Chad Calek says he completely understands why people are skeptical about the existence of ghosts.
Because he used to feel the exact same way.
“There’s something in the water that everyone’s drinking. I wasn’t into the magic, hocus-pocus crap,” he said. “I thought it was the biggest joke.”
That is until, during his youth in Persia, Iowa (a town of about 300 people southeast of Omaha, Neb.), he had his own paranormal encounter.
“Let’s just say I got walloped,” the 35-year-old said in a telephone interview from Las Vegas.
There was some unbelievable activity that continued for the better part of two decades.”
And Calek has displayed that in the public eye, thanks to the A&E cable TV network series “Paranormal State,” and alongside fellow ghost hunter Ryan Buell. The two also have collaborated on the documentary “American Ghost Hunter,” which will be shown as part of a
4:30 p.m.-to-midnight event taking place Tuesday at the Hotel Blackhawk in downtown Davenport.
Much of the documentary, he said, shows and re-creates what happened to him in a haunted house in the small Iowa town. There’s another Iowa connection, too. Justin Holstein of Bettendorf, a longtime friend of Calek’s, had similar encounters.
Calek and Buell have begun a 41-city tour, showing the movie and conducting meet-and-greets and Q&As with fans and those interested in all things ghostly.
After the Blackhawk engagement, the two have been invited to the offices of Cumulus Media Group in Davenport, where radio personalities told Calek that ghosts have allegedly resided for years.
The three levels of tickets for the Blackhawk date include a meal with the ghost hunters and interaction throughout the night.
“Paranormal State” is one among a number of TV series that explore ghosts and the search for them. Calek said the explosion of the Internet and new media has fueled interest in a topic that many have discussed for thousands of years.
“The interest has always been there,” he said. “People want to know what happens when they die. Some people have lost relatives and want to know if they can still communicate with them and what’s happened to them.”
The Quad-Cities also figures into the documentary, but Calek remained coy about its placement. He did hint, though, that it may have something to do with the Hotel Blackhawk itself.
“We want to re-create the whole moviegoing experience as a whole,” he said of the showing. “It’s like watching ‘Friday the 13th’ by a lake at a summer camp at 2 a.m.”