Back in June, I was given the chance to talk with Jason Hawes, founder of T.A.P.S. (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) about his life in the paranormal and parenting worlds. Now, in celebration of the 10th season of Ghost Hunters airing this month, I’d like to share with you the second half of that interview, where Jason gives some behind the scenes knowledge about the show and things he has experienced.
GeekMom: How long does the average episode take from researching the case to end credits? What kind of research goes into each case prior to filming?
Jason Hawes: Cases can take a long time. We’ve had some “not on TV” that have lasted months.
Cases for the show take about two weeks to film. Then the editing process can take a few months to put it together. For every hour we film there are 4-5 production cameras rolling. So every hour equals 4-5 hours of footage for the editors.
The way the show is edited does make it look like we are in a location for a couple hours and then done. That is not the fact. We investigated the Stanley Hotel for five days, but you can’t tell that when watching the show. In infrared, all our shirts look the same color, so most of the time people can’t tell that we are in a different outfit from shot to shot.
We try not to research anything about a location until after the investigation and then see if our evidence matches or connects with any history or claims of the location. Doing things this way allows us not to contaminate ourselves.
Think of it like this: If we researched prior and found that a young boy by the name of Timmy died in a back room in a location, then we may automatically assume anything we catch is related to that boy. Instead, we go in with a clear head and see what, if anything, is in the location.
GM: What do you think about how the paranormal is depicted on TV in shows like Supernatural and in the movies?
JH: I have no issue with it. People are going to find some things they like and dislike about any show. The fact that it helps people connect to the paranormal is the most important thing. Just like with the other shows that have come and gone, everyone has their own style, their own method. It’s truly what helps propel this field.
GM: What kind of tech do you take on the average case?
JH: I always take digital voice recorders, camcorders, thermal, and EMF meters.
GM: If you were stranded in a haunted house, what one piece of equipment (other than a flashlight) could you not live without?
JH: My common sense. Lots of times things are not always as they are perceived. Anyone can carry equipment, but if they don’t have enough common sense to be willing to truly look for an explanation then there isn’t any piece of equipment out there that will assist them in finding the truth.
GM: Is there anything about the upcoming season that you are particularly excited about?
JH: First, hanging with my oldest daughter Samantha. I’m so proud of the woman and the mother she has become in her life. Secondly, seeing how far Steve Gonsalves has stepped up since Grant’s departure. Most don’t realize I have known Steve longer then I’ve known Grant. We’ve been friends for over 20 years. I have pictures of him playing with my daughters Samantha and Haily when they were babies. We have had some incredible cases this season. Some unbelievable evidence as well. I’m very excited about it being viewed.
GM: How does the film crew react while filming? Do they ever get freaked out?
JH: We have had production crew members quit the show after seeing things that they can’t explain or having a startling experience. They signed on to be production members, most are far from ready to encounter a ghost or spirit.
GM: Have you ever had an investigation where something happened that was too personal or private for TV?
JH: I did. We did a case in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. While there I was given a reading by a sensitive “psychic.” Now, I felt he wouldn’t get anything so I was okay with it. He started really hitting points in my life that no one had ever brought up and I have always kept private. I had to cut the reading short.
GM: What are you doing behind the scenes when the rest of the team is looking over the evidence?
JH: Sleeping in the truck. LOL. No, Seriously I go over evidence as well. They just don’t ever show it. Most of the time because I take the evidence home with me and analyze it there. I keep the cameras away from my home and children for their safety.
GM: How do you handle situations when you’re on an investigation and find that the owners have rigged it to mess with you or trip you up?
JH: I show it. I figure it this way: You want to be famous, then okay. It may not be how you wanted to be famous, but you made the decision. Also, the fans and other investigators who have supported us need to know what we sometimes have to deal with.
GM: My husband wants to know if you ever plan on going to the lighthouse in St. Augustine again and if so, do you have room in your truck to bring him along?
Jason: As long as he’s willing to help setup, break down and climb 200 stairs numerous times. LOL.
Make sure to tune in when Ghost Hunters returns to SyFy on August 26th at 9/8 Central.