Poltergeist: The Legacy (1996)

Poltergeist: The Legacy is a Canadian horror television series which ran from 1996 to 1999. The series tells the story of the members of a secret society known as the Legacy, and their efforts to protect humankind from occult dangers. Despite bearing the Poltergeist name, there is no real connection between the show and the Poltergeist trilogy aside from the title.

Poltergeist: The Legacy debuted on Showtime, and all first-run episodes of the first three seasons premiered on that network, though they were later syndicated. After the third season, Showtime cancelled the show, though soon after, the rights were purchased by Syfy, which continued the series for another season. This same pattern was later followed by Stargate SG-1, which also debuted on Showtime, was also sold into syndication, and was itself rescued from cancellation by Syfy.

The fourth season of Poltergeist: The Legacy featured an episode starring WWE wrestler The Undertaker as a being from Hell who collected souls, a deliberate crossover with RAW, which was also airing on the USA Network at the time and earning the network some of the highest ratings on cable TV. It was hoped that this cameo would help boost awareness of the new show, and thus, generate a larger audience (just as USA had attempted to do by having Shawn Michaels appear on Pacific Blue).

As of October 2009, Poltergeist: The Legacy is airing on NBC Universal’s horror and suspense-themed cable channel Chiller.


Founded in England (where the Ruling House resides in London) in the 6th century, the Legacy was established to collect dangerous and ancient knowledge and artifacts, solve paranormal problems and protect humanity from supernatural evils. Over time, the membership expanded around the world. As the Legacy grew, it established branches in other cities and countries. Known as Legacy “Houses,” these are staffed by small teams of specialist members.

Each house is ruled by a “Precept” who wears a signet ring engraved with a distinctive L (one of the original cast members notes that the whole team had rings and only when a founding team was dissolved or a member lost, the rings were taken off and worn only by the Precept thenceforth). Other houses are mentioned and occasionally seen in the series, but most of the action centers on the San Francisco house.

Dr. Derek Rayne is the Precept of the San Francisco House, set in a castle-like mansion on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. It works under the guise of the Luna Foundation, a philanthropic institution which collects artifacts and antiquities. Together, the characters of Poltergeist: The Legacy search and uncover a secret world of terror as they resolve to defend the world against evil and darkness.

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Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this television series: