Whenever Hollywood needs an expert to talk about one of its new paranormal projects, they turn to Christopher Chacón. The world-renowned Mexican-American parapsychologist, who is regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the scientific investigation of the supernatural, sometimes helps studios promote horror movies like Paranormal Activity, Constantine, Poltergeist and The Exorcist.
His latest assist went to Screen Gems and Ghost House Pictures for their new film The Unholy. The horror movie tells the story of a hearing-impaired girl who develops the power to heal the sick after she claims to get a visit from the Virgin Mary. As believers come to see the miracles, terrifying events begin to unfold that prove the girl’s abilities might be coming from a darker force.
Chacón was brought in by the studio because he has participated in thousands of cases throughout his career that deal with divine intervention. He says he’s experienced some of the things that are depicted in the film like witnessing religious statues moving and bleeding. He’s also seen his fair share of individuals miraculously healed. He does note, however, that between 70-80% of these cases have rational explanations.
“Even though they look incredible, after investigating it thoroughly, we were able to find explanations that could be explained psychologically, physiologically, environmentally and even circumstantially,” Chacón tells Remezcla during a recent interview. “Of course, that leaves 20-30% that science cannot explain.”
It’s culturally in our blood to be connected to these things that are otherworldly.
Currently, Chacón said he is working on a case where a 5-year-old girl says she can see angels. At first, her parents thought it was just her imagination, but then one day the little girl pointed to a neighbor walking past her house and told her parents that an angel said the woman had COVID-19.
“The next time the woman walked by, the parents yelled to her and told her she should get checked for COVID,” Chacón said. “Sure enough, she had it.”
While The Unholy begins with the depiction of what the film’s characters are describing as miracles, it does go into a more sinister realm of the paranormal, too. Luckily (or not), that’s right up Chacón’s alley. He said he’s witnessed over 2,000 exorcisms and possessions across the globe.
“There have been cases where people think they’ve seen something divine and angelic, but it turns out to be something very malevolent and dangerous,” Chacón says. “More often than not, however, especially with Latinos, if something paranormal happens, they automatically think something dark is happening. They want to put a crucifix in that room.”
It’s one of the reasons Chacón believes that even if Latinos are fans of the horror genre, many of them won’t get near a movie that takes place in a church or involves anything demonic, especially since many Latinos are Catholic or Christian.
“It’s culturally in our blood to be connected to these things that are otherworldly,” Chacón said. “Somewhere in the back of our minds, no matter how skeptical or rational we want to be…there is still an embracing of the idea that good and evil do exist.”
As far as evil manifesting itself in something like Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” project, souls won’t be damned if they watch the video or buy the sneakers. From a scientific standpoint, Chacón says there have been studies done that prove “insidious phenomenon” cannot derive from video games, movies or music.
“Now, whether it inspires individuals who are mentally ill is a whole other thing,” he said. “But it doesn’t have to be a song about demons or devils to do that. There’s a hysteria that is connected to certain religious denominations that would run with the idea that something like that could happen, but there is absolutely no correlation.”