When things go bump in the night, most people shrink back in fear. Summerlin resident Zak Bagans is more apt to run toward the sound to determine its source.
Bagans, 37, is the lead investigator on “Ghost Adventures,” a reality series picked up by the Travel Channel for two more seasons. He’s also released his second book, “I am Haunted: Living Life Through the Dead.”
He said making a television show or documentary means being limited in how much you can convey, as there are constraints and production logistics.
“With a book,” he said, “I can really open my mind up and really let out parts of me and parts of my emotions and parts of my beliefs (attained) through my experiences, and I can get really, really deep.”
Besides being a fuller method for conveying information, a book is also less restrictive for him to create, he said. His iPhone, for example, afforded him the luxury of dictating parts for the book whenever he had time or inclination. That’s not an option when making a TV show or documentary.
His first book, “Dark World: Into the Shadows with the Lead Investigator of The Ghost Adventures Crew,” debuted at No. 18 on the New York Times Bestseller list in 2011.
“I am Haunted” focuses on his experiences with dark entities. It also takes readers to the Indiana “Demon House,” which he bought outright to have exclusive access to, for filming a documentary.
“We have done several books by authors that have had television shows, and it can either do wonders for the sales of the books or not much at all,” said Erich Krauss, president of Victory Belt Publishing Inc., publisher of both of Bagans’ books. “It all depends upon the connection the host/author has with his or her fans. In the case of Zak Bagans, he has created a constant link of communication with his fans through social media. He constantly keeps them updated and engaged. … By the time of the book’s release, his fans felt as though they were truly a part of his life and the project.”
Bagans’ book editor, Pam Mourouzis, faced a major but welcome shift by switching from health and fitness books to one focused on the paranormal. She said Bagans’ affinity for seeking answers to the paranormal fueled his writing.
“There are many authors that don’t have passion for what they do … and that’s not something you can hide in a book,” she said. “Zak is all passion, which you can tell with just a short conversation, and his constant quest to dig for answers and ask questions forces even the biggest nonbelievers to put down the book, think deeply and start asking questions of their own.”
Along with Bagans, the crew from “Ghost Adventures” is Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin. A Seattle couple claiming demonic activity came to their attention last year.
“They said that their Bibles were being lit on fire, and the demon was writing ‘666’ on his office walls,” Bagans said. “We’re there to investigate the people making the claims, too, because we don’t know if it’s true or not.”
Want to know how that investigation turned out? Tune in to “Ghost Adventures” —the episode is set to air in February.
Bagans said he’s a different person than he was when he first began documenting paranormal activity.
“I changed so much,” he said. “I think that the success of my show and the fame that comes with it, that hasn’t changed me at all. It’s my experiences that I’ve had with spirits and ghosts and demons that have (caused the change). … I can best describe it as this: we all have five senses, but I feel that my sixth sense had developed over the years of doing this. I’ve been overexposed to so much energy — not just ghosts and spirits but residual energy — overexposing myself to locations where bad things have happened and to levels of electro-geometric energy.”
Bagans said his experiences have caused him to have a solid faith in God and that he has witnessed holy water used to banish a demonic presence. At the same time, he said he’s more respectful toward entities who have yet to cross over. His abilities as an empath help him understand what the spirit is trying to convey, experiencing its emotions sometimes to the point where he has broken down and cried, he said.
“Those moments were so real to me,” he said. “This woman was asking me to help her … I felt like I was chosen for this.”
Demonic entities, however, get no such respect from him.
When “Ghost Adventures” is no longer airing, and he’s free to pursue whatever interests him, Bagans said he would like to “escape the noise of everything” and find an old town in which to settle down and maybe buy a historic home with a garden. But that doesn’t mean his ghost hunting days will be over.
“But being a paranormal investigator is in my blood, and after a while,” he said, “I’ll get bored, and it will call me to other locations. Because when I have those moments, it’s a rush.”
For more information on the books, visit zakbagans.com. For more information on “Ghost Adventures,” visit travelchannel.com/shows/ghost-adventures.
Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2949.