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'Paranormal Witness' review: Tragic family

A recreation in

A recreation in "The Widow of Long Island" episode of SyFy's "Paranormal Witness," which will air June 5 at 10 p.m. Credit: Syfy

THE SHOW "Paranormal Witness"

WHEN|WHERE Season premiere Wednesday night at 10 on Syfy

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Entitled "The Long Island Terror," this third-season launch focuses on a house in St. James that the owner, Jeanette Meyran, says was possessed by a demon. The evidence: Lots of knocking, demonic symbols, even a very nasty demon sighting or two. (She has surveillance cameras that she says also picked up otherworldly activity.) Turns out the renovated house she moved into after the death of her husband had been a home to cultists.

MY SAY This is a very strange broadcast and tragic, too -- but not necessarily "strange" in the way you might imagine. "Paranormal Witness" has found evidence of plenty of demons over the past couple of seasons and has the hilariously hokey re-creations to prove it. What's strange here is that Meyran clearly does believe her home was possessed by a demon, while her daughters -- both of whom seem to be nice, normal, well-adjusted kids -- confirm the same.

But this family also suffered a devastating tragedy on Jan. 23, 2005, when father and husband Lt. Curtis Meyran, assigned to Ladder Company 27 in the Bronx, died after jumping four stories to escape a tenement blaze. Another firefighter died that day and four others, who also jumped, were seriously injured. "Black Sunday," as it was subsequently called, forced the FDNY to require all firefighters be equipped with descent-control devices.

A State Supreme Court justice later dismissed guilty verdicts of criminally negligent homicide against the tenement's owner -- another devastating blow to Jeanette Meyran, as Newsday reported in 2010. What went on in her house between the years 2005 and 2011, when the supposed "hauntings" occurred? Who knows. But what went on in her life was clear enough.

BOTTOM LINE More sad than scary, but at least a genuinely intriguing premise.

GRADE C+

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