Comedian and Wellington Paranormal writer Melanie Bracewell believes in the paranormal “to an extent”.

“I’ve definitely stayed in creepy places and I get afraid,” she tells PEDESTRIAN.TV, ahead of the release of season three of the What We Do In The Shadows spin-off, co-created by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement.

Melanie was staying in Wellington recently to play a comedy show when she was put up at what she describes as a “creepy” hotel.

“In my head I was like, This is definitely haunted,” she says.

She explains: “It had one of those elevators where you have to pull across the cage, like you’ve got to actually physically move the door to close it.

“[The hotel] had such high ceilings and these paintings that were different on each level. And I could’ve sworn every time you’d go downstairs the order changed or something. It was just weird vibes. It kind of reminded me of American Horror Story.”

But Melanie isn’t what you would call a “spiritual person”. She doesn’t even really follow astrology.

“I don’t even care about any of that sort of stuff,” she says. “But I do get bad vibes sometimes and I think, There’s gotta be some bad sort of stuff going on in here.

“It’s never to the extent where I feel like I’ve seen a ghost but I’ve definitely been afraid of them. Their presence.”

It helps that Melanie Bracewell isn’t entirely dismissive of the otherworldly, considering she works as a writer on Wellington Paranormal, whose third season premieres tonight on SBS Viceland.

Melanie has written for the show since its first season in 2018, when she was just 22. And while that might seem very young, by then, she already had four years’ experience as a standup comedian.

“Being so young, I was definitely for the first season doing a lot of listening and a lot of learning,” she says. “Now that I’m working on season three and now we’re looking to write season four as well, I’ve become a bit more headstrong and gone, I actually know what I’m doing.”

Plus she’s also been able to bring a young person’s perspective to the series. “They’d go, ‘Oh, then they can Snapchat that person.’ I’m like, ‘Well, that won’t logically work, they don’t know their username.’ That kind of thing.”

Before she started on Wellington Paranormal, Melanie had to scrub her Facebook of a particularly embarrassing teenage obsession – with co-creator Jemaine Clement’s musical duo with Bret McKenzie, Flight Of The Conchords.

Melanie has never talked to her boss Jemaine about being a “diehard” Flight Of The Conchords fan when she was in Intermediate school, the Kiwi equivalent of Years 7 to 8.

“I would sing all of their songs at Intermediate school,” she says. “I would learn all their raps and perform it to my friends and just do all of the Flight Of The Conchords references. I had eight T-shirts and I paid like $50 to get a photo with them at Armageddon [Expo, a Kiwi pop culture convention].”

Seeing as Jemaine works closely with the team as a writer and director on the show as well as executive producer, Melanie decided it was best to wipe her past from Facebook so she’d look more “professional”.

“[If I hadn’t] it would come across like I was some fan working on the show and he’d just go, Oh no, what have I done. So I was like, Better burn that photo,” she laughs.

“I could never have imagined working with these kinds of guys that I idolised as a 12-year-old.”

Her favourite Flight Of The Conchords song when she was that age was Hiphopopotamus Vs. Rhymenoceros.

“I just thought every line of that song was funny. I think I was a little bit too young to understand Business Time.”

When the team are writing the series in Wellington, Melanie says Jemaine will stop by to run through their ideas.

“He’ll either go, ‘That’s amazing’ or ‘That’s shit,'” she says. “We’re happy to have this comedy brain on it because it is his and Taika’s idea. The worst thing we could do is do something that ruins the world for them.

“Of course, we’ve got the What We Do In The Shadows FX series as well. There’s a whole Shadows cinematic universe, the SCU. It’s really important that we have their contributions on that.”

For season one, there was a lot of freedom for the Wellington Paranormal writers to just make stuff up, because all we knew of the inept yet well-meaning cops Karen O’Leary and Mike Minogue came from two minutes in the original 2014 What We Do In The Shadows movie.

But now Minogue and O’Leary are more fully formed as characters, while still a bit hopeless at their jobs and skeptical of the very nature of paranormal activity.

“Now that the characters are more fleshed out, we have to make sure that we don’t break continuity, we don’t contradict ourselves,” Melanie says.

“They’re not sure if that [paranormal thing] really was a ghost or a sheep,” Melanie adds. She notes that O’Leary especially is always looking for a rational explanation. “Despite seeing the most outrageous paranormal things, she’s gotta be straight-headed, she’s gotta think, Well, maybe that’s just the wind blowing.”

So what can we expect from season three of Wellington Paranormal? While Melanie Bracewell doesn’t want to give away any spoilers, she does share that the writing team have had to get creative with the paranormal phenomena at the show’s centre.

“I think each season gets a little bit more outrageous,” she says. “The first season was like, ‘What are your classic paranormal monsters? We’ve got vampires, we’ve got werewolves…'”

She continues: “And then in season two, we’ve got to go a bit more obscure. And now the third season is even weirder, a little bit more out there, with different kinds of monsters that you wouldn’t maybe expect.

“We’re just making up monsters essentially,” she concludes. “Because that’s what you do when you’re up to season three. But I think it makes it a bit more fun.”

Wellington Paranormal airs Wednesdays at 8:30pm on SBS Viceland.