Northern New York Newspapers
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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Travel Channel’s ‘Dead Files’ explores NNY case of ‘Master of the Damned’


POTSDAM — The Travel Channel program “The Dead Files” visits St. Lawrence County in tonight’s episode.

In each hour-long episode of the paranormal investigative series, retired New York City Police Department homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi and physical medium Amy Allan explore “frightening cases” of unexplained paranormal activity. Tonight’s episode, airing at 10 p.m., is titled “Master of the Damned.”

Mr. DiSchiavi uses conventional police investigative methods while Ms. Allan “speaks to the dead.”

Because of the sense of surprise associated with the show when findings are revealed at its ending, Travel Channel officials declined to say what the team exactly investigated.

Travel Channel officials also declined to reveal the exact location of where the local “Dead Files” episode was filmed, except to say it involved “terrifying reports of threatening paranormal activity at the home of a retired police detective.” A “client” in the show is identified only as Donna.

“She and her family are being terrorized by spirits in the house,” Mr. DiSchiavi says in the episode. A Web link to the episode was provided to the newspaper.

In the episode, Donna said she, her husband and their 17-year-old son have seen unusual things.

Donna tells Mr. DiSchiavi that the latest episode in the house involved her son, who came running into her room screaming.

“That’s why I wrote you guys a letter,” she tells Mr. DiSchiavi. “I need a solution.”

A short news release from the Travel Channel says the episode was filmed in Potsdam. But Colton historian and genealogist Dennis E. Eickhoff, who did research for the episode, said he believes the residence investigated is in Hannawa Falls.

“But I don’t know where,” he said. “They didn’t say who owned the place.”

One caption for a press photo for tonight’s episode mentions and shows the death certificate of Frank Bancroft, with Mr. Eickhoff explaining how he died.

According to the newspaper’ files, Frank Bancroft, 70, of Hannawa Falls, died in the summer of 1937 of injuries received when he walked into the path of a passing car in the village of Potsdam. Mr. Bancroft, a farmer, died of a fractured skull.

“He was the one who bought the property from where it started from,” Mr. Eickhoff said.

In another photo caption from tonight’s episode, “Amy sees the entity of an old man who died in her client’s home. The figure appears to take the energy of other dead people.”

Another photo caption mentions the hanging of John Donovan in 1852, which a local historian says was witnessed by about 1,500 people.

The press release for the show says the separate investigations of Mr. DiSchiavi and Ms. Allan take interesting turns when Mr. DiSchiavi discovers past evidence of a bar fight so brutal it left a man dead in the streets.

The episode synopsis also says that Ms. Allan faces off against an entity “that commands the dead to terrorize the living.”

The duo investigates each case separately, coming together only at the end to reveal their results.

Viewer discretion is advised.

This is the fifth season for “The Dead Files.” Other episodes include an investigation of Iowa’s Villisca Axe Murder House — site of an unsolved gruesome century-old mass murder, a visit to a Chicago house where a woman has returned to confront childhood nightmares, and violent forces terrorizing a family home in St. Clair Shores, Mich., that leaves the team questioning the safety of the house.

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