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Jack Osbourne: 'Portals' is 'an evolution of my dad's history'

Jack Osbourne bears the title of paranormal investigator on Travel Channel's series Portals to Hell. File Photo by Chris Chew/UPI
Jack Osbourne bears the title of paranormal investigator on Travel Channel's series "Portals to Hell." File Photo by Chris Chew/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, March 20 (UPI) -- Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman were in the middle of production on Season 2 of Portals to Hell when they had to stop traveling during the coronavirus outbreak.

This will put a pause on production of their Travel Channel series, but the first half of Season 2 will continue to air as scheduled. It began Friday with an exploration of Old Paulding Jail. Nine more episodes are scheduled to air for Season 2A, and the Travel Channel has no premiere date for Season 2B.

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"Nothing's been canceled yet," Osbourne told UPI. "We're just trying to see how this all rolls out. We've stopped down to assess. Everyone is feeling the effects of this across so many industries. The call was made: Let's be responsible and just see how the chips fall."

In each episode of Portals to Hell, Osbourne and Weidman investigate a location where people have reported paranormal experiences. They try to determine whether the location is haunted, or perhaps a gateway to the underworld. They acknowledge the title is a little bit of hype.

"Jack and I don't really look at the title of the show as something literal," Weidman said. "There are these places in the world where people claim to have very negative experiences. What makes it so different? What makes it so unique? Is it the history? Is there something environmental? Is it the power of suggestion?"

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Interest in the paranormal runs in Osbourne's family. His father, singer Ozzy Osbourne, called himself The Prince of Darkness. Jack Osbourne has carried the darkness from his father's stage into real-life investigations.

"My dad probably would be the first to admit it was very much kind of a gimmicky thing for him. Dad is very skeptical when it comes to all sorts of occurrences like this. I think I'm probably taking a deeper dive into the paranormal than he ever did. This is a weird evolution of my dad's history in an odd way."

Whenever Jack Osbourne appears on Portals to Hell, the show identifies him with the title "paranormal investigator" He earned that title with his previous paranormal show, Haunted Highway.

"It's what I'm doing now," Osbourne said. "This is not my first rodeo when it comes to the paranormal investigator. I think any time I get a title is funny because I always just have the approach of a job is a job."

Actor, singer, producer and speaker Weidman also has a healthy paranormal resume. She hosted Paranormal State and Paranormal Lockdown before Jack Osbourne discussed Portals to Hell with her.

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"He knew who I was because he used to watch Paranormal State, my first show," Weidman said. "Then, he was putting together this project, and I got this whole email. Jack and I met in New York and sat down for a long time, talking about our views of the paranormal. Our views very much aligned."

Episodes combine the travel to a famous destination, the history of a town and its residents, a paranormal investigation and sometimes true crime.

"We do dig into the history because that's part of the investigation," Weidman said. "We have eyewitness accounts, and a lot of times that spills into the history or other elements that aren't necessarily supernatural. Obviously, at a place that's a prison, there's going to be elements of true crime."

Upcoming episodes of Portals to Hell take them to the Ohio State Reformatory, Fort William Henry, Iron Island Museum and Haunted Hill House. The Ohio state prison was the filming location for The Shawshank Redemption, but its hauntings were unrelated to the film.

"The prison has a whole history years and years beyond the movie," Weidman said. "I think if the activity's connected to anything, it's to that."

The Haunted Hill House in Texas is also unrelated to The Haunting of Hill House from the book, movie and Netflix TV series. Weidman said they traced its paranormal activities to lithium in the water supply.

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"There was a woman who seemed to exhibit signs of clarity after she started drinking the water," Weidman said. "She had some mental health issues. So for her, it was actually having an effect on her in some kind of positive way, but for the average person, it was actually having very negative impacts on them."

The house claims to be a hub of paranormal activity, too. Weidman and Osbourne went in skeptical, but came out with questions.

"Jack and I went there to check out the claims," Weidman said. "We certainly had some experiences of our own that we couldn't explain."

Iron Island claims to have two portals to hell. The location did not convince Osbourne.

"From our investigation, I wouldn't necessarily say that was a full-on portal," Osbourne said. "We had really profound experiences the whole time we were there. Portal, I don't know. Craziness, absolutely."

Fort William Henry in upstate New York provides Portals with another of its heavy history episodes.

"I loved it because I'm a big history buff," Jack Osbourne said.

Portals to Hell airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on the Travel Channel.

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