Travel Channel's hit series investigates Tiger King's Joe Exotic Zoo for a two-hour Halloween special on Thursday

By Julie Jordan
October 27, 2020 10:00 AM

It's that time of year.

For fans of Travel Channel's highest-rated series Ghost Adventures, Halloween means a two-hour special investigation from founder Zak Bagans and his crew of Aaron Goodwin, Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley.

Now the team is tackling the Greater Wynnewood Animal Park, otherwise known as the Joe Exotic Zoo featured in Netflix's docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. "I really didn't know what to expect," Bagans, 43, tells PEOPLE. "I had watched [the series], and I'd heard all about it, but as soon as we stepped foot on the property, it was the same kind of chaos and pandemonium."

Credit: Courtesy of Travel Channel

In this year's special, Ghost Adventures: Horror at Joe Exotic Zoo, Bagans was invited by Jeff and Lauren Lowe, who purchased the park in 2016, to conduct the first-ever paranormal investigation following the tragic accidental suicide of Exotic's husband, Travis Maldonado, who shot himself in the gift shop. "You definitely feel a presence of dark energy and I think it's from what has occurred there," Bagans says. "It was just like holy sh--, this is crazy."

Credit: Courtesy of Travel Channel

Speaking to park staff — including Erik Cowie and Allen Glover from the docuseries — Bagans and his team soon discovered new details about the dark history of the park, including apparitions, shadow figures, disembodied voices and light anomalies. "Jeff was like, 'You won't believe the things that go on here," Bagans recalls. "Erik told me that Travis sat on his couch for two minutes days after his death. He's like, 'I don't believe in ghosts. I'm a total skeptic. But I'm going to tell you right now, Travis's spirit sat on my couch for two minutes and I was completely sober.' "

Credit: Courtesy of Travel Channel

The investigation, which was even halted at one point after cadaver dogs detected human remains on the property, culminates inside Joe Exotic's former cabin where the crew captured paranormal evidence (including a figure on the SLS camera) that may prove Maldonado's spirit is haunting the park and its employees. "Some really incredible things started happening," Bagans adds. "Honestly the whole chain of events was absolutely amazing and completely unexpected. We were all tripping out."

Ghost Adventures: Horror at Joe Exotic Zoo premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on Travel Channel.