Interview With Ghost Hunters Inernational’s Dustin Pari and Barry FitzGerald
by Laura Tucker
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I, along with everyone else, watch shows such as the Ghost Hunters franchise and Paranormal State, and wonder how these teams can actually go … and stay … in these places that are supposedly haunted. I can’t even go in the pretend haunted houses on Halloween. I wouldn’t be walking into these places in the first place, and if I did, once one item moved, I heard one floor board creek, one chain clanking, one object being thrown, one very inaudible voice, I’d be out of there in a flash. Because of that, I was very interested in participating in the following conference call with Dustin Pari and Barry FitzGerald of Ghost Hunters International.
The first obvious question is what does it take to spook these guys? Barry points to mannequins, as they “truly frighten the living hell plain out of me.” To have a dummy leaning against somewhere where it wasn’t before, frightens him. In the episode airing on January 13, there are death images that brought everyone back to the Victorian times, when people were propped up with different items around them in photographs. Barry was taking pictures of these, and in a dark room with only the autofocus of his camera as lighting, he turned around to find a small dummy of a child leaning against the wall. He says he screamed louder than Brandy Green ever could.
As far as the everyday things that can scare us, such as a power outage or going into a dark basement, Barry’s okay with that. Yet the research that he does that makes him connect to different things is what scares him. Dustin admits to being a thrill seeker, being in this field even before the TV show came along, so he would also do demolition derbies and skydiving to experience that rush. Flying across the world so often does scare him, as because of all the problems out there, he feels like he’s “kind of playing the lottery every time.”
Sometimes the team goes into locations where famous people had stayed, such as last week in the Viena Hotel that was rumored to house Hitler after exile. Dustin says they do their research and try to then use that knowledge to direct their EDP questioning. They want to find things to say to question the spirits that will elicit a response, rather than just throw stock questions out there. They want to connect emotionally, so that the spirit will then feel compelled to come forward and respond.
Barry and Dustin both volunteered their own paranormal experiences from their childhood. Barry notes most people who get involved with this type of thing do have experiences as children. There was certain phenomenon surrounding the property he grew up on back in Ireland, but his parents never told their kids about it, not wanting to scare them. Yet, they still experienced it anyway. Barry saw a figure coming up the stairs in the middle of the night, and only years later did he tell his parents about it. There were other things that happened there as well, things that “still plague my dreams.” The last family that lived there, he notes, only lasted a month.
Dustin went ahead with his experience, even though he didn’t think his storytelling could match that of “the Irishman.” He was living in a house in Providence, RI when he was 8 or 9 and woke up during the night to see a shadowy figure standing in the doorway to his bedroom. While investigating ghosts, he’s seen similar things. He notes these figures are elusive and move very quickly. It was that experience that got him interested in the paranormal and has become somewhat of a spiritual quest.
Because of these experiences being recounted, it made me think of my own kids having similar experiences with people who had recently passed away. I asked why it was that younger people seem more apt to see these things. Barry noted that he and Dustin wrote about it in their last book, The Complete Approach. It seems it’s actually a biological response. There’s a filter that thickens over the eyes, and as we age into young adults, the filter thickens up and develops more fully, not allowing us to see into the light spectrum. It’s one of the reasons the full spectrum camera was developed, to open up what we once could see as children.
This week on the show they’re in Argentina at the Eden Park Hotel. Dustin explained that one of the stories is of a young child who passed away on the property, and those types of things always plays with their heartstrings, when you “hear of a child passing over.” One thing they do differently in the case of a child spirit is to get down lower on the floor, just like how you talk to a child in this life. Barry points out it’s also very tough, as you have to be sure that’s truly what you’re dealing with, otherwise you’ll get “whacked.”
Dealing with skeptics is another hazard of their occupation. Barry figures no matter how irrefutable the evidence is, there will always be the hard-line skeptics that you can’t convince. Dustin notes that’s good to question everything, as they approach it skeptically as well and try to find alternative explanations for what they experience. Yet, he hopes to be able to show and prove that there is something after this life. He thinks it’s easy for people to forget that, as in this society we’ve become very self-centered, yet he hopes by proving to people there is another life after this one, that maybe everyone will start being a little more considerate of others, as you don’t know what we’ll encounter in our afterlife.
I also wondered about their locations. At the Hotel Viena it was noted that the location had more mystery than others. I wondered if there were other places that would be even more of an ultimate for the team, or if Viena was the be all end all. Dustin felt there were plenty more places for them to investigate. Viena was a fantastic case from conspiracy theories to the paranormal, but there’s more out there. He’d personally like to get over to Greece, as it has great history with talking spirits and spiritual activity. They’d like to go to Russia, but the permits there can be extremely expensive.
Us fans of the show know that there isn’t much scarier than castles and prisons, but which is scarier? Dustin has to go with prisons, saying they always make him a little on edge when he walks those long hallways with the open darkened cells. He admits here that he doesn’t even like to watch horror movies, because of the things that pop out at him, which he realizes is silly considering he’s a ghost hunter.
It was at a prison in Latvia where Dustin encountered the most convincing evidence, a voice came through that was like the muddied voice of a woman speaking in Latvian for about seven or eight seconds. Every piece of their equipment captured it. It was very emotional, as there was something in her tone that was very touching. For Barry it was a photograph that was taken down in Australia which is coming up on a future show. He’s tried to explain it with science, but can’t.
I think it’s this different look that the Ghost Hunters take in looking at the paranormal that makes it so fascinating. They have experienced things that make them questions it, just as we have, and they try everything to debunk it, but sometimes can’t. They go in there to see all these things firsthand and experience them when we either don’t have the means, or frankly are too frightened. I’m not sure if these things are ghosts, angels, or whatever, but there is definitely something out there.
Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, provides reviews at Viewpoints, and provides entertainment news pieces at Gather. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.
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