Who uses an electromagnetic Field (EMF) detector, a geophone to sense the slightest vibrations, and a digital recorder for capturing electronic voice phenomena (EVP)? The Ghost Hunters team of course. And they’re coming to the Morrison Center on Friday, March 1 to tell students all about it.
Steve Gonsalves, one of the team’s lead investigators, explained how the team and the show got started.
The team itself, TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), was formed by Jason Hawes in 1993.
“He had an experience that he couldn’t explain, so he started his own group to get answers,” Gonsalves said.
TAPS became the popular television show Ghost Hunters in 2003 after the team disproved a haunting on one investigation which, according to Gonsalves, is what they always try to do.
“In that particular case (the people with the haunting) had an author with them and a New York Times reporter,” Gonsalves said. “They thought it made a really good story, the fact that we were able to disprove the haunting and they really liked the fact that Jason and Grant were plumbers, I was a cop, another woman involved was an engineer and we had another girl who was an MIT professor.”
Gonsalves said it was after that case when everyone seemed impressed with the fact that their team was just a group of regular people. Apparently this is when they started getting calls from production companies about wanting to make a TV show. But the team wasn’t sure that’s what they wanted to do.
The production companies were interested in them due to their many years of experience in the paranormal and their love of the field, said Gonsalves, which is why they eventually reached an agreement and an eight minute pilot episode was finally filmed.
After sharing stories of the team’s beginnings, Steve Gonsalves answered some questions about their upcoming Idaho visit.
Arbiter: What sparked your interest in the paranormal?
Gonsalves: I was just always interested in it, even when I was 11 or 12 years old. I was reading all the books about it and not ghost stories but the how-to books. They were more all about the energy and the science behind it.
Arbiter: What are the most active and most fake locations you’ve visited?
Gonsalves: Waverly Hills, Louisville, Ky. That place is awesome. It’s not scary, it’s just active. Most fake, Moss Beach Distillery where they had a lot of stuff rigged in their restaurant. The place was supposedly pretty famous for being haunted; there were a lot of books written about it. But when we got there, we found pulley systems in the ceiling that made the chandeliers shake and we found speakers in the walls.
Arbiter: What’s your advice for wannabe ghost hunters? Where do they get started?
Gonsalves: Unfortunately, there’s no places. The best thing for anybody to do is understand energy. Read books, read energy studies, understand how it works and know the theory behind everything.
Arbiter: Any Advice for people here at Boise State dealing with ‘Dinah’ (our resident rumored haunting) in the communication building?
Gonsalves: If they’re concerned, they just need to educate themselves as to what it may actually be. There are a lot of groups and teams and even TV shows that paint the paranormal to be this very dangerous, crazy scenario but it’s really not like that. It’s just like when you’re dealing with people. We find that how people are in their living stages, is how they are once they’ve passed on. So if anyone feels uncomfortable, just try to talk to it. If they can they should try to embrace it, because it’s pretty cool, it’s almost like living history. And if you look at the case studies there’s never been one single person hurt because of the paranormal. There has been a few cases of unfortunate mishaps, where somebody gets scared and falls down stairs, or they’re investigating and they fall through the roof because they’re stepping in a place where they shouldn’t. There are cases where you have inhuman style hauntings, where we have seen people get scratched and that sort of thing, but never have I seen that sort of phenomena happen on a human type of haunting, where it would be like someone lost a loved one and then passed away there. So I would say that they have absolutely nothing to fear at all.
Arbiter: What can we expect from your upcoming show at the Morrison Center?
Gonsalves: These theater shows are a lot of fun for us. We play a lot of videos, like behind the scenes videos, we present a lot of our evidence that people haven’t seen before, anecdotal stories, funny road stories and we just like to be ourselves and hangout with people. Most of the time there’s a lot of laughter and there’s also a Q&A session.