In November 2003, Festival of the Dead's own Shawn Poirier, Christian Day, Robert Murch, and Sandra Mariah Power appeared on Penn & Teller's Showtime series. Hosts Penn & Teller tried (and failed) to debunk Ouija Boards while we taught their viewers about the history and use of this oracle of the dead! What wasn't shown on the tv spot was that the production equipment, including cameras and audio, kept breaking down mysteriously for well over an hour as the crew continued to insist that “this never happens!” Spirits have a way of mucking with technical equipment, as any good ghost hunter will tell you. Perhaps the spirits were trying to warn us as to what type of show this was! The producers tell us that this was one of the most popular episodes and you can see it when season one is released on DVD in early 2004!
By Dave Gershman
Salem News, April 18, 2003
When Bob Murch got the call that the producers of a reality TV show wanted to film a spirit board expert, he jumped at the chance, even if he didn't know what he was getting into.
Now he does, and you can watch the results this month. It's on the cable movie station ShowTime. The show is called "Penn and Teller's Bullshit!" and as its title implies, it's dedicated to debunking spooky tales.
As it turned out, the producers wouldn't tell Murch and his four friends the name of the show or how they would use the material as they filmed them at the Lyceum Bar and Grill in November. Murch enlisted Shawn Poirier,Christian Day, and Sandra Power, who are witches and run witch-related businesses here, and Gary Halteman. The four used Murch's Salem-inspired spirit board, Cryptique®, to contact the spirit of Bridget Bishop, who lived at the site before being hanged during the witchcraft trials of 1692.
Murch says despite the show's promise, Penn and Teller ended up being kind to them.
"It was funny," Murch said after viewing the show. "We sat here and laughed. If it wasn't us on the show, it probably wouldn't have been funnier. They don't portray everyone as nicely as they did us."
You can watch it on Thursday, April 24th, at 10:30 p.m.
By the way, Murch took a photo of his friends during the filming. When it was developed, he found peculiar balls of white light appeared in the photo. His friends tell him they're "spirit orbs." You decide.