Article and photos copyright Suzanne Philips/CFM


AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER is a compelling new documentary that has been in the making for over 20 years.  Filmmaker Chad Calek who has worked with Steven Spielberg and has directed episodes of A&E’s “Paranormal State” wanted to make a documentary about the hauntings and possessions that have been plaguing his family since he was 12 years old.  He enlisted the help of friend and “Paranormal State” star Ryan Buell and the two got together a crew to begin this massive undertaking.

Calek’s family moved to Persia, Iowa when he was 12 years old and as his father was recovering from being badly burned in an auto-shop fire.  Almost immediately, paranormal activity began in the house.  Banging and unexplained noises would happen all over the home and Chad and his brother would run up the stairs while hugging the wall to avoid the bad feelings they encountered in that area of the house.  Calek’s mother would have unexplained “spells” where she would start speaking in strange voices and thrashing around.  She was being pinched and having her hair pulled by unseen forces, which the family captured in photos from the time.  When Chad moved to California, he thought that he had escaped the haunting, but it continued to be unfinished business in his life.  He wanted to go back to his childhood home and document what had happened to get some closure to something that he thought was in the past.  What he found was shocking and led him to places he never thought he would go.

The documentary is important not only as a paranormal exploration, but as an exploration of spirituality and family and the importance of confronting and making peace with one’s past.  Even those who are not fans of the paranormal or who consider themselves “skeptics”, will find that the true story of Calek’s quest is so much more than a ghost story.  The film documents in a very raw and emotionally graphic way the journey that Calek and the film crew go on in their search for the truth.  Watching it at times feels a bit invasive, as this man’s whole life is laid out on screen with full disclosure.  You can feel the Calek family’s pain as these events have destroyed each of them to some extent over the course of these past 20 or more years. 

AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER is a very brave film and one that delivers messages of both hope and healing in the guise of telling a good paranormal story.   The film will be touring in cities around the U.S. for the next month and tickets can be found at

Author: Suzanne Philips
Film, TV, Theatre reviewer. Mad Dance Skillz, Crazy in a good way.

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