Tell me about the paranormal investigators of the Travel Channel show “Ghost Adventures.” Is that how they make their living?
—Judy Coburn, Hopkinsville, Kentucky
According to Zak Bagans, 35, the host and executive producer of “Ghost Adventures,” paranormal investigation is a full-time job for him, his co-executive producer Nick Groff, 32, and cameraman Aaron Goodwin, 36. Bagans says, “Live it, breathe it, be it. We wouldn’t have time to work another job if we wanted to.”
It was Groff who first became interested in the paranormal, resulting from what he calls a near-death experience following a fall from a tree in his family’s home in Salem, N.H., when he was 8 years old. Two years after the fall, which he says may have made him more receptive to the supernatural, he claims to have seen a ghostly black figure and his interest in the paranormal was set in motion.
Bagans’ interest in ghosts and things that go bump in the night was the result of an encounter with the spirit of a woman who allegedly haunted his former apartment building in Trenton, Mich. He and Groff met and realized they shared a common interest after they both moved to Las Vegas, Nev.
Bagans, who was a disbeliever until his first encounter, says it isn’t his job to convince other disbelievers. “That’s not why we’re doing this. We do this for our own sake. We were doing this before the TV show. It’s very important to understand that. We know there’s people out there that will not believe. If we do convince them through our evidence, then, hey, that’s great, join us now in the believing box.”
Groff and Bagans co-founded the Ghost Adventures Crew (GAC). Their first paranormal investigations as a team—they brought in Goodwin as their cameraman—took place all over Nevada, and the footage they captured led to an award-winning, nationally televised “Ghost Adventures” documentary, which was the impetus for the Travel Channel series.
Goodwin, who has to have a firm grip on his camera to get clear shots of the apparitions, admits he still sometimes gets scared but he feels that what he is doing helps answer the mystery of whether or not there is life after death.
“We were scared at first but now instead of running and screaming, we hold our ground,” he says. “We get spooked in the moment, but it sets in and it’s a sense of relief that, ‘Thank you for validating to me right now that you just gave me some type of closure for death. That you are using your energy to interact with me, the energy that was in your living body, you’re giving us validation right now of life after death.’”
Bagans and Goodwin still live in Las Vegas, Nev. Groff, his wife and daughter split their time between homes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.