In 2008 on THE TRAVEL CHANNEL, a show like no other was introduced to viewers. Looking for the unexplained in the scariest of places, Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and technician Aaron Goodwin take it upon themselves to go where no one else wants to.
Zak, also the narrator of the show, says he is a former skeptic in regards to the paranormal. After encountering the spirit of a woman who haunted his apartment in Michigan, it changed his life. He started looking for ways to find these spirits. Moving to Las Vegas to work in documentary filmmaking he met Nick.
Nick Groff, graduating from UNLV in documentary filmmaking, met Bagans and the together they formed the Ghost Adventures Crew (GAC). With the final edition of Aaron Goodwin, the crew’s cameraman and equipment technician, who also never believed in ghosts, has been changed forever by events over the years.
Starting their seventh season on THE TRAVEL CHANNEL, the guys continue to look for more people to help with proving there is something lurking in places. From evil entities to disembodied voices, the GAC use some amazing equipment to help them find the truth. These include: Digital Thermometers, 3-D Connect Motion Tracking System, Electromagnetic Field Meters (EMF), Full Spectrum Cameras, Ovilus device with word data base, audio recorders and spirit boxes.
Using these devices, this season the GAC set their equipment up in places like the Excalibur Nightclub and Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Chicago, Tor House in California, Palomar House Hotel in Illinois, Black Moon Manor in Indiana, Sedamsville Rectory in Ohio and Point Sur Lighthouse in Big Sur, California this season.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to the GAC and trying to maintain and not geek out, it was nice to hear from Zak, Nick and Aaron on spirits, equipment and non-believers.
Hi guys, I’m so thrilled to talk to you today.
Zak: Thanks for that!
Aaron and Nick: Glad to talk to you.
Tell us about the new season Zak?
Zak: We have upcoming episodes and one is the Point Sur Lighthouse that is south of Monterey in California. There are eight different buildings perched on a rock that looks like Dracula’s Castle, it’s was insane! There were about two dozen shipwrecks on the rocks and half saw mass tragedies. This is one of the only locations we have investigate were people are getting Class A EVP’s (electronic voice phenomenon). Like I’m talking to you right now, that’s how good the EVP’s are that they are getting. The voices that they get talk with a Scandinavian accent and some of these accents are from of the people that are documented to have stayed there. When we investigated there, not only did we capture EVP’s of a little girl who we think died in the Los Angeles shipwreck but she told us she was sick and we heard her singing. We captured an apparition in our thermal imaging camera at the Big Sur Lighthouse and we tried to debunk it but we couldn’t. There was no one else out there but us. We showed it to the lady in charge there and she told us it was in an area you can’t even stand on, like a 90-degree grade on a cliff. There is so much more on this episode. It was one of the most impressive lockdowns we have done in a while.
Nick: As paranormal investigators we go into locations, we learn the background and investigate the histories and talk to the eye witness accounts. We listen to them prior to our investigations. There are certain locations like the Palmer Hotel and listen to these owners because they are crying out for help. Aaron and I are listening to them talk to Zak during interviews and they tell us how they are being tormented and haunted by evil spirits in these locations. Our job is to listen to them and then dig deep and find other eye-witness accounts. Taunting is a dangerous tool to use but we use it because we are taunting the evil presence that is there to try to validate for the owners what is happening.
Zak: At the Sedamville Rectory in Cincinnati, Ohio these two people, a couple, were trying to renovate a rectory near an abandoned church. It is documented that a priest had been convicted of child molestation and there was dog fighting in the rectory. God says that children and animals, if you harm them, you are a man of evil. So that rectory has been cursed by a demonic presence. These two people were being harmed. The woman’s father is a retired Air Force person and has received bloody scratches on his back. There are dozen’s of cases of this. This now turned into an exorcism. We called on Father Ashcraft who has been trained to do this and we needed him to clean the location. The guy was overcome by a dark energy and he wanted to do harm to the priest. While that was happening the priest saw a dark shadow moving and a lot of unexplained things started to happen. During our lock down we captured an EVP and something on the Full Spectrum Camera to document this.
Nick: Aaron has a crazy experience in the Palmer House. That was a really interesting location, Kelly the owner was crying out for help. She had tears in her eyes. She goes home and these spirits go with her. That’s a scary thing. We are listening to her and not only that we are capturing evidence during the day while we are talking to her. That is a good tactic we are talking about when we go into these haunting. We aren’t going in full blast bad, there are good and bad. We are going after both. We have documented some amazing evidence and there is mind-blowing stuff at the Palmer House. Wait till you see the evidence we captured.
Zak: Do you want to talk about what happened to you Aaron at Palmer House?
Aaron: We went down there and they left me in the basement and I was provoking. The atmosphere just changed and there was this dark cloud vibe and suddenly this broom that had been sitting in the hallway – we heard it hit the ground and it moved over and was thrown across the hall. When you are there all alone and all hell’s breaking loose, its kind of crazy.
Zak: Kelly was in tears and at the same time we documented on the melometer and two Class A EVP’s and you can see spirits can own people. They can be dominated by them and puppeteered by them and manipulated by them. They are victims and these two cases are us helping them. It was pretty crazy.
Do all three of you do this full time?
Zak: Yep, this is a full time job.
Aaron: We live it, we breath it 24/7. This is a full time job for us.
Zak: We couldn’t work another job if we wanted to.
Do you think the technology you use helps in make non-believers into believers?
Zak: It’s not our job actually, that’s not why we do this. We do this for our own sake. We were doing this before the TV show so it’s very important to understand that. We know and we believe there will be people out there that won’t believe. If we do convince them through our evidence then that’s great and you can join us in the believing box. Those are just two so diverse groups of people but our non-believers you have to respect them. A major of them want to have that experience for themselves. You want to have that experience to believe. All of us have had those experiences, very profound experiences with ghosts and that’s why we are believers. Some of the evidence that we capture we are not that surprised anymore. We already know these ghosts exist and with the innovation and evolution of technology we are now able to obtain evidence that’s never been able to be recorded in the past. You look at cell phones, iphones and such, technology is insane right now so we are taking advantage of the technology and implementing it in our investigations. In our lifetime we’d love to go up against the top scientists in the world, any skeptic, anybody, watch us investigate and we will show you the evidence and if you can’t explain it then you need to give us credit for validating that the existence of ghosts is 100% real because you can’t give us a logical debunking explaining as to why we captured a full body apparition right in front of our faces and there isn’t a living body person in front of us. Explain to us that! Explain to us how some thing is answering our questions that only they would know 100 years ago. That’s what we will say to any non-believers, skeptics and we are open to have you watch us. That’s how confident we are as to the level of evidence we are obtaining.
Can you talk more about what you do for these people who seek out your help?
Zak: By helping them, they know that they are being traumatized by something they are unable to explain. If your physically being affected by something and you can’t explain it or you don’t understand it, you live in a dark cloud and think you are alone. To feel alone in society and in life, that is depression and oppression and you want answers. We connect and understand them because we have had it happen to us. We have all three suffered through it. When you are under the wrath of dark demonic spirits, they want you to feel like that. They want you to feel scared and by getting answers and documenting evidence that you are being affected – it’s like being diagnosed with something you know? You need to find out what’s wrong with you. The same thing when you are being affected by oppression from the other side. You don’t understand what’s going on and as soon as you tell these people ‘I know what your going through, I’ve been there before, I’ve felt what your feeling’ – immediately there is a sense of relief because now your not alone. They are immediately affected by that and are relieved. We take it to the next step by telling them to step aside, let us come in, let us bring in Father Ashcraft, the doctor and let us remedy this situation. Let us document that this stuff is really affecting you so you can see it so that you can hear it. Once we are able to provide that, if we can because there is no guarantee, then they can actually see what is affecting them like an x-ray at the doctor’s office. Now, we can give them our treatment plan. We give them the services of Father Ashcraft, here’s what we recommend. If you chose to stay – this or that is what we recommend. That’s how we go through the process of helping.
Do you have anything happening special for Halloween this year? Is there going to be a lock down anywhere?
Aaron: Traveling to New York to do a press tour.
Nick: We have more episodes coming up through Halloween. We have the Palmer House and we’ve been basically been living in real haunted locations investigating them. For Halloween it’s just another week for us. Every other week we are in a haunted location so I guess you could say its Halloween for us all year.
Zak: Then we have the weekend to die for which is every weekend on THE TRAVEL CHANNEL as well so you’ll see episodes of GHOST ADVENTURES as well.
Zak, how do you feel when you keep hearing your name being called out on locations?
Zak: I love it, its like going to the club and all the girls already know your name. Its cool, that’s what we are looking for, looking for ghosts! So when they already know your name you know what’s up and it’s a lot more personal. You also get to see how good or bad you are going to be messed with. Its always interesting in the paranormal that you can’t physically see a person in front of you but you can feel their energy. But even then you don’t know if they are always good or bad or just messing with you. It’s such a mysterious vale and once we part that vale and look inside, I call it the ‘spirit bubble’ and when you interact and feel that charge – you lose track of time. You are so deep into their world. It’s like an out of body experience. It’s your energy connecting with there energy. Its an awesome feeling, it’s a rush.
Aaron, you jump an awful lot! Are you surprised that after all these years you can still be made to jump?
Aaron: Yes, every spot is scary and I don’t care who you are once it happens you get spooked. I was a lot more spooked back in the day but since the Winchester Mystery House and such everything has kind of changed now. I still get really scared but I’m ready to face it up front now. Back in the day – get me out of there! Now, since we’ve been doing it for so long you that when you’re in the lions den you become a lion in a way. Now I dig it and think bring it! I still get scared don’t get me wrong. When something like that happens you are scared for your life sometimes. But we do this for a living so there is no running away on this job.
Nick, which do you prefer, the spirit box or the Olivus when talking to spirits?
Nick: I like both of them. The spirit box (PX) hones in on the frequency but I like the Olivus too because its based on the energy. They both have been really awesome for us in the past. The PX has worked great in the past and we figured out the weird death of this one individual and the spirit box has been unbelievably amazing for us with spirits coming through. They are both awesome.
My sister lives in Clovis near a house I’m sure you guys remember.
Nick: The house in Clovis, the Wolfe Manor in California?
Yes! Will you go back?
Nick: That was a bizarre location because of the history and everything. We have been to California several times lately. Recently to Point Sur and recently captured some unbelievable thermal images that will air this Friday. We always talk about going back to locations and sometimes we say we are never going back there and then we’ll go back. You never know with us.
I know there have been times when you all have been afraid, how do you fight that?
Zak: I think the reason people investigate the paranormal is because we are trying to overcome the mystery of death. That in and of itself is something that lives within every living person, everybody. We all experience death and we are forced to find out if that is just the end, which it is not. So what we do is, when we are experiencing a situation that maybe scary, it’s almost now a sense of relief. Because now we are getting validation that there is something beyond this living world that we are now experiencing that is making us scared. That emotion of fear, which is scary because you can get attacked and you can get attached, but now its turned into a sick smile, like saying ‘oh wow, this is great!’ Now instead of running and screaming we hold our ground. We get spooked in the moment but it sets in and it’s a sense of relief. Even though it’s scary we say ‘thank you’ as a validation that they are intelligently interacting with me. They are giving us validation of life after death. We thank the ones who scare the shit out of us.
To that end you stand on the rail at Excalibur and say ‘come and get me!’ right?
Nick: I know, I was looking at him thinking ‘what the heck is he doing on the railing?’ and I zoom out and I think you’re on the edge of the railing!
Aaron: I saw it later and thought ‘dude, your crazy!’
Zak: We didn’t walk away with any real credible evidence from that investigation. A lot of people ask if we do investigations and never find stuff. We will always find some unexplained noises and still present it to the audience and a lot of people think he are calling it a ghost. If you look up the word unexplained, it doesn’t say ‘paranormal’, it says unexplained. We were unable to determine what made the noise. We always find stuff but at Excalibur we were unable to document any concrete visual or audio evidence as to its haunting. It just shows you how real we are with whatever we get.
In seven seasons you guys have been through some insanely crazy locations and you’ve always been steadfast. In all these seasons what has been the most profound thing that’s happen to you personally and how has it affected you.
Zak: Goldfield Hotel, one of the very first investigations for me. When we saw everything take flight when Nick and I were in the basement that scared the shit out of us and that’s what really got us going. After we saw that its what got us going. The little voice that I heard captured on the cameras audio too. To know what looked like a brick took flight and remember Nick we thought that was the only thing. Then we had someone clean up the graininess of the camera and we noticed that there were all different kinds of objects taking flight. It was like a vortex, a twister, a board levitated back up and hit the concrete wall the opposite of the brick and that was what really got me.
Nick: Not only that but it was more or less amazing to look back on but the energy and shockwave that went through our bodies at that exact moment scared the ever living daylights out of us. When we went sprinting down the hall that shook us to the core and as we went on investigating through GHOST ADVENTURES we realized was what scared me the most is the darker energy, the negative energy that has an affect on my own well being. Losing self control, that’s when it gets really scary I think. It happened to me recently in Texas, I hated ever stepping into that and what happened there. I’m more cautious now, I think we all are.
Zak: We brought other people to Texas and did an event and we all witnessed rocks levitating off of the ground and they flying and a guy documented it. It was very cool to have people witness what we witness as third parties. It was the perfect event.
Aaron: I’ve always been really scared and at one time I lost it and didn’t want to do it anymore. Things got crazy at BobMackie’s because they followed me home and started affecting my life. That was the first experience that sparked me up to now.
How is it out on the road and what stays with you?
Nick: We travel all over the world and what stands out is connecting with people. Everywhere we go there’s a new background and historical location. Getting the evidence is what gives us a thrill. For me personally I liked talking to people and hearing about there backgrounds.
Is there one experience has taken you a long time to get over?
Aaron: I don’t get over them, I just deal with them. This stuff just doesn’t go away, it lingers sometimes. Sometimes it’s not as easy to get rid of if that makes sense.
Nick: Honestly, for me lately, at Central Unit Prison I got so violently ill that I couldn’t even hold a night vision camera anymore. I came down with a high fever and we were documenting paranormal activity all around this event happening with me. I had to leave the location earlier in the morning and I got to the point where I wanted to go to a walk in clinic and get an antibiotic because I was so out of it. I was destroyed by whatever energy had its affect on me. When I got home I took the antibiotics and it took two weeks to shake it. Knowing what evidence we were capturing at the same time I got the fever just validated that there was a dark energy lingering and it had a bad effect on me. That was probably one of the most disturbing locations for me personally and it took me a very long time to shake it. I hated it. We know the dangers with these types of things and we know the effects and we’ll keep doing it. We are just a little more cautious about it now.
Each of you has gone through a possession of some kind on the show. Do you have plan in place to take care of each other?
Zak: Yes, if one of the guys came at me I’d beat him up
Aaron: Thanks for the heads up
Zack: We have come close and even though we laugh at that it is a very serious thing. The most energy that has taken over me was at Pavalia in Italy. Aaron and Nick are like family to me and we know what dark energy is affecting us. There are times when I look at Nick and Aaron and I don’t recognize them, I don’t know who they are. All I want to do is kill them. That most extreme sensation was at Pavalia, Italy and after watching some of the footage I don’t even remember some of it. All I wanted to do was harm Aaron from what I remember and breaking equipment and punching a concrete wall. It was amazing how I just wanted to push that energy out of me. It wanted to use my body what the current only knows and that’s violence. If that does happen well we have all been through it to where we know the indicators and as you can see in that moment Nick helped me get out of there. If that happens, the first thing you do is get out of the area and go outside. At the Sedamville Rectory the same thing happened to another guy. As soon as we got out of the building it got lifted immediately. It doesn’t mean it goes away but that spirit stays where it knows it can manifest. They can still attach themselves to you and the energy can still be residual but that’s what we do.
Can you talk to us about your technical gear?
Aaron: Bill Chapel, he handles all the PX’s and Ovulis’ and we also have a 3-D mapping image that can show the outline of a spirit, which actually we got awesome evidence with at Cripple Creek. We have a bunch of new stuff coming out.
Zak: The 3-D connect stuff is pretty cool. It’s a motion tracking system. We got new full spectrum cameras and a whole bunch of neat stuff. We are constantly evolving like the technology is and we are trying to keep up with all the changes. We are updating our stuff constantly and it’s getting us closer to the paranormal. A lot of the paranormal has to do with electricity and energy, which goes with the technology. Back in the day we weren’t advanced enough with the technology to tap into those frequencies. You think of a cell phone and you can send a picture through space – what does that go through? Different radio waves and frequencies and that’s how we feel spirits travel, how they speak and manifest. We have seen their shadows and how fast they travel and these orbs of light that are not dust and are not bugs. These orbs of lights of energy we believe are visual presentations of their energy that makes those goose bumps stand up. They speak to us and can manipulate the environment in different ways to make words and the technology we are using allows us to catch these balls of energy. We are able to see these images like Cripple Creek Colorado in an upcoming investigation where we caught an apparition with the help of a skeptic, a scientist and Bill Chapel was speechless. We’ve never seen Bill Chapel speechless, ever! That investigation at Cripple Creek will challenge any scientist, anybody and with the level of his background which is confidential shows you the level of skill this guy has and he is speechless? We are going up to that level where we want to challenge anyone out there. That million dollar challenge that that James Randy has issued is a bunch of b.s.
Since all three of you deal so much with the paranormal, can you watch things on television that deal with paranormal or does it bother you?
Aaron: I watched PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and there are moments in there that I have had happen in my house. There are moments that spooked me.
Nick: The EXORCIST gets under my skin but we’ve experienced the lighter sides of that. The PARANORMAL ACTIVITY has some things that actually happened to us and we have real evidence.
Zak: People take our real events and make fake movies about them. You are seeing the real stuff go down with us and then people want to make fake movies about it. It’s quite funny actually.
So can you tell me why you hold the lock down in darkness?
Zak: You have to understand that there are different spectrums of light. There are a lot of things that people don’t understand because they don’t know about it. If you don’t know about something then you scrutinize it. The thing is with the invisible light spectrum and with our eyes we see a fraction of that spectrum. If you go to you left you have the UV spectrum and if you go to the right you have your infrared spectrum. Why can’t we see ghosts all the time, why can’t we see the thing that gives us goose bumps, why can’t we see the entity that is speaking to us, why can’t we see the energy that makes our body react that way? If our body can react to it why can’t we see it – why? why? why? Infrared light can only be seen in total darkness by using an infrared camera and when using it there are a lot of things within that spectrum that are hidden from us. Shadows that we wouldn’t be able to see with our own eyes because it’s to dark. The different balls of energy that we know are made up of energy because we’ve documented them on our melometers, and the detectors. When these balls appear with Nick in particularly in the Colorado investigation, is it just coincidence that when Nick started feeling like this that a ball of light appears in front of his face, does a weird movement and disappears into his head? At the same exact time he’s feeling sick and emotional? No, it’s not a coincidence because that is what was causing him to feel that way. Again, we make our stand and don’t care what other people think. We know our beliefs are based on facts and experiences and evidence and chains of event. Chains of events is very important. Investigating in the night time allows us to get that visual type of evidence. Also, a lot of tragic events happen at night. That energy can really show itself at night and the rest of the world sleeps at night and there aren’t birds chirping or construction crews and its a lot quieter. At that time we reduce a lot of the contamination elements.
You have a large fan following on Facebook and Twitter, do you find it really important to maintain that relationship?
Aaron: Its very important. I want to be out there talking to them. It’s awesome.
Zak: We really show much we do it and it’s very visible how established our fan base is. We are known for how much we interact with our fan base. We have one of the biggest social media followings for our show. Its because we have that personality and we are regular people. We weren’t cast for a regular TV show and our families aren’t insane. We are regular guys who connect with our fans and we have a heart. They are very important to us and keep us going. There comments and constant Twitter comments is really good and uplifting and keeps the drive going for us to keep doing this.
Aaron: Its good to wake up in the morning and see all these comments on your Twitter feed. Its good to hear the positivity and not the negativity.
Has your work changed your perception of what happens after we die and after?
Nick: Personally I think I have had a face-to-face interaction with a spirit when I turned around to see a spirit standing there that shouldn’t be standing there at Vista Hospital in L.A. That opened my mind that there is something after you die. I think energy eventually take everyone to the other side but when we die the energy lingers and at times we come into contact with those that haven’t moved on to that next place yet.
Zak: It’s changed me. I see the change in Nick and Aaron as well since I’ve met them. It’s given us a lot of confidence and I see it in Nick and I see it in Aaron and in myself. Not just because we’ve been in front of a camera for such a long time and we’ve had success in this presentation of our passion but the confidence is because we believe in what we are doing. We believe in the spirits we are coming into contact with. It’s a very powerful thing. Before it was like our personalities were two dimensional, but now that we’ve been through what we’ve been through I believe we were chosen to do this. Because what we’ve been through together and what we’ve experienced we are now in a four dimensional world. You can tell, you can see it and feel that from us now. It’s a powerful thing to truly know that there is an afterlife. You look at people differently and almost want to talk to people and it’s easier to talk to people because you know something that they really don’t know. Its not that you have an ego or are better than they are, you just have a complete understanding of how valuable everything in life is. Being able to time travel a little and communicate with people who have died, it’s the most amazing experience you can have in life. It truly is.
When an investigation is finished, do you know have major emotions and feelings that follow you away from a lockdown?
Aaron: It happens, we don’t know till we get home.
Zak: It’s kind of a lock down hang over as I call it. There are different levels of an investigation and if we start getting that feeling or that chill. That’s our body’s alarm that a spirit is near. When your hair stands on end and you get those goose bumps that is a release of your own energy and a transmission of theirs. From within that your body goes into a kind of shock and that shock is felt typically a couple of days after. That’s an in the moment thing but you can have attachments. Crazy shit has happened in my house after a lockdown. I just woke up today and I have a huge scratch, a five inch scratch on my stomach. Its real so you just shake it off, its part of the job.
Is there a location you haven’t done yet that you want to?
Aaron: The Egyptian pyramids!
Zak: I just don’t want to climb the climb up those rocks.
Aaron: We will hire people to carry us up in chairs.
Zak: I’ll do that then. I want Nick and Aaron to investigate my house when the timing is right. I’d like them to come over. I have surveillance cameras set up because of people that have been attacked in my house and me being dragged out of my bed. I caught this really cool mist going by one of my cameras and I’ve never seen that before. It was really thick and passed right in front of the camera.
Nick: There are so many locations all over the world and week after week we go to places that just amaze us. We are going to another location coming up in about a week or so that is absolutely amazing and I’ve been looking forward to going to this place for the last year or so. There is a place in New York on the riverfront that we ask to go into but every year we get turned down because its condemned and owned by the government. One of these days maybe we can get into some of these places.
As much as I hate to end the conversation we could be at this for hours! So sadly that’s the end of our chat and I want to thank you guys for joining me today. Remember everyone, GHOST ADVENTURES airs on THE TRAVEL CHANNEL every Friday at 9 p.m. This season has some great new places, some even greater investigations with all the chills you’d expect from Zak, Nick and Aaron!