Since its debut on Syfy channel in 2004, Ghost Hunters has captivated audiences around the world with its real-life, nuts and bolts approach to investigating paranormal activity. Later this year, the show will premiere its 10th season on Syfy. It promises to be one of the best seasons yet.
Samantha Hawes is the daughter of Jason Hawes, the founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), the organization profiled in Ghost Hunters. For Samantha, the paranormal has always been a fact of life.
Earlier this week, we sat down with Samantha to chat a bit about her experience growing up around the paranormal and being a part of the Ghost Hunters team.
ViralNova: Thanks for being with us today Samantha. For our readers who may not be familiar with you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?
Samantha Hawes: I am Samantha Hawes. I am 24, a mom, a historian, and a paranormal investigator.
VN: You got into paranormal investigating at a very young age, 4 years old I believe it was. What was that like growing up?
SH: It was certainly “different” from the textbook childhood. However, I don”t think how different it was actually hit me until junior high/high school when I learned that not all families spend their weekends conducting the same extracurricular activities as mine. I remember being very little and the very first TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) team would meet at a coffee shop on Friday nights. I would sit there with my ginger ale, obviously too young for coffee, listen in on where they planned to go that weekend, and watch as they all shared evidence from last week”s case. I looked forward to it every week.
VN: How often did you go on investigations with your dad?
He always conducted small investigations with me and my siblings. As we got older, we were given much more freedom to tag along and explore while we were on cases with him. We could even break away and conduct our own investigations. I am lucky enough now to investigate weekly, and even do some private investigations (not for television) on the weekends.
VN: Did you believe in ghosts and the paranormal right from the beginning?
SH: I did, however that may have a lot to do with never being told otherwise. As most know, children are said to be more susceptible to paranormal experiences because they have yet to develop any prejudice against what society may consider to be irrational or abnormal. As I grew up there was still nobody around that filtered what I was experiencing, which is wonderful. I was able to grow and make my own interpretations of the world and the energy around us. I”m very thankful for my parents supporting that.
VN: Was there a defining moment that solidified things for you and turned you into a believer?
SH: Certainly, seeing is believing. See below 😉
VN: What would you say was the scariest experience you”ve ever had during an investigation?
SH: About 8 years ago now, I was investigating a location which my father had been investigating the two nights prior. While inside, I heard my father talking to me from down the hall telling me to leave the building because it was not safe. He was sick in bed at the time so I was concerned as to why he would be where I was. When I got about a foot away from what I believed to be my father, “he” walked through a locked door that led to nowhere.
It was one of the few times that I felt truly uncomfortable during an investigation. I wasn”t scared and no I didn”t run. I simply thanked whatever was there for giving me the heads up that it was not safe and left. However, it always made me scratch my head that whatever was at the location knew me by name and knew that in order to get my attention it must mimic my father, as I had never been there before.
VN: What was it like watching the TAPS business grow into such a huge scale paranormal investigative practice?
SH: The first word that comes to mind? Insane. I don”t want to use the word “business,” because it makes it sound like my father and others were making money off of it. All investigations have been and always will be free, it was more of a venture I guess.
While TAPS was thriving before Pilgrim Studios came along, I certainly believe the show helped the field and our team specifically to grow. There was suddenly this huge following. There were autograph signings and conventions where thousands of people showed up to take pictures with people I just considered family. The best part of all of it, however, was the amount of people who were now comfortable talking about their own experiences, for the first time many people were hearing “No, you”re not crazy”.
VN: How did having TV cameras around influence the investigations?
SH: I don”t necessarily believe they did. We aren”t entering homes and buildings with a huge camera crew and lights on. We are in the complete dark, believe me I trip over everything. Teams of two investigators have one camera man, most of whom have been with the show for years, so they know the drill. They stand back and watch, no talking, no lights, no sounds. We do our job and usually forget they are even around. The camera guys come in handy as well, because they are usually a few feet away or sometimes on the opposite side of the room so when we hear something or think we saw something we not only have our handheld cameras/audio and whatever stationary we have set up, but we can grab their tape as well.
VN: For those who might be skeptical about ghosts and the paranormal, what evidence would you offer to them as proof?
SH: I wish I could make everyone a believer, only because I feel like living your life with your eyes shut to such wonder is boring. There is no evidence that I can share with everyone that nobody will dispute, that”s just the way it is.
However, there is an idea that I would love those who are on the fence about the paranormal to think about, as it is something I often tell people. I believe our bodies are nothing more than dispensable vessels. Bodies can be hurt, they become old and fragile, and they eventually give out. Your soul does not die, so where does it go? It moves on and finds another vessel to hold its energy or it may walk around aimlessly until it does.
It might be hard to fathom for some but one day I hope you have an experience that opens your eyes to all the things that are thriving around you that you can”t see right now.
VN: These days you”re attending the University of Rhode Island, studying education. Do you plan to keep paranormal investigation as a part of your life after graduation?
SH: Of course. There hasn”t been a day that the paranormal was not a part of my life. I”ve actually graduated from URI and cannot wait to pursue teaching. However, there will always be teaching positions. Chances are there won”t always be an opportunity for me to travel and explore amazing locations across the country on a weekly basis. However, even when the day comes that the show ends and we all move on (which doesn”t seem like it will be any time soon, we are still filming great episodes but let”s be honest everything ends), I will certainly keep exploring local cases.
VN: Is there anything else that you think our readers should know?
SH: We do receive tons of messages daily asking when the show is coming back and while we don”t have a definite date yet it will be later this year. We”ve filmed tons of episodes that have yet to air and we are still filming. There is no shortage of paranormal activity and some of our best evidence yet will be airing this year.
To stay up to date with Samantha, make sure to like her fan page on Facebook. To learn more about TAPS and the great work they do, head on over to their website. To stay up to date with the entire Ghost Hunters team, make sure to follow their show page on Syfy, and like them on Facebook.