormal- I had no idea what I was walking into last night.
Little did I know that I would walk out feeling emotionally raw, and once I processed what I had seen, would have a profound new understanding of what i’ve been through in my life, a revived sense of family and love, and the secure feeling that I am NOT alone in what I have gone through.
“American Ghost Hunter” is NOT a film about hauntings, it’s not a film to scare you with things jumping out at you, or chairs flying across rooms… not exactly.
It details the past decades of Chad Calek’s life, his inner turmoil with having to come to terms with the fact that he has been haunted and followed by the ghosts of his childhood, and the scary realization that his mother may in fact be possessed; but the real true backbone of this story, his story, is the love for his family and the fact that he was willing to risk absolutely everything to get them the help they needed in order to live happy and peaceful lives, once and for all.
As I sat there and watched the rawest, truest, most emotional film I have ever seen in all of my years, I was awestruck. Here is this man, who has been through so much and has had so many secrets and things kept from him- and he’s willing to put himself on the line, wear his heart on his sleeve, and open those dark closets, to help others. To show others that they are not alone. To show others that this is REAL, and that a haunting can truly haunt your life, can tear a family apart if you let it. It’s a story of true bravery.
I walked out of the hotel that night feeling emotionally spent. Exhausted. I couldn’t even process what I saw for hours following the film. But his words after the movie had come to a close stuck with me. His words about how much he loved and respected his family, regardless of what they’d been through, regardless of what he had been through, regardless of how his mother had treated him under the influence of something seemingly paranormal- that resounded with me.
I knew this film had called to me for a reason, and for the first time in my entire life, I feel a sense of closure about my past… and not because I had the guts to go back and face it like Chad did, but because all I have wanted was to know that I wasn’t crazy, and that i’m NOT crazy, and that i’m not alone. And now I know i’m not. And now I know that even with the things my children are experiencing, that I am the one who needs to be there for them, open with them. No matter what, at all costs, they are my family. They are my heart and my soul; and even with the world going crazy, chairs flying across rooms- we can brave any of that as long as we have each other.
That is “American Ghost Hunter”, that is what it meant to me.
Thank you Chad Calek for having the guts to make this film, to show it to the world; and thank you Ryan Buell and the PRS and AGH teams for helping him do so.
I implore you to see this film. Even if you’ve never had a paranormal experience, it is important to see to understand those that have. To understand the importance of family, of hope, of love, and how powerful all of that is.
American Ghost Hunter the Movie
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