Simone Shepherd and “King” Keuran Harris are used to being in awkward situations. The social media power couple are known for their viral videos featuring them in hilarious skits, but their latest video is awkward in a completely different way. The adventurous duo documented their recent journey to Chacachacare Island, a haunted part of Trinidad that was once a leper colony in the early 20th century until it was shut down when the last leper died in 1984.
Today, Chacachacare is an abandoned tourist destination, though many are too frightened to make the excruciating three-boat journey to a place supposedly lingering with evil spirits. There are different versions of the hauntings on Chacachacare but the best-known one is that of a nun who apparently committed suicide after she fell in love with a Venezuelan sailor and hung herself over the altar. After her death, there have been reports of ghostly sightings, screaming, and even a nun’s habit floating in the water.
The trip was part of the promo for The Nun, the newest of the Conjuring films, which features a demon nun by the name of Valak that wreaks havoc around the Vatican in the 1950s. Though Valak is known to take the shape of a small boy with wings, he is supposedly the “President of Hell,” with legions of demons under him. Simone and Keuran made the trek to Chacachacare to see if it was really haunted by Valak and his demonic minions. Here’s the couple’s thoughts on their visit to Chacachacare Island in their own words.
JOURNEY TO PARADISE
Simone Shepherd: I knew a little bit about the leprosy colony on Chacachacare before we left LA. King was a little bit more blind going into it because he likes scary stuff so I thought it’d be more interesting for him to go in without knowing as much.
I knew that there were nuns that traveled to this place. I knew that the island was off the coast of Trinidad and close to Venezuela, and that it was deserted. But I also had heard that there were poison trees on there, and a lot of different things to keep people off of the island. .
King Keuran: I was a little scared and hesitant about the trip but Simone was a little more open. She’s not afraid of ghosts at all, but I am so I was a little timid at first.
Simone: Neither one of us are Catholic, but they had a Catholic nun there to bless us before going to island. Although we’re not Catholic, we do believe in Jesus and we’re spiritual, so we were able to participate in a prayer with her, while also including our own faith and standing firm in what we believe.
Keuran: We conceptualize good and evil very simply. You gotta know that there’s good, you gotta know that there’s evil. And you gotta pick a side very early in life and you gotta know which side you are and you gotta stay true to that side because the other side is gonna try to take what you got, so you gotta always be strong on whatever side you choose.
Simone: I believe we have the most powerful ghost inside of us and that’s the Holy Ghost. So I ain’t afraid of no ghost around me or outside of me.
Keuran: The tour guide was a Trinidad native and a holy man, so he has the blessing over the island. He told us to stay close so we did.
Simone: He had a good story. He said he saw one of the nuns in his vision and that she seemed very good and had a very warm presence, so he felt like she guards the island.
Keuran: The boat ride [to Chacachacare] was a little hard because it was getting dark as we were getting there, and it was difficult going to an island in the pitch black.
Simone: We actually had to get on three boats to get to the island and it was very dark. There was no light whatsoever. We were using lanterns the whole time, which added to making it spooky.
Keuran: As soon as you get on the island, you in the shit. You’re right there, in the middle.
“Every time we went into a new building a vulture would be guarding the building. That’s the spooky thing ’cause they only surround dead things.” —Simone shepherd
Simone: When we finally got to Chacachacare, there were some coast guards and military members there. Because it’s a deserted island, [our guide] had to give them a heads-up so they would be on the island as well.
Keuran: We were on the island for about three hours. It looked very rundown.
Simone: Yeah, every building was dilapidated. We went in to the bedrooms, we went into the bathrooms... There’s still some beds in the rooms, but they’re all completely rusted and rundown.
Keuran: There are holes in the floor where if you take one step you could fall through from floor two to floor one. So you have to watch your step. And bats are flying all around inside the building like they live there.
Simone: There’s all kinds of stuff on that island. The whole entire place is abandoned so it’s spooky. But there’s a lot of vultures. I forget what they call them, but they’re birds popular in that area and on that island, and in Trinidad, and Venezuela. They were lurking around which means that if they’re around then there’s a lot of dead stuff. Or they’re waiting for death. It means they’re very used to death, so it’s very interesting. They were hanging over our heads and every time we went into a new building one would be guarding the building. That’s the spooky thing ’cause they only surround dead things.
“I do believe that Valak has ties to that island because he’s the master [of evil]… So I believe that the nuns are there and he’s there, too.” —King Keuran
ESCAPE FROM PARADISE
Keuran: Overall, it was a good experience. We learned a lot about ourselves through the trip. Like, what I’m scared of is what she’s not scared of.
Simone: I believe the nuns’ faith made them go there [to take care of the lepers], it's something they were called to a higher purpose, so that's why they did it. Whether it was in vain or not, only they know at this point, but I do believe that if their hearts were really on God [and doing good], then nothing they did was in vain.
Keuran: I would do a trip to Trinidad again, but hold the Chacachacare Island please. But this trip made us more firm in our spirituality because people out here believe and are scared of some crazy stuff. But we’re not. If anything, it showed us what we already knew about each other.
Simone: I feel like the best way to sum this up is to look up Ephesians 16:12 in the Bible because that basically is how I feel about good and evil. I don’t believe that we war against flesh and blood, but against demons. I believe that I was going there to try see if there were demons.
Keuran: I think the island may be haunted. Simone doesn’t, but I’m not too sure—I think I might’ve saw something. I don’t know… But I do believe that Valak has ties to that island because he’s the master [of evil]… So I believe that the nuns are there and he’s there, too.
The Nun is in theatres September 7.