Got a weird noise in the middle of the night? Fear a harrowing haunting? Who you gonna call, especially during the Halloween season?
As an OG paranormal investigator and founder of the Atlantic Paranormal Society, Jason Hawes doesn’t sweat “things” that go bump in the night. “The living scare me more than a confused ghost who is just trying to get his or her message across,” the star of the Travel Channel’s new series “Ghost Nation” says.
“Let’s say you see the same spirit walking down your staircase at 4 p.m. each day,” Hawes poses. It’s a good news-bad news situation. Yes, your home is haunted. But look on the bright side,” he insists. “It might just be a ghost trying to communicate with you, so they follow the same path daily. It’s like watching a TV show that keeps repeating.”
“The ghost is just saying, ‘I want you to acknowledge me,’ ” Hawes says.
His series “Ghost Nation” revolves around Hawes and fellow ghost hunters responding to urgent calls about spirits who refuse to stay on their side.
Review-Journal: What does a ghost hunter consider a great Sunday?
Jason Hawes: Sunday is about watching my three boys, who are all on the same football team, work together and slaughter another team. I got one quarterback, one receiver and one tight end. My boys on that field on a beautiful fall Sunday makes me really happy.
What are the perks of dealing with strange things for a living?
It’s about helping families who need it the most. Everyone wants to feel safe in their own home. Personally, I love the investigations because we’re helping people who feel frightened. These people really need our assistance.
What is the first step if you think your house might be haunted?
Research your home and its history. Realize what you find can be really horrifying. Who lived there? Who died there? Did that person who died lay on the floor for a long time before they were discovered? Was it a violent death? Talk to past homeowners and do your historical research to find out what really happened in that house and not just the rumors. Dig! Information is empowerment.
If you suspect paranormal activity, should you go screaming the heck out of there?
No. All spirits are not bad. That’s the biggest misconception. If something happened to me today — if I had the choice — I wouldn’t pass over right away. I’d hang around. I’d want to keep an eye on my family. I’d be a nice spirit. Also, if someone died violently or tragically in your house and you feel they’re still haunting it, then perhaps that spirit is just confused or wants to tell us something. It doesn’t have to be scary. The spirit feels misunderstood and keeps repeating the information again and again, which explains the nightly haunting.
Should we all throw out our antiques because spirits can be attached to them?
The thing is, I own a lot of antiques. I own a lot of objects. Again, a recurring haunting is more likely to be attached to a rock in the foundation or even in the limestone of older homes. A professional can help you figure it out.
When was the first time you saw or felt something otherworldly?
I was around 19 when I had my first experience. I witnessed what I believed was an aberration in a home. It really ignited me wanting to understand what just happened. Back then, there wasn’t a lot of avenues to look for answers. People would show pictures of dust and claim it was a ghost. I wanted real answers.
How do our beloved relatives who have passed let us know that they’re still hanging around?
They can visit you in different ways. My father died of cancer and a stroke. Five or six days after we lost him, the door to a studio in my house suddenly slammed shut and I felt truly peaceful. I think it was my father getting my attention and then letting me know he was OK. Many people say that they’re visited by dead relatives in their dreams. It makes sense. We only use a quarter of our minds when we’re awake. It’s very possible that we’re more open to some visitations when we’re sleeping. I’m a firm believer that “they” come to us when we’re ready.
How haunted is a state like Nevada?
I’ve spent time in Nevada investigating residential homes near Vegas. Nevada is definitely haunted, especially in the old mining communities. People have reported seeing the light of lanterns, which could be the spirits of old miners. Think about it. Some of these mines were so dangerous and so many people died. Think about the workers at Boulder Dam who died. Some are probably still hanging around.
I know you can’t talk about what happened in specific Vegas homes because you sign confidentiality agreements, but what happens when you meet with homeowners in general? What can you do?
When people ask us to come into their homes, I tell them right off the bat, “I can’t make this thing leave. Anyone who tells you that they can is lying.” Most of the time, I’ll sit with the family at the dining room table. It’s a group effort. We might say, “This is our house. You are not welcome. You need to move on.” Again, most spirits are not there to be malicious. And remember you need to find what in the house that energy is attached to in order to remove it from the house. Remove it and often the activity stops.
Think Frank Sinatra could be haunting the Strip?
(Laughs.) The spirit of Sinatra haunting the Strip. That’s always possible because Vegas was such an important part of his life. The ghost of Howard Hughes is another one who lived an important part of his life in Vegas. I’m going to check into Howard hanging out around Vegas.
Ever get a call where someone says their house is haunted and there actually IS a reasonable explanation that has nothing to do with the spirit world?
A family in New England told me they heard noises in the middle of the night.
Specifically, every night around midnight the toilet would flush itself while the family was sleeping. They thought it might be a late uncle who was a plumber trying to reach out to them. Well, I’ve got a plumbing and electrical background, too, so when I went to their house, the first thing I asked to see was the actual toilet. Then I asked them the question: When is the last time this toilet is used at night by one of you? They said around 11:30 p.m. before the last person went to bed. I took a look and said, ‘It’s the flapper valve.’ Within half an hour – after that last use – the flapper valve would malfunction and the toilet would flush itself. It was a three-dollar fix. The sad thing is this family wanted it to be their uncle!