Hang It Up, Ghosts
Fans of the paranormal are on the edge of their seats for the Sept. 5th continuation of Ghost Hunters' eighth season. We recently talked with Jason Hawes, founder of TAPS and lead investigator of Ghost Hunters, to ask what he looks for in a new investigator, what cases have stuck with him, and what part of his job he hates…
Do ghosts exist?
Followers of Ghost Hunters know that Jason and his investigative team are actually more interested in disproving paranormal than proving ghosts are real. Jason confirmed this when we asked him what criteria he used when looking for a new investigator.
“We want someone who is not going to automatically believe that something is a ghost or paranormal and we’re looking for someone who is willing to go the extra mile to figure out what might be truly creating activity, whether it’s electrical issues, plumbing -- anything, overmedicated or under-medicated individuals. But beyond that, I need somebody who can mesh with the rest of the TAPS team, because the main thing is we’re a big family. I needed someone who would fit in with the group.”
I was treated to a season premiere screening and like most who come away from watching Ghost Hunters, I had just one question: Why can’t they investigate during the day? Why do they always have to be running around in the middle of the night when it’s all dark and creepy? Do we become nocturnal when we pass over to the other side?
OK, that was more than one question, and I didn’t really ask those questions because I didn’t want to look like a dumb a**. I’m certain there is a very sound scientific reason behind nighttime investigations. Secondly, the show wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining if people were getting attacked by unseen spirits in broad daylight. You do sort of wonder though how these folks keep from taking their work home with them, which I did ask Jason.
He explained, “I don’t know, I’ve been doing this stuff so long it’s second nature. It’s always there. I’ll pull into my house sometimes after getting off a plane or driving back into town and all the lights are off in my house, and all I see is flashlights. I walk in to find my 8-year-old twin sons walking around with their 12-year-old sister investigating the house.”
Thanks for the memories
If you’ve spent any time watching Ghost Hunters, you also know hauntings take place to varying degrees and at different levels of creepiness. Knowing Jason and his team has investigated places like The Stanley Hotel in Colorado (where Stephen King’s The Shining was filmed -- “Wendy, I’m home”) I had to know if certain cases stick with him more than others.
“I think every case sticks with me because I look at it as the cases that I’m able to figure out are just as exciting as the cases that have paranormal activity," Jason said. "Of course, Waverly Hills, 63,000 people passed away there, just walking through that building, you can feel that. We’ve got two personal cases coming up early in the season that hit close to home. So this stuff does stick with me.”
Forget about ghosts; let's talk freaky people
Yikes. The idea of running around dark creepy prisons and hotels where paranormal activity has been reported and then closing your eyes and seeing flashbacks of your day’s work doesn’t sound too appealing to most. When I asked Jason what he loves about his job and what he hates about his job, the answer was the same. Problem solving, meeting and interacting with people is his favorite part of being a ghost hunter, but not knowing whose house you’re walking into is also Jason’s least favorite part of the job.
“We had a case a couple years back where we walked into a house and come to find out this person had loaded weapons all through their house. It becomes a safety issue -- you need to get out, you need to get away.”
No way! Nut jobs and ghosts? It definitely takes a special kind of person to help people with the things that go bump in the night. Not wanting to be one of those folks that has things go bump in the middle of the night, I told Jason I was buying a house and I wanted to know if there was a way I could tell if it was haunted without actually spending the night there. His answer wasn’t very reassuring.
He said there really is no real way to know and that a person may not know something is going on for years. Gulp. He did say that 80 percent of claims can be disproved, so I’ve got that going for me.
Don’t miss the continuation of Season 8 of Ghost Hunters on the Syfy channel Sept. 5. My mom, sister and adult kids watched it together, and without giving too much away, might we suggest you empty your bladder first and make sure the cat is outside.