One thing that may be more terrifying than a scary movie is a scary documentary. In Scream: The True Story, paranormal investigator Steve Shippy, and psychic medium Cindy Kaza dig into the horrific history of serial killer Danny Rolling. The string of murders committed by “The Gainesville Ripper” served as a basis for the 1996 slasher flick Scream.
The latest in the Shock Docs series sees Shippy and Kaza explore Rolling’s belief that he was possessed by a demon “Gemini” that led to killing eight people more than 30 years ago. In 2006, Rolling was executed by lethal injection in a Florida prison.
Shippy and Kaza are the first to conduct a paranormal investigation at the campsite near the University of Florida campus where he targeted the victims. They also visit Rolling’s childhood home in Louisiana, the site of aggressive poltergeist activity terrorizing current homeowners.
Before the docu-special drops, Shippy and Kaza go into their findings.
How did you two connect for this particular project?
Steve Shippy: We were chosen because of both our unique set of skills and a prior investigation where Cindy and I faced a dark haunting. The spirit of another notorious and demented killer.
Cindy Kaza: Steve and I previously worked together on another Shock Doc, which investigated the life and crimes of serial killer Ed Gein [“Ed Gein: The Real Psycho”]. We work well together and both bring different and complementary skill sets to investigations.
Why do you think the paranormal side of Rolling’s story hasn’t been explored by way of investigation before?
Steve Shippy: I believe it is because the media and investigators did not want to give any credence to his claims of demonic possession. This is understandable in that they didn’t want the public to believe he was a victim. They felt he was being deceptive and deflecting responsibility for his hideous crimes.
What was it like working together on this?
Steve: Working with Cindy is always amazing. Her connection to the other side and fine-tuned mediumship is a tremendous asset to any investigation. Cindy is able to give me information that my paranormal investigation equipment cannot, which can be key to cracking a case.
Cindy: I love working with Steve and really respect how he approaches paranormal investigations. He has a deep well of knowledge about paranormal theory and has spent years working with different equipment used in paranormal investigations. I’m not well versed in the language of gadgets, so it’s awesome to have a partner who knows how to properly navigate that space. I think people are going to be intrigued by how in sync the mediumship and technology were during this investigation.
How did it feel visiting Rolling’s childhood home?
Steve: Unnerving, chaotic, and forbidding. When Sheila Jackson [the current owner of Rolling’s childhood home] invited me in, you could feel a dark and ominous presence. The air was stagnant and heavy, and the feeling of being watched was very prevalent. Once we began investigating, all hell broke loose.
Cindy: Investigating Danny’s childhood home was terrifying. As a psychic medium, I was able to tap into a lot of the horrible things that took place in that home. I’ve never experienced so much chaos during an investigation as I did during this one.
Did it take convincing to get the ex-fiancée [Sondra London] involved?
Steve: To some degree yes. However, it was clear that she wanted to go on record to say that she felt there truly was some type of evil that engulfed Danny.
Was there anything about the process that surprised you?
Steve: Many things. The darkness, the power, and the manipulation of what we encountered. Its ability to affect us personally and affect my devices. The evil force seemed to follow us during the entire journey. Even to the point where members of our film crew started having several night terrors about Danny, knocks at their hotel door, and other strange occurrences.
What would you say was the most challenging part of your experience?
Steve: Trying to decipher what/whom we were really dealing with. Was it Danny? Was it a demonic entity? Or was it in fact both?
Cindy: The most challenging part of my experience was definitely the sensory deprivation/channeling experiment I did during the main investigation. That was a first for me, and I’m not sure that I’d ever do it again. I felt very vulnerable and also felt Danny’s insanity on a deep level, as well as something much darker.
Was there any particular piece of the investigation that was hard to gain access to or approval?
Steve: Not necessarily. Once our investigation led us to Rolling’s childhood home, we were a little concerned that the current owner may not allow us entry. Upon reaching out to her, we found it was just the opposite. She was pleading for us to come and help. She began telling me that she and her family were experiencing psychical attacks almost nightly, and they were desperate for resolve.
Are you going to be collaborating further?
Steve: Absolutely. I believe Cindy and I have developed an excellent rapport and synergy after spending so many hours in the field. Our skill sets complement each other’s, and as a duo, we have found success in documenting paranormal phenomena, as well as helping to bring resolve to both the living and the dead.
Cindy: I love working with Steve!!
Scream: The True Story, Documentary Premiere, Friday, January 14, Discovery+