Brian- I am good, just fine. How are you?
I am good. Thanks.
There is a lot of fascinating information on your site NEVERSTOPSEARCHING.COM and #PARALOSOPHY which is an interesting concept. It makes you think. What can you tell us about #PARALOSOPHY and what exactly does it mean to you?
Brian- Well in the past fifteen years that I’ve been involved in the paranormal much of my focus has been on process. More of the how, how to do things, how to conduct an investigation, what equipment to use and when I first got started I was a skeptic. I was a hardcore skeptic.
I didn’t believe in anything, I had no system to rely on and it was my task to try to find the logical and reasonable explanation for the things that were happening. So that being said as I began to explore into it more, I figured equipment is the way to do it. I don’t think you can be in the paranormal for any length of time and not be affected and not go through different changes of perspectives so these days I am less concerned with the how and I’m more concerned with the why. Why do we do what we do? Why do we do it the way we do it? You watch TV and there are two dozen ghost investigation shows and there’s more coming out all the time!
Brian- They are really all the same. The only thing that changes are kind of the coverings. Okay, this time we have guys with beards and they’re investigators right! Now it’s this and now it’s that for TV, it’s the gimmick, what’s the gimmick! But the guts of it hasn’t changed and why is that? In the past since 2004, since “Ghost Hunters” came out and the paranormal really became a widespread thing we have yet to advance at all. I think it’s because we’re spinning our wheels and we’re so worried about how we are not asking about the why. That is why I coined the phrase #PARALOSOPHY, I combined the words paranormal and philosophy so #PARALOSOPHY, it’s something different.
The reason I did this is because I felt like I spent so much time focusing on the wrong things and if I could help investigators or if I could help people skip over some of those things that don’t matter, we could all get down the road together a little further, a little faster. The basic tenant of #PARALOSOPHY is I want everyone to slow down, slow down. Everyone is running around every weekend going to this place, going to that place. They are going oh look I got eighty EVP’s! Okay, that’s great but you know people do it for the thrill like a roller-coaster ride to get the thrill but nothing is being accomplished. So I want people to slow down and think about what they are doing. I want them to “think more and do less,” and really I can’t even take credit for that because I stole that from carpentry. That’s the “measure twice, cut once” mantra, so some people really need to start thinking about why they are doing the things they are doing. For example, why do we use EMF detectors? We don’t know because somewhere down the line somebody said that that’s what ghost are made of or that they disturb the EM field as they pass through it. We are no closer to hammering down a specific number or a set of values to where we could oh on our meters if there is a change of .12 to 105 that indicates a haunting. We don’t have that data and it makes me question are we measuring the right things? Are we going down the right path?
What are you going to with #PARALOSOPHY and are will you be lecturing more or teaching more? What do you want to see happen with this and would you ever go back to a TV show again? (I have a million questions, sorry Brian)
Brian- I’ve been on the road for years now. I’ve been doing conventions and I’ve been doing the circuit even before I was on “Haunted Collector” but only recently have I coined it and really come to this #PARALOSOPHY. I think I’ve been doing this for the past three years with this focus. Before that it was the method that was how to become a better investigator by process and I think that is still valid.
The overall arch of #PARALOSOPHY is don’t worry about how to do something until we consider the why and that’s what I’ve been pushing. Actually this past weekend I went to Chicago Ghost Con and it was my last convention for the year so I am done for year as far as traveling about. With the exception of the end of this month I have a couple of colleges that I’m lecturing at in the area. The colleges are more for entertainment because the kids want to hear scary stories so not so much paranormal education. I wish it was, I wish I could do that full-time. As far as TV shows, I don’t know. I feel that if it was a good opportunity, if there was something that was right I would do it but I know they are looking for a gimmick and I can’t give them that. I’ve had a lot of producers over the years go okay, listen to this we’re going to have this psychic and he’s a cabby by day but he’s a psychic so he helps people at night and you can be his tech guy! Yeah, noooo. I would follow John Zaffis (www.johnzaffis.com/ ) and be his tech guy any day of the week but if you are going to just pick up some guy or pick up some girl or whoever just to make a gimmick, I am not going to play the number two just to give legitimacy to the show. Sorry!
I know there are and were a lot of paranormal shows on but I feel like “Scared” and “Haunted Collector” did make a path for the other shows that came out. Do you ever feel that way?
Brian- Not exactly. There were a lot of shows already out by the time we hit. The big three were “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Adventures”, and “Paranormal State” – Those are the ones that were on. But all of those people all learned from John Zaffis so he preceded them in the actual work but they got to TV first and that’s fine, there’s not a problem with that. But the general public doesn’t really understand that or know that so when they see “Haunted Collector” they go oh this is a different gimmick but it’s not a gimmick at all. This is something that we do. If you take haunted items work out that’s only about 10 to 15 percent of what John does and what we do. John is a demonologist more often so he handles more of those cases off-camera.
In the time you have worked with John Zaffis, working with him what do you think the two of you have learned from one another?
Brian- Working with John is definitely an amazing thing. He’s a treasure trove of paranormal knowledge. He is the nephew of Ed Warren so he comes from a paranormal background. We now try to get as much of that past knowledge as possible. What I learned from John is to consider possibilities. He used to make fun of me because I am so analytical and often skeptical and because he’s been around it for so long and he’s got experience with it he takes a lot of those things at face value because he knows what to look for. Whereas I’ll be like, John I need a little more and he’ll just laugh. He’s like ah kiddo you would question it even if it was standing right in front of you and gave you its business card and yeah I probably would. But for myself I tend to be on the side of skepticism because the opposite of that is to be naïve and I definitely do not want to be that. So what John learned from me? I don’t know, that is something only he could really answer but I think as an observation, I think John can learn to not be set in his ways.
I have to ask you because you have been to so many different locations and you’ve done a lot of crazy things. Was there ever a time where you said, maybe I shouldn’t do this? What am I doing?
Brian- That was more “Scared on Staten Island”. The genesis of it was mainly urban exploration so we would go into these abandoned buildings and there’s practical dangers. Forget the supernatural, you’ve got to worry about rotting floors, roofs that could cave in on you, structural damage, there are exposed boards, splinters and nails that could puncture you and you’ve got to worry about tetanus and things like that. There are tunnels so you don’t know exactly what you’re walking through, you don’t know what’s down there. A lot of these old buildings have asbestos so I’ve had a lot of that go in my lungs. I am just waiting for the mesothelioma to start. In addition to the living concerns and we would encounter homeless people, we would encounter crack heads that would be living in these buildings. For us it was adventure and when people would watch our show they would write us and say Oh my God, I don’t how you guys can do this? Your crazy but I love watching it! We thought we would never do it so we went to places that you couldn’t and we showed you things that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. We enjoyed doing that.
I agree! You guys did a lot of amazing things and kicked ass doing them.
Brian- I think that’s why on “Haunted Collector” I kept getting sent into the dirty places. Under a house, into an attic, into a crawl space. I could never say nope, nope I don’t want to do that because John would be like, look you used to do that on your own time for free so get down there.
You have investigated so many different places. Is there any place that you haven’t investigated that you would still like to investigate?
Brian- There’s plenty of places that I haven’t been. Typically every October websites come out with top haunted places or these are the places you should go. There’s always a lot on those list that I haven’t been to but I think one place that I would love to check out but I doubt I’d ever be able to, is The White House.
That would be an interesting investigation!
Brian- The amount of history and the amount of things that go on there and all the secrets that are in those walls. Yeah, that would be amazing.
Now, I wanted to ask you about The Three Pillars game you created. How did that idea manifest for you?
Brian- I am a big gamer. I love playing games and I love the paranormal so I figured let me combine two of my interests. For those people in the paranormal hey, here is an introduction to games and it’s something they can understand and for gamers hey, here’s a little education about the paranormal so I could tie my two worlds together. It is called The Three Pillars because that’s how we formed our team. The Three Pillars are the psychic, the scientist and the skeptic. Three different viewpoints to make a whole well-rounded investigation and I don’t know I think we just called it The Three Pillars because we didn’t want to call it something generic like, Scary Ghost Game or Haunted Challenge!
It is truly unique and looks fun. You have history and information so it is fascinating.
Brian- We definitely took into account everything in the game is based on real people, real places so all the location cards all the cases are actual haunted locations that are out there that I’ve been to and that I’ve investigated. All of the pillar cards are actual investigators. You have your John Zaffis card, Rosemary Ellen Guiley card, Chip Coffey card. If you’re a friend of mine most likely I am going to put you in my game.
Tell us about Three Geek Senate because that is a very cool Podcast and lots of awesome up-to-date news.
Brian- I think I like things in 3’s, that’s a number that resonates with me. The Three Pillars, Three Geek Senate! A couple years ago, we have been doing this charity event for several years at Ohio State Prison, It’s the place where they filmed “The Shawshank Redemption”. Every year we all get together and we do this event but because we would stay the weekend we would rent this house locally and we would take over this whole house and we would all stay, have a party and have a good time. Paul Bradford from “Ghost Hunters International” and our friend Robert Bukszar we would always end up just talking about geek pop-culture. “Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, “Doctor Who” you know just things that have big fandoms and we would geek out, have a couple drinks, we would have great conversations.
We kept saying to ourselves you know what if we had just hit record on this it would have made a great Podcast so we have been saying this for years. I think it was last year when we got together at the house and this video is online, it’s called Three Geek Senate: Genesis – youtu.be/vWV7U880Jm0 we all decided to go on Facebook live simultaneously and it was chaos. There was a good eight of us broadcasting at the same time.
Theres really no narrative, it was just all of us talking to our people online. Trying to get viewers from the other guys who are doing this at the same time. I stitched it together because after that we said that’s kind of rare and the Three Geek Senate was born because we just kept riffing off of each other and there was a chemistry to it so and ROGUE ONE came out and we decided to make it official and we are going to hook up on Skype, we’re going to record this. This will be a thing. We enjoy doing it and we enjoy just being ourselves and letting other people who share in our fandom and actually Rob came up with the hashtag #GeekNerdery so that’s what we are peddling, we are peddling #GeekNerdery and we even posted our reaction video to the new “Star Wars: The Last Jedi-Trailer Reaction” (YouTube video youtu.be/P8oA7CxFtWM ) trailer that dropped last night. That’s on YouTube now. We have our Podcast, we’ve got our extras and we just have fun with it.
Has anyone ever inspired you professionally?
Brian- I think it’s a collective sum where it might not be one person per say but theres many people for many different reasons. Maybe one contributes a brick to the structure. I can’t single out any one person because so many people have been forthcoming and generous with time and information. I feel like I try to take what I can and take the best parts of everything and try to incorporate it into the way I live. My father would always tell me do your best if no one is watching. I always feel that’s really important especially in this age of social media where everyone is putting up everything to be seen and I am more reserved. I don’t post a lot, I don’t post everything unless it’s kind of something that is associated with my businesses. With personal things it’s like you know what sometimes it’s good just to do for the sake of doing it. Not for a reward, not for notoriety just be good, do good things.
Brian what would you want to say to the fans? Original, day one fans, new fans?
Brian- What do I want them to know? That’s a good question. I just think I want them to definitely be entertained by the things that I put out. I want them to have fun. I always try to sneak learning in as much as I can like with Three Pillars. There are facts on the card that has nothing to do with the game play but if you are interested in the paranormal there’s little facts here and there. I want people to be free to express themselves to be who they are and its okay if the person next to you is not exactly the same because they hold value and together everyone makes this tapestry if you will. This beautiful tapestry and everyone is different but all together we are one organism or one team. We all really are one but we express ourselves differently and I think it’s good to remember that.
I have to ask out of all the investigations that you have been on skeptic-wise and as the tech guy do you have a favorite investigation?
Brian- I am horrible when it comes to favorite questions because it usually depends on my mood. You know favorite movie, favorite artist, and favorite song. It is too many things to consider however I found that The Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, Pennsylvania is a site for me that I’ve discovered that I’m very ingrained in it. It’s a part of me as I am now a part of it. I’ve had scary experiences there, I’ve had profound experiences there, and I’ve had amazing experiences there. The Grand Midway episode of Scared was probably our greatest case.
It was the one and only time we’ve ever dealt with something demonic. We went back to The Grand Midway Hotel on “Haunted Collector” and we had experiences there then too. Shortly after that Chris Mancuso and I spent a week there and walked into the hotel and did something we called writer’s jail where the owner of the hotel was our warden and it was our task, our challenge to produce and write a complete screenplay in one week. If we didn’t do it we would not get released from “prison”. He went the full nine. We got there, we were in jumpsuits, we had chains on our legs and we were chained to the room. Our chains only went as far as the bathroom and we had yard time, a prison psychologist come in every day. It was really a production. It was kind of a crazy thing. That’s online somewhere too. Last year at The Grand Midway we painted the world’s largest Ouija board on the roof and that made into the Guinness Book of World Records. Things like that keep happening that pull me back to the Midway that associate me with the Midway. Even though I do favorites I feel because of my repeated association with it, it’s got to be the Midway.
Those all seem like good connections and it does seem like there is something good keeping you connected to it.
Brian- Yes absolutely.
I know you probably get asked this a zillion times but with the knowledge you have do you think you will ever write a book?
Brian- Yes I want to and I’ve wrestled with the idea. In college I was an English Major so originally that is what I thought I would be doing with my life but I have yet to produce one myself although I can text with perfect grammar. That being said my roadblock has always been well what is the book going to be about, what is the focus and while I look around at the paranormal field I see everybody spitting out books and spitting out these sixty page pamphlets. For me if I am going to write a book it’s going to be a proper book. I don’t even know what it will be about? I think I have to focus on that first so who knows maybe I have several books in me and they are just percolating.
They may just be ideas waiting to come out and you are a fascinating person who looks like you are constantly aware of the surroundings. Smart and logical and you have the knowledge to back it up.
Brian- Eventually and thank you.
Are there any upcoming events that you will be at that you can share?
Brian- Not at the moment. I stand down for the winter. I am going into semi-self-imposed retirement. It is very much like I’m Obi Wan Kenobi and I am going to disappear into the desert for a little while which might be good because maybe I will get that focus to do that book. We’ll see what happens. The only one thing I am doing in 2018 because I have stake in it is The New Jersey ParaUnity Expo in May.
For this there will be a lot of people going. I’ve been doing it for the past four years and this will be the fifth year. I took myself off the posters. I am not a guest per say but I am going to be having a paranormal museum there and this museum is going to be on history. So it’s not haunted items, oddities or weird things. So many investigators don’t know there forbearers. You say names like Harry Price and they don’t know who you are talking about unless you say Jason, Grant or Zak they don’t get it but there are so many people who have come before us. If you are going to do this you need to know who these cats are. I want this museum to be kind of a refresher course as you walk through you’ll look and you will see all these things that maybe you didn’t know. Of course there will be nods to modern stuff but it will be in chronological order so you are going to start back in the early days and it will take you through to the TV shows. I still have yet to plan it out and I am working with a budget to see what we can afford this first year as far as displays. But once again, education I want people to know this stuff.
Thank you so much Brian. I could ask you a million more questions but thank you for taking the time to speak with me for Horrornews.net
Brian- I appreciate that Janel. Thank you.
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