Take a minute to imagine you are wandering around a darkened house at 3 in the morning. With walls that tower over you and whispers that dance behind your every step. Each corner grows darker than the next, suddenly you are greeted with a loud bang in the distance. Your eyes widen as you attempt to discover the cause of the sound, but there’s nothing. At that moment, it hits you, “What the hell am I doing here?”
While many of us would never put ourselves in this situation, there are some that willingly run towards the bumps in the night. Some do it for the excitement, some do it for science, and others, like Grant Wilson, do it to help those who fall victim to the unknown scares that haunt their daily lives.
“My goal has always been to help people try to understand what’s happening in their house. 80% of the time you can disprove what’s going on there.” -Grant Wilson
I got the chance to sit down with Grant Wilson, who many of us know from the hit show Ghost Hunters. He and his buddy Jason Hawes would go house to fort to hotel to lighthouse in search of the truth. The show may have been called Ghost Hunters but the fans know that their real job was to debunk the situations being presented to them. Grant spoke about his focus when working on a case, expressing how the search for ghosts isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially in the beginning. As with any project, the more you practice the easier it gets. He went on to say, “People who are too anxious to find an entity or evidence of the paranormal are going to start to find it where it isn’t. So, if you make your goal to help people by finding the truth, you’re just as satisfied if you see what could be a ghost or bad plumbing.” For those who jump the gun at every sound they hear or every orb they take a picture of at a location that is considered haunted, Grant reminds us to ask ourselves, “What are we really finding?”
While Grant no longer investigates on television…
Let’s all just take a moment to shed a tear for that…
There is no need to be too sad because he is still investigating the paranormal, just not on camera. He focuses on working with groups or helping those who have nowhere else to turn. Utilizing his unique outlook on the paranormal, he continues investigating because he knows that without experience in this field, you can’t be taken as seriously and can’t be considered an expert.
I got the chance to meet Grant at a local event where many gathered to search for spirits. It was interesting to hear that he wasn’t there to search for ghosts but there to help the other investigators. He wanted to be there to help them learn how to do it, he stated, “When I do events, I want people to investigate the way they want to investigate, because investigating with me at an event is not what you’re expecting. People just want to pick my brain, so I make myself available.”
With a world full of history and so many haunted locations to discover, it’s easy to imagine the many places a ghost hunter might dream of going. Grant joked about his dream location saying, “The Haunted Mansion at Disney, I think I could debunk that one.” While many other investigators would jump at the opportunity to search an old prison or a creepy abandoned building, Grant isn’t your typical ghost hunter. Being someone who is all about the people, he stays true to his heart and says he would rather help families in need than to investigate a place like Dracula’s castle. He stated, “Ideally, I just like helping people in their homes. The places I want to investigate are just the families that are having a hard time.” Grant’s drive to help people comes from a place of experience. Since the young age of fifteen, he has been dealing with unknown paranormal experiences on a daily basis. In his search to uncover what he was dealing with, he found many who were scared and confused about what was going on in their lives. He took that opportunity to find a way to help them while immersing himself into the paranormal, which is how it all started.
The show Ghost Hunters started out showing two average Joes going from their day job at Roto-Rooter to their evening gig as paranormal investigators. Many of us were in awe over the fact that these two guys were using the knowledge they gained from their day job to help those who believed they were trapped in haunted homes. It was impressive but what stood out more was how neither of them liked to use the word “haunted” unless they knew for sure. Therefore, hearing them say it was cause for celebration. However, let’s remember people, this was a television show and we all know, “Don’t believe everything you see on TV!” So, how are we to believe they didn’t fake the bumps in the night or the apparitions we all saw? Grant spoke out about things being staged on Ghost Hunters, “In our contract, when we signed the show, we had it in there that they were not going to pressure us to find anything paranormal.” He went on to explain that he refused to sign any contract if he was expected to produce paranormal activity. Grant stated that Craig Piligian (owner of Pilgrim Studios) shot back with, “I think you guys are interesting enough that if you never find anything, it’ll still be a good show.” It was even in their contract that if they found anyone faking or tampering with evidence, they could fire them. He went on to say, “No one on my crew would ever sacrifice or risk sacrificing their credibility for the show because credibility is all you have in this industry.” However, there are somethings that are out of our hands, no matter what the contract says.
After the show hired on a new director, the crew was forced to deal with a situation that could have thrown away everything they worked so hard for. With a show that takes patience to film, a new crew member is bound to get a little restless. While Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango where investigating in the woods, the new director was ready to get the action going and threw a rock to create a jump sound. Thankfully, a camera operator spotted it and immediately spoke to Grant and Jason. The excited director was then placed on probation requiring him to sit in the car during filming but in the end, he was fired for the sake of the show. This situation shows just how trustworthy the crew of Ghost Hunters are and let’s face it, makes the ghosts we’ve seen and heard on the show that much scarier.
Over the years, we all grew to love the Ghost Hunters crew (Grant Wilson, Jason Hawes, Dave Tango, Steve Gonsalves, Kris Williams, Amy Bruni, Donna LaCroix, Britt Griffin, Adam Berry, and so many more) like they were part of our own family but then they slowly started to disappear, leaving us with no show at all but what happened? Grant talked about how the long hours just wasn’t worth the time away from his family, “The show takes two weeks to film one episode and they want twenty-six episodes a year. If you want time for Thanks Giving and Christmas, you got to bust your butt! Eight years of that was a little rough. I have a wife and three boys, which I love very much and they were growing up fast.” He went on to say how he and his family love Halloween but as we all know there was a live Halloween special each year. So, while we as fans were thrilled to watch the live ghost hunt every year, none of us ever thought about how it was pulling him and the rest of the crew away from their families. But it wasn’t just the time away from his family that made him stop filming, he was constantly on the road which meant that the food wasn’t the best, living space was small, and sleep was just a memory. He stated, “It took me about a year and a half to start getting on a sleep schedule when I stopped filming.” The show was really taking a toll on him and he could see it was taking a toll on everyone involved. His goal was to raise awareness and acceptance of the field and he felt that by the time they made it to season five, he did it. However, he kept pushing himself to see how far they could go but it was when he was asked to sign for season nine that he finally said, no. His family was always very supportive of him being on the show but he felt it was time to put them first.
Keep in mind, while the intensity of the show pushed Grant out of the mix, it never pushed him out of the paranormal field. Even though he and Jason don’t work together anymore, due to location change, Grant is still willing to help those families in need.
He talked about how guest starring on another show is never out of the questions for him, stating that while he would be willing to guest star on Kindred Spirits (ghost hunting show hosted by Amy Bruni and Adam Berry) but, “I’m kind of glad they haven’t asked me because they are just kicking butt on their own!” He went on to say, “I love them to death and I love the way they investigate. They investigate in a style that’s closer to the way I investigate… more client based. I’m super proud of them.” Grant then spoke about how he has at least a dozen other show ideas that are still in the works, “Our fan base is smart and educated and they’re hungry for more.” He is looking to find new ways to present paranormal television, explaining that we’ve evolved passed watching people run around in the dark and it’s time for the next level. He seems to keep the logical mindset in all his activities and it pays off for the fans as we are going to continue to get more events, books, and shows with us in mind.
When it comes to True Fear, his logic plays a major role in that as well. While most of us have the illogical fear of a demon attack, a clown attack, or even our dolls coming to life at night and attacking us in our sleep and our family not knowing about it until the morning when they wake you up for waffles and you can’t get waffles because you were just killed by a demon clown doll! Sorry… Let’s just move on. What scares a ghost hunter that looks fear in the face on a normal basis? People. He has parent fears, losing his kids at a theme park. He has artist fears, losing his hands and not being able to draw, write, or play piano anymore. However, he said that people are what scare him the most, “When it comes to investigating, the biggest fear I have are the living people. They are far more insane and dangerous than any entity ever has been, even the negative ones.” He goes on to explain that there was a town of people in a cult together who chased them out of town. It’s the twisted people, with the ability to know right from wrong, and fully choose wrong, that scare him the most.
Outside of hunting down ghost, Grant is much more than some may expect. He creates board games, he draws, he writes, and he is a musician. “It sounds like I do a lot of different things but it all kind of fits into one basket, I love to create.” With all this going on, it may seem like he has no time in his day but he does find the time because he sees it all as one thing, creating. It’s beautiful because while others would get overwhelmed looking at everything he does, he sees it as his happy place, “It’s what I do to relax.” Want to know how you can get more done like Grant, put the remote controller down. He stated that one major reason he can get so much done is that he doesn’t watch T.V.
Grant shared some advice with those wanting to get starting in the fields that he is in: “This is the day and age to be your own man. It’s so easy to make music and get it out there. It’s so easy to make art and get it out there or write a book and get it out there. It’s certainly easy to be an investigator of the paranormal and get it out there. Everything all shares one common denominator and that is passion. You have to have a passion for it and you have to have a general sense of good. A want to do something that betters this world. Volume helps. The more pictures you paint the more you’re going to be seen. The more books your write the more you’re going to be heard. The more cases you investigate the more you’re going to be trusted.”
What can we all look forward to from Grant Wilson:
PARACON 2017 – October 13-14 – Mahnomen
Paranormal Event with Amy Bruni and Adam Berry – October 20-23 – Mackinac Island
Working on a few paranormal books in the works
Working on new music, including a Christmas album
Grant Wilson’s Favorite Horror Movies:
House of 1000 Corpses