Who Forted? Magazine

Extremely Honest: A Conversation With Jason Gowin

Jason Gowin, Nathan Schoonover, and Shaun Burris in an early promo image for "Extreme Paranormal"

On October 19th, 2009, a television special by the name of Extreme Paranormal debuted on the A&E network. Within mere minutes of it’s start, the internet lit up; blogs called it disrespectful, family interest groups called it dangerous, and even the golden calfs of the paranormal community, people like Ghost Hunters‘ Grant Wilson, took the time to deride it.

Blood sacrifices, destruction of property, and the generally, well, extreme nature of the show pretty well ensured that it would go down in the annals of paranormal history as the most controversial ghost hunting television special ever. And it did.

Until a few months ago, a piece I wrote about Extreme Paranormal remained one of the most read posts on Who Forted?, almost two years after the show aired. It was a heavily critical article, one I was compelled to write because I had spent many of my formative years with one of the cast members, Jason Gowin, and though we hadn’t spoken for a few years prior to the show’s airing, I was fairly shocked at what I was seeing. After all, Jason was one of the founding members of Ghost Hunters, Incorporated, a notorious paranormal adventuring team we had formed together in the late 90′s, and the person I was watching on television did not strike me as the guy I had known for half my life.

Well, thanks to the revisitation of a five year old project, and the unexpected return of Ghost Hunters, Inc., I’ve had the opportunity to get in touch with Jason again, and the talks that we’ve had have been eye-opening, to say the very least. It seemed only fair that he was able to share his side of the Extreme Paranormal story, something that very few people have heard.

In the following conversation, Gowin dishes on running from the cops, growing up in GHI, infiltrating the paranormal community, being featured on a fetish website, and gives some advice to paranormal investigation teams hungry for their share of the reality television pie. But more importantly, for the first time, Jason opens up about Extreme Paranormal, the backlash it caused in his public and private life, and how it has affected his future.. in interesting ways.

The Rise and Fall of Ghost Hunters Incorporated

Greg Newkirk: So.. how long has it been, Gow?

Jason Gowin: Since earlier today when I called you to post bail (laughs). In all seriousness I believe the last interaction we had was in 2007.

GN: See, you can joke about that, but the last time we saw one another we were splitting up to make it harder for the cops to find us. That’s not a joke.

JG: Yes! After an insane send off party with Bill & Nick, we ended on what I considered a high note for us; we destroyed a car, got very drunk, and hid from the police for months when they came looking for answers.

GN: I actually threw my phone out the window on the highway after that night, because I was too afraid I was going to get a telephone call from the police.

JG: In all honesty, it was a good call because they did in fact search for us. Fortunately they were doing so with the fake names I’d told Bill to give to them.  Somewhere out there the Police Department continue to search for Beau Garrison and Brody Selleck.

GN: Brilliant! I never actually knew that. But that’s probably because we didn’t really talk much after that weekend..

A lot happened during those 4 and a half years. A lot of things that spelled the end of Ghost Hunters, Inc. and the beginning of two very, very different paths for the both of us. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain that not everyone knows that you and I have even been doing any talking since then, but I guess that’s why we’re here now.

JG: I think this interview and any interaction between us at this point is a surprise to everyone, including us.  It was no secret to anyone who knew us well during the mid to late GHI years that we were heading down very different paths. It’s by no means a surprise because we were different people from different backgrounds. We meshed well over a hobby and a passion in the strange and weird and it was an anchor for us.  But we were also very young, and in formative years of life. None of us had any idea who we were at that point.  And there were clashes even in the middle that set the tone for what would eventually happen to us later.

GN: I suppose we should start at the beginning, huh?

Mick, Nick, Jason, Brandon, Beau, and Greg: The Ghost Hunters, Incorporated gang at the 7 Steps, circa 2003

GHI “officially” never ended. There were plenty of shut downs over the years, but it never really ended. People came, people went, some things changed, some things didn’t. Even now, with the notice added to the old GHI website, it pretty much calls the absense of the group an “indefinite hiatus”. But truthfully, GHI came to an end one evening during a phone call between you, Nick, and I. I can’t remember exactly when that was.. help me out here..

JG: It was in a September about four years ago, close to this time actually. I had received a text message from you saying we needed to discuss some stuff. I had been doing a lot of talking on stages with Tim Yancey and George Lutz at that time. I had found videos taking jabs at me on YouTube and was very lost in what had happened because we just stopped talking with no real reason. The phone call explained a lot of it.

GN: Ah yes. And so it began. Without boring everyone with the gory details, I think most of it boiled down to that difference in direction we were talking about. I know that at the time, I was starting to get incredibly cynical after the ten years we’d spent in the paranormal community. I’d moved out to Seattle, was a long way from every single other member of the gang, and was pretty unhappy with my situation. I remember writing a LOT of angry tirades against the paranormal community during that time period. I might have unfairly made a few swipes at you too..

JG: I can understand that, I have put most of it behind me at this point.  It was strange after you left for Seattle because at first we were fine. You’d call or I’d call, and I guess I kind of knew you were frustrated but because of where I was in life I didn’t quite understand why. During the time you were gone, we did attempt to make a go of it and keep things going.  Nick, Bill and I along with Milton and a returning Matt made several attempts at going out on new adventures.  But it was different. I guess it boils down to “you can’t make smores if you are missing even one of the ingredients” and GHI just happened to be like that with any of the core members.  But as you said, hostility was at an all time high and communication about any issues was non-existent.

GN: Yeah, that lack of communication was definitely a seed that grew into a four year monster of an issue. But we’ll get to that.. So if I remember correctly, one night you, Nick, and I conference called and decided to call it quits. Give GHI a final kiss goodnight. At least, that was the plan, anyway.

JG: Yes, we sat down and despite any problems we had, we talked about GHI and how it wasn’t right for any of us to continue on with the name and it would be best to lay her to rest.  It was a sad thing for me because I had spent the better part of a decade with all of you and felt like family. I had mixed emotions that night as we discussed it.  On one hand we had put so much effort into building that entity and it had taken on such a life of its own that was apparently bigger than even we realized.  But we were unhappy and it was going nowhere fast.

GN: I think it was that way for all of us. When GHI started we never really expected it to last as long as it did, and since it was all the result of growing up in a rural community, watching too much tv, and having this bizarre obsession with ghosts and monsters, so we never really built it to last. I think that by the time we called it quits, we had all grown in different ways, were itching to explore new things, but we didn’t really have that room to grow with GHI.

Of course, as anyone who followed us knew, GHI rose from the grave again awhile later, the result of a desire to keep looking for strangeness and many calls for it’s return. A few videos popped up, but we can all be honest here, it wasn’t really GHI. The core didn’t really exist any more and the message had changed. We all realized this and it just kind of faded off into oblivion.

By that time I’d started Who Forted? with Dana as an outlet for a lot of the things that we weren’t really able to do with GHI, namely some high octane terrorizing of paranormal reality stars. And angry tirades directed towards anyone who looked at us funny. We can’t forget those. WF ended up taking precedent, and that’s where I spent much of my time in the paranormal.

What did you get up to?

Jason Gowin and friends standing outside his sold out 'Just Say No to Orbs' tour in 2007

JG: For me it was a whole other machine. We basically engaged in a ridiculous GHI custody battle and the team divided equally in half. You took Nick, and Milton and headed your way and Bill and Matt and I went ours.

I had taken to a different route. I was very lost at first and felt very alone because realistically Bill and Matt were still at their respective colleges and had lives of their own.  So here I was with nothing. I still loved the paranormal and at that time George Lutz (of the Amityville Horror) became a very big part of my life. It has been no secret that my own father and I do not have a great relationship. We’re very different kinds of people and we don’t see eye to eye on anything, this stemming from years of emotional abuse as a child. So I lacked that father figure and latched right onto George when he offered it. He was a very unique man who had a very charismatic way of telling me about life and it just resonated with me and I stuck with it.

Also at that point I would latch onto anyone who’d let me and made a lot of friends deep within the very same paranormal community that you had set out to destroy, so in some ways it appeared I’d become this sell out who joined the dark side, when I really was just freaking lost.

GN: Yeah, that’s definitely how it looked from my side of the fence. And seeing it that way, I just pretty much never bothered to ask what the case really was and we just stopped talking. I think that final phone call was the last time you and I ever spoke until recently.

JG: Yes it was, and so I continued about my way becoming increasingly more involved in the paranormal community.

When George passed away and I found myself without that connection again. Tim Yancey, who has always been a great friend and brother to me, knew this and offered me the chance to move to Florida to work on his radio show. It gave me a fresh start with something a lot more like I was used to, and I consider the days with Tim on the radio show to be very positive and allowed me to stop being so angry.

Extremely Honest About Extreme Paranormal

GN: So let’s fast forward a couple years and talk about the one thing that every goddamn person reading this piece wants to hear about you. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what it is..

JG: My expose on Chubarama.net?

GN: Which I have to make perfectly clear that I had nothing to do with. I mean, I’m almost disappointed that I hadn’t thought it of first. But all this means is that you’re a hit with the Bear community.

JG: I honestly did think you were responsible, but I am now thankful for the flattering, yet awkward, large man’s fetish site posts that came about during that time period.

Gowin and Nathan Schoonover stand in a protection circle during an episode of the controversial "Extreme Paranormal"

In all seriousness, of course you are referring to the controversial juggernaut Extreme Paranormal.

GN: Of course. I’m sure that everyone knows the story by now. I’m sure that at least a majority of the people reading this have watched it. It was definitely one of the most talked about televisions shows within the paranormal community. It spawned protests, petitions signed by people like John Zaffis himself, and even Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters fame had to say something about the chaos it was causing.

I’ll admit it, when I saw the show I was shocked. I mean, I know we hadn’t been talking for a long while, but when I saw it my jaw dropped because the Jason Gowin I was watching was definitely not the Jason Gowin I knew. It prompted me to write a fairly scathing piece on WF, as I was apt to do. I’d taken a few jabs here and there at what I saw as “selling out” earlier on, but this was actually the first time that I came right out and said I had a problem with what I saw you doing.

The piece, and the subsequent reaction to it, got a little out of hand..

JG: It was a pretty horrific experience for me from the time we started filming until just recently. Even now the show continues to show it’s negative side in projects and other things I attempt to work on.

I was honestly very excited when we learned of the show for the first time. I was hopeful because the original show we were pitched was something that would allow me to be myself without ever having to be part of one of the very shows I had been so outspoken about in the past. But I also had no idea how the Hollywood machine worked either.

GN: What do you want people to know about the show, and your involvement, that you never had the opportunity to say at the time?

JG: The one thing people need to understand that is just because you saw me portrayed one way on that show doesn’t mean it is remotely who I am at all.  I think Nathan said it once best after the show aired: “The only difference between a reality show and acting is in a reality show you keep your own name.”

"I was unable to be the smart-ass, pop culture sponge Jason Gowin whom people had come to know."

The other thing people need to understand is that I didn’t edit the show together, there were people hired for that and they are the people who literally create the show. When you are on camera, you are solely at the mercy of those who sit in the editing booth and sign the checks.

To top all of this off, before you ever walk onto a set you sign a contract, and the first time you make any fuss during a shoot, it is made very clear that you either do what you are told or there are very large (several hundred thousand dollars large) fines for not doing so.

I’m also not a fighter or a boat rocker, even during my GHI days I never was that guy. So while I disagreed with a lot of what I saw, and there are things I’d love to come forward and say, to be honest there are network legal teams who search the net for those exact things, not to mention those people who will just cut and paste my words to those who can make those fines my problem, and I’d rather just stick to what I can say and hope that you can figure out what happened with the rest.

I wasn’t the guy you saw portrayed on that show. I seldom go two minutes without some sort of pop culture reference and outside of a couple of Ghostbusters quotes, I was unable to be the smart-ass, pop culture sponge Jason Gowin whom people had come to know.

I had become the victim of a very vicious, unforgiving editing process that took away not only my dignity but in some ways ripped the very essence and soul of who I am out of me and turned me into just another fat guy on a paranormal show.

From the first day of filming I had issues with the things that were going on. I really didn’t gel with the direction the show had taken, and it became very clear I was in over my head with no idea on how I could ever possibly get out of something like this.

I think the thing everyone is most curious about is the blood ritual and where I stood on all that.

The infamous 'blood sacrifice' scene that had everyone from religious groups to John Zaffis and Grant Wilson up in arms.

GN: That was the number one thing I saw that instantly hit me as odd for you. I think that’s easily the one thing that everyone got preoccupied with as well. When that happened I didn’t know what to think.. because in my mind, the show had gone from being purposefully extreme to suddenly dangerous. One of my biggest concerns when writing that article was how kids were going to react when they saw it. Would they think that slashing their wrists would be a way that they could contact dear old grandpa? It was a little scary

JG: Now, when they started discussing the ritual long before we ever filmed it, I had been very forthcoming with the fact that I don’t take cutting lightly and with very good reason. Not many know this of me but I suffered with severe depression during my early high school years, depression that resulted in numerous suicide attempts to the point of hospitilization. I was a severe victim of bullying, being only 5’5″ and from a redneck heavy community. On top of my home life being an abusive cespool thanks to my father, I got to a point where I didn’t want to be alive any longer and I turned to self-mutiliation in the form of cutting.

I cut my wrists, my arms, my legs, and neck and at one point even attempted to drink bleach.  These things left very lasting scars and through the help and love of friends and my family, I eventually found my way past these things, to a place where I didn’t supoort these kinds of actions.

And yet, here I was now face to face with this very dangeous, very disrespectful act. Now given, I can’t push anyone too much because there would be a 150,000 dollar fine waiting for me if I did. So I voiced as much of my opinion as I could, but I can’t just be shelling out that kind of money either. I was forced to deal with the skeletons from my own closet and at that point depression which had long left me since childhood began to return.

GN: What kind of responses did you get from that particular incident once it aired?

JG: It was literally minutes after the scene aired that it all began. I got texts to call people after the show because they had big issues to discuss with me. And these were just from my friends. People I knew and trusted ripped me apart. Now I wasn’t even the one who cut myself, and while I can’t and won’t speak for Nathan who performed the ritual itself, I know it was much worse for him.

Within an hour after the show aired the facebook messages began. I never planned for any of what happened. I was hoping for a happy time and that it would not be painful or something to cause regret. But here I was receiving letters from people telling me how I was a satan and/or demon worshipper, which is obviously not the case at all. I’m a Christian guy who has a deep faith, whether people like it or not, and here I was being attacked over something I had no control over.

I received letters of threat to my fiance’s life, letters that said they were going to gut her like a fish.  I received death threats that said if I showed my face at events there would be physical consequences. It got so bad that at one point after the WF article hit the net, that an off kilter gentlemen who read it decided to take it at face value and showed up at our home.

Now for those of you who don’t know, my grandmother is 87 years old and is unable to live by herself. I take that responsibility and take care of her, and this man, after reading falsely construed “facts’ about me on the internet decided to come to our home in the middle of the night and attempted to break in and get to me. My safety, and more importantly, the safety of my gandmother, who doesn’t deserve any of this, has been put in jeopardy because of other people’s choices and representations of who I am, and it made me feel very helpless.

GN: Jesus Christ, that’s insane.

During his presentations, Gow often talks about his experiences during the filming of "Extreme Paranormal"

JG: I got letters mailed to my home from various church organizations telling me how I was a heathen monster and they took shots at my character because people were believing every word they read about me. I also watched as friends of mine, like the very dear Yancey’s, were blacklisted from events for even being associated with me.

Worst of all, it was all coming from a place of complete misinformation, and because I was so worried about the contracts, what I could and couldn’t say, and the safety of my loved ones, I kept my mouth shut no matter how badly I wanted to lash out and explain my side of all of it.

It got to a point, Greg, that after all of this, I gave up and for the first time since high school attempted suicide again. I didn’t see the point of being here because I just couldn’t win. I was destroyed on every level. Thank God my fiance and friends were there for me and pulled me back out of it or I’d not be here now.  And it was all because someone thought that it was a good idea to make into compelling television.

GN: See, this is all information that I’m pretty sure is news to most people reading this. I don’t think it’s common knowledge that these kinds of contracts exist within television, or that what the viewer sees is not so much determined by who they see on their screen.. but rather is determined by whoever is sitting in the editing chair and holding a contract.

In the same respect, I don’t think they understand the power that words can have either. I certainly didn’t, and to be honest, if I’d known what kind of response would have happened after posting my Extreme Paranormal opinion piece online, specifically the kind of affect it would have on you and your family, I’d never have posted it to begin with, regardless of how I felt about how the television show turned out.

JG: You know what’s strange is that this article which had such an impact on my life I never even read. I mean yes, I know the basics of what are in it because I was frequently bombarded with questions about why I would believe I was from Atlantis or why I supposedly could throw energy balls from my hands. When police asked the gentleman who attempted to break into my home, it was something he mentioned. I just was in shock that someone took it so seriously.

It’s funny to me now to see how much of an effect mere moments on a television show, and people’s reactions to those moments, can affect and change people’s perceptions of you and the world around you.  The internet gave everyone a voice, there is no question about it, and it seems sad to me that the majority use this voice to create so much pain and hurt without understanding that there are two sides to every story.

I understand where you came from with your piece and what it’s intent was. I also knew any response I gave would create further backlash so I just kept my mouth shut and hoped people were really listening when my friends like Tim were talking about it, because they were conveying some of the ideas I was unable to get across myself.

GN: So once and for all, let’s address the psi-ball throwing Atlantean jab that I unfairly included in the piece I wrote. There was something very important that I, admittedly, glossed over when I decided to make a crack about that.

You never actually admitted to me that you could throw psi balls or that you thought you were an Atlantean. Rather, these were things that someone else decided to tell you one day, not something that you actually thought about yourself. It wasn’t a very fair remark to say.

"I don’t want to be categorized for the rest of my life based on two hours worth of television.."

JG: Thank you for addressing it. As cool as I would love to think I am, I have no super powers or special abilities.

GN: How much has the flack died down since the show?

JG: Well obviously the further we get away from it, the more it dies down. It flares up now and then and I get hate mail and threats of violence, but thankfully we have no further visitors to the house in the middle of the night and the letters to disembowel my girlfriend have shut down completely. There are still issues with some religious organizations who refuse to accept any charity from me due to my involvement with the show, and there are those who refuse to allow me at their events because of it, but things are infinitely better than the first year after it aired.

GN: Alright, so we’ve heard about all the bad things that came with the release of Extreme Paranormal. What about the positive things that came from the experience?

JG: Well for one, I got to meet a lot of new people that had a very positive effect on my life. I met and got to work with people in the entertainment industry which has been a dream of mine from the time I was a child. The experience allowed me to do things I’d never gotten to do otherwise, because above all else, Extreme Paranormal was a national television credit in a starring role. That opened up doors for me.  It allowed me to get a role, albeit a small one, in a major studio motion picture, which as you know for me is a very big deal. It allowed me to create new projects for myself and be able to go pitch them because I now have those connections.

It allowed me to travel to places I might not ever have gotten to attend to otherwise.  I had always wanted to go to Roswell, New Mexico to check the UFO crash site out and see places from the show Roswell that I really loved.  The show allowed me to go for free and check out some amazing stuff. I got to spend nearly two months on the road with my very good friend Shaun Burris and hang out and get to ghost hunt when the cameras weren’t rolling in some legitmately terrifying places. The Swamp, The Pennhurst Asylum, The Prison, all were very cool and we got to just wander when we weren’t filming, that was a very awesome experience. Plus getting to party in New Orleans alone… was well worth the trip.

It brought me and my fiancé closer together, which in the end resulted in the engagement and beautiful proposal at Walt Disney World. She helped put me back on the path I needed to get to without dying. It also showed me who a lot of my real friends were and who when the chips were down and the world was up against me, who fought for me and who hid.  Those things were very important to me to learn, and I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see that.  Tim & Trish Yancey, Kenny Biddle, and many others stood up for us when corporate laws prevented us from doing so ourselves. I will always appreciate those things.

On the same token there were people who I considered to be great friends who literally turned on me and attacked me or just never spoke to me again over a stupid fucking TV show, just absolutely cut contact, and it becomes painfully clear that if you are willing to let me go over 2 episodes of awful television that I had no control over, then they were never really a friend to begin with.

It was in everyway a double edged sword. I got a lot out of it, its true. I am now able to do things I couldn’t before because of it, so in the end I was simply paying very extreme, no pun intended, dues.

Words of Advice, Looking Ahead

GN: Knowing now what you didn’t know then, do you have any words of wisdon for the paranormal investigation groups seeking their own television shows?

JG: That you get a lawyer to read absolutely anything you are given by a production company. Ask questions about how those things could be manipulated and twisted to force you into something you don’t really want to be part of. Realize that nothing you do on television will be safe from manipulation and that if you put yourself on that path it may not end up being dancing penguins and sugar coated cereal; it removes the privacy from your life, and most likely the life of your family, and if you so much as leave even a tiny gap open, someone who has trouble with you will take advantage of it and air their grievances in a very public manner. Your entire life becomes the show.

You also should realize that while you may have these delusions that you are going to be the one that goes in on a paranormal show to do everything on the up and up and that you won’t be just another one of the cardboard paranormal television people, you are most likely going to get your ass handed to you when you find out, the investigators are considered talent and talent alone. When they tell you to jump you either ask how high or shell out the cash to keep control… and be honest with yourself, unless you’ve got a few million dollars to just throw around, in the end it becomes too detrimental to your own life and the lives of your family to cross that kind of corporate weight.

Rest assured, you are there to make money for them, not be a beacon of integrity.

Nick Foust and Jason Gowin poking fun of 'Haunted Collector's' John Zaffis and his.. interesting fashion sense.

GN: So ultimately, who is Jason Gowin? The people who only know you from Extreme Paranormal, what do you want them to know about the real Gowin as opposed to the guy they saw on television?

JG: I guess, first and foremost, that the guy you saw on that show was more of a shell of me than who I was, who I am. I want people to know that I don’t condone cutting your wrists or any of that sort of thing on any level whatsoever.  That my personality isn’t even a fraction of what you saw there. That I’m not a confrontational person or one who is a fighter in any traditional sense. I am a lover. Ask Nick Foust. He’s known my love. But seriously, I’m a person who thinks almost always with his heart and because of that, I got caught up in something that I lost control of very quickly.  I am a man who uses humor to deal with everything because it’s what works best for me and always has. I am not unlike the very people who began your magazine here, because for the better part of ten years we were a solid unit.

I may have some different influences that sent me down different paths than many of you, but at the end of the day, it gave me the opportunity to learn a very different skill set. I’m a regular guy with no super powers or beliefs that he’s anything more than a goofy nut from rural Pennsylvania who had an opportunity come his way that he took and learned some incredible life lessons from.

I love the paranormal and all of the strangeness that go with it. I’m not a fraud or a faker nor did I need to be in the role I had on the show.  I’m not a skeptic because I find that most of the time skeptics are just as ignorant as the hardcore believers. I’m not a hardcore believer because there are too many times when weird stuff that happens could have been something entirely natural.  I am, however, in love in every way with two things: ideas and possibilities.

I love the fun that comes with seeking out the odd, and I’m ashamed that at some point it became “uncool” to just enjoy this stuff for what it is.

I love the ghost stories, the legends, and all of the pieces of the puzzle that came together to create these stories that we all grew up with. I love looking into the backstory, the who, what, why, where and when. I want to hear the stories of those who experienced things and put those ideas together myself and not have anyone, for any reason, tell me one way or another what I am to believe. Those are individual choices that people need to make.

Hunting 'The Beast' on Connecticut Hill during the filming of the documentary "The Bigfoot Hunter: Still Searching"

I want to be able to go out and check these things for myself and make funny videos about my adventures. I don’t want to be categorized for the rest of my life based on 2 hours worth of television that, let’s face it, most of the people who openly bitched about it watched every second of when it aired. That’s not who I am, and at this point and time, people need to move on from it and realize that there’s a whole other world of things out there that I was a part of, things that I was involved in and created that really show people who I was. The Tim Holmes videos, the old GHI stuff, the work I did with Tim Yancey, The college university things I did where I went in and entertained. At the end of the day, with Ghost Hunters Inc. we all started this as something for fun, and at no point in time in any way, shape or form is anyone going to take that fun away from me again.

GN: I think that’s one of the most eye opening things that I’ve noticed since we’ve been talking again. It seems to me like things have come full circle, in a way. You and I started out in the exact same place: Ghost Hunters, Inc. We started that group with no other purpose than for fun and excitement, and GHI served that purpose very well. But, as happens when people grow and change, we all got a little curious about different things, and you and I, for example, went in two completely different directions.

It’s funny to me that five years later, after much time spent on two very opposite extremes, that we should agree that “the middle” is the place to be.. the same place that we started well over a decade ago.

All of that said, what do you see for the future of the paranormal community? More specifically, of your involvement in it?

JG: The paranormal community is ever changing; there is always going to be a new gadget or trend and there’s always going to be ignorance surrounding it, but I think deep down inside it there are little nuggets of awesome out there, people and groups making really great stuff when it comes to the paranormal, and I hope that people really come to see a lot  more of that and focus less on the holier than thou television shows that are supposedly so knowledgeable.

There are really great things out there for people to discover, and I think people need to open up their minds and attitudes about everything and at least give things a look. Stop mourning the paranormal. Celebrate what it is and what it can be.

If you aren’t a scientist, stop pretending to be one. If you can’t give an honest to goodness desciption of the scientific method, just admit your a ghost hunter or that you just like checking weird stuff out because it’s an interest. There is absolutely no shame in just enjoying the subject matter. You don’t have to do house investigations, and 99% of the people out there are better off never attempting it. You don’t need a case manager or a Tech Specialist or an EVP Assistant to the Regional Manager. You can just be a paranormal investigator because you love it.

I want my place in the paranormal to be lighter and nothing like the “dark me” portrayed on the show. I want to be out poking some fun at those who take themselves a little too seriously, but above all else I want to let people know, from here to Hawaii and back, that it’s ok to have fun with this stuff and learn about it in that frame of mind.

"We just needed to stick to the path we were on because there was never anything wrong with it to begin with."

I think the way we used to do things in GHI does that. I want to kick it old school, if you will.

GN: Which is interesting, because the reason we even started speaking again is because of the  rather unexpected resurfacing of GHI via The Bigfoot Hunter: Still Searching and the upcoming Night Runners: The Mostly True Story of Ghost Hunters, Inc.

Watching someone like Tim Holmes, who hunts bigfoot for no other reason than he loves doing it, and then seeing all of us out in the woods, holding high powered weaponry.. because of no other reason than it sounded like fun, that, to me, definitely helps illustrate that in a community like this, picking a side is going to deprive you of a lot of enjoyment. Just look at how GHI started to begin with. It was fun, and we didn’t even realize that there were sides to pick.

JG: Exactly, if we had bothered to take sides early on then we would have never been able to discover and unleash the wonder that is Tim and his bigfoot hunting wildness. Tim makes his own rules.

To me it’s funny because it was so much like the Marvel Comics Civil War: we all chose a side and fought a battle, but in the end it just turned out to be that we just needed to stick to the path we were on because there was never anything wrong with it to begin with. I love that. It’s the Circle of Life,  like a hotter, sexier Lion King.

GN: And Nick Foust died, which is a net good for everyone.

Tim Holmes, whether he realizes this or not, has actually been the source of a strange healing effect for a lot of us. The many months that went in to finally finishing off the tale we started telling with the Elmira Bigfoot Watch five years ago have resulted in a lot of us looking back on that time period and realizing why so many of those old adventures were such a force to be reckoned with: because we were doing what we loved for no other reason than we loved it. There was no pretense. There were no sides. There was the mysterious, the unknown, the just plain insane.. and then there was us.

I think the current landscape, particularly in the paranormal community, is in desperate need for that kind of an influence.

JG: I wonder if there’s anyone left that could give that to them?

GN: I can think of a few.

Greg Newkirk

Greg Newkirk

Senior Editor at Who Forted
Documentary film-maker, professional monster chaser, and mystery monger, Greg is the senior editor for Who Forted? 'Zine. When he's not occupied by writing about the wide world of the weird, he's busy directing and editing documentary films like The Bigfoot Hunter: Still Searching or writing about offbeat travel for Roadtrippers. He's currently in production on his new project: an original documentary web series titled Planet Weird. He currently lives in Cincinnati.
Greg Newkirk
Greg Newkirk

10 Comments

  1. Cullan Hudson

    09/12/2011 at 5:21 AM

    Not only was this a very insightful (and often poignant) interview–no, let’s call it an “exchange”–it also further solidifies my belief that this entity (Ghost Hunters, Inc.) to which so many paranormal personalities were affixed must have been like Saturday Night Live, spawning star after star after star. I’m amazed as I learn of the (often less than) six degrees of separation between various writers, bloggers, television personalities and that once-august institution.

  2. lou

    09/13/2011 at 4:21 PM

    Gowin is great. I love the article. I love that you 2 reconciled. I love that thier is so much loving going on. Now, get both your asses over here to California and get married.

  3. Michael

    09/20/2011 at 11:03 PM

    Really liked the article. I remember when EP was on and how much I disliked it. Hearing about the clauses in the contract makes me wonder what other paranormal tv show contracts have in them? Probably that you have to mention ever 6th investigation/episode is a demon possession or something.

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  6. Dave

    02/15/2012 at 10:43 AM

    I’ve got to say I was one of the few who never saw Extreme Paranormal, but I did keep up with GHI through whatever I could find through the internet.

    Very insightful review to say the least. I very much enjoyed reading it.

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