The wife and husband team of Vera and Kendall Whelpton have been interested in Ghost Hunting since a young age. Kendall explored the paranormal by working on Ghost Hunters from 2005 to 2020; in 2005 he started out as a cameraman and became a director of photography in 2013. It would be on Ghost Hunters Academy that Vera and Kendall would meet in 2011. Now, as the co-owners of Robot Ninja Media, they have produced two documentaries exploring haunted locations, The House in Between and The Sleepless Unrest. With their latest film, The Sleepless Unrest, just released, I was able to interview Vera and Kendall for ScifiPulse.
You can learn more about The Sleepless Unrest by checking out its homepage and following it on Twitter at @sleeplessunrest. Stay up to date with the Vera, Kendall, and Robot Ninja Media on Twitter as well.
Nicholas Yanes: When did you two become interested in the paranormal?
Kendall Whelpton: My interest in the paranormal started at a very young age when I would stay at my cousin’s haunted house for the summer. I remember my cousin and I would talk about ghosts and all the phenomena that happened at her house. We played with an Ouija board and I trusted her that she wasn’t moving the planchette.
Vera Whelpton: Both of my parents claimed to have lived in a haunted home during their childhood. My maternal grandfather became a treasure hunter because he related the paranormal occurrences with a possible treasure being left behind. So, during family gatherings ghost stories from their own memories would arise. These moments were some of the most terrifying in my childhood because they weren’t telling tales of urban legends, they were sharing personal experiences and it was clear that some of these events had deeply affected them particularly when they couldn’t come up with an explanation.
Yanes: Most people come to believe in the paranormal slowly. Was there a moment in which you two internalized the idea that some things were other worldly in origin?
Kendall: Yes, Vera and I started talking about this in our first documentary The House in Between after researching the phenomena at the house with claims of very intense unknown lights. Then now in our newest documentary, The Sleepless Unrest, we are seeing evidence of light anomalies and interaction with something intelligent. We just can’t rule other worldly in origin out, because a lot of this activity points that way.
Vera: When my father passed away unexpectedly in 2005, I had a profound paranormal experience while working at a nursing home where an elderly female patient that never spoke before started talking like my father was next to me. She never knew nothing about my father. This is one of many personal experiences I’ve had but this one was the most profound.
Yanes: You both have investigated several hauntings. Other than your film projects, which are some of your more memorable experiences?
Kendall: I had a very profound experience on the show Ghost Hunters following Jason Hawes and Steve Gonsalves when we were exiting a basement and a laundry cart moved and picked up speed from about 15 ft away and slammed into me.
Vera: I took my in-laws to a paranormal investigation at Yorktown memorial hospital in Texas, and a fellow investigator gave a device that could possibly speak with the dead to my father-in law Ken. Within minutes Ken was having a full-blown conversation with “someone” via this device. Out of nowhere the device said “run” and my mother-in-law ran for her life! Then the device answer “haha” “funny” I was extremely impressed with my in-laws for being so brave on their first investigation and I see where Kendall gets his bravery from.
Yanes: Many television shows, movies, and video games follow people investigating haunted locations. What do you think these depictions typically get wrong?
Kendall and Vera: We are no one to judge what people do right or wrong in the entertainment business regarding the paranormal. But we are seeing an overall misconception that the perception of a paranormal investigator is someone who has to be tough and rough when talking to the dead, and assumes that everything is an evil spirit or a demon which is not always the case.
Yanes: The latest film from you two is The Sleepless Unrest, which follows you both and your team explore the house that inspired the Conjuring franchise. Why do you think this house remains so popular?
Kendall and Vera: The Conjuring films have definitely kept this location in the limelight, but the house itself is so active and now you have paranormal investigators coming into the home and capturing evidence from multiple sources. Also, the popularity of The Conjuring house is because is one of the rarest haunted locations in the United States that continues to produce credible evidence from the 1970s with the Perron family till this day.
Yanes: While investigating the Conjuring house, when did you two begin to feel unsettled by it?
Kendall and Vera: We all started to feel unsettled right after we sat by the fireplace to listen to the most current paranormal claims. Out of nowhere the go pro was thrown from the fireplace mantle and Mr. Heinzen (the homeowner) told us it was best not to investigate that night or set up any cameras.
Yanes: Great ghost investigators are also fantastic skeptics. When something unusual happens, what steps do you take to make sure there is no natural explanation for it?
Kendall and Vera: The rational brain always kicks in first. Then you analyze your surroundings, and go into debunk mode, but when its profound and you know that you are getting interaction you push harder for the communication.
Yanes: Reflecting on the production of Sleepless Unrest and comparing it to your previous projects, how do you think you have improved as filmmakers and investigators?
Kendall and Vera: Our filmmaking techniques, gear, and storytelling have definitely progressed from our last film. We listen to our viewers, and we try
Yanes: When people finish watching Sleepless Unrest, what do you hope they take away from the experience?
Kendall and Vera: We hope that people that might not get a chance to visit the real Conjuring home or ever have been part of a paranormal investigation can feel emerged into this film like they are right there with us. Also, to inspire others to be adventurous and face their fears.
Yanes: Finally, what else are you two working on that people can look forward to?
Kendall and Vera: A very interesting case that took us to Georgia.
Remember, you can learn more about The Sleepless Unrest by checking out its homepage and following it on Twitter at @sleeplessunrest. Stay up to date with the Vera, Kendall, and Robot Ninja Media on Twitter as well.
You can read more of Nicholas Yane’s postings here