The reality television show “Ghost Hunters” has reached agreement with Preston to film at the former Norwich Hospital property, the program’s supervising producer said last week.
Supervising Producer Matthew Meltzer said an agreement between the town’s attorney and production company Pilgrim Films Television was signed and is being sent to Preston for final signatures. He declined to say when filming would begin, as he doesn’t want a crowd.
“The Norwich State Hospital’s reputation as a haunted location is pretty well known in New England,” Meltzer said.
He said the show has received hundreds of calls about the site over the years, and the presumption among some is that the hospital is haunted by the ghosts of former patients.
“Ghost Hunters” premiered in 2004 on the Syfy Channel, and features Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, plumbers by trade, who investigate places that may be haunted. Hawes and Wilson run TAPS, The Atlantic Paranormal Society, a group of paranormal researchers based in Warwick, R.I.
This year’s series has 25 episodes beginning March 3. Meltzer said he believes the Preston segment would be one hour long. He does not know yet when it would air.
First Selectman Robert Congdon said the filming has pluses and minuses.
“It brings attention to the site,” he said. “From a marketing standpoint, it may help some that more people know about the site.”
But Congdon said it may also make it harder to keep people out of unsafe buildings.
The Norwich State Hospital for the Insane opened in 1904, and was renamed Norwich State Hospital in the 1920s. It served as a mental health facility for decades, and had a population of thousands in the 1950s. It closed in 1996.
Thomas D’Agostino, co-founder of the Paranormal United Research Society in Putnam, said he has not been to the hospital, but said it’s likely to be haunted.
“First of all, people died in there,” he said. “There was a lot of mental stress, illness, things like emotional scarring, a whole bunch of reasons and theories (as to) why a hospital would hold such energy.”
Former Preston Selectman Jerry Grabarek said it’s publicity.
“If they find something, then we’ll have a moneymaker there,” he said. “They’d better find something, because I don’t see any other money coming out of the place down the pike.”