March 11, 2020 Interview – Jack Osbourne & Katrina Weidman
With the abundant amount of ghost-hunting shows on television today you can either be on overload or loving every minute. Take it or leave it, paranormal reality television is extremely popular, but how much of it is asinine and how much of it is sincere? A valid question to a viewer looking for entertainment with intelligence, fortunately Travel Channel’s Portals To Hell is one of the better series of this ilk out there today.
Premiering season one in 2019, it features two veteran hosts, Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman, who team up to visit alleged haunted locations around the USA. Approaching their subject matter with an honest as well as skeptical eye, Osbourne and Weidman are a perfect match that bring a genuine approach to paranormal investigation television. Now preparing to return for their second season on March 13, 2020, the duo sat down to talk about their time working together, what makes Portals To Hell unique, and their perspective on what ghosts really are.
Cryptic Rock – You both have been involved in the media world for some time in different capacities, working in unscripted television. First tell us, what has the experience been like?
Katrina Weidman – For me, I was always kind of involved in performance of some kind; in school I was a theater and music major. The paranormal just sort of led me in a very distinct genre of working in arts and media. It was such a weird random thing that happened – it was a right place, right time sort of situation that grew and snowballed into what it is today. It’s been interesting to work in reality television considering how much it has grown and evolved over the last 20 years. It has been interesting to see how that has changed, specifically in the paranormal genre.
Jack Osbourne – For me, it’s just kind of one of those things. Having done The Osbournes at such a young age, it put me in a position to work in TV. I’m going on 19-20 years now working in television – it’s kind of all I know. I started my production company, as well as hosting shows. I create and sell other shows for other networks where I might not be on the camera, but produce with my time. It’s all I really know at this point.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting how you two have been led here. You are teamed up for Travel Channel’s Portals To Hell with Season 2 set for release Friday, March 13th. What has it been like working together?
Katrina Weidman – I think where Jack and I really connect, as far as investigators, is we definitely both wear skeptical lenses. When we talk about different theories or options going on regarding a haunting, we are usually on the same page about things. Because we both have our own different experiences in the genre, we definitely have our own thoughts and we come at the table with different opinions about things, but we always converge to the same answer, which is always really interesting.
Jack Osbourne – Yeah, and I think we try and sprinkle into the show how both Katrina and I have stellar senses of humor; we certainly try to have as much fun as we can. Paranormal investigating is an inherently depressing subject matter – you’re dealing with death. We tend to try and mask a lot of our discovery around humor. It’s a big factor with our ability to work together; we can laugh when we need to.
Cryptic Rock – It is good you are able to keep a sense of humor with such grim subject matter. With Season 2, you visit eight new locations. What was it like filming this season and visiting these locations?
Katrina Weidman – I think, generally speaking, it’s always kind of tough, because sometimes we go into locations that aren’t the best regarding the environment – sometimes there’s debris, sometimes there’s no heat, sometimes there’s no electricity. Just on a very physical/practical level, you are not always going into the most hazard-free location; people have gotten sick and hurt from that kind of stuff. But we’ve been afforded to go to some really unique locations that not everybody has the opportunity to go into, and some of those places it will be the first time they will be investigated on television.
Cryptic Rock – It sounds somewhat dangerous, but compelling. These locations are all over the United States. How is it different visiting these locations for a show like Portals To Hell as opposed to visiting for leisure?
Jack Osbourne – Sometimes we have the opportunity to get out there and check things out. I went to Niagara Falls when we were filming in Buffalo, so we try. Some places there is really no life around, but my big thing is I always try to find, is there a place to get a good smoothie or is there a good coffee shop?
Cryptic Rock – Well it looks like you are visiting some very interesting locations in the second season. You mentioned how you both look at these things with a skeptical lens. That said, visiting all these different places, has it changed your perspective on the supernatural and paranormal, in general?
Katrina Weidman – Absolutely. When I first started out in the genre I very much had a general belief of what a ghost is – it is someone who died, who comes back because they have unfinished business. The more you delve into this world you realize there is so much more than that one particular thought about what supernatural is. Where I’m at now is I absolutely 100% believe that there are unexplainable things that happen, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more skeptical about what those things are. For example, do I think it’s all the afterlife? No, not at all. Do I think some of it could be? Sure, it’s a possibility. But we also have the possibility that none of it is the afterlife. I think the answer to all of that is, without concrete proof about what this stuff is that all of it is possibility; there are no hard rules.
Cryptic Rock – Right, you just never know. The locations picked with Portals To Hell, do you have say in where you investigate? If so, what leads to those decisions?
Jack Osbourne – Yes, we very much have a say. We tend to go to places that if they have been investigated, they haven’t been for a long time – on television, anyway. There are so many ghost-hunting shows out there that it can make things difficult sometimes. We always ask Katrina, “Have you been there? Have you done that?” The thing is, Katrina has investigated so many places, we want it to be as fresh and as new of an experience as possible. We are still in the middle of filming because we are essentially doing Season 2 and 2.5 at the same time. Later on in the year there will be more episodes, as well, so it’s kind of like a Season 3 but we didn’t break it up.
Cryptic Rock – Very cool, it will be fun to see this new season. You both have done travels doing paranormal investigations, but you have also traveled the world for other matters. What do you take away from your travels, in general?
Jack Osbourne – Ever since leaving The Osbournes all I have ever done is travelship for the most part. I just love going to new places. Everywhere new is a check on the list. I jokingly said I tend to find the best coffee shop and smoothie bar. I often joke to my girlfriend I’m a really shit Anthony Bourdain. My children hate it, but I love it.
Cryptic Rock – It is great to see the world. Last question, if you are a fan of Horror films, do you have any favorites?
Katrina Weidman – Yeah, it’s hard to pick, but I always end up with Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Friday the 13th (1980), Scream (1996), and Fire in the Sky (1993).
Jack Osbourne – Fire in the Sky is such a good one! For me, I’m a die-hard Alien fan. Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) are masterful. Jaws (1975), as well. In more kind of Slasher Horror, I think Scream is pretty awesome. It’s very much a film of my generation; when we were kids, that was the Horror movie.