When I was a kid I really wanted to become a parapsychologist. I was fascinated by ghosts and UFOs and cryptids, and read everything I could on these subjects. I soon discovered that there’s really no money in that field, though, so I went on to a lucrative career in writing for the internet.
Sci-Fi’s Ghost Hunters follows the exploits of a group of real life ghostbusters, who know first hand that there’s no money in their field – they have day jobs working for Roto-Rooter. But when they do get a chance to investigate, Grant Wilson and his partner in TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) Jason Hawes travel around the country looking into weird phenomena and reported hauntings. The show is a blast because these guys had a whole crew who go with them, and half the episodes aren’t about the ghosts but about the interactions of this motley group. There’s a lot of fighting, it seems.
The second half of Ghost Hunters’ second season is airing now on Sci-Fi (catch first run episodes Wednesdays at 9/8 Central), and the first season is out on DVD (click here to win a copy from us!). I had a chance to talk to Grant Wilson on the phone recently…
Q: When did you guys film these?
Wilson: We filmed these over the past six months. We’re done filming, we’re just doing pick ups here and there. We’ve been to Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, you name it.
Q: How do you guys balance the day job with the ghost hunting?
Wilson: We tried to do both full time, but we just got sick. Roto-Rooter has been kind enough to back off a little bit to let us do the show, to keep filming.
Q: I’m sure Roto-Rooter is psyched, since they get pretty advertising.
Wilson: Exactly, which is why they just kind of let us do it.
Q: What kinds of investigations can we expect in the second half of season two?
Wilson: We did Waverly Hills Sanitorium, where 63,000 people died from tuberculosis. That was a good one. In Colorado we were at the Stanley Hotel, the hotel that inspired Stephen King to do The Shining.
Q: Meet any ghostly twins there?
Wilson: We’re not supposed to say what happens, but we did capture some good evidence. We did some good debunking this season.
Q: What’s been the scariest thing that’s happened to you when you were out on an investigation?
Wilson: None of it’s really scary. The scariest thing we run into is homeowners – they can be freaky sometimes. We’ve had old ladies forget that they called us in, and chase us out with frying pans. We’ve had people swear they’re being watched by entities and we find a huge stash of marijuana in their house. People with loaded pistols and stuff. But as far as the paranormal, nothing has scared us, although there’s been times when furniture moved around and you’ve just got to wait for it to stop.
Q: When I was younger I was really into the paranormal, and back in the day I remember most of your ghost photos had figures or forms in them. Now it’s all about orbs. What’s the deal with orbs? They just aren’t as satisfying as a figure.
Wilson: Of course, and that’s the way we feel. We don’t buy into orbs. Pretty much we can recreate any kind of orb people have caught – it’s just dust and moisture. The problem is that people get so excited to catch something paranormal that anything they don’t expect to see in the photograph, they think it’s a ghost. Instead of capturing a weird circle in a photo and trying to figure out what it is, they just say it’s a ghost.
Q: What’s the best evidence you guys have collected?
Wilson: Some of the best stuff we can’t share because it was before the show and we had confidentiality agreements with the clients. But there’s some good stuff on the show – we caught what appears to be a full body apparition on the thermal imaging camera. We’ve caught chairs moving, doors moving, stuff like that. And weird EVPs, voices caught on tape that you don’t hear at the time you were recording.
Q: Why do you think mainstream scientists tend to just discount a lot of this stuff?
Wilson: It’s a new frontier. They want to base their research and everything on fact, and a lot of the people investigating this, the people on the forefront, don’t really base it on fact. We’re trying to do it [based on fact], and that’s why we’ve gotten a lot of respect. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback and inventors. Some even offer their services because we’re trying to do it as scientifically as possible.
Q: When someone contacts you, what’s the level of skepticism you walk in with?
Wilson: We walk in trying to debunk the place, trying to disprove it. The house is innocent until proven guilty. We hear their stories, we set up cameras and try to validate what they say, but we go in not believing anything until something screws with us.
Q: What’s your personal take on what ghosts are. Are they entities with a consciousness? Are they an electro-magnetic recording on the environment?
Wilson: It’s tough because I believe in paranormal activity – something weird is going on – but it’s hard to blame it on a ghost. We don’t have too much proof to show that there are entities out there that are doing this. Ghosts can be – there are so many different classifications. You can have ghosts that are full activity, that are emotional energy trapped that gets released once in a while that will perform, just do its thing whether you’re there or not. It doesn’t care, it’s not intelligent. Then we have ones that seem like human beings, that have characteristics and personalities of humans. And then you have some that are evil. But those are very, very rare.
Q: You’ve met some evil ones?
Wilson: Yeah, I’ve run into some stuff that just makes you – everything in your body is telling you to leave, but you have to stay. People called you in for help.
Q: The people who called you in, what do they expect from you?
Wilson: A lot of people are looking to make sure that they’re not crazy. They’re looking for validation. We have two groups of people: people who want to make sure they’re not crazy and other people who want a haunting and don’t necessarily have one, but they respond to every bump and creak in their house as if it’s a ghost. We go there and tell them, look it’s your plumbing or whatever, but they won’t care.
Q: Has anyone ever tried to bribe you? Maybe like a hotel that wanted to be able to boast that it’s haunted for tourism reasons?
Wilson: We’ve had businesses bring us in to help validate. Some of them are for business purposes, some are just trying to put their employees’ minds to rest. But no one has flat out said, hey, tell us there’s something here when there isn’t.
Q: Is there going to be a season three?
Wilson: We don’t know yet. We have to let these ones air and see how the ratings are.
Q: Would you want to come back for a season three?
Wilson: Yeah. I enjoy it. And I would like to get overseas, see some of the hauntings in England, or go see Dracula’s Castle. Step it up a notch.