Dave Regala Jr., ‘19, grew up with stories about the old Cambria County Jail on North Center Street in Ebensburg. Dave’s father, David Regala Sr., has worked in the Cambria County prison system for 31 years, and he would often tell Dave stories from his job. It wasn’t long before Dave was hooked on learning about the prison, and pursuing a degree in criminology from Mount Aloysius.
“I grew up in Ebensburg, so I had always seen the old prison sitting downtown,” Dave said. “It was so surreal for me that most of the people around here had no idea about the history of the place! Other than two or three brief news articles about the prison, there is no literature written about it.”
It was this dedication to history and knowledge of the prison that drew the Travel Channel to the Regala family. The show, “Destination Fear,” follows documentary filmmaker Dakota, his sister Chelsea, and best friend Tanner as they travel across the country to spend the night in haunted locations.
“They actually contacted my dad and uncle first for consultation, since they worked [at the jail] for so long,” Dave said.
But when Dave’s father mentioned to the Travel Channel producers that Dave was writing a book about the history of the old jail, they asked him to provide some historical facts about the prison. After a lengthy conversation, they asked him if they could interview him on camera for the show.
“Honestly, I’m quite skeptical about the paranormal, so I couldn’t really comment on that,” Dave joked. “However, I was able to provide all of the historical facts about the prison, all of which were mentioned in the show, so that was certainly exciting!”
Dave’s book, “The Black Gate,” covers the information he provided to the Travel Channel for “Destination Fear” and much more, and focuses on stories from his dad and uncle, as well as the evolution of corrections over a 30-year period. The book is published by Amazon.