Zak Bagans is an American paranormal investigator, television personality, and actor. He is best known as the host of ‘Ghost Adventures’, a cult Travel Channel series. Born and brought up in Washington D.C., Zack moved to Las Vegas once he finished his college education. His aim was to make documentary films but in the initial days of his struggle, he worked at different jobs such as a wedding disc jockey. After an unusual encounter with the spirit of a suicidal woman, Zak became increasingly interested in the paranormals and started working on a documentary film. In 2004, Zak finished his work on a docu-drama project titled ‘Ghost Adventures’. The series was picked up by Travel Channel and became one of the longest running series of its kind on American television. According to the format of the show, Zak and his associates visit haunted placed during the nights and collect evidences of supernatural presence. Zak milked the success of ‘Ghost Adventures’ with several other spin-offs such as ‘Paranormal Challenge’ and ‘Paranormal Paparazzi’. Since 2016, Zak has been appearing in the Travel Channel’s show ‘Deadly Possessions’, in which Zak investigates the haunted possessions and artefacts.
Childhood & Early Life
Zak Bagans was born in Washington D.C. on April 5, 1977 in a middle class family to an interior designer mother Nancy Knapp and her husband. He was the second born son to his parents and has an elder sister named Meredith. After his mother finalized her divorce with Zak’s biological father, she married again and gave birth to two more children, Sky and Phil.
Zak finished his high school education in 1995 from Glenbard West High School located in Illinois and was a keen history enthusiast. Somehow, his university years were confusing for him. He wanted to pursue filmmaking but considering the difficulties he might have had to face, he opted out of it. Fresh out of the high school, he started attending Western Michigan University. 8 months into the programme, he realized he wasn’t cut out for it and dropped out to attend the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan to learn filmmaking.
At the institute, Zak learned the nuances of filmmaking. He was heavily interested in making documentary films and post his graduation from MPI, he moved to Las Vegas to turn his dreams into a reality.
He struggled initially. He worked several jobs to make the ends meet and was a wedding disc jockey for sometime before he tried to get together a cast and crew to make his debut documentary film.
He was initially a skeptic but one event changed his life forever. According to him, he once had an encounter with the spirit of suicidal woman and his life has never been the same. From that moment on, he decided that he will work towards digging deep into the supernatural aspects of the human life and he got a crew together to produce a documentary style film titled ‘Ghost Adventures’.
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In 2004, Zak started filming ‘Ghost Adventures’, which was to be presented in form of an independent film. But the lack of finances and several other issues kept the film away from seeing the light of the day. 4Reel productions came onboard in 2006 and decided to produce it as a documentary. The trio of Zak, Aaron Goodwin and Nick Groff shot haunted places in and around Nevada and recorded their experiences.
The documentary started airing on Syfy channel in July 2007 and quickly amassed a huge fan following. It also received the Grand Jury prize at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. After it was developed into a fully fledged series, the first season premiered in December 2008 and by each season the series gained a cult following.
Throughout the making of the documentary, the filming crew has faced paranormal experiences themselves. During the shoot for the fourth season, Zak suffered several scratch marks on his back which he says resulted from confrontation with ‘bad spirits’.
Several paranormal enthusiasts have also criticized Zak and his team for using severe methods to deal with the ‘bad spirits’. To which, Zak replied that his team doesn’t use these confrontational and provocative tactics on all the spirits. They use it to provoke the bad spirits that harm human beings.
In 2011, Zak started appearing as a host in the spin-off to ‘Ghost Adventures’ titled ‘Paranormal Challenge’. Zak has formatted the show in a way that it puts the esteemed ghost hunters from across the United States head-to-head with each other in weekly adventures. The participants had to stay nights in the haunted locations across the country. The show wasn’t received as well as the original and was cancelled after the first season.
In 2012, Zak presented the show ‘Paranormal Paparazzi’, which was set in a newsroom. Zak interviewed several paranormal researchers as they recollect their experiences on haunting expeditions throughout the United States in the most haunted of places. The show was cancelled after the first season as well.
In 2012, Zak made an appearance on ‘Nightline’, a late night news program. It was widely known to be one of the greatest TV shows of all times. In 2014, Zak presented another TV show, by the title ‘Ghost Adventures: Extra Pulses’. It shows behind the scenes footage from ‘Ghost Adventures’ along with some other unaired additional facts and scenes.
In the same year, Zak hosted the show ‘Ghost Adventures: Aftershocks’. The show features Zak’s interviews with the former cast of the ‘Ghost Adventures’ as they talk about how those paranormal experiences have changed their lives.
In 2015, Zak appeared on two American talk shows- ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’ and ‘The Today Show’. On the shows, Zak talked about his experiences as a paranormal researcher and his upcoming projects.
In 2016, Zak launched a television series called ‘Deadly Possessions’ in which he talks about the new museum he opened in Las Vegas. He gives the viewers a tour through the museum which exhibits a collection of haunted artefacts. According to Zak, his fans from all over the world sent these artefacts to him along with their back stories and historical significance.
In 2018, Zak released a documentary film titled ‘Demon House’ which explored the popular ‘Ammons Haunting Case’ which was widely publicized by the US media in 2011. Zak purchased the haunted house and recorded his experience with a crew. Strange things started happening to the crew and they start fearing for their lives as it progressed.
The documentary was praised by the ardent fans of Zak but critics didn’t like it as much. The film received mixed critical response with critics saying that it was just another ‘hour long episode of ‘Ghost Adventures’’.
Apart from being a television personality, Zak has also co-authored a book titled ‘Dark World: Into the Shadows with the Lead Investigator of the Ghost Adventures Crew’.
Zak Bagans was in a relationship with Christine Dolce. Presently he is rumoured to be dating Marcy DeLaTorre. He has never been vocal about his personal relationships.
Several liberals and non-believers have accused Zak’s shows of being ‘fake’. He has faced these blames ever since ‘Ghost Adventures’ started.