DATELINE: Travel Channel Excellence
A recent 2020 series on Travel Channel presents a sobering look at spirits and hauntings in historical settings. For the second season, the show visited the Surratt Tavern and its alleged hauntings related to the Lincoln Assassination. You may want to look for the Holzer Files.
The show’s premise is based on investigations in the 1960s by a man named Hans Holzer and his psychic medium Sybil Leek. Their encounters were taped on audio with the primitive tools of the era. Today, a modern team re-opens the cases with Holzer’s daughter to bring full new technology to bear.
According to old accounts, the Surratt tavern was once the home of Mary Surratt and her family. Reports of paranormal incidents go back to before 1900, but stronger accounts appear regularly in the 1940s. When the tavern became a museum in the 1960s, witnesses saw all kinds of disturbing activity.
Hans Holzer believed that John Wilkes Booth haunted the place, though he came here on his escape hours after shooting Lincoln. He thought Leek was in contact with Edwin Booth at the house—but the 2020 investigation seems to think the “John” at the house may be John Surratt, son of Mary who was hanged. They also believe Mary’s daughter Anna may also be present.
The audio and video activity is startling as the group tries to find out what is going on. One psychic, Cindy Kaza, suffers from headaches and another Shane Pittman feels he is being told to leave the spirits alone. Cindy receives a comparable message that the haunters of the tavern want quiet and to be left alone.
The show presents a voice of a woman who speaks, “Mother,” while video shows a hoop skirt peeking around the room’s doorway. The investigators conclude that mother and daughter Surratt are at the tavern.
Multiple seances over the years may have added problems to the spiritual energies at the museum. The latest director is sympathetic to the situation and may be channeling activity.
The episode becomes a coda that proves the story is endless.