Is The Blackwell Ghost Real?

Blackwell Ghost caught on photo

The Blackwell Ghost is a 2017 film marketed as a documentary and made by filmmaker turned ghost hunter Turner Clay.

Following the supernatural experiences of Clay and his wife in the Blackwell House, the film sparked interest following the release of its trailer and had people wondering whether it’s real or not.

That said, whether the film is a ghost documentary or falls into the genre of horror movies brilliantly marketed as documentaries (like the Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity) is a question that’s been on viewers’ and horror movie fans’ minds since day one.

The Background Of The Blackwell Ghost

The Blackwell Ghost was released on YouTube and on the streaming platform Amazon Prime Video as a documentary.

Here’s the setup: a director (Turner Clay, starring as himself) who’s up for a challenge decides to prove that ghosts are real. His quest starts when he finds a video online that he’s convinced is real and contacts the owner of the video (more on this later), only to be eventually turned down.

Two years later, Clay is contacted by another man named Greg, who shows him a video of alleged paranormal activity in his house. Upon investigating, Clay finds out from Greg that the house used to be owned by the Blackwell couple (Ruth and James) and that Ms. Blackwell may have had more than a couple of screws loose.

Rumour had it that she was responsible for the murders of several children reported to be lost in the neighbourhood. According to Greg, the remains of the children were disposed of inside a well located in the house’s basement by the devious Ruth Blackwell, whose black and white photo is shown sporting an ominous glare.

Shortly after, Greg invites Clay and his wife to live in the house to investigate the story further while he’s away. The rest of the film follows the couple as they experience a series of paranormal activities.

A Horror Film Or A Documentary?

So, is the Blackwell Ghost based on a true story or is it a fake documentary?

Let us just come forward and say that the film, which was heavily promoted as a real-life documentary, has been researched to death since its release.

Unfortunately, many aspects of the story quickly fall apart when examined too closely. Still, there seems to be enough room for believers to think that the story just might be true, as many still believe that there may be alternative explanations.

To learn the truth, we’re going to have to start with Clay and his past work.

A Background On Clay: Zombie Films and Viral Ghost Videos

Anyone who’s heard of the Blackwell Ghost knows that the name Turner Clay is strongly attached to the entire story by now. One glance at the Amazon Prime synopsis of the film will tell you as much:

“A filmmaker tries to prove that ghosts are real but soon regrets his intentions after he finds himself being terrorized in a haunted house by a ghost with a dark past. An authentic documentary that shows actual ghost footage that was captured on camera.”

There are strong claims here, as the synopsis clearly states that this is a documentary telling a real life story. The filmmaker in question is Turner Clay, a man with a past filled with low-budget zombie movies. According to the description, he’s a man who’s on a mission to prove that ghosts exist.

So, let’s first take a look at Clay’s involvement in ghosts and ghostly activity prior to the making of this film, as well as his credibility in the matter.

Ghosts screaming in a haunted hotel

Anyone interested in director Clay’s past can learn from a simple Google search that the Blackwell Ghost hunting isn’t Clay’s first supernatural rodeo. While it was initially anonymous, it’s not a secret today that Clay was also involved in the 2012-dated viral YouTube clip that seems to capture an “actual event.”

The video was released under a few different titles on the YouTube channel Jimmynut22, all of which are along the lines of “ghost screaming in a haunted hotel.”

In the video, screams are coming from a hotel room, and a person called by the name John is investigating the room at the request of someone else who he is on the phone with. A single security camera pointing at the hallway and the room’s door shows John approaching the vacant room and reporting that the room is a mess with all the furniture turned upside down.

The same video is featured in the Blackwell Ghost “documentary.” The one that inspired Clay to prove the existence of ghosts. The video that was supposed to be owned by Greg, who’s a real person who bailed on Clay when he “initially” tried to make the film… You get the idea.

In reality, there seems to be no Greg, as it was later revealed that Clay (Meet Jimmynut22) is the person responsible for the video. In fact, he’s the “John” who’s investigating the room in the video, as uncovered by a YouTube video by LordanARTS.

Fictional elements presented as real

Clay’s “ghost screaming in a hotel” video is hardly his first attempt at creating a viral mystery. His previous film “The Phoenix Tapes 97” is a found footage-style film that follows a group of friends who went missing on a hike, and the film is supposed to be comprised of the footage left behind by them.

However, proving this one wrong is even simpler: the same Turner Clay who’s alive and well in the Blackwell Ghost is among the group of friends who are featured in the found footage and is supposed to have gone missing to be never heard of again.

So, it seems that Clay has a fascination with presenting fictional elements as if they were real, and his claims in The Blackwell Ghost are flat-out wrong, or far-fetched at the very least.

Everything Wrong With “The Blackwell Ghost”

As the whole setup of the film seems to have been fabricated by the director, let’s dig a little deeper and see what other facts presented as part of the story fall short.

For starters, there’s no evidence that Ruth and James Blackwell lived in Pennsylvania at the time presented in the film. The only person who fits the description is a black female who would have been 23 at the time, so there’s no “crazy old white lady,” as the picture shown in the film suggests.

In fact, here is the other misleading information presented in the film:

  • The article shown by Clay in the film is seemingly fake: it looks nothing like the newspapers of that time, with no dividing lines between the columns
  • The house shown in the movie is located in Lexington, not in Pennsylvania as claimed
  • The house is owned by, get this, Clay himself

So, the biggest claims made in the film seem to be false, which calls the validity of all the paranormal events shown in the film into question.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Blackwell House located?

As opposed to what’s presented in the film, the house is in Lexington, Kentucky.

What are The Blackwell Ghost movies about?

The Blackwell Ghost is a horror film series initially presented as a documentary that tells the tale of the haunting of a house allegedly connected to the killings of a past owner. The films, eventually revealed to be fiction, have a cult following today.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the evidence strongly suggests that the Blackwell Ghost isn’t real.

However, many people still believe that the holes in the story are only there to protect the real people the story is about and that Clay is simply the filmmaker who’s presenting the truth as his own. In the end, whether you believe this is up to you.

In the meantime, if you want to watch a horror movie that is based on true events, check out The Conjuring 2. If you’re keen on seeing ghosts in real life, however, we recommend getting some good ghost-hunting gear first. Good luck!

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!