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By Suzanne

Interview with Jason Hawes of "Ghost Hunters" on Syfy 8/28/12

NBC UNIVERSAL
Moderator: Maxine Shen
August 28, 2012
1:00 pm CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Syfy, Ghost Hunters conference call. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question and answer session. At that time, if you have a question, press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator, please press star 0.

As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Tuesday, August 28, 2012. I would now like to turn the conference over to Ms. Maxine Shen. Please go ahead maíam.

Maxine Shen: Okay. Hi, everybody and welcome to the Ghost Hunters conference call with Jason Hawes, Lead Investigator and founder of TAPS. Heís here today to talk about the mid-season return of Ghost Hunters, which continues its eight season on Wednesday, September 5. But, before he starts taking your questions, Jason has some news to share with you. Over to you Jason.

Jason Hawes: Hey, how is everybody. Iím happy you all joined us. Yes, this - well the new seasonís really going to be kicking off with a lot of great things. You know, I think youíre all going to realize we ended up brining in a new investigator, her nameís (Ashley). I think you guys will really enjoy seeing how she grows on the show and her interaction with the rest of the team and she - I think sheíll be appearing starting September 26.

But, some of the best cases I think that weíve had to date and some of the best evidence that weíve caught recently. I cant - of course, I canít get into too much but, itís just going to be - I honestly believe itís probably going to be one of the best seasons ever.

Maxine Shen: Okay. Great, thank you Jason. (Marcel), we are ready for your questions...

Operator: Fantastic...

Maxine Shen: ...for asking.

Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, once again if youíd like to register for a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. You will hear a three tone prompt to acknowledge your request. If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw your registration, please press the 1 followed by the 3. If you are using a speakerphone, please lift your headset before entering your request. And our first question comes from the line of Reg Seeton from TheDeadbolt.com. Please go ahead.

Reg Seeton: Hey, Jason. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Jason Hawes: Oh, thanks for coming on.

Reg Seeton: Cool. Well, heading into the season, how tough was it to adapt to the investigations without Grant. Can you touch on that just a little bit?

Jason Hawes: Honestly, it wasnít that tough at all because I still deal with Grant daily on other things and heís still there. He had to take a leave of absence from the show but, you know, weíre - our families are extremely tight and weíre like brothers.

And, for many years I investigated without Grant being there, you know, for many years of our friendship - Grant and while TAPS was still going, of course - still is - Grant left to go to Utah. He was gone for a couple years on that. So itís - of course itís a little odd not having a guy I refer to as my brother standing beside me all the time. But, you know, I think it wasnít an issue for me at all. And to be honest with you, the team, thereís just a new energy with the entire team. Everybodyís just so alive lately and yes, itís been interesting.

Operator: Thank you Jason. Our next question comes from the line of John Soltes from Hollywood Soapbox. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

John Soltes: All right, thanks for the time today Jason. Iím curious, you know, it seems like the upcoming season youíre going to be focusing in on some ghost stories down in the South. You know, why take this focus for the new season down there and can you kind of give a preview of some of the good things you guys find some of the bad things.
Jason Hawes: Some of the good or the bad things? Well, weíve had some wild investigations. We were actually able to investigate a zoo, which has been -you know, thatís tough enough if you think about it. You know, we were called in by an actual town that had called us in n the past to investigate some locations.

You know, and yes, we spent some time down in Charleston, South Carolina because theyíre such old areas and a lot of the areas we headed off to, they have such a history, some of these - in some of the - some insane history. One of the locations we had to do had the first so called female serial killer. But just to be able to get out there, hear these stories and to be able to investigate some of these locations, itís just - itís incredible.

Yes, itís - you know, that one actually - the one is was just talking about the first serial killer, some people who actually are on production ended up having a situation. I canít get in too many details but it led to a really interesting investigation.

Operator: Thank you and once again ladies and gentlemen, to queue up and/or to re-queue up for a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone.

Our next question comes from the line of Christiane Elin from Sci-Fi Vision. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Christiane Elin: Hi Jason, thanks for talking to me this morning.

Jason Hawes: Oh, thank you.

Christiane Elin: Well, my question for you is it - Iím sure, like, amazing Season 8 or an 8.5 now. And what do you think about the evolution of Ghost Hunters throughout the years?

Jason Hawes: Oh my gosh, I didnít think we were going to make it out of first season, so the fact that weíre at 8.5 is incredible. To see that this field has come so far that - a field that used to be laughed about and people felt that they had to whisper experiences that they were having, now they feel that they can openly discuss it, thatís just incredible.

Itís such a great feeling to know that we were a part of that movement to try to really get this field ahead. And also the amount of new people - new investigators - who have been stepping into the field just really shows that itís advancing, and itís becoming a respected area. So that does mean everything to us.

Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Kat Hobza from Sheknows.com. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Kat Hobza: Hey Jason, pleasure to visit with you today.

Jason Hawes: Thank you.

Kat Hobza: So, when you needed a new investigator, what criteria did you use? What are you looking for in a new team member?

Jason Hawes: Well, of course, when weíre looking for somebody new we want somebody who is not going to automatically believe that everything is a ghost or paranormal. We want somebody whoís willing to try to go that extra mile to figure out what might be truly creating the activity, whether itís electrical issues, plumbing, anything, over medicated, under medicated individuals.

But also beyond that, I need somebody who can mesh with the rest of the TAPS team because the main thing is weíre a big family. Steveís been with me for 20 plus years. Daveís been with us for years. Amy has been a friend for, you know, almost 10 years now, same with Britt. So - and K. J. was my nextdoor neighbor as a kid growing up.

So, we all get together. We all spend so much time, you know, doing this show but also hanging out outside the show that I just needed somebody who was going to fit in and be able to work well with the group. And that the group was going to be able to accept as a whole because bottom line, theyíre the ones who make the decision if somebody stays or if somebody goes.

Kat Hobza: Sure. And so, just real quick, I need your expertise. Iím getting ready to buy a house, so how can I tell if itís haunted without actually spending the night there?

Jason Hawes: Well, thing is, you could buy a house and not know that thereís something going on there for years. So thereís really no way to know. Over 80% of all claims can be disproved, so chances are youíre buying a house that doesnít have anything going on.

Operator: Thank you. And once again, ladies and gentlemen as a reminder, to register for a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4.

Our next question comes from the line of Chris Boyd from Hollywood Junket. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Chris Boyd: Hello Jason, thanks for taking some time to talk to us. I noticed that in this season you guys are looking into some different types of hauntings, for example, in the ďCape FearĒ episode. Is there any difference between looking for more like the typical ghost (unintelligible) looking for something like an elemental spirit?

Jason Hawes: Absolutely (unintelligible). When youíre looking for a typical ghost youíre able to a lot of times, if there is something actually there, and intelligent type haunt youíre able to make contact with it, youíre able to get these things to communicate back and for with you. When youíre dealing with what some believe to be an elemental type of activity youíre dealing with something that is purposely trying to avoid you but create fear in order to make you leave an area, to sort of push you out of these highly wooded areas that weíve now encroached into.

So, yes, now youíre trying to actually document something that youíre spending all this time trying to hide out in. Yes, itís a total different style of investigation. Also being outside and investigating cabins and stuff into all these areas, youíre dealing with animals, youíre dealing with insects and a lot of other contamination issues that come into play.

Operator: Thank you Jason. Our next question comes for the line of Erin Wolf from Paranormal Pop Culture. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Erin Wolf: Hi, Jason. How are you?

Jason Hawes: Hey, good. How are you?

Erin Wolf: Good. Good. So, now that Grant has left, do you see an end in sight for your involvement with the show and when do you think that would be? And do you think Ghost Hunters could continue without you?

Jason Hawes: You know, I donít - Iím never looking that far ahead to wonder when Iím leaving or if Iím leaving or anything of that nature. To be honest with you, every time I go to do a season, every time Iím requested to do another season, I sit down with my wife and children and itís a choice that we make as a family and I spend a lot of time at home. Even though it looks like Iím always on the road, Iím not. But, if my children come and say, you know what, dad we prefer you not to, well then I would walk away knowing that Iíd been able to bring it this far. But as of right now, my children love the fact that Iíve been doing this since even before they were born and, you know, to see how this has advanced.

I remember my oldest whoís 21, she used to come downstairs as a little kid and see Steve and me and Grant and everybody sitting around trying to figure out cases, so she sees how this whole thing has grown and how itís become this international thing now. So, yes, I will stay as long as my family wants me to stay. And if the show can survive without me, I think it could. I donít know, I guess that would have to be from the viewerís standpoint.

You know, I know that if I was to step back Steve, who is 100% adequate and able to could easily run what is going on. I donít know how we would feel about doing that on his own though. So, I donít know, time will tell. I guess youíll have to tune into the show and find out.

Operator: Thank you. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, it is the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone to register for a question. Our next question comes from the line of Karen Lambert from Ghost TV Blogs. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Karen Lambert: Hi Jason, welcome back. I have two questions. Will there be a Halloween special and will we be seeing Maddie again this season?

Jason Hawes: Okay, to start off with the Hallow special, I am not going to do a Halloween live show this year. Itís just - my twin sons are eight now, I spent a lot of these Halloweens away from them and I just - I want to spend time with the family on that day. Weíve always loved that holiday and I just - one thing I canít stand is getting picture texts to feel like Iím there, so Iím staying home with them this year. Iím going to celebrate it with them and go from there.

As for Maddie, yes, I actually just had Maddie on some cases we just did. I try to keep her somewhat to more local type cases just because the amount of travel. I donít want her sitting in the back seat of a car for two - three days while weíre driving out to these locations; it just takes a toll on her. So, but you will definitely see her on these cases.

Operator: Once again, thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Marc Eastman from areyouscreaming.com. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Marc Eastman: Hi Jason, itís good to talk to you.

Jason Hawes: Hey, thank you very much.

Marc Eastman: Iím actually supposed to tell you that my wife is your biggest fan. So, I have to get that out.

Jason Hawes: Oh, well, I think sheíd have a - sheíd have to go up against my 12-year-old daughter on that one then.

Marc Eastman: I wouldnít be surprised. The question I had actually is after so many doing the show and doing all these investigations and obviously having, Iím sure, way too many options to pick from, how do places make the cut? What does it take for some - for a place thatís trying to get you, you know, what tips it over the edge that youíd go to one place over another?

Jason Hawes: Okay. Well, the TAPS website last year alone received 96 million hits. We receive about a thousand to 1,500 emails a day with possible case requests. Honestly, out of those itís going to fall under are the people terrified. If they are, what type of activityís going on? Are there children involved because if thereís a child involved that jumps to the front of the list because thatís - Iím a father and the least thing I would want is for my children to be fearful, in their own home to feel threatened.

So, you know, of course, these things all - those are the main factors that will bring us to an area. Itís going to jump right to the front. But, also with residential cases, a lot of those cases either we do not - with absolutely no cameras there because the people donít want to be on camera or we just - we need to be cautious with a lot of those because sometimes those donít air. Thereís a lot of cases we do that never make air. So - but yes, anytime thereís a family and children and activity that is active at that point, we - weíll get there ASAP.

Operator: Thank you. And we have a follow up question from the line of John Soltes from Hollywood Soapbox. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

John Soltes: Ah, yes, thanks again. Iím curious, you know, looking back now at the TV series and, you know, itís been out for so many years, I mean, how has it changed your life? I mean, is it kind of night and day looking back seven years ago of, you know, are you - for example, are you still doing the daily plumbing and stuff, I mean, or do you get spotted a lot in public?

Jason Hawes: I definitely get spotted a lot in public. Itís, you know, the baldhead and goatee thing definitely puts - people are easy to recognize me. As for plumbing, yes - when Iím not full swing production, I go back to the norm. You know, Iíll go and Iíll price out jobs for Roto, still employed by them. Theyíve been a great company but also the understand that theyíre getting advertising while Iím on the road, so, you know, we scratch each otherís backs on that end. Theyíve always been a great company. I for them years before the show, so - and yes, to see - to honestly see how just incredible or how large this whole thing has become is just - itís wild. Weíve just been having a great time. Itís definitely - itís changed a lot.

You know, itís - but the nice thing is weíre going in with a camera crew, Iím going in with - when I go into a location, where a lot of other shows theyíre going in with a producer, a cameraman, a sound man, all these things, I donít.

I go in with just one cameraman and whoever Iím investigating with at the time and that cameramanís usually (Kendal), who is my main guy whoís been with me for years on the show so he knows to stay out of my way. But also, Iím able to take his tape, Iím able to take his audio and analyze that as well, so it also comes in handy that way having that crew there because I have more possible evidence that can be documented by a different camera and other audio.

Operator: Thank you. And once again, ladies and gentlemen, it is the 1 followed by the 4 to register for a question.

The next question, once again, is a follow up question from the line of Kat Hobza from sheknows.com. The line is open. Please go ahead.

Kat Hobza: Hey, Jason. Iím curious, is there a particular haunting our episode that sticks with you? And then also, how do you clear your head from this line of work and relax?

Jason Hawes: Yes, I think every case sticks with me because I look at it - cases Iím able to figure out are just as exciting as cases that actually have paranormal activity. So, of course, Waverly Hills, 63,000 people passed away there. Just walking through that building, you know, you feel - you could feel that. A lot of (unintelligible). Stanley Hotel, you know, but also personal cases. Weíve got two personal cases thatíll be coming up rather early in this season that are real - they hit close to home and so, of course, that stuff sticks with me.

As for clearing my head, I donít know, itís just Iíve been doing this so long Iím - itís second nature. Itís always there, even when I go home though itís always there. Itís - Iíll pull into my house sometimes after getting off a plane or driving back into town and all the lights are off in my house and all I see is flashlights. I walk in to find my two 8-year-old twin sons walking around with their 12-year-old sister investigating the house.

So itís such an imbedded part of my life and my familyís house that itís not like I ever have to clear my head because thereís always somebody involved in it. We also have my 17-year-old daughter Haily whoís on the show and also investigating off of the show with me as well. So, yes, everybody in my family seems to be involved with it.

Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Steve Eramo from Sci-Fi and TV Talk. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Steve Eramo: Hi Jason, a pleasure to speak with you today.

Jason Hawes: Hey, thank you, same.

Steve Eramo: Wanted to find out if maybe if could tell us, what continues to fuel your passion for this type of investigative work after all these years?

Jason Hawes: First off, itís still such an unknown field. You know, of course, Iím looking for answers in it and also trying to help out as many people as I can along the way. You know, and I donít know - and I sat there and I thought about this, surely, because I donít know if Iíll ever figure out these answers that Iím looking for that people are hoping Iím able to find for them. But if 100, 200, you know, 300 years from now somebody does and we even played the smallest little role in the foundation that led them to that, then thatís all that matters to me.

Itís just trying to figure this out and trying to be a part of that - of possibly what it is, and I think thatís really what fuels me and just trying to understand how these things are possibly because thereís so many - there appears to be so many different types of haunts. Weíve - over the years weíve found that, you know, you can have intelligent type haunts, you could have residually, you could poltergeist type haunts. But also, you can have intelligent type haunts that arenít like everything that weíve ever thought about these ghosts communicating back and forth. Now, for whatever reason, some of these intelligent type haunts are spirits that are still stuck in their time, theyíre still living a normal day in their life.

Well, how is that possible? How is it possible to have time that seems to be folding on itself and if so does that now lead into maybe thatís what a psychic or sensitive is? Somebody whoís still in their time but they are able to hear voices as these things are able to hear us. So, itís just - itís so interesting and thereís so many different layers that thatís just what keeps us going.

Operator: Thank you. And our next question, once again, is a follow up question from the line of Erin Wolf from Paranormal Pop Culture. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Erin Wolf: Okay. Jason, youíve researched a lot of great people, you always recommend reading up on the paranormal before investigating. Is there a new technique or a latest study or an author that you have explored or employed in this new season coming up?

Jason Hawes: You know, no. Honestly, there isnít. Iíve always tried to stray away from reading books from other paranormal investigators. And the main reason behind that is because I never wanted to follow in someone elseís footsteps, I sort of wanted to blaze my own trail, look at it my own way, be my own person.

And itís - initially when TAPS - when we came out with TAPS we - so many people used to attack us because we used to shoot down these orbs that everybody thought were spirit activity and everything else. And we were able to recreate all these things just by slapping pillows or, you know, taking pictures outside when it was high moisture times and things of that nature. So, it was just we always wanted to look at it our own way.

I know Steve was big on reading books by (Hahn Hosier), you know, other investigators like to read from other people. I just try to always stay away from that stuff.

Operator: Thank you. And as a final reminder, ladies and gentlemen it is, once again, a 1 followed by the 4 to register for a question.

And our next question is a follow up question from the line of Christiane Elin from SciFi Vision. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Christiane Eline: Hello again Jason. I had a question about technology. I know there different paranormal shows out there, do you have a limitations on what, like, the TAPS recognizes the technology they use or do you try new things? Will there be technology this season?

Jason Hawes: There will and actually Iím working with a company right now on an app that will be able to take any Android and iPhones and iPads and all that stuff and be able to work off of meters that are built into them. And canít get into too much detail on it but, Iím - I was actually just using a prototype of it the other day.

But thereís also a lot of equipment out there that becomes rather laughable that Iíve seen that I guess other people have brought into this field where, you know, these boxes that are generating voices, well the voices are words that are actually put in or programmed into these devices. So, you know, thereís a lot of things out there that I think are holding the field back and thereís a lot of technology out there dealing with infrasound and stuff like that that weíre really trying to bring to the forefront. So I think youíll be able to see a lot of newer stuff coming out from us and to other areas.

Operator: Thank you Jason. And our final question, once again, is a follow up question from the line of John Soltes from The Hollywood Soapbox. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

John Soltes: Thank again. Iím just curious, you know, you had talked a little bit about, you know, people, I guess, who believe and you kind of dispelled some of the evidence that they presented to you. I was looking - you know, what about the flipside of that equation, you know, people - do you ever have sort of naysayers, just people who donít believe in ghosts and they kind of, you know, I donít know, they give you a hard time or theyíre critics? I mean, do you - what do you sort of say - who - people just who donít believe in anything that appears on Ghost Hunters as far as, you know, the paranormal goes?

Jason Hawes: Honestly, I have dealt with people like that and itís pretty - because I donít get into an argument with them about this. Bottom line is, Iím not here to push my beliefs on them, I would appreciate the same. I think that, first off, every religion, every nationality, everybody out there has talked about something to deal with the spirit realm since the human race came around. So I think it would be naÔve to say that it didnít exist, let alone, we manipulate energy every time we turn on a hair dryer or a vacuum cleaner. To say the world hasnít been manipulating it since the start of time is just silly.

But like I said, Iím not here to try to force this as paranormal and I know it because of this reason down anybody throat. I just think that it would be best if those people stop being so close minded and instead of becoming full believer, hey thatís fine, meet us in the middle. Letís try to work this out together. Letís try to figure out - if you donít believe it to be paranormal fine, letís try to figure out what it is instead of casting stones at each other.

John Soltes: Okay.

Operator: Thank you. As a correction, now our final question comes from the line of Kat Hobza from sheknows.com. Your line is open. Please go ahead maíam.

Kat Hobza: Hey Jason, I was just curious, what do you love about your job, what do you not love about your job?

Jason Hawes: I love about my job is definitely problem solving, figuring out whatís truly going on, the people that Iím able to meet and interact with. And sometimes that can be the stuff that you really donít love about your job because you never know whose house youíre walking to.

Just like, Iím a plumber for Roto Rooter and Iíve walked through peopleís homes where you just know you have to get out, that theyíre not all there. It happens in this field as well where, you know, we had a case not too - a couple years back where we walked into a house and come to find out, this person had loaded weapons all through their house. It becomes a safety issues, you need to get out, you need to get away.

So, I think meeting new people, interacting, trying to figure out what their problems are, being a problem solver is one of the most interesting things. But also not knowing who youíre about to walk - whose home youíre about to walk into and who youíre about to deal with can be a pretty scary part as well.

Operator: And thank you Jason. It appears we have no further questions at this time. Ms. Shen, Iíll turn the call back over to you.

Maxine Shen: Okay. Well, thank you very much everyone who called in and Jason, thank you for chatting with us today. And just a reminder, Ghost Hunters returns of September 5 with the episode titled, ďSerial Killerís RevengeĒ. Itís the first of 14 new episodes, which takes us through to December. Great. Well, thank you again for calling and have a nice day everyone.

Jason Hawes: Thank you everybody, I appreciate you taking the time out. It means a lot to me.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines.

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