“Ghost Adventures” star Zak Bagans began having visions 20 years ago of a little boy who finds a miniature diorama circus tent that is an entrance into another dimension, where terrifying clowns and spirits of the departed reside. When it came time to brainstorm ideas about something cool to do for Halloween for Travel Channel and discovery+ that involved his Las Vegas-based Haunted Museum, he realized it was the perfect time to put his visions on film. And, thus, “3 Ring Inferno” was born.
“I have no idea where that idea came from. In my life, weird things happen that I can’t explain,” he laughed. “You know, cards are dealt to me and the people dealing those cards are not of flesh and blood — they’re spirits.”
The visions started coming to Bagans in 2002, when he was in film school and when he started having paranormal experiences. He’d talk with people about what he was seeing in his head, not knowing what the visuals meant, where they were coming from or what to do with them. What he did know, however, was that someday, somehow he had to make it into a movie.
Fifteen years later, he opened the Haunted Museum. When he bought the building and walked through it for the first time, he already knew what every single room was going to be, like he had this museum before. “And then these five rooms are going to be for an old circus,” he told TheWrap. A short time later, he came across an old circus diorama and then a costume worn by a famous clown who was performing with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1944 when a fire erupted that killed 167 people and injured more than 700.
“Then I had this vision like this clown was talking to me to put the clown costume underneath the diorama, where there is a red tent, like the ones of my previous visions, so the spirit of this clown that performed at the circus fire can live within this miniature world of the diorama with all these other people,” Bagans said.
Bagans read up on the fire and thought, “This is a little microenvironment for them. This is, they can exist in the portal of this diorama. The clown is there. Everything’s OK. And as soon as I put that clown costume underneath it, weird things started happening in my fun house that I built. And it all came together.”
He went on. “Like this was a film that was put together a long time ago. I was supposed to get this clown costume. I was supposed to get this diorama — and then I had a call with Eli and with Cream Productions, “ Bagans said of horror film maestro, Eli Roth, with whom he has collaborated on several projects for Travel Channel and discovery+ and is the executive producer of “Haunted Museum.”
“I was like, ‘Guys, I have a really powerful story that I need to tell you about.’ And I talked to him about the inception of the idea, how I got these items, how this spirit of this clown literally was like, ‘Put my clown costume underneath the diorama, and when I did that, I felt this rush, just chill of like, ‘OK. There’s another thing that was supposed to be done.’”
After doing some research, Bagans learned that the man who allegedly started the fire was being told to do so by some type of “dark demonic entity with flames coming out of its head.”
“This is just another puzzle piece of my crazy paranormal puzzle,” Bagans said. “I don’t know what happens when I complete the puzzle or if it ever ends.”
“The Haunted Museum: 3 Ring Inferno” premieres Oct. 31 at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel and streaming on discovery+. Watch an exclusive clip of the film above.