Whether you’re a true believer in the paranormal or a complete skeptic, there’s no denying that paranormal investigation shows have been dominating TV. Each week, millions of viewers around the world tune in for a glimpse of the paranormal and proof of life after death.
Ghost Adventures is one of the more popular paranormal investigation shows, and I was interested in talking with Zak Bagans about his recent experiences, and how technology is helping their research into the paranormal.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. I’ll admit right away that I haven't regularly watched the series from the start, but my wife does. Recently, I’ve been catching more and more of it, and I’ve noticed that you guys are much more technologically advanced than when you first started.
Before we get into the technology side of things, can you tell me a little bit about your belief system? I see you refer to things you encounter as demons or spirits. Do you believe in many of the Christianity elements when it comes to the afterlife?
Zak Bagans: I don’t really put too much religion into what I’ve experienced. I think everything including religion is a belief, and I’m the kind of guy that needs evidence to support beliefs. When we started in the earlier seasons, we were amateurs and we’ve really evolved into a very serious level of research.
I feel sometimes that the other side has chosen us and has chosen to make its appearances and awareness to us. In that process, it has really humbled and grounded us to realize that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
There are many different visual spectrums and frequencies that human beings are not in tune to with our senses. I believe there is a sixth sense that lets some of us tune into these other frequencies and spectrums, but I don’t believe that everybody has the ability.
Is this something that you believe people are born with or does it happen after a paranormal encounter?
Zak Bagans: I believe they can choose you or make themselves known and attach themselves to you. That’s where it gets into a deeper level of what science can’t even explain. Many perceive what we do to just be a television show, but it’s our experiences from our passion of what we do. There are a lot of serious things going on that the viewer doesn’t see. There are a lot of side effects that being this in tune to the other side are having on our physical bodies and our lives.
We’re constantly learning and we don’t know what to expect tomorrow. It’s kind of like a new drug. A pharmaceutical company puts out a new drug and they don’t really know the side effects until 10 or 20 years. We’ve been so far deep into the paranormal, that we’re still trying to learn what it’s doing to us.
You’ve upgraded the technology used for your investigations over the years. What device gives you the best results and how has it helped improve your research?
Zak Bagans: We’ve done so many experiments to try and debunk the SB7 spirit box and we can’t. We recently did an investigation and Travel Channel is sending the footage to worldwide media because we want awareness of what happened. We went to a location called The Black Swan Inn recently and this house that sits on a battlefield in Texas. It’s very creepy and kind of looks like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre house. It’s in the middle of nowhere and it’s a weird, weird place.
A very nice woman lives there with a man and two children. She called us because the children are waking up with bruises, and the daughter is seeing a black figure with red eyes. She claims that there’s a ghost that lives in the house. She’s skeptical, but doesn’t know why she’s experiencing this. Her mother died in the house in 2012 and she’s having experiences in her mother’s room as well.
We go there and we do a spirit session. We set up two spirit boxes side-by-side and we ran them simultaneously. We plugged both of them into an audio software program so that we could see the wave form on each of them. What we were trying to do was debunk the possibility of radio interference or any contamination.
We did the session for about thirty minutes and we had nothing but flatlines. I asked the spirits if they could give me the name of her daughter, and a female voice came through and said “Madison.” It only came through on the spirit box to the right and it froze the timeline. It should have not frozen the live timeline and, if it was interference, it should have come through both of them. It was a three syllable word spoken by a female voice.
It was the name of the daughter that I interviewed earlier that was being attacked. The woman was listening to this from our nerve center outside, and she validated the voice as her mother. We brought her in and took her to the room where her mother died. We unhooked one of the spirit boxes and took it into the room.
The woman said that she’s still unsure of how this is happening, so she had a code word with her mother before she died. We went into the room and did two spirit box sessions and weren’t getting any voices.
Then as we were doing the second spirit box session and were getting ready to end, an energy comes through the room. I feel this loving presence, she feels it as well, and so does Nick. It just hits us like a ton of bricks, but it was a comfortable feeling… the emotions were loving. At that time, a voice comes through the spirit box and says the woman’s code word.
The mother comes through and speaks the name of the city where they were supposed to go gambling the Saturday before she died. The woman is visually stunned and begins crying. It was her mother’s voice that spoke it crystal clear. This is the kind of evidence that’s changing the belief system in the afterlife and that’s how serious we are about what we do and the level we’re getting to right now.
I think that’s why Ghost Adventures has become so popular over the years. Skeptics used to just be able to shrug away a blurry photo, but you’re producing better results and you have better technology to do it.
Zak Bagans: We debunk our own stuff too. Skeptics don’t always understand that we’re on their side as well. We did an investigation at a train station, and brought a full blown skeptic with us. We thought we caught an apparition on video, and we could have just aired the supposed apparition and shown this skeptic who was blown away on camera. But, I called security, the restaurant, and proved that they stayed late last night and that it was a person. I didn’t have to do that, but called the skeptic the next day and said that we were able to debunk it.
While people think we capture all kinds of shit, we use the word “unexplained” a lot. “Unexplained” means that we have no explanation for it. It doesn’t mean that a ghost caused it. It just means that we were unable to prove it, but a lot of things we do capture are paranormal.
Technologically, you’re getting more advanced. Computers and programs are always getting better. Do you think that it’s going to take a handful of years or decades before you have something that the scientific community can embrace and test. Do you think it’s right on the horizon?
Zak Bagans: Yeah, I think it is. We live in the digital age. When conscious energy is in an infant’s body, it has to learn how to use the body. It’s your conscious energy giving signals to use your mouth, arms, and legs. I believe when that energy leaves the body after death it has to learn again how to make things move. The spirits that are stuck here need to learn how to use that energy to make things move and speak without having a body or vocal chords. I believe that technology is helping them to do this more easily, by using various forms of equipment and the frequencies.
The new equipment has different spectrums, including thermal, ultraviolet, infrared, and we’re even using the Kinect from an Xbox. These infrared lasers from the Kinect motion tracking system allowed us to capture an apparition with a skeptical electrical engineer present.
We experimented with the Kinect camera system with Bill Chapel, who is a renowned electrical engineer, scientist, and a skeptic. We were doing an investigation in Colorado and he set up his modified Kinect camera system. We captured a small apparition figure that appeared in a room, and it blew him away… it blew us away.
Aside from apparitions, you also focus on balls of light and energy. Can you tell me more about what you think they are?
Zak Bagans: I believe that apparitions and whatnot can also come through as visual anomalies and balls of light. We can use full 1080i full HD night vision camcorders now, which really help to differentiate between dust particles, bugs, and what we believe are visual anomalies having to do with spirits and the paranormal.
A lot of times, we’ll do spirit box sessions and feel that energy that make our hair stand up and give us goosebumps. I believe that energy is the conscious energy from spirits. When it is very super charged, when it manifests words through equipment or makes something move, it has somehow gathered enough energy in the environment to be able to do this without physical matter. When it does that, we believe there is a glow and that glow will come through infrared. We debunked it as not being a dust particle or bug. How do you explain on an 1080i night vision camcorder when all of the sudden I get a headache and a ball of light will slowly emerge out of my head? We don’t see one speck of dust for 60 minutes until that happens.
People are looking for fully clothed apparitions and what we’re trying to raise awareness in the community. Thinking all orbs are dust or bugs are a big mistake for paranormal investigators. I believe that many paranormal investigators try to make themselves credible by disproving actual evidence. While debunking is a very big part of our investigations, you need to make sure that you are just as good at debunking as calling things paranormal and not paranormal. That is the test of the true investigator… debunking correctly and being tuned into the spirit world.
I want to thank Zak for taking the time to talk with me recently and hope that Daily Dead readers enjoyed the special feature. We're going to try to publish more special features related to paranormal research, haunted attractions, and horror events, so let us know what you'd like to see. For more information on Ghost Adventures, visit: