He ain’t afraid of no ghosts…or is he?
While Dan Aykroyd has enjoyed a lengthy and highly successful career in Hollywood, he is probably best known to many for his role in bringing to life the 1984 hit Ghostbusters. But his interest in the supernatural extends beyond the fictional, which is why he was the perfect person to narrate the Travel Channel’s new series Hotel Paranormal.
The series, premiering Saturday, July 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, will feature a variety of real-life ghost stories told by travelers who encountered the otherworldly hotel guests from hotels, motels, and inns across the world.
In the premiere episode, Aykroyd tells the story of Frank Ramirez, who recorded his paranormal experience at a South Texas hotel that later went viral. The video, posted above, shows the corded hotel telephone jump out of the base and a clothing hanger fall off a dresser. Although skeptics have called the video fake, Aykroyd believes Ramirez’s paranormal experience.
“When that phone hopped off there, there were no wires or strings,” Aykroyd tells EW exclusively about what others claim Ramirez did to fake the video. “That coathanger doing its little dance, you can see it better in the original photo he took on his iPhone in the mirror. This man ended up having to go see his pastor!”
Aykroyd continues, “Why would this man make up a story about torturing himself, unless he’s a sadist? That’s the explanation that some psychotherapists put to these people. They’ll say they’re secretly sadists and they want to torture themselves so they make up these memories. So they can be hypnotized and get attention from psychologists. I believe Frank, I really do. I believe all these people [on Hotel Paranormal]. Why would they make these stories up? Shows like this give them a forum to come forward.”
And because Aykroyd is a believer of the supernatural, he admits that there are even experiences revealed in Hotel Paranormal that scared him. The one that stood out to him the most was that of Patricia Stark, that took place in Connecticut in 2014 and will also debut in the show’s premiere episode.
“It is pretty frightening what these people go through,” he explains. “That’s what I love about the Travel Channel’s approach, they’re sensitive to the trauma. The tone is that although we’re exploring these stories for entertainment, we’re also telling their unique stories with the goal of helping them heal. Half the people in the world think you’re insane if you say you’ve seen a ghost, so these shows are a forum so people can safely come forward and tell their stories and be accepted by believers and those who have had similar experiences.”
He adds, “The one that I found scary was of [Stark,] the woman who went into the woods in Connecticut. I remember watching her story unravel and wondering, ‘Wait! Is that where you’re really going to check-in? Look at that place!'”
In May, the New York Times reported unidentified flying objects were spotted by navy pilots in 2014 and 2015. Though the Defense Department won’t confirm what the pilots witnessed were extraterrestrial, Akroyd has his own theories.
“Nothing has been confirmed that these hyper-advanced aerodynamic platforms are operated by aliens,” he says. “You know, there’s no hard evidence that they are, but the fact that they’re there, they are real. These unexplained aerial platforms that can do things that our technology cannot are real, that much is true. What was in the New York Times reporting, I believe that. Beyond that, like who’s operating them… Travis Walton, who was abducted and taken up—and I do believe his story— he says, ‘You just kind of think of them as people from over there.’
“And when they’re referred to in the intelligence community or in reports, it’s said they’re humanoid. So, I like Travis’ view, it’s just people from over there who happen to have advanced technology that’s a million years advanced of us. But I just wouldn’t jump to saying, ‘Oh, well they’re definitely here because maybe they’re interdimensional visitors and that’s less alien than something from beyond.”
With his interest in the extraterrestrial world, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Canadian actor ends up working on a project dedicated to the topic, much like what led him to working on Hotel Paranormal.
“Sure, sure. Absolutely,” he exclaims. “I have an idea there, in fact.”
Hotel Paranormal premieres July 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Travel Channel.