Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth are a charming, if eclectic, set of identical twins that make up the impressive duo, The Booth Brothers. As seen on the ScyFy and Chiller channels, these two have made a huge impact on the paranormal and horror scenes. Veterans of the entertainment industry since they were children, these world travelers have been everywhere and gotten to where they are now through hard work and dedication. With several film and documentary credits to their names, The Booth Brothers got into paranormal investigation almost by accident. While filming the horror movie Death Tunnel at Waverly Hills Sanatorium, they had experiences that couldn’t be explained by science, so they had to look for another explanation. This brought them into contact with Keith Age, the resident paranormal investigator at Waverly Hills with more than thirty years of experience, and a new era of paranormal documentaries was born. Their film and documentary credits include: Spooked: The Ghosts of Waverly Hills Sanatorium, The Possessed, Death Tunnel, Children of the Grave 1 & 2, The Haunted Boy: The Secret Diary of the Exorcist, Soul Catcher: Trail of Fears, DarkPlace, Immortal Island, ShadowBox, and Ghouls Gone Wild. Currently, they combine Keith Age’s non-metaphysical investigation style with their unique filming style to make touching paranormal documentaries that both provide great entertainment and evidence of the things science can’t explain.
Driven to tell the untold stories, they do extensive research into each location they film and frequently unearth never before seen information. They seek to share their light with the world, showing that even a ghost story can end with love and hope. I was able to sit down with The Booth Brothers at Paranormal Fest, a paranormal and horror convention that took place at the haunted Crump Theater in Columbus, Indiana, for an interview. They were a delight to speak with and I eagerly look forward to seeing them again in person. The Booth Brothers can be found online on facebook under Philip Adrian Booth and Christopher Saint Booth. They can also be found at www.spookedtv.com and on the website for the ScyFy and Chiller channels.
Amanda- You were born in Yorkshire, England, when did you first move to America?
Philip- We moved a lot of places. We first moved from England to Canada when we were six. Then we moved back to England, and back to Canada when we were eleven. Then we moved to America to be in a rock and roll band opening for Motley Crue when we were twenty. Then we found scripts for making movies and decided that’s what we wanted to do.
What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed between all the places you’ve lived and is there one particular thing that you miss the most about England?
P- Probably the castles. In England, they don’t tear their castles down. They leave them standing, but here they demolish all the old buildings, and with it the American history.
Christopher- The history in England. There you have Jack the Ripper and all kinds of history. There’s more history, well not more, but it’s very intriguing.
It is a lot better recorded and goes back further.
P- A lot of people don’t know this, but as far as vampire legends in England, in the 40’s there were floods and some of the corpses from graveyards came out of the ground and were floating down the streets. At night, there were vampire cults that would come out and steal the bodies.
I didn’t know that.
P- That’s what makes it so interesting, people don’t really know.
You were in the rock band Sweeney Todd, do you have a favorite song to play?
P- Not really. But I think my favorite music now would be what Chris does for our movies. The music is pretty emotional and it makes a big difference to have music like that in a paranormal film.
How did you get into making movies?
P- Well like I said we were on set being PAs (Production Assistants) and we found a script and Chris said to me “You know, we could do this.” And we just kind of climbed up the ladder. We worked at Playboy for seven years and that was cool because it allowed us to do our filming. They let us write the scripts and we wrote heavily about romance and things like that. They gave us huge budgets, around $150,000, and they had beautiful wardrobes. Chris would go to Warner Brothers and get Gone With the Wind outfits. We did Beauty and the Beast and Labrinth type things too. Sure there were boobies and such, but we were using what we could to make art. We were able to take Playboy into high definition, before there was high definition. At that point, we felt we wanted to make our own, original films. The first one was DarkPlace, then came Death Tunnel, and then all the documentaries.
Where do you get the inspiration for your movies, not the documentaries, but the horror films, like Death Tunnel?
P- I think Death Tunnel really wrote itself. We didn’t go there originally go there to tell a story about Waverly Hills Sanatorium, it was a location. Simply, a cool place to put girls and scare them. They wanted a teenage horror movie. But the story was unbelievable.
C- We thought, “You know what, they probably lied to the patients and told them there was a cure and hid all the record to keep the hospital open.” Nobody told us that, that was the script, at the ending where they chose to go back and try to find a cure. After we aired the movie, patients started coming forward, and the doctors came forward, and relatives came forward. They said, “We saw what you did, and we hear you’re making a documentary, and that’s good. That is what happened.”
A- Do you have a favorite movie of yours?
C- Death Tunnel, the rest are mostly documentaries.
P- Children of the Grave is great, very touching. If you haven’t seen DarkPlace yet, it’s very intellectual and very cool, with Nine Inch Nail type of imagery. So it has the hip edge, but it also has an incredible, believable power about abuse and the dark side we all have within. We all drag a bag behind our back. If you hear “You’re stupid, you’re no good,” you put it in your bag. If your husband, or your father, or someone else yells at you, your put it in your bag. You hold it inside and it builds up and one day you may walk into a mall and kill everybody. DarkPlace is about the bag you drag behind you through life. It’s an incredible story.
A- What was your first paranormal experience?
P- Shooting Death Tunnel. We were shooting a scene where a girl walks down the hall with a flashlight, and it was very humid, near a hundred degrees. And all of a sudden, a cold spot came all the way down the hallway and it went right through me while I was filming on the dolley. It was like ice going through my chest, and on the back lens of the camera, there was a thin film of ice. When we looked back through the footage, there was a blurred image of a little girl at that exact moment. That just made us sit back and say, “Wow.”
A- How did you get into paranormal investigating?
C- We really aren’t paranormal investigators, we’re documentarians.
P- You go along like a sponge, constantly soaking things up and learning from people. We film you guys, so to speak. And we learn as we go, when something connects, we use it. Most of it we’ve learned from people we’ve worked with.
A-Can you describe your most intense paranormal experience?
P- We’ve got quite a few in the tunnel.
C- To be very honest, the one that sticks most in my mind is the one that broke my virginity to the paranormal. It was in a tunnel… It was dark… There was a girl… Ok, what happened is we were down in the death tunnel at Waverly Hills, and when you’re filming, you have to check lighting and such. Phil and our DP (Director of Photography) went up the tunnel to check something out and they left me alone at the bottom of the tunnel. I started to have this panic vibe going on and got this really weird feeling. It overcame me so much that I had to get out of there. I ran up the tunnel, and as I was running, I was taking pictures over my shoulder. About two weeks later, back in L.A., I looked at the pictures and there was a little girl behind me with no eyes. And on the audio file, there was a scream. We later found out that a little girl was raped and murdered down there.
A- Wow, that’s incredible.
C- Yeah, it’s actually on the behind the scenes things for Spooked: The Ghosts of Waverly Hills Sanatorium.
A- I guess that answers my next question, have you ever been really scared by a ghost or spirit?
P- During filming of The Haunted Boy: The Secret Diary of the Exorcist, seeing the cross burnt into our associate’s neck and everyone feeling sick, part of the scariness is just knowing where you’re at. Hearing about these things and actually being there and finding out they are true is enough to scare anyone. In a horror movie, you don’t really have to get scared, because it’s not true. In all our documentaries, this stuff really happened. Filming the Exorcist and actually being there where all those crazy things happened was really creepy.
A- What would you consider to be proof of the paranormal- orbs, EVPs, video, etc?
P- Our shows! Children of the Grave II had some of the best evidence ever in it, but all of our documentaries have great evidence. I’ve said this before, I’m not a big fan of the word paranormal, it implies something abnormal, out of the ordinary. I prefer supernatural, it implies something extraordinary, but still natural. Paranormal has become kind of a keyword, it’s really about something incredible happening. It’s a gift to see a ghost, not a trophy.
A- Do you have a favorite place to investigate, or one specific place that has really stood out to you?
P- Well they were all great.
C- The Playboy mansion.
A- Is the Playboy mansion haunted?
C- Who cares?
P- It’s supernatural.
C- There’s orbs everywhere, lol!
A- Is there any kind of paranormal activity you don’t believe in?
C- Most of the stuff on television.
P- I’m not a big fan of orbs, most of them are reflections or dust.
C- Demonic activity, jumping to it too quickly. 90% of possessions and demonic activity is caused by mental illness. There’s not all these demons running around. There’s no such thing as good energy or bad energy, it’s just energy. Most of the time, you get back what you put out. There could be dark energy, but then there’s a chance of demonic activity everywhere you go.
P- There’s a lot of demonic activity going on at Wal-Mart right now.
A- How much research do you put into your documentaries?
P- It could take years. Less if there’s a lot of information available and more if there isn’t. We do as much as we can, to know everything possible about what we’re filming. We need a case to build on.
A- I love how much history you put into your movies. I’m a big fan of the ‘why’ behind a story, so it appeals to me a lot.
A- In the presentation you did here at the convention, you said The Exorcist was the scariest film you’ve done. Is there a particular reason why, or was it just the subject matter?
C- For me, before I could move the project on to the next stage with Philip, I had to read the diary. It took me three months to get through it, because I just didn’t want to know. As I was reading, it just kept getting more and more wicked, I didn’t want to go down that dark energy road.
A- In your films, you cover a lot of history facts that can’t be found in books. How do you go about getting that information?
P- Grandparents, great- grandparents, legends and myths backed up by any kind of historical basis, gut instinct, researching conflicting evidence. When the conspiracies make more sense than the available information, we look for what was covered up and why it would have been covered up. We also look at how things would have been done at the time and how it’s different in today’s world. When we went to Waverly Hills, we couldn’t find one bit of bad information. In the room where they kept the negatives, we found a bunch of “non-existent” patient records that had been burned.
A- What drives you to tell the untold stories, to get the truth out there for people who can no longer tell it themselves?
P- Our children. Being true to ourselves. Even with Death Tunnel, we had a happy ending, that wasn’t the studio ending. I hate movies where everyone dies. I think we should end things on a positive note, with light. That’s what keeps us searching for the truth. How can we find closure for a ghost if we don’t expose unfinished business?
A- That makes sense. I would imagine not having their stories known could be what keeps some of them here.
A- Do you believe in ghosts and demons and spirits?
P- I don’t know if I believe in demons. I believe in man, influenced by negative events and energy and selfishness, external forces, and mental illness. Good is God with one O and Devil is Evil with a D on the front. I don’t believe there is a God and a Devil, I believe it is all within us, and you have to make a choice. I do believe in ghosts and spirits, you can see them. There is something after life, it exists.
A- How much do your beliefs or faith influence your investigations and documentaries?
P- Chris and I aren’t religious. We were originally with the Church of England, but now I’d say Buddhist if anything. It’s about compassion and being good, caring for everyone and everything.
A- What got you into making documentaries versus movies?
P- When we had the experiences filming Death Tunnel. ScyFy said if we could make eighty six minutes out of it, they would offer us a series. Originally, it was going to be supplemental material on the DVD. We made it, and it did so well. Then we did Children of the Grave, The Possessed, Soul Catcher, Haunted Boy, and then Children of the Grave II. We will be getting back to our movie making roots at the end of the year when we make the sequel to Death Tunnel.
A- There’s going to be a Death Tunnel 2? Will you tell me about it?
P- It won’t be called Death Tunnel 2, that’s just a working title. It will be filmed in a haunted Civil War hospital, one of the scariest places I’ve ever seen. It’s basically about girls who go into a haunted building, but we will end it with a message of hope. I think if you are blessed enough to get yourself financed for a film, it’s your responsibility as an artist to end with a message of hope. We need to think about the collective message of evil movies are putting out there. You can still a good time being scared, and have some gore and some boobs in there, but like with Death Tunnel and DarkPlace, you can have the emotion and still have a good message at the end.
A- You’ve worked with Keith Age for a while now. How did you meet him and how does he fit into your group?
P- Death Tunnel, that scene where the cold and ice came down the hallway. Keith was the resident ghost hunter at Waverly Hills Sanatorium, so we hired him as an advisor for Death Tunnel. In the end he was the only “real” ghost hunter out there, he wasn’t fake at all. He’s grumpy and he’s real, reliably real, with more than thirty years of experience.
A- I’ve heard that he leads the investigations for your documentaries, how does the dynamic work while you’re filming?
P- He’s great because he knows how we film. He does the investigations allowing us time to change lighting and lenses. To me, you can’t really capture the essence of a location strictly on night vision because you can’t see the mold on the wall or the cracks and the warped colors. So we like to include the environment so the viewer can feel like they’re actually there. On night vision, it feels like you’re just watching a surveillance camera.
A- Do you have any advice for people who want to get into paranormal investigations of their own?
P- Turn the T.V. off. It’s all fake. With all due respect, I saw an advertisement for a show about Fact or Fake. I know Ben, he’s great. But they promised that Fact or Fake had ‘real proof’ of ghosts. Our films are about as close as you can get to real. You know what they had? Some apparition you’d have to focus a million times to even guess what it is and an EMF or motion detector meter that the guy swears was standing up, and when they went back, it was knocked over. They didn’t see it fall and didn’t have it on camera, but they were claiming it was ‘proof’. How is that proof of ghosts? That is the network saying, ratings, ratings, ratings! Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing. You have to believe in them to see them. Half the stuff on the air is just for ratings and entertainment value. And it is great entertainment. But if you really care about seeing something, it will change your life if you see a ghost. You’ll realize that something exists beyond this plane. That makes you as an individual a lot more powerful because you’re no longer attached to the latest phone, the hottest car, the biggest T.V., Snookie, Jersey Shore, network news, blah, blah, blah. You’ll know that something exists on this plane that people can’t explain. It will make you look deeper into yourself, knowing you can make a difference by not following the sheeple. You won’t follow anymore, you’ll lead.
A- What other projects do you have coming up?
P- Death Tunnel 2, which is just the working title. We also have two features to do. I’d love to tell you the story because it’s so creepy, and twisted, and cool, but I don’t want to give everything away.
A- Can you tell me a little about your newest movie, Children of the Grave II?
C- COTGII it takes off where the other one left off. It’s about respect and a tribute to the children that haven’t had any closure. There are four episodes on it. We go from Ashmore Estate to the Lemp Mansion to Cherokee Cave. Not many people have gone to Cherokee Cave, it’s underground in St. Louis and a lot of crazy things have happened there. It is a beautiful story. I like to think it involves ghost bullying compared to the reality of real bullying. So that we stop the bullying. It’s an interesting concept to actually think there is paranormal bullying too.
P- The hardest thing to do as a filmmaker is to scare people or make them cry, and we’ve managed to do both, which is really wonderful. Everything has been seen and done, so if you can still move people with your film, your message is strong.
C- The boy who is in Children of the Grave II has neural fibrosis, which is basically elephantiasis. I think he is a very brave soul to want to go on camera. He wanted to be on T.V., which was his dream, and he wanted to go ghost hunting, and he did go with us. And he wanted to be kissed by a girl, and you’ll have to see the movie to see if that happens. It’s just a beautiful story.
P- It’s scary too.
C- I’ve seen the scene at the end a million times and it still makes me cry.
A- It is very moving. I had a wonderful time during this interview! Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me.
Check out the Booth Brothers films at www.spookedtv.com