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'Ghost Hunters' discuss hunting spooks live on Halloween

October 31, 2011 |  6:00 am

Ghost hunters Jason Hawes Grant Wilson HalloweenFor paranormal investigators Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes of the Syfy reality TV series “Ghost Hunters,” working the graveyard shift is no big deal. Their sixth annual live Halloween special, however, is.

This year, the crew will explore the sprawling grounds of Pennhurst State School and Hospital, a former asylum in Pennsylvania, live from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. EDT Monday. Viewers can follow the action on TV and on the website, which will offer extra video feeds, real-time maps and a “panic button.” Wilson and Hawes spoke to The Times about life as TV spook seekers and what might be in store at Pennhurst.

PHOTOS: Ghosts on TV

What are some of the most frightening things you’ve encountered?

Jason Hawes: We don’t look at it as frightening. One of the best locations was the Stanley Hotel: On camera, we had a door in my room unlock itself and open, a glass shatter itself from the inside out, and then a little while later the door closed and latched itself. And we were able to back up the experience with footage. We’ve done places like Waverly Hills [Sanatorium] out in Kentucky, where 63,000 people died of tuberculosis. They have a death tunnel where all day long they used to load bodies. Think about the energy that must be trapped in that area.

“Ghost Hunters” investigated Pennhurst earlier this season; why revisit?

Grant Wilson: We caught several voices talking — one of them named the town that we were in. Steve [Gonsalves] and [Dave] Tango heard a huge bang, like one of the window screens slammed shut. So there were lots of cool things, lots of reasons to be there. A live show also needs to be a large location. So there were a few requirements, and Pennhurst definitely filled them all.

Hawes: I wouldn’t want to go to someplace I’ve never been for the live show. If I go somewhere I’ve never been and find out that there’s nothing going on, it becomes an extremely boring six hours for the fans and for us.

How does the panic button work?

Wilson: They have various cameras on the website, and when people see stuff they can hit the panic button, and if enough people have seen something, we’ll get the word right there and then and go check it out. It’s awesome.

Hawes: Talk about having a million investigators, or however many people, watching all the cameras.

Wilson: Like remote-control investigators.

What’s the most satisfying thing about ghost hunting?

Wilson: We like catching answers. We’re true paranormal investigators. Whether we find evidence of a ghost or we find a draft that’s closing a door and we can debunk it, it’s equal success for us.

Hawes: We believe over 80 percent of all claims can be disproved. We just want the truth.

Do you ever feel competition with the other shows investigating paranormal activity?

Wilson: A lot of the paranormal field, there’s a turf war going on. We’ve never played into that because the paranormal is out there — it’s free, and everybody has access to it. You’re only going to have success if you’re good at it.


PHOTOS: Haunted houses and deadly dwellings on film

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From 'American Horror Story' to 'Ghost Hunters, ' spooks haunt all corners of television

-- Oliver Gettell

Photo: "Ghost Hunters" Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. Credit: Andrei Jackamets /Syfy.