By Christiane Elin
returns on September 5th with season 8.5 on Syfy. The mid-season premiere is the first episode without co-leader Grant Wilson and the episodes have other noticeable changes. Ghost Hunters
is shot differently than previous seasons. A Jason Hawes narrative is weaved into the show and some of the findings are dropped into the investigation. This season's changes seem influenced by other current paranormal programming.
The Syfy press release described the Ghost Hunters
TAPS team as, "officially a team in transition, which means there are plenty of surprises on the way this fall!" One of the surprises was given away on a conference call with founder and lead investigator, Jason Hawes, on August 28th. Jason exclusively announced on the press conference call that a new female investigator, Ashley Troub of East Ventura Paranormal Society (EVPs), has joined the Ghost Hunters
team. I have met and investigated with Ashley previously. Ashley will bring a new energy to the TAPS team. On September 26th, Ashley will make her first appearance on Ghost Hunters
Another first for this Ghost Hunters'
season is the first case having to do with a serial killer featured in the mid-season premiere, "A Serial Killer's Revenge." The opener has the TAPS team going to the winning location of the Ghost Hunters'
America's Hometown Ghost Hunt contest.
Tune into the season 8.5 of Ghost Hunters
beginning on September 5, 2012 on Syfy for the "Southern Spirits"-themed episodes featuring locations below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Syfy Conference CallGhost Hunters
August 28, 2012 JASON HAWES:
Hey, how is everybody? I’m happy you all joined us. The new season’s really going to be kicking off with a lot of great things. I think you’re all going to realize we ended up brining in a new investigator, her name’s Ashley. I think you guys will really enjoy seeing how she grows on the show and her interaction with the rest of the team and she - I think she’ll be appearing starting September 26.
But some of the best cases I think that we’ve had to date and some of the best evidence that we’ve caught recently. Of course, I can’t get into too much but I honestly believe it’s probably going to be one of the best seasons ever. QUESTION:
Well, heading into the season, how tough was it to adapt to the investigations without Grant. Can you touch on that just a little bit? JASON HAWES:
Honestly, it wasn’t that tough at all because I still deal with Grant daily on other things and he’s still there. He had to take a leave of absence from the show but our families are extremely tight and we’re like brothers.
And for many years I investigated without Grant being there, for many years of our friendship - and while TAPS was still going, of course - Grant left to go to Utah. He was gone for a couple years on that. So of course it’s a little odd not having a guy I refer to as my brother standing beside me all the time. But I think it wasn’t an issue for me at all. And to be honest with you, the team, there’s just a new energy with the entire team. Everybody’s just so alive lately and yes, it’s been interesting. QUESTION:
I’m curious, it seems like the upcoming season you’re going to be focusing in on some ghost stories down in the South. Why take this focus for the new season down there and can you give a preview of some of the good things you guys find some of the bad things? JASON HAWES:
Some of the good or the bad things? Well, we’ve had some wild investigations. We were actually able to investigate a zoo, which has been - that’s tough enough if you think about it. We were called in by an actual town that had called us in the past to investigate some locations.
And yes, we spent some time down in Charleston, South Carolina, because they’re such old areas and a lot of the areas we headed off to, they have such a history, some insane history. One of the locations we had to do had the first so-called female serial killer. But just to be able to get out there, hear these stories and to be able to investigate some of these locations, it’s incredible.
The one is was just talking about, the first serial killer, some people who actually are on production ended up having a situation. I can’t get in too many details but it led to a really interesting investigation. SCIFI VISION:
[It is] Season 8 or an 8.5 now. And what do you think about the evolution of Ghost Hunters
throughout the years? JASON HAWES:
Oh, my gosh, I didn’t think we were going to make it out of first season, so the fact that we’re at 8.5 is incredible. To see that this field has come so far, that a field that used to be laughed about and people felt that they had to whisper experiences that they were having, now they feel that they can openly discuss it, that’s just incredible.
It’s such a great feeling to know that we were a part of that movement to try to really get this field ahead. And also the amount of new people - new investigators - who have been stepping into the field just really shows that it’s advancing, and it’s becoming a respected area. So that does mean everything to us. QUESTION:
So, when you needed a new investigator, what criteria did you use? What are you looking for in a new team member? JASON HAWES:
Well, of course, when we’re looking for somebody new we want somebody who is not going to automatically believe that everything is a ghost or paranormal. We want somebody who’s willing to try to go that extra mile to figure out what might be truly creating the activity, whether it’s electrical issues, plumbing, anything, over-medicated, under-medicated individuals.
But also 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. Steve’s been with me for 20-plus years. Dave’s been with us for years. Amy has been a friend for, you know, almost 10 years now, same with Britt. And K. J. was my nextdoor neighbor as a kid growing up.
So, we all get together. We all spend so much time doing this show but also hanging out outside the show that I just needed somebody who was going to fit in and be able to work well with the group. And that the group was going to be able to accept as a whole because bottom line, they’re the ones who make the decision if somebody stays or if somebody goes. QUESTION:
I’m getting ready to buy a house, so how can I tell if it’s haunted without actually spending the night there? JASON HAWES:
Well, thing is, you could buy a house and not know that there’s something going on there for years. So there’s really no way to know. Over 80% of all claims can be disproved, so chances are you’re buying a house that doesn’t have anything going on. QUESTION:
I noticed that in this season you guys are looking into some different types of hauntings, for example, in the “Cape Fear” episode. Is there any difference between looking for more the typical ghost (unintelligible) looking for something like an elemental spirit? JASON HAWES:
Absolutely (unintelligible). When you’re looking for a typical ghost you’re able to, a lot of times, if there is something actually there, and intelligent-type haunt you’re able to make contact with it, you’re able to get these things to communicate back and for with you. When you’re dealing with what some believe to be an elemental-type of activity you’re dealing with something that is purposely trying to avoid you but create fear in order to make you leave an area, to sort of push you out of these highly wooded areas that we’ve now encroached into.
So, yes, now you’re trying to actually document something that you’re spending all this time trying to hide out in. Yes, it’s a total different style of investigation. Also being outside and investigating cabins and stuff into all these areas, you’re dealing with animals, you’re dealing with insects and a lot of other contamination issues that come into play. QUESTION:
So, now that Grant has left, do you see an end in sight for your involvement with the show and when do you think that would be? And do you think Ghost Hunters
could continue without you? JASON HAWES:
I’m never looking that far ahead to wonder when I’m leaving or if I’m leaving or anything of that nature. To be honest with you, every time I go to do a season, every time I’m requested to do another season, I sit down with my wife and children and it’s a choice that we make as a family and I spend a lot of time at home. Even though it looks like I’m always on the road, I’m not. But, if my children come and say, “You know what, dad? We prefer you not to,” then I would walk away knowing that I’d been able to bring it this far. But as of right now, my children love the fact that I’ve been doing this since even before they were born and to see how this has advanced.
I remember my oldest, who’s 21, she used to come downstairs as a little kid and see Steve and me and Grant and everybody sitting around trying to figure out cases, so she sees how this whole thing has grown and how it’s become this international thing now. So, yes, I will stay as long as my family wants me to stay.
And if the show can survive without me? I think it could. I don’t know, I guess that would have to be from the viewer’s standpoint. I know that if I was to step back Steve, who is 100% adequate and able to, could easily run what is going on. I don’t know how we would feel about doing that on his own though. So, I don’t know, time will tell. I guess you’ll have to tune into the show and find out. QUESTION:
Will there be a Halloween special and will we be seeing Maddie again this season? JASON HAWES:
Okay, to start off with the Hallow special, I am not going to do a Halloween live show this year. My twin sons are eight now, I spent a lot of these Halloweens away from them and I want to spend time with the family on that day. We’ve always loved that holiday and one thing I can’t stand is getting picture texts to feel like I’m there, so I’m staying home with them this year. I’m going to celebrate it with them and go from there.
As for Maddie, yes, I actually just had Maddie on some cases we just did. I try to keep her somewhat to more local-type cases just because the amount of travel. I don’t want her sitting in the back seat of a car for two, three days while we’re driving out to these locations; it just takes a toll on her. But you will definitely see her on these cases. QUESTION:
After doing the show and doing all these investigations and obviously having, I’m sure, way too many options to pick from, how do places make the cut? What does it take for a place that’s trying to get you, what tips it over the edge that you’d go to one place over another? JASON HAWES:
Okay. Well, the TAPS website last year alone received 96 million hits. We receive about a thousand to 1,500 emails a day with possible case requests. Honestly, out of those it’s going to fall under are the people terrified? If they are, what type of activity’s going on? Are there children involved, because if there’s a child involved that jumps to the front of the list because I’m a father and the least thing I would want is for my children to be fearful, in their own home to feel threatened.
So those are the main factors that will bring us to an area. It’s going to jump right to the front. But also with residential cases, a lot of those cases either we do not - with absolutely no cameras there because the people don’t want to be on camera or we just - we need to be cautious with a lot of those because sometimes those don’t air. There’s a lot of cases we do that never make air. So anytime there’s a family and children and activity that is active at that point, we’ll get there ASAP. QUESTION:
Looking back now at the TV series, it’s been out for so many years, I mean, how has it changed your life? Is it night and day looking back seven years ago? For example, are you still doing the daily plumbing and stuff, or do you get spotted a lot in public? JASON HAWES:
I definitely get spotted a lot in public. It’s the bald head and goatee thing definitely puts - people are easy to recognize me. As for plumbing, yes, when I’m not full swing production, I go back to the norm. I’ll go and I’ll price out jobs for Roto, still employed by them. They’ve been a great company but also they understand that they’re getting advertising while I’m on the road, so we scratch each other’s backs on that end. They’ve always been a great company. I [worked] for them years before the show, so to honestly see how incredible or how large this whole thing has become is just - it’s wild. We’ve just been having a great time. It’s definitely - it’s changed a lot.
But the nice thing is we’re going in with a camera crew when I go into a location, where a lot of other shows they’re going in with a producer, a cameraman, a sound man, all these things. I don’t.
I go in with just one cameraman and whoever I’m investigating with at the time and that cameraman’s usually Kendal, who is my main guy who’s been with me for years on the show so he knows to stay out of my way. But also, I’m able to take his tape, I’m able to take his audio and analyze that as well, so it also comes in handy that way having that crew there because I have more possible evidence that can be documented by a different camera and other audio. QUESTION:
Is there a particular haunting our episode that sticks with you? And then also, how do you clear your head from this line of work and relax? JASON HAWES:
Yes, I think every case sticks with me because I look at it - cases I’m able to figure out are just as exciting as cases that actually have paranormal activity. So, of course, Waverly Hills, 63,000 people passed away there. Just walking through that building, you could feel that. A lot of (unintelligible). Stanley Hotel, but also personal cases. We’ve got two personal cases that’ll be coming up rather early in this season that are real - they hit close to home and so, of course, that stuff sticks with me.
As for clearing my head, I don’t know, I’ve been doing this so long it’s second nature. It’s always there, even when I go home 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 two 8-year-old twin sons walking around with their 12-year-old sister investigating the house.
So it’s such an imbedded part of my life and my family’s house that it’s not like I ever have to clear my head because there’s always somebody involved in it. We also have my 17-year-old daughter Haily who’s on the show and also investigating off of the show with me as well. So, yes, everybody in my family seems to be involved with it. QUESTION:
Wanted to find out if maybe if could tell us what continues to fuel your passion for this type of investigative work after all these years? JASON HAWES:
First off, it’s still such an unknown field. I’m looking for answers in it and also trying to help out as many people as I can along the way. And I sat there and I thought about this, surely, because I don’t know if I’ll ever figure out these answers that I’m looking for that people are hoping I’m able to find for them. But if 100, 200, 300 years from now somebody does and we even played the smallest little role in the foundation that led them to that, then that’s all that matters to me.
It’s just trying to figure this out and trying to be a part of that - of possibly what it is, and I think that’s really what fuels me, trying to understand how these things are possible because there appears to be so many different types of haunts. Over the years we’ve found that you can have intelligent-type haunts, you could have residually, you could [have] poltergeist-type haunts.
But also, you can have intelligent-type haunts that aren’t like everything that we’ve ever thought about these ghosts communicating back and forth. Now, for whatever reason, some of these intelligent-type haunts are spirits that are still stuck in their time, they’re still living a normal day in their life.
Well, how is that possible? How is it possible to have time that seems to be folding on itself and if so does that now lead into maybe that’s what a psychic or sensitive is? Somebody who’s still in their time but they are able to hear voices as these things are able to hear us. So, it’s so interesting and there’s so many different layers that that’s just what keeps us going. QUESTION:
Jason, you’ve researched a lot of great people, you always recommend reading up on the paranormal before investigating. Is there a new technique or a latest study or an author that you have explored or employed in this new season coming up? JASON HAWES:
You know, no. Honestly, there isn’t. I’ve always tried to stray away from reading books from other paranormal investigators. And the main reason behind that is because I never wanted to follow in someone else’s footsteps, I wanted to blaze my own trail, look at it my own way, be my own person.
Initially when we came out with TAPS, so many people used to attack us because we used to shoot down these orbs that everybody thought were spirit activity and everything else. And we were able to recreate all these things just by slapping pillows or taking pictures outside when it was high moisture times and things of that nature. So we always wanted to look at it our own way.
I know Steve was big on reading books by Hahn Hosier, other investigators like to read from other people. I just try to always stay away from that stuff. SCIFI VISION: I know there different paranormal shows out there, do you have a limitations on what TAPS recognizes the technology they use or do you try new things? Will there be technology this season? JASON HAWES:
There will and actually I’m working with a company right now on an app that will be able to take any Android and iPhones and iPads and all that stuff and be able to work off of meters that are built into them. And can’t get into too much detail on it but I was actually just using a prototype of it the other day.
But there’s also a lot of equipment out there that becomes rather laughable that I’ve seen that I guess other people have brought into this field where these boxes that are generating voices, well the voices are words that are actually put in or programmed into these devices. So there’s a lot of things out there that I think are holding the field back and there’s a lot of technology out there dealing with infrasound and stuff like that that we’re really trying to bring to the forefront. So I think you’ll be able to see a lot of newer stuff coming out from us and to other areas. QUESTION:
You had talked a little bit about people who believe and you dispelled some of the evidence that they presented to you. What about the flipside of that equation, do you ever have naysayers, people who don’t believe in ghosts and they give you a hard time or they’re critics? What do you say to people who don’t believe in anything that appears on Ghost Hunters
as far as the paranormal goes? JASON HAWES:
Honestly, I have dealt with people like that and it’s pretty - because I don’t get into an argument with them about this. Bottom line is, I’m not here to push my beliefs on them, I would appreciate the same. I think that, first off, every religion, every nationality, everybody out there has talked about something to deal with the spirit realm since the human race came around. So I think it would be naïve to say that it didn’t exist, let alone, we manipulate energy every time we turn on a hair dryer or a vacuum cleaner. To say the world hasn’t been manipulating it since the start of time is just silly.
But like I said, I’m not here to try to force this as paranormal and I know it because of this reason down anybody’s throat. I just think that it would be best if those people stop being so close minded and instead of becoming full believer, hey that’s fine, meet us in the middle. Let’s try to work this out together. Let’s try to figure out - if you don’t believe it to be paranormal fine, let’s try to figure out what it is instead of casting stones at each other. QUESTION:
Hey Jason, I was just curious, what do you love about your job, what do you not love about your job? JASON HAWES:
I love about my job is definitely problem solving, figuring out what’s truly going on, the people that I’m able to meet and interact with. And sometimes that can be the stuff that you really don’t love about your job because you never know whose house you’re walking to.
Just like, I’m a plumber for Roto Rooter and I’ve walked through people’s homes where you just know you have to get out, that they’re not all there. It happens in this field as well where we had a case not too - 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 issues, you need to get out, you need to get away.
So I think meeting new people, interacting, trying to figure out what their problems are, being a problem solver is one of the most interesting things. But also not knowing whose home you’re about to walk into and who you’re about to deal with can be a pretty scary part as well.