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AMORY – Five or so years ago, brothers Shawn and Jason Brannon didn’t foresee their career paths opening doors through their Tupelo-based businesses, Deadbolt Escape Rooms and the Deadbolt Mystery Society, which offers people a box-full of clues needed to solve sometimes strange and tragic cases.
Five or so years ago when the Brannons were watching paranormal investigation shows such as “Ghost Adventures” and “Paranormal Lockdown,” they had no clue their future businesses would lead to a partnership with one of the shows’ stars – Nick Groff.
The Brannons first made contact with Groff through a mutual friend they had who made the introduction. They began an email correspondence, which led to an endorsement partnership.
“We thought he’d be a great fit because some of our boxes involve paranormal aspects and are mysterious definitely,” Shawn said. “His role is to help spread our brand and help us connect with people that he’s connected with and see how we can help him and how he can help us. So much is about exposing our audiences to the other one.”
He said they learned from their late mother, Pat, who was a children’s book author, that there’s no harm in reaching out to people.
“Nick loves our products and what we’re doing, and he’s been a great partner so far. We’re looking forward to the future with him,” Shawn said.
Jason thinks Deadbolt is a culmination of different skill sets he and his brother already had.
“As far as with Nick, when we had to figure out who we wanted to partner up with, he was a good choice because a lot of the things he’s done on these shows overlaps with the interest pretty heavily of what we do,” he said. “Everybody in these two camps likes things a little weird and left of center.”
A business trip
with a bonus
The first weekend of November, the Brannons and Jason’s son, Elijah, went to Illinois to film Deadbolt Mystery Society marketing material with Groff, and the timing coincided with an event planned to investigate Ashmore Estates.
“It started out as a poor farm, and they had people actually working on the farm and people died there. They turned it into a psychiatric hospital. They didn’t really dwell on the history of what happened there. It was more about investigating what we could find and then investigating it through research to see if it ties into anything known to this place,” Jason said.
They were among guests who were paired with paranormal investigators in the three-story building.
“We’d been walking around the place all day filming but once the lights were off, it was a different, creepier beast in there,” said Shawn, who experienced a couple of unexplained instances himself. “It was cool to do it with someone who made an international name for himself.”
Deadbolt won the CrateJoy Award of 2019!
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Jason didn’t realize the downtime involved in waiting for something to happen on paranormal investigations, which was a big takeaway compared to what he has seen on the TV shows.
“It was a fun experience because it was a behind the scenes-type thing. We were in there with a group of people, but it’s a known place for people who do paranormal investigations and ghost hunting.
“Doing that with a person who is on TV and does it for a living is sort of like if you got to play a song with your favorite band. We were basically in this guy’s element and getting to do it with him,” Jason said.