Tuesday, July 14, 2020 / by Ken Couture
Zak Bagans keeps digging — for spirits, for museum items and for TV ratings.
Las Vegas’ king of the paranormal is adding “Tiger King” footage and artifacts to his multimedia empire. Brandishing cameras and ghost-tracking equipment, the “Ghost Adventurers” crew filmed for a week ending Saturday at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, aka the Tiger King Zoo, in Oklahoma.
Their activity is to be the center of a two-hour special on Travel Channel to air on Halloween, and Bagans plans a “Tiger King” exhibit at his Haunted Museum at 600 E. Charleston Blvd.
“Some of those artifacts are personal effects that used to belong to Joe Exotic and his husband, Travis, who shot himself at the zoo,” Bagans said in a text, referring to the late Travis Maldonado, whose suicide was chronicled in the Netflix series. “Other items will be pieces involving documented paranormal events during our investigation.”
With permission from current Wynnewood Park owner Jeff Lowe, Bagans brought in a pair of highly trained “cadaver dogs” used in crime-scene investigations to sniff around for human remains. The macabre search was related to Exotic’s accusations that rival zoo owner Carole Baskin had killed her second husband, Don Lewis, possibly leaving his remains buried on the property (another theory is Lewis was fed to the tigers).
According to TMZ, no human bones were uncovered by the local sheriff’s department, which used a backhoe to dig into the property. But the dogs did pick up the scent of human remains in the area. Some animal bones were found, in what seemed the form of a tail.
Exotic’s allegations against, and general disdain for, Baskin was a salacious subplot in the “Tiger King” Netflix documentary. The eight-part series was an early COVID shutdown sensation, and Nicolas Cage has since signed on to play Exotic in a TV miniseries.
Exotic, of course, wound up in prison on charges he’d conspired to have Baskin killed and also for a series of criminal violations against tigers at the zoo. In April, Laugh Factory at the Tropicana headliner Murray Sawchuck recorded footage for his YouTube channel from the park.
It was Sawchuck who connected Bagans and Lowe, and it seems all sides have won in this one. As Bagans tweeted Sunday, “I will never EVER forget the week I just had,” adding a little tiger, and crown emoji.
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