Tag Archives: syfy ghost hunters

Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters – The Big Seance Podcast #100

Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters, the biggest moments and behind the scenes - Big Seance Podcast: My Paranormal World with Patrick Keller, Episode 100 - BigSeance.com

 

Grant Wilson of Syfy’s Ghost Hunters joins Patrick to discuss the TAPS influence on the world and the paranormal community. Join us for a very special 100th episode! 

 

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The Legend of the Milton Schoolhouse – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #50

The Haunted Milton Schoolhouse in Alton, Illinois. Interview with the owner on The Big Séance Podcast - BigSeance.com

Are trapped ghosts inside the Milton Schoolhouse? Are there mysterious spirits, unrelated to the legend, that call the Milton home? Or perhaps there has never been a ghostly presence in the building. Join me as we chat with Milton co-owner, Meredith, as well as previous guest, Ginger Collins-Justus. Paranormal or not, you MUST visit the Milton and see its current reincarnation! 

“The Milton Schoolhouse is a place for innovators, dreamers, bold visionaries, entrepreneurs, inventors, artists, daring pioneers- and renaissance people.”

 

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The Brilliant Britt Griffith! More from Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home…

See the end of this post for links to previous posts in the series.

Two of the biggest highlights from my T.A.P.S. weekend at Belvoir Winery involve the brilliant Britt Griffith. Now a permanent member of the cast of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters, Britt brings a much-needed fresh voice to the team… oh and gadgets. Lots and lots of gadgets. But he knows how to use them, researches them, knows their background, and in some cases has a hand in their design!

 

Britt’s Paranormal Technology Session

I was able to sit in on his paranormal technology session on the second day. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I found that I learned quite a few things. The best was having some of my own personal opinions and experiences reinforced or validated by someone who clearly has knowledge and a lot of experience. As if I was sitting in an undergrad lecture, I took lots of notes (which is why I don’t have a better photo), but out of respect for Britt and these events, I won’t cover his whole session here. Instead, I’ll point out a few things that really hit me in the head.

 

  • Did you know that both Britt and buddy KJ McCormick had done experiments with EMF and audio while under water?
     
  • Britt has apparently changed his mind about using IR (infrared) illumination during investigations. This really made me think and was kind of an “Aha moment”. In order to see shadows, you need contrast. Too much IR will prevent shadows. He went into some suggested ways to illuminate a room to prevent this problem. If I remember correctly, he also touched on the fact that we don’t really know what effect, if any, IR has on spirits (or humans, for that matter) when we blast them with it in large doses. Is it harmful? Is it polite? It very much reminded me of the first place I heard this topic being brought up. Check out Karl Pfeiffer’s How to Photograph a Ghost for more.
     
  • I learned that my current DVR would be of better use in the dumpster out back. I’m in need of a new one and now I know what to look for.
     
  • Britt is not a fan of the cheaper digital recorders (like the Sonys that I often use), because of the compression and the false anomalies they cause. He suggests only using them for stationary audio, but then also using a more quality recorder at the same time, to compare events to hear what actually happened. This is when I felt like a genius! I’ve always done this in EVP sessions. Along with one of my Sonys, I use a nicer Tascam recorder with a pretty good external microphone that would pick up a ghost in my neighbor’s house if it were quiet enough. When I think I have the Devil saying “Hey Keller! You suck!”, I compare that same moment in the Tascam and often learn that it was simply me scratching my nose, or my four-legged and furry son Meril rolling his eyes at me and sighing at the thought of another EVP session. It is why I’ve even considered video taping my sessions as well… to get a visual along with the sound. He suggested a few recorders. One of them is on my wish list.
     
  • Among many other things, he discussed logging barometric pressure (which I’ve often done, but can’t seem to find the perfect equipment for an investigation), E pods and REM pods, IR thermometer guns (Duh! Don’t use them to detect cold spots!), carbon monoxide detectors, debunking, Ovilus, reviewing evidence, and a popular favorite… orbs. I’ll only tell you that I very much concurred with his position.

 

Again, Britt used my spirit box! AAAAAAHHHH!

It was already a pretty cool spirit box, considering I got this particular one secondhand from Stephen Hill. But then during the overnight investigation, Britt suggested we get it out for a demonstration in a room that had already proven to be a hot spot for spirit box communication. Because this was such an Elvis moment, I awkwardly fumbled around in the dark trying to set it up and get it working to hand it off to Britt. When it didn’t turn on, I remembered Stephen Hill has always told me to take the batteries out while not in use. I’ve never really been good at remembering to do this…. but it turns out the previous time I used it, I followed those orders. I somehow found batteries fairly quickly, turned it on, and handed it off. Several of the people in our group had never seen or heard of a spirit box. We did get some communication, but you’ll never see it since my video footage of that moment has mysteriously vanished into thin air. See this previous post for more on that story. Actually, I have digital audio of that moment, but I’m still in the process of going through all of that.

 

Did you know?

Britt keeps himself busy by doing so much more than just paranormal investigation! Did you know he has been in several movies?

Check out his acting reel!

 

And the trailer for the 2012 film, The Black Dahlia Haunting.

 

Thanks, Britt! 

 

Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:

Ghosts can do that? The Evidence… Sort of…
Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!

New Friends!
The Photos
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March! 

 

 

 

 

 


Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home: Amy, Adam, Britt, and Chip!

Today I bring you the next installment of my Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series. See the end of this post for links to previous posts in the series.


 

T.A.P.S. Para-Celebs: Amy Bruni, Adam Berry, and Britt Griffith! 

Probably the biggest highlight of this weekend event was getting to hang out with and meet Amy, Adam, and Britt from SyFy’s Ghost Hunters. I can’t even pretend to not be a super fan of this show from the very first season. Ghost Hunters inspired me to start reading and researching the paranormal, which then led me to forming Missouri Spirit Seekers in 2010. Other paranormal investigators will often say that Ghost Hunters had nothing to do with them being in the field, and that may be true for a small handful of teams or investigators, but if they got rolling after October of 2004 (and most of them did), then um… they’re just lying. In my opinion, this show is one of the biggest reasons for what I’ve always called “The Great Paranormal Craze”, which has now lasted a decade.  So whether or not you watch the show, if you’re a fan of the paranormal (and I’m assuming you are since you’re reading this nerdly blog), you’ve been affected by what this show started. On a side note, does paranormal reality TV have its flaws? Absolutely! However, I’m giving credit where it’s due. Oh, and am I a bit bummed that Jay and Grant weren’t there? Sure. But these three “new guys” have added so much to the show in recent years. (For more of my thoughts on the show, check out I Still Watch Ghost Hunters… So What?)

 

 

Amy is such a sweet and beautiful person. She clearly has never taken a bad photo in her life. She was so very patient and willing to chat or pose for photos at any moment. Of the three attending T.A.P.S. members, she has been on the show the longest. I could listen to her speak of her experiences all day long, and she’s definitely not afraid to be honest or share her opinion on the paranormal. Now she gets a lot of questions and oohs and ahhs about her beautiful baby daughter, Charlotte. If you follow her on Facebook or Twitter (@amybruni), it’s clear that her daughter has completely changed her life, and she shares photos often.

 

 

Adam was just as you would expect him to be. He’s a ham and a goofball, and I’m down with that. Fans at these events always ask him to sing, and he does… beautifully. Adam was seated behind me at dinner. I asked for a selfie with him, however, it was clear that I wasn’t really up on how to properly take a selfie on my iPhone, so he said “Oh I’m a pro at this” and he took my phone and snapped the picture. By the way, if it weren’t for Adam and Amy being in these selfies, they would never see the light of day. Adam can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@AdamJBerry) as well. 

 

Britt Griffith used my spirit box!!!

I didn’t bug Britt for a selfie, but in a future post, you’ll hear about how he used my spirit box during the overnight investigation! In that moment I may or may not have reacted as if I had just met Elvis. I’ll also share some of my thoughts from his paranormal technology session, that was actually very good. More on all of this later…

 

And, of course, who doesn’t love Chip Coffey?!

Truthfully, a big reason I went to Belvoir Winery for this event was because I had heard that Chip Coffey was going to be attending. I had met him last year at one of his Coffey Talk events, and it was such a cool experience. Chip is so down to earth and funny… and he tells it like it is… and his colorful vocabulary is so similar to mine! For more on that meeting, and my photo with Chip, visit 10 important reasons to go see Chip Coffey at a Coffey Talk near you! As I was waiting out in the hall for his big session, Adam Blai’s demonology session was going on inside the ball room. Chip walked in and gave me a hug, used a term of endearment that I don’t remember, and asked how I was doing. I told him that I was looking forward to hearing him talk today. He joined Amy and Adam and others at a nearby table while we waited, and I immediately tweeted the following tweet:

Seconds after tweeting this, Chip pulled out his phone, saw it, and without hesitation, turned to me and said “So are you!” (Again… Elvis moment.) Moments later, the demonology session was wrapping up, and Chip jokingly said (to us in the hall), “And speaking of demons, next up is Chip Coffey!” I laughed. Ohhhh Chip. 

 

 

This is a shot I took of Chip from what I called “The Creeper Line”. When I asked Adam Berry if that was an accurate description of this line, he laughed and agreed that it kind of was. 

 

To Be Continued…

In my next couple of posts, look forward to hearing about the overnight investigation of the Belvoir Winery grounds, including some awesome flashlight communication, and something so bizarre and mysterious regarding my video footage! Also, more on Britt’s paranormal technology session, and perhaps some audio clips. 

 

Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:

New Friends! (Big Séance)
The Photos (Big Séance)
I’m Baaaaaaaaaack! (Big Séance)
TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery in March! (Big Séance)

 

 

 


I Still Watch Ghost Hunters… So what?

For several years now there has been a bit of tension and controversy regarding paranormal investigation and the hit SyFy reality show, Ghost Hunters. The production team and crew follow The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.), founded by Jason Hawes in 1990, on their paranormal journeys. The series kicked off its first season in 2004, but I probably didn’t start watching consistently until the second or third season. I’ve since caught up on all of the episodes I’ve missed, and I’m still a fan that watches religiously. In 2008 SyFy even produced a spin-off series, Ghost Hunters International. Many similar shows on various networks have come and gone, but both of these shows are still going strong. At this point it would be pretty hard to believe that anyone reading this blog wouldn’t at least know something about T.A.P.S. or Ghost Hunters.

So where does the controversy come in?

I’m convinced that most of the negativity toward T.A.P.S. among many in the paranormal is due to a kind of jealousy. Paranormal investigation and “ghost hunting” (a term I actually despise) existed years before the hit show, but it has helped to create what I’ve been calling “The Great Paranormal Craze” of the 2000s. This craze seems to be slowing down just a bit (or at least shifting more to things like bigfoot and aliens), but is still very much with us. At one time, a paranormal investigation team may have been hard to find, but now there are thousands of organized paranormal investigation or “ghost hunting” (probably a name more appropriate for most of them) groups out there. Many, or most of these groups were inspired to do what they do because of what they were now seeing on TV. For better or worse, these newbie groups that I’ll call the “Ghost Hunters Generation”, have been demanding a place to sit at the paranormal table, taking away much of the spotlight and attention from all of the veterans.

I have to be honest here. I’m a member of the Ghost Hunters generation of paranormal investigation. The show inspired me and my family to form our own group, Missouri Spirit Seekers (MOSS). While it would have been nice to be able to say that I got my start before the craze, it would simply be a lie. I know that many great investigators out there are ashamed to own up to it, or afraid to admit to how it all influenced them, but chances are they’ll be home on Wednesday nights watching the latest episode. Is there really that much wrong with it? 

In a way, I really can understand some of the jealousy from veteran groups. After all, what paranormal investigator doing all of this hard work for FREE wouldn’t be jealous of the people who get to be in the spotlight, quit their day job, and make a living doing it?? Although maybe “concern” would also be an appropriate word to use here. We all have to start somewhere, but clearly there are groups out there that have earned a reputation for being nothing more than thrill seekers and rednecks that jump in a truck with a few meters they bought online, possibly bundled together in a flashy package named a “Ghost Hunting Kit”… groups that don’t take the time to read current research, read books by the pioneers of the field and current knowledgeable authors… groups that go out and have their fun, trash the site, and then you never hear from them again. Yeah… Ghost Hunters has definitely had its side effects.  Don’t misunderstand me. There’s room for everyone. I was one of those newbies. We just need to do a better job of educating and training each other, and making sure we work on our image and how we present ourselves. Maybe we shouldn’t show up in overalls and hop out of the window of our Dukes of Hazard car. 

But possibly the biggest piece of the controversy involve the claims floating around the internet that T.A.P.S. has faked evidence and overly staged experiences. In a very popular post from earlier this year, one blogger and investigator claims that they’ve even left a script lying around after leaving a location… and it’s all for the cameras (the SyFy kind). You don’t have to search long to find videos and blogs from people going out of their way to expose T.A.P.S. as frauds. Do I believe it all? Absolutely not. Like I said… jealousy. But… no one should ever expect to find evidence of the paranormal at every single investigation, but when you have a TV show and ratings, I can certainly understand where there would be the pressure and the temptation to keep things exciting. I often wonder though… who runs the show in these investigations? The production crew? Or are they just along for the ride and Jason runs the whole show? 

Why I continue to watch… 

After getting started in the field it didn’t take long for me to realize that the experience of it all isn’t exactly as you see on TV. Sure, at first many of us modeled our groups after what we saw. We have “founders”, “tech. managers”, “specialists”, “command central”, etc. We hear “disembodied voices”, investigate “fear cages”, “debunk” what we can, and classify some experiences as “residual”, for example. Some of us even have “reveals”. And boy do we all have our official sounding acronyms. Ghost Hunters may have been our first textbook on the subject, but we’ve grown a lot since then with real experiences and research. Well, at least I have.

The first couple of seasons were definitely a little more authentic, and in my opinion, more fun to watch. You’d see more of the behind the scenes activity, more of the investigating, not just the dramatic evidence and their reactions (“What the frig?!”). I don’t have proof that T.A.P.S. has or hasn’t faked or staged evidence for the cameras, but I want to believe it’s not true. I want to believe that when the crew or the cameras are absent, they take their work seriously. I want to believe that their analysis is more than just a couple of hours of sitting at a table with some headphones. I want to believe that they still help the desperate family in need on occasion. I get excited to come home from a long day and watch the personalities that I’ve become so familiar with. And yeah, I LOVE the good evidence and the great EVP! But when I watch now I’m not immediately sold on everything I see. I’ve picked up a few techniques and have learned to avoid some of the embarrassing ones. I take notes. 

Bottom line is… why do I watch Ghost Hunters? BECAUSE I LIKE IT… and it’s better than another cop show… 

This week’s all new episode for Season 8

For a lot of serious fans, this episode stood out as the first investigation without the longtime co-founder of the group, Grant Wilson. Before I watched I was curious to see if they would shake the usual pairs up and if any of their typical roles would change. Spoiler alert!! In general, it was a very exciting episode! They investigated the Old City Jail in Charleston, South Carolina. The jail is supposedly haunted by the spirit of the facility’s first female serial killer. Never before has an episode contained so much alleged physical contact from a spirit. A behind the scenes SyFy crew member continued to be scratched all over her body. Do I 100% believe it all? I’m not sure… but I couldn’t help thinking that it was a bit irresponsible to continue with the crew member as they seemed to encourage it to keep happening. Jason was even the victim of some scratches. Amy Bruni (who is pregnant) eventually decided to sit the rest of the investigation out due to feeling uncomfortable with the activity. And of course, the claims at this location were choking, scratching, rope burns, and bite marks, mostly reported by women. T.A.P.S. saw shadows, heard door slams, footsteps, and a disembodied voice. They captured a not very impressive EVP, but the big event and topic for the evening was all of the endless dramatic scratching. For a while I thought I was watching Ghost Adventures. I kept waiting for the demonologist to show up. 🙂

Here are some of the new and different things I noticed with this week’s episode. 

  • New graphics with lots of split screens (reminded me of Carrie).
  • New music and audio effects with a slightly different style.
  • Twitter handles displayed on screen during the interview sections.
  • A more relaxed “analysis” portion. They ditched the table and much of the equipment in favor of some more comfortable furniture. 
  • It appears Dave Tango may have moved into the tech. manager position. Jason and Steve Galves started the evening out paired together, hinting at Steve possibly taking the “Grant” role. 
  • Britt Griffith and Dave Tango were paired together. Is Britt now going to appear regularly? 
  • Amy Bruni and Adam Berry (who is apparently STILL “in training”) seem to be paired up again. 
  • A new shadow detector gadget.

 

DVR is already set for next week!

 

Peace!

 


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