Originally Posted on: October 24th, 2013
Shane! Hahn sits down with Jael De Pardo, from hit Syfy shows like 'Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files', 'Destination Truth' and 'Haunted Highway'.
H-P: You're on just about every paranormal type show Syfy has to offer. From 'Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files' to 'Destination Truth' to 'Haunted Highway'. You go on so many crazy adventures your fans have even dubbed you 'The Real-Life Lara Croft'. Would it be safe to say you are also the 'First Lady of Syfy'?
JAEL: I prefer the term “SyFy Sweetheart”. It has been a gift to be in such good favor of the network. It’s a big compliment to be asked back to work somewhere several times, especially in such a competitive field. But I wouldn’t call myself the “First Lady” in any sense of the phrase-- besides I’m not married yet!
H-P: Given all of these shows you have done for Syfy you have been to some wild locations, which one was your favorite place to shoot some of these series at?
JAEL: Filming in Egypt was a standout trip for me. We were there working on an episode for Destination Truth about "The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb". Not only did we film inside the tomb overnight, but we also did some outrageously fun precision driving over the sand dunes next to the Pyramids. I will never forget that, we shot the scenes during sunset and it was surreal. Few things could beat that view!
H-P: While at all of those locations, you have also searched for the truth, sea monsters, ghosts and what have you. What was your favorite paranormal thing to search for and/or debunk while shooting for any of these Syfy series?
JAEL: When filming Fact or Faked we did an episode based around a woman in England who claimed to have been abducted by Aliens while asleep. She was so terrified that her husband had set up a surveillance camera in their room to comfort her. One day they found video footage of the woman completely dissolving under the sheets as she slept. It looked as though her body simply melted into the bed and she disappeared for a few minutes. The next morning she had claimed to have gone through a vivid experience of alien abduction in an examination room, she wept while telling the story. It was a confounding case, we had the videotape examined but it had not been tampered with. I still don’t know what to think about that.
H-P: What was the scariest paranormal thing you've ever searched for?
JAEL: The episode we filmed about “The Ghosts of Chernobyl” for Destination Truth was by far one of the spookier things I’ve done. Shooting the show in the middle of the night, amidst the aftermath of one of the world’s worst nuclear power plant disasters ever is disturbing. Not only were we hearing stories of ghosts lurking around the city since the tragedy, but we were walking around through remnants of the victim’s lives. Shoes, family photos, books, toys-- talk about chilling. It is a carcass of what was once a functioning city. To top it, we were contending with radiation. We were awkwardly strapped into bulky radiation suits and trying to stay aware of not touching anything.
H-P: What would be the scariest thing for you to run across that you haven't yet?
JAEL: Considering some of the locations we’ve filmed in, there has been real danger of finding ourselves face to face with something like a leopard. One swoop by a fast and powerful animal like that and you betcha there would be no EMF detector or EVP recorder that could help me.
H-P: What Syfy series, that you've been on, was your all-time favorite to be on (whether it be shooting, the cast or whatever) and why?
JAEL: That’s a tough question, they all have pros. I would have to say it’s a toss up between Destination Truth and Haunted Highway. Destination Truth because we were going to far-flung distant lands and inevitably discovering very exotic stories and rituals that went along with the mythological and supernatural subjects we were hunting. Haunted Highway because the premise of the show gives us license to be more spontaneous with our personalities, the show is based on a group of friends who are on a road trip filming all of their experiences themselves. There is a raw feel to it.
H-P: How much of a believer of the paranormal, cryptozoology or anything of that nature were you before shooting any of the Syfy series compared to after shooting for them? I mean, it's gotta change how you look at things a bit by searching for "the creepy" that much.
JAEL: Filming these shows raised my awareness of how many strange and unexplainable things are out there in the world. I had never searched out the paranormal before so I’ve learned a ton of new stuff, and it is without a doubt fascinating.
H-P: Is there a Syfy series or maybe a Syfy Original Movie you haven't done yet that you would like to be part of at least once?
JAEL: I just saw a preview for a new scripted series SyFy is premiering next year entitled Helix. The show is about a team of scientists who travel to a high-tech facility in the arctic and investigate a possible disease outbreak. The roles I’ve played in Fact or Faked and Destination Truth go hand in hand with science and travel and I can see myself playing a character in that storyline. I also love The Walking Dead, a lot of fans have made requests for me to appear on that show. I’d love to! I think it’s because of all my experience hunting monsters!
H-P: What is your favorite part of doing any of these series for Syfy?
JAEL: Traveling for work and getting the chance to visit ancient ruins, lost cities and dying cultures has been an invaluable bonus that is part of the job. I wouldn’t take that part back for anything. I’ve always felt that traveling is one of the best forms of education anyone could have.
H-P: If you could create your own dream show or original movie on Syfy that also starred you, what would it be and what role would you play in it?
JAEL: Some fans have called me the "Real-Life Lara Croft"—what a compliment! I’d love to take the real experiences I’ve had and use them in a dramatic science fiction TV series or film. I could see myself playing a character role with a unique superpower, like the ability to see the near future or travel between parallel universes.
H-P: What's your favorite scary movie?
JAEL: I love the classics, like The Shining and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror was also good.
H-P: I think that's about all I have for you Jael. Is there anything you would like to add or is there anything you have in the hopper that you would like us to know about?
JAEL: Tune into the new season of Haunted Highway airing on November 27th. We’re doing a special premiere episode where the entire team gets together to explore a haunted island prison off the Florida coast. We had a great time shooting it and hope you will enjoy watching. I’ll see you at Fort Tortuga!
Visit Jael De Pardo online: jaeldepardo.com