Montandon, Pennsylvania family recounts demonic experience during episode of paranormal thriller “A Haunting”
MONTANDON — This community is located about an hour’s drive away from downtown Wilkes-Barre along the Susquehanna River’s West Branch. The 2010 census lists its population at a little less than 1,000 but, according to Montandon residents Jacinda, Todd and Justin Rearick, their household unknowingly harbored an unwanted visitor that made its presence known during the summer of 2013.
The Rearicks’ ordeal is retold in an episode of the supernatural suspense series “A Haunting” set to air at 10 p.m. Jan. 31 on Destination America. The episode begins after Jacinda undergoes back surgery in June 2013, the audience meeting her as she spends time at home recovering while her husband, Todd, and son, Justin, go about their daily responsibilities. When Jacinda used some of this time to revisit family photos, she noticed a large concentration of orbs floating around in the shots. She assumed it was her parents or grandparents watching over the family, but soon after she noticed the orbs, something sinister took notice of her.
Jacinda provides an entry point for viewers of “A Haunting,” but the Rearicks’ experience was a family affair. That’s what attracted Series Producer Jenny Chung to their story.
“When we do these telephone interviews, that’s the first inkling … how good of storytellers they are and how authentic they come across,” Chung said. “What really struck me about their experience was at the beginning they were a very tight knit, close family but things started happening once this entity came into their lives. It broke down each one of them to separate this tight knit family.”
More often than not, Chung and her team of researchers and associate producers find their stories through the paranormal researchers and investigators they make contact with online. She enjoys working on “A Haunting” because each episode acts as its own mini-horror film; in this case, she refers to Jacinda as the heroine who, after drawing the entity out of hiding in her weakened state, battles back to regain her family. During that battle, Jacinda enlisted Central Pennsylvania Paranormal Research Association Director Kevin Tersavige.
“I’ve been doing this 35 years and I can usually tell if people are true about a story or not by the inflection of their voice … she was very scared,” Tersavige said. “I’ve seen a lot of demonic infestations, and this is one of the worst ones I’ve seen. This is where it was teetering on the edge of being an imminent danger.”
Tersavige said his ability to diagnose demonic infestations stems from two 5-year apprenticeships with demonologists from the Anglican and Byzantine churches. His first piece of evidence comes from one of his psychic investigators, Kristeen Reynolds, who described a young boy running up and down the halls screaming at her (according to Tersavige, demonic entities fear a psychic’s abilities and will attempt to scare them away by posing as a “normal” haunting). His second piece of evidence? Silence.
“When we went in for the official investigation, we had no results,” Tersavige said. “That’s very odd, but for a demonic presence it’s not. They like to hide. When I get nothing, that means there’s something.”
Tersavige said he cleansed the Rearicks’ home using a Byzantine ritual of light blessing, which makes the area uncomfortable for the entity to inhabit. This allowed the Rearick family to reclaim its home and reforge its relationships; according to Chung, that was the real reason she chose Jacinda, Todd and Justin’s story.
“I think what’s really great about this story is that after it was all said and done they came back together and were stronger for it,” Chung said. “It’s good versus evil, as well as perseverance in a family. That’s what interested me personally.”
According to Chung, her conversations with the subjects featured during episodes of “A Haunting” have convinced her that paranormal occurrences are real. A Pennsylvania family will share their paranormal ordeal with viewers of the show and if they are to be believed, there are worse things to invite into the living room.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
MAKING A MONSTER
The entity in the Rearicks’ household is depicted on “A Haunting” as a shadowy figure with the ability to control a number of tentacle-like appendages that protrude from its body. According to Series Producer Jenny Chung, the depictions of the different entities plaguing the subjects of “A Haunting” rely on the descriptions of their interviewees; she said the Rearicks were great storytellers, but in some instances the show has to take artistic liberty.
“If they see something very specific then yes we try to stay true to that but a lot of times it’s vague,” Chung said. “It’s a shadow that passes briefly that they see, so we have to fill in the blanks and we do take artistic license. For example, I’m working on a show where it’s a mask from a different country. While they may see shadows and feel an entity behind them, we can take artistic license by bringing it more to life so that the viewer is really clear on what this entity looks like.”