The “Haunted Hospitals” team is trying to push for more diverse stories for Season 4’s 10-episode run.
Tobin Long, an associate producer for the first three seasons, admitted the need for Canadian and stories of the uncanny in medical facilities that come from diverse backgrounds during a December phone conversation.
“We’re trying to make a really big push to get more diversity because the paranormal world is a middle-aged white dude world,” Long said. “And we’re trying to expand on that to show it’s way more diverse than that.”
The team will gather stories for the coming season ahead of their February production date. Twenty-four to 30 stories will be required to round out the season.
Long said they are close to their goal.
“We’ve got more women so far this season lined up and within that, we’ve got some diverse voices and cultures,” he said, adding they have stories from Filipino and First Nations witnesses.
In previous seasons the team has gathered eyewitness accounts from the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico, but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they won’t be able to travel off the continent.
“England’s always been the one place we’ve always wanted more stories from and it’s hard to pull stories from there for some reason,” Long said. “You know, the British love their ghosts. But in Season 3, they had to cancel some of the shoots there because of COVID.”
All of the stories, including two from Canada, will be situated in North America, and subject matter experts Chris Brewer, Richard Estep and Morgan Knudsen are expected to return to share their takes on the uncanny.
Knudsen admitted that it might be a little more challenging to find Canadian stories given the pandemic has exacerbated an already limited medical staff. But the diversity of stories that she has come across has been fulfilling.
“Every single culture experiences it. It’s a universal phenomenon. It isn’t something that is isolated to the West, or Europeans,” she said, during a December phone conversation. “So that always plays a role and it changes our state of expectation as well.
“It always goes through a filter with people and what I’ve learned, just because it seems like legend or lore to us, doesn’t mean that whatever hasn’t happened.”
Knudsen quoted folklorist and Utah State University professor Dr. Lynne McNeill, who recently appeared on her podcast Supernatural Circumstances.
“She said, ‘Legend can be true, it can be false, but it is always right.’ I’ll never forget it,” Knudsen recalled. “You have to get to the roots of what the phenomenon is and the filters people see it through.”
Estep adds his experience as a paramedic to the show and has also contributed stories. His books The World’s Most Haunted Hospitals and The Haunting of Asylum 49: Chilling Tales of Aggressive Spirits, Phantom Doctors and the Secret of Room 666 centre on allegedly haunted medical facilities; the latter on a Salt Lake City, Utah haunt.
Estep said he has enjoyed the diverse range of stories and experiences that have come across his desk while preparing for the show, but admitted not all stories in hospitals are about trauma.
“Babies are being born and new families being made,” he wrote in a December email. “Humour in the face of adversity is something one finds in every place of healing.
“For all the darkness that’s showcased on the show, I like to think there’s an equal amount of light to even it out.”
Photo courtesy of K. North Photography