Rather than checking out the same ol’ spooky movies for the umpteenth time this Halloween, head on over to one of KLRU’s digital subchannels to check out something new.
KLRU Q, Channel 18.3, will air three episodes of "Strange Town," a locally produced show exploring haunted sites throughout Texas, this Friday starting at 8:55 p.m.
Austinites Billy Driver and Mark Morrow serve as hosts and producers of "Strange Town," which got its start as a Web-based series. They’re hopeful the deal with KLRU could lead to the show airing on other PBS affiliates across Texas and possibly even nationwide.
"They’d been looking for a paranormal show for a long time but hadn’t had anyone bring one to the table," Driver said. "We did and they’ve been so incredibly supportive."
Driver said he grew up in what he believes was a haunted house, helping make him a self-proclaimed "paranormal enthusiast" at an early age.
"I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal," he said. "I saw, heard and experienced a lot of things as a young child. Nothing malicious, nothing bad, just things we couldn’t explain, like the lights flicking on and off. It was obvious someone was there with us."
The three episodes of "Strange Town" that will air Friday focus on haunted spots in Galveston, Seguin and right here in Austin.
At the Hotel Galvez in Galveston, Driver and Morrow work to verify claims that orphans killed in a hurricane are wandering the halls. There are also reports a woman in search of her lost lover roams the property.
In Seguin, the duo checks out the Magnolia Hotel, allegedly home to as many as 13 "unsettled spirits."
And back here in Central Texas, they visit the Austin Pizza Garden, 6266 W. U.S. 290, and Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street, 809 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Both buildings have experienced plenty of unexplained, possibly paranormal activity.
"We’ve captured evidence in every location we’ve visited so far," Driver said. "We’ve even been physically affected ourselves. Some of the presences are positive. Some are negative."
Morrow, for example, walked away from one shoot with an unexplained scratch on his neck.
While we’ll get to see only three episodes for now, Driver and Morrow are still working on the series. They already have a few more installments in the can and are in the process of filming more that they hope we’ll get to watch soon. In December alone they aim to knock out three shoots.
"We’re getting buzz before we even hit the air," Driver said. "We’ve got all sorts of offers coming in to check things out — not just from Texas, but from all over."
But the Austin area might keep the two busy for quite a while. Driver said there are still plenty of spots here in town they’d like to examine. Downtown, in particular, is reportedly a hotbed of paranormal activity, he said.
Driver acknowledges, though, that some viewers might scoff at "Strange Town" and shows like it — and he’s all right with that. Really, he is.
"People are either really into it or they think it’s total bull," Driver said. "But the truth is, science can’t explain any of this. Religion can’t explain it. No one can. We want them to watch and decide for themselves."