Somerset featured in second season of paranormal doc 'Hellier'

Courtesy of International Paranormal Museum

The paranormal investigative team behind the documentary series "Hellier" on Amazon Prime -- including, from left, Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall, Tyler Strand, and Greg and Dana Newkirk -- poses at the entrance to the International Paranormal Museum and Research Center in the Carnegie Community Arts Center in Somerset during a visit in September. Somerset is featured in episode eight of the second season of "Hellier," now available to stream. 

All Hellier is breaking loose, for a second season.

And Somerset is caught up in it.

If that sounds ominous, don't worry. Hellier is a tiny town in the coal country of Pike County, Ky., far to the east of Pulaski. It's at the center of a spooky documentary series called "Hellier," which saw a group of paranormal investigators head to Hellier to check out reports of bizarre activity.

The first season of "Hellier" — five episodes — was released in January of this year. It didn't take long to get a second season; 10 more episodes were just released to stream November 29 on Amazon Prime. On December 13, they'll be available free of charge on YouTube and for digital download. (Learn more at hellier.tv online.)

So what does this have to do with Somerset? In the second series, the investigators expand beyond the reaches of Hellier and visit other places in Kentucky. Including Pulaski County.

Notably, they visited the International Paranormal Museum and Research Center this past September, and talked with owner Kyle Kadel. The museum is located in the basement of the Carnegie Community Arts Center on North Main Street in downtown Somerset.

And even in the trailer, a familiar face pops up — Nathan Isaacs, local music promoter with SomerSessions, who describes a situation as, "It's like we're on the tip of a gun."

The interview with Isaacs was recorded upstairs in the studio at Jarfly Brewing Co. Scenes from the popular local microbrewery are recognizable in the show.

"This is documentary stuff," said Kadel. "It does get weird."

Kadel had actually met these investigators — a group including Greg and Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall, and Tyler Strand — about three years ago.

However, "they had reason to come to Somerset independent from anything the museum had ever done," said Kadel, an avid paranormal investigator himself. Several emails they received led them to come to town.

Mysterious emails are at the heart of the adventure shown in the "Hellier" series.

"In season one, we learned (the investigators) received emails from a Dr. David Christie, who owned this land in Hellier, this abandoned mine, and said little cave goblins kept coming out and terrorizing his child and killed his dog, stuff like that, and made life unbearable," said Kadel. "He sent them pictures of what the creatures supposedly looked like and pictures of their footprints."

The group, their interest piqued, headed to Hellier ... and all communication with the individual emailing them was cut off. "The guy never got back to them," said Kadel.

Nevertheless, the investigators had notable experiences in eastern Kentucky that made up the first season of the documentary, which one review compared by bringing up both "The X-Files" and the MTV dating scam documentary "Catfish."

Eventually, however, the group started getting enigmatic emails again, which led them back to the Bluegrass State. The subject matter deals with Appalachian mysteries and regional icons like Mammoth Cave, as well as concepts like the extraterrestrial, the paranormal, and forces at play beyond conventional ken.

Kadel said they talked to him about a relevant UFO sighting, goblins, and strange geomagnetic anomalies in the area.

"The 37th Parallel runs through here," said Kadel, referencing a global circle of latitude well-known in paranormal investigation circles. "Most of the hotspots for UFO activity around the world are on the 37th Parallel."

The show's team also donated some items to the museum, including a lantern they used in Season 1 on ghost hunts that turned up some surprising results.

Somerset is featured in the eighth episode of the second season, "The Secret Commonwealth." Some surprising things are claimed about this community — in addition to more fanciful subjects, there is also talk about conditions that may lead to high rates of mental health issues and chatter about secret societies; some of it ties into actual well-known incidents of crime from Pulaski County, so viewers sensitive to local murder cases may wish to use discretion — but then again, this area has been home to plenty of legends for generations, such as the famed "Keno Monster."

The series, produced by Planet Weird (www.weirdhq.com), is one Kadel enjoyed since the first episode, and he considers it a "big honor" for him and the International Paranormal Museum here in Somerset to be a part of it.

"Obviously, any press is good press for the museum," said Kadel. "(The show) is shot incredibly well. It's one of the best new paranormal documentaries to come out in a while."

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