Here’s an interview with John Zaffis on The Conjuring and Haunted Collector. Hope we keep seeing him in many places.
I was itching to see this film. I went with trepidation today worried that the subject matter would be polluted by Hollywood hands. My worries went unfounded. I was impressed by how well it stuck tightly to actual witnessed accounts instead of relying on over-dramatization and special effects. With Lorraine Warren riding herd over this project, I should have expected nothing less. She even made a cameo appearance in one scene, seated in an audience during a lecture.
This film educates while reenacting the story with professionals at the helm. The actors did a great job, the tension was built with good old fashioned suspense, and the effects that were used were not over the top.
This film chronicles a case investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren (Uncle and Aunt of John Zaffis from The Haunted Collector). You may have seen Lorraine on Paranormal State episodes with Ryan Buell. She is a demonologist who deals with negative energies and a mentor to John.
The Warren’s have been both revered and disrespected for the nature of their work. Lorraine relies on her sensitivity more than physical evidence, so they were criticized heavily back in the day, as pioneers of any field often are.
The only fear I have about the perception of this film is that dabblers will think they can do exorcisms because Ed Warren did one. They did run a title card that explained that Ed Warren is the only non-ordained person sanctioned by the Catholic Church to perform exorcisms. Sadly, he’s no longer alive to do this. But this man must have had the heart, soul, and spirit of a man who could have been a priest to do this. It is not enough to read the words and boldly stand before a demon. A person capable of exorcizing demons must have his belief system firmly cemented in his psyche. There is no room for fear or doubt in the throws of such an act.
I recommend the film highly, while strongly urging – don’t try this yourself.
The Haunted Collector has grown from previous seasons. I have to admit upfront that I came to this series well after its first season. I knew John Zaffis to be the nephew of famed psychics the Warrens, whose reputation leaned more toward psychic impressions than physical evidence. But I pride myself on being open-minded and gave the show a second look. After having the pleasure of meeting John and his team at Paracon this past October, and attending his presentation on Demonology, I fully understand why he is referred to as The Godfather of the Paranormal. He enters a location as a data-gatherer first, entertaining all logical possibilities, before exploring activity from a paranormal perspective.
I used to think that the dead didn’t have unfinished business. It was my belief that if the dead chose to communicate with the living, it was for the purpose of helping or hurting them, not to solve some lingering problem for themselves. Unfinished business was for the living. The Haunted Collector has chipped away at that belief. For they have uncovered items that appear to tether the spirit to their lives like anchors. Then those anchors shift as the ebb and flow of life’s tide overtakes the person’s previous territory like weeds reclaiming a neglected building. New occupants move in and displace everything from the past. Carelessness and disinterest causes valuable items to go missing. Things found to be worn, outdated, useless junk vanish. Life-saving tools and conveniences from by-gone eras hold energy imprints of those who relied on them. If those items are moved to an inappropriate place or dishonored in some fashion, a spirit might have something left to say about it.
Zaffis’s team not only learned from a master but mastered the research involved in uncovering the life attached to a physical item. In the most recent episode, they employed an old Polaroid Instamatic camera to capture an image of what appeared to be a woman in an empty men’s prison. Digging deeper, they discovered it had housed female prisoners prior to holding men. Something not revealed to them before. The team on this show usually hunts for an object that can be removed from the premises. But in cases they do not find such an item, they seek to honor the deceased, if only to acknowledge that they knew who was communicating and tell a portion of their story. The woman in the photo was honored at their request.
No one wants to be forgotten and we all want to be heard. Few of us get to do big, world-changing things. For many, ripples we make never reach farther than a few miles from home. How would you feel if, decades later, a stranger hammered your casket plate on the wall of his lovely Victorian bed and breakfast? Insulted? Used? Dishonored? The Haunted Collector team is sensitive to this and does what they can to respect the memory whoever might still be lingering. What more could the dead ask for?