Dakota Laden returns with his Travel Channel series, Destination Fear on Apr. 29 at 10 p.m. Ahead of the second season premiere, we had the chance to talk with the paranormal investigator about what fans can expect from this year as his crew spends the night in some terrifying locations.
Dakota Laden began his journey into the world of paranormal investigation when he started parodying Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures in 2011. These amusing spoofs caught Bagans’ attention and the young comedian was invited to make a guest appearance on the show.
Shortly thereafter, in 2015, Laden made his documentary, Trail to Terror which also starred his sister, Chelsea and his best friend, Tanner Wiseman. After that production, Dakota became a part of Bagans’ crew and the rest is history.
Now, the young investigator, Chelsea and Tanner begin their second season of Destination Fear on Travel Channel on Apr. 29. Before the premiere, we had the chance to chat with Dakota about what fans can expect from the series and his thoughts on the most terrifying episode of this year.
1428 Elm: Hi, Dakota. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. When did your interest in the paranormal begin? Your parodies of Zak Bagans before you became a part of his show were legendary.
Dakota Laden: My interest in the paranormal began at an early age in my childhood home. My entire family had terrifying ghostly experiences and we eventually got the house blessed multiple times. We were told by several longtime locals that our house was built on land used in satanic rituals.
I’m glad you enjoyed the Ghost Adventures parodies. Comedy has been in my blood from the very beginning. Although the show is about fear, there’s nothing I love more than making people laugh. One day I’ll definitely return to my comedy roots!
1428 Elm: How did your sister, Chelsea, Tanner and Alex become involved in Destination Fear?
DL: We all grew up together. Chelsea was friends with Alex and Tanner before I was even born. In middle school and high school, urban exploring haunted abandoned buildings became our main hobby. We probably explored close to 50 different spots in our home state of Minnesota. About 5 years ago, I created a documentary film titled Trail To Terror where we took our first haunted road trip across the country. That documentary eventually became the same concept for Destination Fear.
1428 Elm: This season differs from the last because now, you aren’t even being told the location of your investigations. What prompted that decision?
DL: Chelsea and Tanner each chose a location this road trip, which left me in the dark for part of the journey. This whole road trip is designed to be an experiment on fear, so I thought it would only be fair to put myself in their shoes for a few of the stops. I can definitely say that not knowing these two locations increased my fear levels significantly.
1428 Elm: How did you handle the “sleep overs” at the sites? Which team member was challenged the most by spending the night and did you guys get any rest? Any memorable experiences?
DL: We sleep alone for 3-5 hours at every location we visit. This is by far the hardest part of every night. It’s different for every location, but usually one person gets very screwed. In our premiere episode at the Nopeming Sanatorium, while Tanner was in his sleeping arrangement his camera captured something absolutely terrifying that he didn’t even notice in the moment. For our final stop at the Sheboygan Falls Asylum, while I was in my sleeping arrangement, I had my most traumatizing experience of the whole trip.
1428 Elm: Speaking of Nopeming Sanitorium, we know that the haunted Duluth landmark has been on your wish list for a long time. Without giving too much away, tell us about the scariest moment for you in that facility.
DL: This sanatorium is a location I’ve been dying to explore for many years now. When Chelsea and I were down in the basement together we heard a very loud crashing noise that scared the crap out of us. We were able to review the footage to see if we could pinpoint what caused the noise. What we discovered absolutely shocked us.
1428 Elm: Is there a particular show that fans may be exceptionally interested in?
DL: In the episode at Hill View Manor in Pennsylvania, one of us was so affected that we had to be sent to the hospital. This was one of those nights we will never forget.
1428 Elm: What was your favorite investigation this season?
DL: Nopeming Sanatorium and the Sheboygan Falls Asylum episodes are tied for my favorite. We had our most compelling captures and terrifying moments at these two locations. I definitely have unfinished business at the Sheboygan Falls Asylum.
Many thanks to Dakota Laden for taking the time to talk to us. Check out the Destination Fear second season premiere on Travel Channel, Apr. 29 at 10 p.m.
What was your favorite Dakota Laden and Destination Fear Season 1 episode? Let us know in the comments.