Zak Bagans and his “Ghost Adventures” crew are used to getting spooked by shadow figures, apparitions, disembodied voices and things that shouldn’t move but do. But their latest investigation of Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, California, left them traumatized for weeks afterward and fearful that the place was driving them crazy.
“Was this a playground of the deranged, or was the devil itself invited in?” Bagans asked of the location of the new 2-hour special on Discovery+. “Whatever is here has created a nest that is fueling evil spirits, demons, inhuman entities. This place was known as Devil’s Den.”
Check out the “Ghost Adventures: Devil’s Den” teaser in the video above.
As Bagans and his team – Aaron Goodwin, Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley – approached the detention center with its barbed wire fence surrounding it, he said he could feel the violence, pain and torture shooting from the ground and into his body. “Brace yourself,” he said as the locks of the abandoned prison were broken.
As the investigation started, his and Tolley’s personalities made drastic shifts. Bagans got a look of rage in his eyes, leaned his back against a wall and rubbed it nervously with one hand. The crew grew worried about him and Tolley, concerned that something there was driving them all mad.
“There was a point there when I was really disturbed; I lost time. I don’t remember getting from point A to point B and that scared me,” Bagans told TheWrap. “And it was weird — while I was fighting with myself and fighting with Jay, I had no idea that Aaron and Billy, those two never fight, you know, those two were getting ready to throw down. Billy’s the nicest guy in the world, and he was getting ready to knock Aaron out. We just wanted to kill each other. It was incredibly disturbing.”
Where other investigations always uncovered physical evidence of the existence of the paranormal (and that too happened at Devil’s Den), it was the psychological toll it took on everyone involved that made this time different. Whatever was there got into their heads, making it not only a disturbing investigation for them but also a disturbing experience for the audience to watch.
A former inmate was brought in to talk about his time in lockup. But his memories of the brutality weren’t what had left him so scarred – it was the evil he felt oozing from the walls and how it got into his head that left him traumatized. Every moment he, Ned, is on camera sharing, his emotional and psychological pain can literally be felt.
“Once we started talking with the former inmate and we saw the emotion on this guy’s face, I was like in shock, you know?” Bagans said. “And I kept asking him, ‘Look, are you crying because of just your time in jail, like it was a bad time in your life, or are these emotions from things that were happening to you from the spirit side of things?’ And a lot of it was the spirit side of things. We weren’t really prepared for that. It was powerful. And I don’t think that there was any more disturbing psychological investigation than this place.”
The team frequently pays many visits to the same location to get further evidence of a haunting. That will not be happening with Devil’s Den. “A lot of times people ask me, is there any locations that you’d never go back to? Well, Bobby Mackey’s is one of them,” Bagans said. “I’m gonna have to add this to the list because it really took a toll on me. When I came home, I was having very violent thoughts. Very bad thoughts. And I knew that that wasn’t me. And it stuck with me for a long time. This one took a toll on me. And it took a toll on me afterward, too, for a few weeks, maybe even longer.”
“This place will forever put a mark on all of us. It’s just one of the most powerful energies we’ve ever dealt with on any investigation. There are inhuman entities that have infested this place, they’re still here,” Bagans said.
“I don’t want to go back.”
“Ghost Adventures: Devil’s Den” premieres Thursday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel and streaming on discovery+.