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Unexplained Confidential: Ghost Hunters

Welcome back to a column that is the equivalent to being shot in the face at point blank range. The unHuman Resource Department at HorrorNews reached out and now we have 21 dysfunctional columns! What have you done? Every aspect of horror is being covered. No stone is left unturned.

Congratulations to my new co-workers … the freaks are loose. I’ve barricaded myself in my cubicle away from the madness but the footsteps are getting closer. I’ll start to shred the Joyhorror Files before it’s too late.

is an umbrella term that describes strange phenomena or unusual occurrences that are beyond the range of normal experience and scientific explanation. They include but are not limited to (ESP) Extra-Sensory Perception, Telepathy, Psychokinesis, Cryptozoology, Ghosts, (UFO) Unidentified Flying Objects, and the Bermuda Triangle.

* (ESP) Extra-Sensory Perception.
The ability to receive information or knowledge through a psychic connection without the aid of any of the 5 human senses (sight, hearing,smell,taste,&touch).

* Telepathy.
The ability to transfer mental thoughts, ideas, feelings, sensations, & images from one person to another without the aid of any of the 5 human senses listed above. This is also broken down into 1. Latent Telepathy which is a time-lag between transmission and receipt and 2. Precognitive Telepathy which is the ability to gain future information from an individual’s mind.

* Psychokinesis.
The ability to manipulate or move solid objects with only the mind without any physical contact. This is also know as Telekinesis.

* Cryptozoology.
The study of or the search of any unexplained species of animal that does not fall under traditional or contemporary zoological definition. The most common example of this is Bigfoot.

* Ghosts.
The spirit or soul of a deceased human that for some reason has stayed behind and not moved on to Heaven. These apparitions are usually encountered in familiar places that the human body occupied when it was alive. In rear cases, this can sometimes refer to non-human entities such as demons.

* (UFO) Unidentified Flying Object.
Something unrecognizable witnessed either hovering, floating, or flying in the sky. Research explains a percentage of these incidents as either military aircraft or weather balloons but those that remain unexplained are primarily thought to be extraterrestrial alien crafts from other worlds.

* The Bermuda Triangle.
A region of the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean in which an abnormally large amount of aircrafts and ships have disappeared for virtually no reason and with no trace left behind. These incidents are widely thought to be beyond the boundaries of human error or acts of nature but instead surmised as supernatural occurrences. This area is also known as The Devil’s Triangle.


We are going to raise the bar today with an interview w/ Greg Newkirk, the founder of Ghost Hunters Inc. and creator of the new online paranormal magazine titled “Who Forted?”

MJ : What is Who Forted?

GN : “Who Forted?” is a brand spankin’ new online magazine that we put together pretty much as a result of our complete distain for the kind of “paranormal media” that’s out there right now. That sounds a little harsh, but it should be. The problem we have is that there’s a load of outlets for media based solely on the paranormal, but 99% of them suck and simply pander to the same uninformed “reality tv” fan bases. I mean, there’s some great magazines out there like “FATE” and “The Fortean Times”, but not a whole lot of people have access to them (“Fortean Times” is a British publication). Unfortunately, what they do have access to are poorly produced, ridiculously overpriced magazines by the same reality tv “stars” that are less concerned with quality content as they are with making sure they monopolize the scene and make a buck.

So yeah, WF is our answer to big paranormal media. It’s a little rag-tag operation that affords people the opportunity to read about the paranormal from people actually involved in it, not just acting like they are in front of a camera or a microphone. We aren’t trying to sell books or movies or anything else, so there’s no real agenda other than to represent the scene in a manner that gets people thinking independently. It just goes to show that you don’t have to listen to sh*tty music to be a punk.

MJ : How long have you been involved in Ghost Hunters, Inc?

GN : Nick and I have been involved in the team since day one, before it actually had the name it does now. That was early 1998. Officially, under the moniker of GHI, since late fall of 1999. Milton has been with us since 2004, and Dana hopped on board early this year after a stint on the Canadian tv series “The Girly Ghost Hunters.” We’ve been around the block a time or two, which is surprising for our ages, we know. It all really happened by accident. One night we’re trying to scare a friend by sneaking out of our houses and meeting in a local cemetery, and the next thing you know we’ve been in the paranormal field for ten years.

MJ : Did you believe in the supernatural even before you became a ghost hunter?

GN : I’d say that it’s something along the lines of wanting to believe rather than actually blindly believing. Sure, I’ve gone through phases where I can look back and groan, asking myself why I believed one thing or other, but I think that the driving force for all of us is the fun in thinking that there might be something out there. If we already believed 100%, what would be the point of looking so hard in the first place? I think that to operate in this community and not fall victim to some of the crazier BS, you have to have a really strong anchor in common sense. Believe if you must, but don’t believe so hard that you refuse to think about alternatives.

MJ : Why do you think Ghost Hunting is so popular right now? Holy Slimmer, Did Ghostbusters have that much of an influence on kids in the 80’s ?

GN : I think that Ghostbusters absolutely played a hand in things. But we’re also a generation of people raised on the X-Files, Buffy, Scooby Doo, and the like. More recently, cable networks have figured out that shooting a bunch of people freaking out over noises in the dark is really cheap to produce, and surprisingly entertaining. So many people see “Joe Schmo” on tv hunting ghosts and they just go, “hey, I can do that.” People really enjoy paranormal entertainment, and I think we’re seeing a resurgence of the kind of spiritualism seen back in the early 40’s. People really go nuts for this stuff in times of crisis. Look around.

MJ : I have fond childhood memories of IN SEARCH OF… Bigfoot with Leonard Nimoy. Who in the group is the crazy Bigfoot hunter? How does one go about hunting Bigfoot?

GN : IN SEARCH OF.. was awesome. That crazy bigfoot hunting guy we hang out with? His name is Tim Holmes, and he runs the Elmira Bigfoot Watch in Elmira, NY. We found him on the internet several years back and realized that he was located just several miles away from us, so we had to go look him up. When we found his office we discovered this absolutely insane ex-merchant marine who had some major grudge against bigfoot. I mean, he hates the thing. He started telling us these wild stories about being abducted by aliens, fighting black bears with his bare hands, not to mention his lurid sexual escapades throughout the Phillipines. I remember just looking at the other guys in the group and we were all stunned. He was like a gift from God. We ended up shooting a documentary film with him (“GHI Vs. Bigfoot”), and we had so much fun hanging out with him that we just said screw it and had him join the team. So now we spend a lot of time with a barely lucid ex-merchant marine in his late 40’s. We can see how that’s a little strange, but hey, he’s got more team spirit than all the rest of us put together. That’s got to count for something.

Tim has his own ideas about how to hunt Bigfoot that I’m sure other “researchers” would be horrified to hear, and they generally involve high caliber rifles and grenades. One time he punched one too, I guess. That’s what he says anyway.

MJ : If you could indulge our readers with a scary tale , what is one of the memorable people, places, or things that you’ve ever encountered?

GN : Hrm.. well, we’ve all seen a lot of strange stuff over the years, but one thing takes the cake simply because five of us saw and experienced the same thing… and it’s on film.

Back in early 2003, we were wrapping up our final night of shooting for a documentary film (Ghost Hunters, Inc. Presents: The Graveyard Shift) that we were working on with NewGil Pictures, an indie production company out of Seattle. We had just attempted to shoot at this old cemetery deep in the mountains, but almost wrecked our van in the process, so we were pretty bummed out because we hadn’t really captured anything very compelling for the film. On the way back to the motel, we passed by this church that had a pretty rich history when it came to local legends, so in a last ditch effort we thought we’d go check it and burn the rest of the film up while we’re at it.
The place is a designated historical building that’s open to the public, but it’s only ever used for services once or twice a year as a novelty. After sitting around for a good half an hour, losing interest in what we were doing after a horrible evening, we started joking around and posing completely ridiculous scenarios to whatever entity was supposedly in the building. Well, the laughter didn’t last long as we noticed this thick, green, free-floating mist start to descent the spiral stairs from the pulpit. We looked over to our director, Robbie Newman, and he nods at us because he can see the whole thing happening through the camera’s viewfinder.

We fumble for a few moments, wondering what exactly is that we’re supposed to do (nothing like this had ever happened to us before), and we clumsily try to, well, “make contact” I guess, as cheesy as that sounds. So we start nervously talking to this mist, realizing how crazy it seemed, saying things like, “we just want to know why you’re here.” Stereotypical stuff like that.
All of a sudden the mist stops moving and we hear our director start gagging. We look over and he’s got the camera dropped to the ground, coughing and wheezing and frantically pointing at his throat. He manages to yelp, “we gotta get outta here,” so we drag him out the door and stand in the font lawn while he explains that he felt as though two hands were literally squeezing his throat closed, choking him.
We didn’t ghost hunt for six months after that. It really shook everyone up and made us all think a lot harder about what we were doing.

MJ : Do you think a movie has been made yet and really captures the truth about the paranormal?

GN : I wish. Can you imagine the kind of damage that could be done with a proton pack? Unfortunately, I think a lot of the movies that are trying to base themselves in reality kind of drop the ball because most of the time, it’s not really that exciting. Doesn’t really translate that well. Fortunately, I think that there’s actually some television that does a good job of capturing the truth. You just have to look further than Sci-Fi and A&E to find it. I’d really suggest that people invest in a region-free DVD player and look up two shows – “Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends” and “John Safran Vs. God”. They’re two of the best television shows that really get it right… but they’re British and Australian, so they aren’t easily accessible in the U.S. There’s that problem again. I can’t recommend those shows enough to people who want intelligent (and hilarious) looks at the real paranormal community. Great stuff.

MJ : What’s coming up next for Ghost Hunters, Inc. ?

GN : We’re hoping that 2009 is our best year to date. We’ve got so many things up our sleeves for this year that it’s going to be hard for it not to be. We’ve all been spread out around North America for a few years doing our own thing, but as of this summer we’re all going to be within a few hours of one another and plan on taking full advantage of it by hitting a lot of paranormal conventions and screening some of our films, promoting “Who Forted?”, and shooting a lot of footage for an online web-series that we’re working on called “WTF?!” We’re particularly excited about that last project, because we can’t wait to show people how much can be done without the backing of a big production company and that you don’t need to fake paranormal phenomena or dump tons of money into something to make a genuinely entertaining series. Keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks Greg! I just have one thing to say, I need to talk to this guy, Tim Holmes, about some of his Bigfoot adventures. They sounds 100% incredible. If you have any interesting Bigfoot sightings and anything that we’ve been covering, you can email me at joyhorror@msn.com or you can leave comments below.

Here’s a link to the IN SEARCH OF… Bigfoot episode which to date is still one of my favorite shows on the subject. I was a kid when this was originally on television and I think that’s the best time to find out about this kind of stuff. You’re young and your mind is open to new experiences and new ideas. You question, does this creature really exist? It didn’t hurt that Leonard Nimoy was the host either, as he just has this demeanor about him that makes you want to believe or at least makes you want to explore the possibilities. I think those of us who are still searching for Bigfoot, Yeti, or Sasquatch still look at the world with open eyes and a young heart. It’s when you grow up, that’s when you stop believing and that’s when you start dying. Who needs to worry about a car payment or a mortgage, when it’s much more fun to worry about getting abducted by aliens or getting haunted by ghosts. The key word here is… believe.


I have some IN SEARCH OF episodes in my favorites on YouTube.
You can check out my YouTube page at www.youtube.com/joyhorror

Later F’N’ Later,

Mike Joy



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