BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Bakersfield is in the national spotlight as the Discovery+ series “Portals to Hell” checks out the odd happenings surrounding the Padre Hotel. The series on the streaming service – hosted by paranormal investigators Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman – has featured stops across the United States at places historically considered to be haunted.
Stories have circulated for decades regarding mysterious figures that walk the halls of the downtown building, strange noises in the night and a weird image in the lobby that looks like a handprint left by a little girl. That was enough to get the hotel on the show’s radar.
Normally, the Padre Hotel would be too busy to accommodate a crew of 14 looking to prowl through the building and set up cameras to capture any supernatural activity. There was an opening in December for such scrutiny by the “Portals of Hell” team because of the slowdown caused by the pandemic.
Osbourne sets the tone for the show the moment he and fellow investigator, Heather Taddy (who is filling in for co-host Katrina Weidman on this investigation), arrive at the hotel.
“It looks like the cover of a horror movie poster,” Osbourne says. “It reminds me of ‘The Shining.’”
Their three-day investigation starts with a tour of the building led by Jennifer Johnson, who is the hotel manager. Johnson recounts stories by guests and staff members of a weird and unexplainable nature. Several staff members discuss the strange things they have seen and heard over the years with Osbourne and his team.
Day one ends with Osbourne checking into a room on the eight floor and Taddy one floor below him. Guests staying in the seventh floor room have reported what sounded like furniture being moved in the room where Osbourne is staying when there were no guests there.
After a restless night by Osbourne, the team begins their work that includes extensive research, a battery of scientific equipment and specialists that in the case of the Padre Hotel includes psychic Sarah Lemos.
The research on the hotel shows a dark past since it opened in 1928 that includes at least two suicides that took place in 1977. One was a woman who threw herself off the top of the building and the other was a man who shot himself while in a bathtub.
Lemos is drawn to several locations in the hotel but admits to being nervous in terms of visiting the roof. Her anxiety is caused by hearing the word “jump” or “bump.”
After Lemos leaves, the team begins their investigation that includes cameras being placed throughout the building. Both Osbourne and Taddy take turns visiting areas of the hotel. What they uncover during the next two days makes up the last act of the program.
It would spoil any surprises to reveal what transpires during that time except to point out that Osbourne calls his time at the Padre Hotel “a great investigation.”
How great viewers will find this journey through the Bakersfield landmark completely depends on their perspective when it comes to the supernatural. Those who believe that things do go bump in the night will be more in tune with the investigation.
If you’re a non-believer, then the episode – and in fact the entire series – can be dismissed like so many programs that dive into the world of the supernatural. It can all be explained away as the power of suggestion, natural phenomenon or a little Hollywood trickery.
Either way, the program is a very positive bit of publicity for the Padre Hotel. Those who are interested in the supernatural have been shown a fascinating lure to a world of some strange possibilities. The handprint in the lobby is really enough to create interest in a visit.
Those who see this all as bunk, get a detailed look at how nice a stay at the Padre can be. Anyone who has lived in this town long enough to know it before the renovations can testify that the current Padre is a massive improvement from the way it was in the past.
Either way, the visit by the team from “Portals to Hell” should scare up some business for the Padre Hotel.
“Portals to Hell” is streaming now on Discovery+.