BY ERIN WOLF
Ghost Adventures is back and ready for another lockdown!
In honor of the return of its sixth season, the dynamic triumvirate of paranormal investigators - led by co-creator Zak Bagans, co-creator Nick Groff and camera man/investigator Aaron Goodwin - spoke with Paranormal Pop Culture to discuss their evolving methods and this season's surprises. (including their first home visit and celebrity investigators).
Q: Are there any changes to the format of the show for Season Six?
Zak Bagans: Well, I think what we've done is we show more of the debunking process. You know, in Seasons One, Two, Three, we were still learning obviously. Here we are six years now.
And we did debunk in the earlier seasons. We didn't really show it but now that we've grown in investigating we've become better at it and you've got to remember we use the word unexplained a lot.
So when you see us capture unexplained voices, you know, unexplained this or that, we're not always tagging it as a ghost is creating that. We're tagging that as we are in the dark and we don't know what made the noise. Yes, we jumped, it startled us but it was unexplained.
However, some of the voices now in the new higher levels of equipment we are getting valid paranormal evidence like the spirit communication you saw in Friday's episode with Brendan Shaw where a spirit was telling us about a rape murder that they witnessed back in the 1970s even telling us where the body is buried in the house. And that evidence was shared with the Denver police department and they have interest to reopen a cold case file.
Nick Groff: You know, we've been using the spirit box a lot. We're having live conversations back and forth. It's just very interesting how we've developed and are gearing into this fully functioning live sessions rather than capturing something and analyzing later.
We're almost like speaking intelligently live back and forth with the other side or whatever realm we're talking with. It's intriguing more or less so we've grown in that aspect but at the end of the day we're still the three same guys investigating the paranormal and the unexplainable.
Zak Bagans: Usually during the day you have a lot more audio contamination. You have birds, you have construction crews, you have automobiles, you have people. People are awake.
At night, you know, all of that has been reduced to little or none so that's why it's so much better to investigate at night. Yes, there are ghosts during the day and they're active but with everybody up and so much noise and everybody moving around, you know, it's harder to hone in on what is paranormal and what's not.
Q: Has anyone non-ghost related ever try to sneak into one of the lockdowns?
Nick Groff: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. Usually we'll have security guards and we'll have someone walk the perimeter so we make sure very very cautiously that no one enters the location when we get locked down.
Zak Bagans: Yes, we'll have security kind of watch the perimeter.
Aaron Goodwin: It's so that we know if something was to enter to room it's not a human, it is a spirit. Because if we didn't have all that, if we weren't locked in sometimes we'd think oh, someone came inside instead of knowing that no one can get in. You know what I mean?
Zak Bagans: Yes, that's a good point, Aaron. And, you know, we do the lockdown portion of it to show the audience. And there were times too when we would be locked down and we would hear footsteps above us or outside and, you know, we would either radio the security guards outside. We just did that in an episode coming when we did Linda Vista. You know we had canine units, you know, walk the perimeter for us.
You know, now that the show is getting bigger and more seasons, some people are finding out where we're at and we're making sure that nobody is tampering with our investigations either and we show that to show our credibility and how serious we take our investigations.
Q: How do you mentally prepare for the investigations?
Zak Bagans: I think like every investigation is so different because there's a different story involved and, you know, some of the stories are heartbreaking, some of the stories make you angry, some of the stories are, you know, bully ghost, some of the stories are accidental, a death, you know?
In preparation you have to mentally put yourself in that emotional state for whatever you (vent) that you're trying to go back in time and communicate with.
So whether it's an emotional story of a family losing a daughter, you know, learning the story and interviewing the people and just letting your body become sensitive to the location is very very very very important as investigators because it's basically, you know, balances you out for that energy. You know, that's what it does. It sets your body to that emotional state to connect better with the spirits.
The level of spirit communication that we are having now, it is groundbreaking. The questions that are being answered, the direct questions that are being answered, the guest investigators that attend our investigations now that we have to help show skeptics that this is going on, let them ask questions.
Zak Bagans: For the very first time ever we got invited by a family into their home, into their private residence with a very emotional story to tell from a daughter that had a fatal accident - a car accident - in 2004.
But ever since then, the father, the family, they've been having experiences with their daughter visiting them at their house. And every birthday on Valentine's Day she goes there and visits with them and it's not just her family that has seen her.
There's been other guests that have seen her at the house as well and that inspired the father who's an electrical engineer Gary Galka who designs our Mel meters which is named after Mel, Melissa - you know, he's a very very very talented and high-level engineer that worked for a major companies, major computer companies as well - and he has designed equipment to communicate with her and now to share with the rest of the world.
And once we got invited into the house and did the birthday cake celebration we had cameras set up, digital recorders set up, all of the pieces of equipment and it was just really emotional. It was very draining in that respect.
And then it happened. And she came through and spoke to us. This was all live. You know, everything was captured live. We had Gary listening in and then also our guys, (Billy Tolley) - he helps with our audio visual-tech - and we could hear it. You know, we could hear her through our own ears and then we were getting questions that we were asking, she was answering them to us. And then she said hi. It was pretty amazing.
Nick Groff: Just like Zak was saying, going into the family's home, it was very very touching and emotional for all of us, all three of us just to connect in that realm especially with the daughter that tragically lost her life and still is communing beyond the other side.
And hearing it, you know, coming through on real-time digital recorders was absolutely astonishing more or less for us personally because they had her old cell phone voice message that you could hear and it was pretty amazing hearing her voice come through.
family, how does that affect the investigation, how does it affect you when you go home? Do you view things differently?
Zak Bagans: This investigation hit me harder. Obviously it's a very sad emotional story but, you know, when Gary - we were interviewing Gary. We took him to the crash site and he never walked up to the crash site in the last eight years, seven years that this happened.
And to see him to begin to cry and to feel the pain that some of us haven't felt before, it makes life scary and it puts things into perspective that at any time in anybody's life, you know, we can die from any reason, medical, accidents, crime, anything at all.
And we have to understand that that's just a part of reality of our life but to feel the pain when somebody close to a family like their daughter dies, you know, part of they die too and the emotions that they've been dealing with, it was unbearable.
And to feel that made me cry and a lot of the crew cried and it just set the tone not only for the story but for the episode as well. So - but to go into their house and to hear her communicate, it was probably one of the most powerful things that you will ever see. And it'll give I think a lot of families out there that have lost somebody some type of answers that they're looking for.
Q: What are some other highlights viewers can look forward to from season 6? Any special guests?
They opened up the doors which is very very uncommon for a casino resort that is still in operation to allow us to investigate and they let us do that.
And we investigated Frank Sinatra's old suite. We had Frank Sinatra's old pianist who played his old private parties come in and play the piano. We had Vince Neal bring in a whole entourage of girls. Frank Sinatra would have loved that. And we also brought in a World Series of Poker 2008 Star who won $12 million, Jamie Gold.
And we threw our own Vegas party with who - you know, Frank would bring in high notable guests, we brought in notable guests. And to be honest with you once everybody got in there we thought it was just going to be - you know, we didn’t' know how this was going to go and then things got really serious after about an hour.
Aaron Goodwin: We are the ghostbusters.
Nick Groff: I know. I mean, we're already starring in that because we're the real live ones, you know? We are the real deal Holyfield. I just ran into Dan Akroyd and he was like, dude, you guys are great. So it's like just to get his compliment was like, yes.
Q: Do you ever go to a location to investigate and discover that for whatever reason it's just not haunted anymore?
Aaron Goodwin: Well, to be honest, like a lot of times we go into these investigations and we hunt, we're really good at what we do and it's like, you know, for some reason paranormal activity does happen around us whether it be our mojo, the stuff that's there or our aggression or our niceness or whatever we bring that energy in there.
I mean, here's the thing, if you put a dog into a fighting pit and he's in there for more than a year, the next dog that comes in there that year later is going to know, whoa, this dog has been here for a while and it's serious.
So it's the same concept because when we come in there you never know, a spirit might be like, whoa, these guys connect with spirits. And they know that and so they try to talk with us. Just like in the movies and TV shows, if you're a spirit and you know someone can listen, you're going to do everything you can to talk to them.
So I think our energy, they can sense that and they know that. And so I think that's one reason we do get a lot more evidence is because of who we are and how we do it.
Unexplained. We were unable to debunk what we experienced. We're not always labeling it as paranormal or a ghost caused it but a lot of the stuff we do document as a spirit voice or whatnot. So just listen to what we were - you know, what we decided the evidence was.
Nick Groff: Yes, and you're seeing us in there for 12 hours. The thing is, we're showing you the best parts of unexplained stuff that we're capturing 23 minutes of. So we're in there, you know, for a long time.
We actually do hear noises and we go and we debunk that and we show that sometimes but not all the time are we going to show that because it's just not the best evidence.
We want to show the best stuff that we capture in that whole night's stay of the lockdown so that's what you're seeing, that highlight moment of all the activity that we're actually capturing.
Zak Bagans: I won't go too much in detail but yes, I have definitely thought of that before. It would be nice to take what we are able to learn - I mean, we have been doing this for so long now that we have seen what works and what doesn't work.
We've worked with different scientists and inventors and we've taken pretty much every approach that you can to investigating the paranormal. So now after, you know, six seasons, it's now time to go with what works the best.
We're not cocky about this. Nobody owns the paranormal. Nobody owns spirits but we just get excited when we document great evidence. It's like a treasure hunt. You find a big treasure, you want to show it off, you know what I mean? And that's what we want to do.
And the best thing is seeing the reactions from skeptics or people who don't believe. You know, it's not our job to persuade people to believe in ghosts. They make up their own minds, have their own experiences. I wouldn't believe in ghosts if I didn't have my own experience with it.
And we even brought skeptics in, you know? But we're bringing them in so people at home can live their experiences through these people who have never been on an investigation with us before.
'Ghost Adventures' airs on The Travel Channel Fridays at 9 p.m.