15 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Ghost Hunting Shows
According to CNN, Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes, founders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, aka TAPS, had to stop going to residential homes as a part of their day jobs as plumbers because too many fans of their show Ghost Hunters were requesting their plumbing services simply to meet them.
Speaking of plumbing, it’s pretty useful when trying to help people who believe their houses are haunted. Wilson told ABC News, “The plumbing does come in handy because people say their dead Uncle Fred is flushing the toilet at night. We go in there and tell them they’ve just got a bad flapper valve, fix it, and magically the ghost disappears.
And before you say it, or even think it, the cast of Ghost Hunters wants you to know that they are not anything like the characters in Ghostbusters. Hawes told ABC News that the members of TAPS aren’t “walking around with Hoovers strapped to our backs” Wilson added, “We have done lectures at colleges, and they’ll play that song, and we’re like, ‘Can you just turn that off?'” He said it “drives us crazy” since “we’re so not that”.
Wilson told the New York Times that when they investigate, TAPS tries to “disprove the haunting.” They draw a distinction between paranormal activity, or “anything we can’t explain,” and a haunting, which “reflects that there’s intelligence, possibly a dead human or something”.
Wilson spoke about how the team regularly collaborates with religious clergy, though it’s not often seen on the show itself. Wilson said, “We work with a lot of clergy. We work with many different religions and many different churches. We have a whole abundance of cases that fall under a confidentiality agreement”.
Hawes said that while the team has “done cases of so-called possession since our show has been on,” they’ve “never wanted to put that on television for the mere fact that we want to protect that person”. He explained, “The minute we’d do that, everyone online is either going to embrace them and understand them or destroy them”.
Tennessee Wraith Chasers
Tennessee Wraith Chasers co-founder and Ghost Asylum cast member Steven “Doogie” McDougal said in an interview with Family Review Guide that the TWC approach differs from other paranormal investigation groups in that they attempt to “trap” the spirit and remove it from the place it’s haunting, rather than just discover evidence that it’s there. McDougal explained, “We’ve had this process going for a little while, on how to trap this energy if there’s something trapped somewhere that doesn’t wanna be there but doesn’t know how to get out. We’re gonna give them a vessel to try to leave this place. … We’re gonna do whatever we can to release it if we think that it’s a good spirit. You know, we want it to go to wherever it needs to go. We don’t want it to be trapped in an old asylum. We don’t want it to be trapped anywhere”. McDougal went on, “One of our first traps was a crystal in this little chamber, like, a doorway chamber. And what we do is we put smoke in it, just to try and see if we can see anything come into it. We try to use crystals to draw energy to it because crystals are known to hold energy, information. You know, they are used in everything. Computers, laptops, tablets. So we try to draw it in”.
That being said, fellow TWC member Scott Porter told the Male Standard, “I personally don’t believe that we will ever have absolute success in capturing and containing a spirit”. He went on, “I’m willing to put the concepts and ideas that have existed for eons to the test and document our findings but remain a skeptic as to the actual ability to contain [what] we consider a spirit. Now, on the other hand, there are free roaming energies that move about us every day, and to capture and contain some form of energy I believe is possible due to the simplest of facts that we, as a modern society, do this daily with the common battery. So, in essence, could we rid a location of a ghost? Maybe, if we can rid a location of a specific free roaming energy that appears to be supernatural”.
When Monsters and Critics interviewed the Ghost Brothers about their show Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, Ghost Brothers member Dalen Spratt revealed that the team prays before they investigate, though they don’t do it on camera. Spratt said, “Like, my mother’s a pastor of a church. She’s been a pastor since I was in the third grade. So she prays for us before every investigation. We pray together before we go into any location. We don’t do it on camera, because we don’t want that to be for show. Like, that’s not anything that we want to be misconstrued as just television antics or gimmicky”. He went on, “Our belief system is everything. That’s the curiosity that brought us to where we are”.
Ghost Brothers revealed which type of paranormal activity freaks them out the most. For Dalen Spratt, it’s “anything to do with babies. Ghost babies, tall babies, fat babies. It’s always really weird when I see the videos with a child. That’s horrifying to me.” Juwan Mass added, “For me, it’s dolls. Dolls are creepy as hell. Whether it’s a regular doll, a clown doll. We know how crazy scary Chucky was. So when you see dolls in these particular clips, you are like, ‘I already know this is going to be something really intense”. And for Marcus Harvey, ghost animals take the cake. Harvey said, “Any ghost giraffe. If you can get a ghost giraffe, it would terrify me. If I see a ghost giraffe, you got me already. Ghost animals in general are very nerve-racking”.
Steve Gonsalves of Ghost Nation told Daily Dead that his two favorite pieces of equipment for investigating the paranormal are a video camera and an “electromagnetic detector”. About the video camera, Gonsalves explained, “Sounds plain and simple, but without documenting your experiences and what you’re seeing, you just have stories. They may be true stories, but just stories, and they don’t offer any insight or purpose to the field, whereas you can capture what you’re seeing on video, and you can analyze it, study it, and further the field”. He went on, “In terms of handheld gadgets that people might associate with paranormal investigating, it would be the electromagnetic detector, for me. It helps disprove things, and it helps find possibilities, and it’s honestly helped us disprove quite a lot and help a lot of people. You get those high EMFs and you have someone fix their electrical box, and a month later no more haunting. But then on the other side of that, you can also get a free-floating ball of energy”.
The Travel Channel website interview about Ghost Nation, Jason Hawes spoke about why the show prioritizes cases involving children. Hawes said, “I am a father, so children are my priority. I could not imagine allowing a child to be fearful in their home. That is where they should feel the most safe”.
Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural
While talking with Inverse, cohosts of BuzzFeed Unsolved: Supernatural Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara said that the friendship shared between them was key to the show’s success (and their ability to film in terrifying locations). Bergara said that fans noticed how Shane and him “genuinely enjoy being around each other.” He went on, “There are things you can’t fabricate. That dynamic is a real thing that, in the end, was the driving engine of the show”. For his part, Madej said, “I don’t think we could have survived the show if we weren’t actually friends. We’ve been in many situations where friendship is needed to survive, specifically the island of the dolls. Certain camaraderie is demanded for morale’s sake alone”.
In an interview with Hanna’s Newsletter, Bergara explained how Madej came to co-host the show with him, replacing his original partner-in-unsolved-crime, Brent Bennett. Bergara said, “Nothing happened to us personally. We’re still friends. … He never really had an interest in the show. He didn’t want to be in the show. He didn’t enjoy the topic of true crime. I was always just someone who kind of dragged him into it, and that showed on camera. And that was why people liked him because he didn’t want to be there. He didn’t believe in all the theorizing and things like that”. After what Bergara guessed was around nine episodes, Bennett told him, “I never thought this show would get to this point. I never thought that people would actually care…I gotta let you know that I’m not going to do this anymore because I genuinely don’t enjoy talking about true crime and all these, like, horrible, horrible things and things that scare me.” According to Bergara, he asked Madej to join the show “10 minutes later.” After Madej “very nonchalantly looked at his Google calendar,” he accepted the offer. Madej said, “My memory of it is very foggy, but I do remember it did not feel like a decision of consequence at the time, which was interesting because it then became my entire job”.
Madej also noted that “outside of a few more sensational topics,” they tried to “stick with stories that were pretty old”. He explained, “Which, I mean, not that it makes anyone’s death less tragic, but I think with time between, it’s a little, it feels a little more okay. To sort of poke holes in the cases. We just never were all that interested in newer cases because it still feels really fresh”.Bergara added, “In terms of just boundaries, when we’re even talking about the case, we always made our best effort to never make light of the victims in the case and more so to kind of make light of the circumstances that surrounded the case, whether that be, for instance, someone throwing out the bones of the victim”.