POCATELLO — It’s been nearly five years since Pocatello High School received national attention for what local paranormal experts called one of the most authentic ghost videos they’ve ever seen.
But it appears as if the historic and supposedly haunted high school will once again be in the national spotlight because of its paranormal activity with an appearance on the upcoming season of A&E’s “Ghost Hunters.”
A&E’s reboot of the popular paranormal TV series is set to premiere on Aug. 21. It’s not known when the episode apparently featuring Pocatello High School will air.
A&E, Pocatello High School administrators and the Pocatello-based ghost hunting group SPIRO Paranormal would not comment on the specifics of the upcoming season of “Ghost Hunters.” But a one-minute long teaser video about the “Ghost Hunters” reboot posted on A&E’s YouTube page on Wednesday clearly shows the interior and exterior of Pocatello High School.
The teaser also included a portion of the Pocatello High School security camera footage from December 2014 that depicted a dark, shadowy figure moving from a bench into a bathroom. That video has since been widely circulated online and was even featured on national television by Fox News.
According to a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter, “Ghost Hunters,” one of the crown jewels at Craig Piligian’s prolific Pilgrim Media Group, produced 230 episodes for the Syfy channel over the course of its 11-season run, which ended in 2016.
”Ghost Hunters” averaged a robust 3 million viewers per episode during its heyday on Syfy.
The “Ghost Hunters” reboot on A&E will feature series original Grant Wilson both on camera and as an executive producer.
Wilson, with a new handpicked group of professional ghost hunters, is set to investigate haunted locations across the nation with the help of forensic experts, historical records and new technology.
”I don’t chase ghosts,” Wilson says in the YouTube video posted Wednesday. “I chase the truth.”
The first season of the new “Ghost Hunters” will consist of 20 episodes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
According to Lisa Brian, a founding member of SPIRO Paranormal, Old Town Pocatello where Pocatello High School is located is prime real estate for paranormal activity.
“We live in a very active area for paranormal experiences,” Brian said during a Thursday phone interview. “We have been hosting haunted tours in Old Town for what will be our 11th year this year and we have yet to host the same tour twice. We live in an amazing historic community that has some really cool stories to share.”
When the image of a ghost was apparently captured on a surveillance camera at Pocatello High School in 2014, SPIRO Paranormal sent out a team to investigate. The group has investigated the school several times since then.
SPIRO Paranormal is a group of local ghost hunters first established about 14 years ago, Brian said. For SPIRO Paranormal, ghost hunting is a combination of listening to stories and personal experiences and investigating those reports with the help of specialized equipment.
Initially, the group had to find people who had paranormal experiences. But SPIRO has been around for so long — and interest in the paranormal is so high nationwide — that now people contact the group directly to report paranormal activity and haunted places.
“We like to hear the stories after we have done some investigating,” Brian said. “We don’t want to know some of the stories beforehand so that we can see if the story corresponds with what we capture with our equipment.”
Brian added that in hunting ghosts for over a decade, she has personally experienced several moments of paranormal activity.
“Doing this for a long period of time, you have tons of different experiences,” she said. “I have been scratched before, people have had their hair pulled or (they) felt as if they were pushed on a set of stairs. These are things that most people would view as scary, but we don’t see it that way.”
One of the biggest misconceptions about paranormal activity, according to Brian, is that people believe all ghost encounters are negative or scary. Part of that stigma is from the many movies that have framed paranormal experiences in a negative light, Brian said. Though ghost encounters can be inherently frightening, Brian said people shouldn’t feel afraid.
“Much of the paranormal is viewed as negative, evil or harmful,” Brian said. “But after 14 years of doing this, I don’t view it that way. Most of our experiences that we have documented are family members coming back to visit other family members, messages of hope or (dead) people taking care of an item or a building because they like it there and want to protect it. There is a real difference in what people can view it as. But because everyone thinks it’s so scary, it develops into a bit of a misconception.”
What makes paranormal activity TV shows like “Ghost Hunters” so intriguing, Brian said, is that ghost encounters are more common than people think and these shows provide people with a feeling that their own experiences are valid.
“Paranormal activity (TV) shows give people a connection to know they are not alone,” Brian said. “The unknown is really intriguing in and of itself. Paranormal activity is very, very common but there is this stigma about it because of the movies and shows that demonize the experiences.”