'Ghost Hunters' Star Richel Stratton Describes 'Uncomfortable' Experiences Felt in Madison Seminary (Exclusive)

On Wednesday night’s episode of Ghost Hunters, Grant Wilson and his team head to Madison Seminary in Madison, Ohio to investigate one of their most challenging hauntings yet, with claims from the owner alleging aggressive paranormal activity and a sudden rise in fear and discord among staff. Worried the former mental institution might be too dangerous to hold public ghost tours, it’s up to the team to help provide relief and decipher the activity.

In the episode “There’s Something in the Seminary,” the team investigate an array of claims, ranging from disembodied voices, shadow figures, footsteps, pinching and even physical assault. During their investigation at what has been the site of more than 200 reported deaths, the crew splits up with Richel Stratton and Brian Murray heading to the asylum and its operating room, while Brandon Alvis and Mustafa Gatollari head to the Civil War building. Upon their exploration into the unknown, both teams experience wild phenomena that simultaneously sparks a strong reaction of pain and uneasiness in Stratton and Alvis, followed by a visibly shaken yet altruistic Murray, who asks the entity to leave his best friend, Stratton alone.

The experience was something Illinois native, Stratton exclusively tells PopCulture.com left her feeling all sorts of uneasy and “uncomfortable.”

“As soon as we got up into the asylum, I felt uncomfortable [and] kind of creeped out, in general, because it had a different feeling than the rest of the building,” Stratton said. “[And] I was okay until we went into that one room that they thought was an operating room, but as soon as I went in there, I started not feeling good and my stomach hurt really bad and I took a step out.”

Stratton adds that while Murray stayed behind at the time because he was “okay,” she had to step out and did her best to collect EVPs as part of their investigation, and work through it.

“But while I was out in the hall, I was getting an intense amount of pain in my back,” she admitted. “I have two [children] and the closest thing I could describe was back labor without an epidural. Like, it was so intense that [it] brought tears to my eyes.”

Stratton adds that when something that powerful happens, it’s about the entity trying its hardest to reach out. However, despite understanding their unique mode of communication, she stresses it’s then that the entity needs to “pull back just a little bit” in order for help to be transmitted.

“It’s like [the entity’s] starting to shut me down more than I should be shut down because I have to deal with my own discomfort,” she said, adding it’s hard to help anyone when that kind of energy is being conveyed.

“The crazy thing about it was that — so, Brian’s my best friend and he doesn’t ever like to see anything like that happen to me ever. But in the field, I’m more sensitive to certain things and I don’t always go off of that. I kind of let it help me, but I don’t let it just direct my investigation completely,” Stratton said. “[But] the crazy thing about it was, he was not okay with that happening to me and he was like, ‘Leave her alone’ and ‘You can do whatever you need... Deal with me.’ And it was like after he said that, it went away.”

After witnessing his best friend in pain during the investigation, Murray noticeably upset, steps in and requests the entity to leave her alone. However, covered in goosebumps and now visibly “uncomfortable,” Murray deals with a unique, “heavy” experience all his own that leaves the former Marine Corps Platoon Sergeant distraught and not alright.

The entire account, which Murray admits at the time felt like he was “going to battle,” left Stratton upset and heartbroken over seeing her best friend deal with such an experience.

“He doesn’t get like that ever,” she said of the ordeal. “I’ve investigated with him for years, he’s my best friend. He doesn’t work that way and to see him like that, broke my heart because I’m like, ‘Listen, I deal with this and I know how to handle it afterwards’ — like, to bounce back quickly once it’s over. But when you’re not used to dealing with things like that and the emotions that come with it, sometimes it’s hard to bounce back from it and it really worried me.”

Stratton adds it was a “crazy experience” because it was as if the roles had reversed between the two best friends.

“I am not great at comforting people. I’m a mom, but I don’t feel like I’m that type of mom,” she laughed. “I’m like, ‘You'll be all right. It’s fine. Like, rub some dirt on it.’ [And] I’m trying to comfort [Brian], but at the same time I’m like, ‘I’m out of my element with this because I don’t really know how to comfort you.’ So, I patted him and was like, ‘There, there, you’ll be okay.’”

With the team back at the command center gathering notes and discussing their experiences after night one of their investigation, Wilson notices Murray’s “shaken” demeanor and reaches out in papa bear mode. Taking him aside to talk about the experience, the team leader commends him for maintaining his strength and professionalism during the investigation, and looking out for Stratton while respecting the entities.

Admitting that every investigation is “different” because “every person’s different,” Stratton tells PopCulture.com that while she told Murray after he got better that he didn’t need to take all the weight of their investigation upon himself, some things just don’t ever change.

“But that’s just the way he is,” she smiled. “You’ve got to love him for it, you know?”


Ghost Hunters airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on A&E.

Photo credit: A&E Networks