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TV Feature Interview: Ghost Hunters
Did You Hear That?
By Stephen Lackey
October 04, 2008
The Ghost Hunters Talk About Their Show on SCIFI Channel
© Stephen Lackey
As part of the SCIFI Channel Digital Press Event we were given an opportunity to speak with the Ghost Hunters and then we were taken on a live ghost hunt in the supposedly haunted Stanley hotel. The Ghost Hunters are definitely passionate about what they do but at the same time they are victims to it. With everything they’ve seen they remain open minded and skeptical. With all of their success they remain plumbers in their off season and they have managed to stay grounded.
Their favorite haunted locations in general, and in the Stanley hotel:
Jason: New England has several great haunted locations. We had a wonderful time in Mt. Washington. In the New Hampshire area too. Places in Newport have such history, right in our area Rhode Island.
For the Stanley, Room 401 of course. We were there 9 days straight and got a lot of activity. Shadows, doors that opened and closed. It is probably the most interesting place in this hotel
Grant: There is a place we went to, Armadale, was incredible. Mt Washington was a blast. We have a place we are trying to purchase, actually.
Jason: the Spaulding Inn
Grant: We will purchase it this fall
Jason: In New Hampshire
Jason: It’s haunted and we are finalizing everything now. We are going to open it back up. It is well known and we just need to do some work on it and open it back up and go from there. It is already got its own reputation. We spend a lot of time in New Hampshire, we go there camping with our families. The opportunity came up and I stayed there years ago and I have had personal experiences there. I saw a child run down a hallway. There were no children there.
Grant: So, it will probably quickly replace our favorite locations.
Why they started hunting ghosts:
Jason: I had personal experiences, in the nineties. I kept it to myself. Now, I am a believer. When I got into the field and I looked around, there was so much garbage out there. People charging 2500.00 to say they had demons, Psychics charging 600.00 to tell people they had to have a special candle to get rid of spirits, candles they made in a back room.
Grant: There is so much garbage and we were really hated when we first came out because we came to disprove. Many only try to prove.
Jason: We came into disprove and that was really different and people really hated us. But, over the last 18 years, I have seen the field really change. Anyone can say a place is haunted, where is the proof? Something to justify those claims, if not, you are hurting the field.
Grant: When I was 15, I had a certain experience that I keep very personal. It was weird and a lot of people don’t understand it. Yeah, you go out there, find answers and research. And, you will find a lot of regurgitated garbage out there….ridiculous theories and stuff. Then I met Jason and he had a lot of the same frustrations and we started working together and worked to change how the field was looked at.
The scariest piece of evidence and was anything scarier than appearing on The View;
Jason: Whoopi is a dear friend and she makes everything just wonderful. So easy to deal with. Some of the scariest stuff we dealt with was long before the show. Our cases are confidential. We used to do special cases for the churches and do preliminary investigation of possessions. Some of the stuff I witnessed then was some of the scariest. Locations where furniture re-arranged itself in front of us. Our equipment would suddenly not work. We had an experience with the occult where we got chased out of Vermont and they tried to run us off the road. The scariest experiences are those of the living. They can do you the most harm. Just like when we were plumbers with Roto-Router, the scariest places are people’s homes. As a plumber, I walked into a person’s home and he attacked me. He was a crackhead and I had to defend myself and put in on the floor with my boot on his head. We walked into another case and the production crew rushed us out because the lady had a loaded shotgun, a 357 under her pillow and a laundry list of medications and painkillers. She also took her own life 6 months later. You never know what you are up against. The living are more scary than the dead.
Finding explainable evidence versus deciding a location is actually haunted:
Grant: Because it adds to our arsenal, if we can tell a parent a logical explanation of why their kids can’t sleep at night, everyone feels at peace.
Jason: Someone asked me last night do I feel bad when I tell them the place isn’t haunted. No, I feel good. I am telling the truth; how they take it is up to them. I am being honest and I feel good walking out of there. Some of them are happy, sad; they want the notoriety of having a haunted place.
Grant: People sometimes want it to be haunted and don’t believe what you say. People who want it to be haunted for tourist business.
The show on SCIFI:
Jason: I used to do stuff for MTV a lot. Also, magazine and newspaper articles. I did a New York Times article where we disproved a haunting and it went on the wire on Halloween Day. It steamrolled. We had a different TV network approach us. We met with a couple and Grant and I turned down doing the show. We didn’t want to be on TV. We met with someone from Pilgrim Films and he said if you don’t do it, someone else will. We filmed a pilot, he was already in talks with the Sci Fi Channel and the ended up liking the show. We thought we would only do 10 episodes because no one would want to watch two plumbers look for ghosts. From there, the show took off. It has a life of its own now. Then, there is Ghost Hunters International, our good friends how investigate overseas.
Grant: We are glad it happened because we had been fighting for years about how people viewed the field. 10 years ago, psychics and investigator showed up in trenchcoats. We have attracted the right kind of people too. Engineers, Scientists….they help us when they wouldn’t before. We didn’t want to be on the show. It was going to be a drama with actors originally. We set down ground rules and that was good. It is reality. If you want to invest your millions of dollars and risk that we never catch a ghost, then we are your guys. And, they have never put any pressure on us.
Jason: Our evidence is our evidence. We do our show differently. 1990, we were a group of real people. We weren’t just put together for the show. We are a family. We go to each others houses, our kids play together, our wives are friends. Chris Williams has been a friend for over 10 years. That is what sets our show apart. It is real.
About being SCIFI Channel sex symbols and still being plumbers:
Grant: What! What!
Jason: Yes, we are both still plumbers, not 50 hours a week though, because we travel. But, during hiatus, we go back to our normal lives. Before the show, I started doing really big commercial jobs, so I still do that. We don’t go to people’s homes anymore. We are still in the business.
Grant: The sex symbol thing…as long as my wife thinks I am sexy, that is all that matters.
Jason: As long as his wife thinks I am sexy, its fine by me we don’t look at it that way.
On fan mail:
Jason: Yeah….from females.
Grant: They all know we are happily married.
Jason: We do get some interesting pictures
Ghost hunting and their religious beliefs:
Jason: I was born Catholic and I was never pressured into going to church. In dealing with the church, some in the church believe. Another part will totally deny. I believe in something after death…heaven and hell. But, what they leave out is the in between. Until you start dealing with the private sector of the church.
Grant: Even the name of our show, Ghost Hunters, we fought. We wanted “paranormal investigators”…way more investigating than hunting of ghosts. Our team does not have a religious standpoint. We stay away from that.
Jason: Yeah, we stay away from that.
Grant: Me personally, I have very strong religious beliefs. Its something that you take what you get. You either make it fit or you change your beliefs.
Jason: I have seen exorcisms through the church and other religions. Born again Christians, pagans, Mormons and more. I have seen their rituals and beliefs. Each case I have seen truly believed and that is all that matters….Yes, I do. I have seen strange things. We have been called to 400-500 possessions and maybe 3 or 4 were something was going on, something outside the normal.
The difference between paranormal and haunting:
Jason: Paranormal activity can be going on without a haunting. If I see an object move on its own, that is paranormal. If I see a spirit move that object, that is a haunting.
Grant: If a spirit causes something to move, that is a haunting.
Jason: High electromagnetic fields can crush a can or move a table. So, it can be very hard to not always say it is a spirit moving something?
The difference between a residual and intelligence haunting:
Jason: We realize that people don’t want to watch 26 episodes of me and Grant not catching anything. We just had a case where footsteps walked right past Grant and I and to a door and opened it. So, it didn’t communicate so it would fall under residual. Sometimes, we get direct responses to questions, that is intelligent.
Grant: Sometimes, it’s a tough call and hard to classify. Plus, we don’t label a place haunted and then leave the people stranded. We hook them up with others that can help.
Are most spirits good or bad?
Grant: Here we are. None of us know each other really, and we aren’t trying to knock each other out. You can walk in New York City, most times, safely. What we deal with are people, just without bodies. They still have feelings, families, jobs. It is just a person doing his thing.
Jason: Some people have a certain kind of haunting, one that they think they can sell. I am not here to sell a motion picture of Grant and I getting tortured by some spirit. It is great when we get a letter from parents that tell us that we took the fear from them and they can sleep at night. We don’t want to terrify. Just keep it real.
Do they ever get scared?
Grant: Not scared, surprised.
Jason: The last time I was truly scared is when my wife told me she was having twins….and that they were boys. You do get spooked. Fear is an emotion.
Grant: They are looking for things, people need help. How about if someone broke into your house and the cops look at this person and are like “nah”? I mean, even if you are peeing your pants, you got to help them.
Jason: Running? We don’t do it. Stupid move, if you ask me. You run, you got your back to what is coming at you. I prefer to face things head on.
Grant: You are there to deal with it. Why run from what you are trying to catch? And, if it beats you up, put a camera on it.
Jason: You won’t see us run ever.
Do people still seek their help?
Jason: We still have unsolved cases from 10 years ago. I can’t promise people I can make a ghost leave, I might not even be able to prove it is there at all. We still have contact with people from years ago. I got a Christmas card last year from a family we helped on Christmas Eve years ago. The kids were 3 and 5 and were poking there eyes out because they didn’t want to see the activity in there house. We helped them…the kids are grown now. The son has children of his own now. They appreciated us coming out on Christmas Eve.
Jason: The cameras are so much smaller. And that helps when you have to lug it out 1 ½ miles in the woods.
Grant: Now people who are fans of what we do are in the industry and can invent things to help us.
Jason: I mean, come on, we used to use cassette tapes and little recorders.
Grant: It is not only smaller, but more specialized.
Jason: We are working with electricians now on some exciting ideas.
Cameras fixed to us, thermal cameras.
Grant: We are working on a camera that will let you focus on certain things, such as thermal, electrical, light or magnetic energy and filter out the rest.
Jason: This is an incredible time with all of this technology coming out. You can record 24 hours straight with just a little camera now.
Grant: We do things so differently as humans now.
Jason: Yeah, but technology can screw things up too. Now you can’t change a TV without a remote
Ghost Hunters airs Wednesday nights at 9pm.