The Ghost Hunters International team - (back row: l-r) Paul Bradford, Britt Griffith, Joe Chin and Barry FitzGerald; (front row: l-r) Susan Slaughter and Kris Williams. Missing from photo - Scott Tepperman. Photo by Ailk Keplicz and copyright of The Syfy Channel.
ON Wednesday January 5th, 2011 @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST, Ghost Hunters International returns to The Syfy Channel with seven all new episodes. The show kicks off the New Year with Hamlet’s Castle (episode 220) in which the GHI team visits Denmark and Kronborg Castle, the Danish castle that inspired the setting for William Shakespeare's classic tragedy.
Built in 1420, Kronborg Castle was the inspiration for Elsinore – the legendary castle in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The Danish Paranormal Society explains to the investigators that figures are seen at the windows, screams and horses can be heard in the courtyard, a ghostly soldier can be seen walking the battlement and shadows move across the walls. Batteries drain, people feel like they are being watched and knocks can be heard in response to questions. This brand new episode will spook even the bravest of souls!
In addition to Hamlet's Castle in Denmark, new investigations also include Pidhirtsi Castle in Ukraine, the Huissen House of Horror in the Netherlands, the Trenches of Death in Belgium and the Petrovaradin Fortress in Serbia. Barry FitzGerald leads the GHI team of investigators, which includes newest member, Ghost Hunters' Kris Williams from TAPS and returning members Joe Chin, Paul Bradford, Susan Slaughter, Scott Tepperman and Britt Griffith. Last week, Barry FitzGerald and Kris Williams spoke with myself as well as other journalists about the upcoming season. The following is an edited version of that conversation. Enjoy!
Barry, could tell us a little bit about what it's been like to take over as lead investigator this season on GHI? And perhaps a little bit about the case you guys investigated in Denmark.
BARRY FITZGERALD - It's a big responsibility, of course, stepping up to the front. We have a fantastic team and we all work very, very well together. There's great communication as well as great camaraderie, and from what I understand, all that has come right through to the filming and the show itself. We're continuing to always think outside the box, and as a complete unit we're making fantastic shows and are having wonderful investigations
As for the episode that's coming up on the 5th of January at Hamlet's Castle, well, we stepped into that castle and it really is remarkable just in its sheer size. To really give it justice we'd need to be there for an entire month. However, what we did discover there was the first time that we've ever filmed this type of phenomenon for TV. So it was a thrilling experience for us to be able to do this and understand what truly was going on, which really does make for interesting viewing. I can't wait to see the episode myself, never mind everyone else. I arrive in the US on the 9th and I will make a point of watching the show along with the rest of the team.
Kris, how did your move to Ghost Hunters International sort of come about, and what are some of the differences working on GHI as opposed to the original Ghost Hunters?
KRIS WILLIAMS - Honestly, it was just an opportunity that was offered to me. I was asked if I wanted to make the move over, and I was completely excited about it. I've always loved history along with genealogy. I have over three years of traveling the States with Ghost Hunters, and now I'm going to see the world with GHI.
And it's just, it's been "insane." I've said this to Barry a few times, but there are places in the States where they say, "Oh, you know, we're going to investigate a castle." It's not a castle, though. It's a big house. Overseas when they say a castle, they're not kidding. The place in Denmark was massive, and when they said a dungeon, they weren't kidding. It was creepy. There was no light. It was just dark and stone and dirt. It's just a completely different world, and in a lot of ways, the history in the States just can't touch the history overseas.
Barry, you and Dustin Pari (Ghost Hunters/Ghost Hunters International) worked on a book that came out last year. Did you guys do a follow-up or is there a second book coming out at all?
BF - Funny you should ask. Yes there is another book just released about a week ago. It's called The Influence and it gives a more darker insight into the world of the paranormal.
Do you think that the Ouija board is a portal that spirits could use to try to come into this world?
BF - I see the board itself as simply being just a board. However, it's the way that it's used. Like a sword is just a sword, but it's the way that it's thrown that it can then become dangerous.
In a way, yes the board itself can open a portal, but certain protocols have to be met as well before that can happen. I do know of horror stories that have taken place because of the misuse of the Ouija board. But if you want to experience spirits, jump on a plane and come with us and we can show you.
Barry, you're from Ireland and I'm assuming that you were raised Catholic. I was raised Catholic. Given [the feature film] The Exorcist as well as spirits, saints and everything else, do you think the Catholics are just more receptive to the idea of the paranormal?
BF - Christianity as a whole identifies with spirits, and it seems to be that Catholicism is certainly more open to the idea, whereas, for example, within Protestantism and other religions there seems to be an element of fear with regard to spirits. I'm not quite sure that you want to deal with them [spirits], so it's best you don’t deal with them at all and leave them alone. However, both sides have got people that can deal with those types of things if anything should go wrong.
I think Ireland as a whole is a great island for storytelling and we love to pass along stories as well as be entertained and experience different types of things. But I think across the board we're all open to it. It's just how we perceive what it is that's going on around us. We live in surroundings where things are getting faster and faster and faster. We don't take the time now to walk in the countryside and see what's around us. That happens in Ireland, too, of course. The stories of fairies, ghosts and other things of that nature have begun to disappear, especially when the world around us started to move much faster. However, they haven't disappeared completely because even in the cities here in Ireland, both within the Catholic and Protestant community, there are stories still happening. Again, though, it comes down to how we perceive such things.
Do you think a malevolent or a paranormal spirit could actually get into your technology, like a phone or laptop?
BF - What we have seen is that there is a manipulation of the low-end DC EMF. So devices that are run by batteries and things like that can definitely be interfered with. They [spirits]can't drain batteries, though. We're now understanding that this is a different phenomenon all together. Equipment which is stimulated by the low-end EMF and the DC ranges are being affected, and from a biological aspect the human body also produces a weak DC EMF. So we should be looking for occurences there as well, but we have already begun to see manipulation of equipment within the DC ranges.
Are there any dream places out there that you haven't been to yet and that you'd like to visit and investigate?
BF - I have been pushing for a long time to see if we could get to the Titanic. I've often thought to myself, "What a perfect investigation," and, of course, it being built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that makes it close to my heart. I mean, 1,500 people went to the bottom of the ocean in that liner. We just have to go there. GHI has to do this.
Are you ready for a deep sea expedition, Kris?
KW - I'm up for whatever. I've always been game for whatever they throw at me. But as far as I'm concerned, I've always wanted to check out the Catacombs in France. They just seem creepy as hell. I can't even imagine investigating down there. Barry, did you guys do sections of it?
BF - Yes, we did some sub-sections of it. There are over seven million corpses down there, and the place is absolutely huge, with the tunnels running underneath Paris.
Barry, can you talk about the reason you wanted to investigate Hamlet's Castle, and what were you feeling before the investigation began?
BF - Well, of course, Hamlet's Castle itself was the inspiration for Shakespeare's whole ghost scenario and things like that. I'm looking at it from the ocean side where he would obviously have seen it. It truly is a haunting looking castle, and a fascinating place, too. There are many layers of history within its walls, and those layers start in the basement and make their way up to the upper floors. I would have liked to have spent more time at the castle, but, unfortunately, we're in a schedule, so we have to do the best that we can.
But it truly was an inspirational castle, and right up until the end of the Cold War it was being used to monitor Soviet movement back and forth in the Baltic. So, again, it really has a remarkable history.
What was the scariest part of Kronborg?
BF - I would have to say the basement itself. Those labyrinths of underground chambers just seemed to keep going on and on and on.
Kris, what's it been like to transfer from the TAPS [The Atlantic Paranormal Society] team in the US to GHI with Barry?
KW - You know, honestly, I was a little worried about going over just because I wasn’t sure how people would take to me jumping over there from Ghost Hunters. I'd worked with Barry several times and considered him a good friend, so that wasn't scary at all, and I do know a lot of the other team members over there, including Joe Chin, who I'd also worked with before. Again, though, I wasn't sure what peoples' reaction would be, but honestly we all just clicked. I was really surprised by it. We all get along quite well together and we all work really well together. It's funny, too, because we've all noticed that each group is kind of like each other's opposites. We all balance each other out really well, which has been kind of interesting to watch.
The other thing that I liked about going over to GHI with Barry was that he's just been at this for so long that I just felt like it would give me an opportunity to learn something new. I was just looking forward to that, and, of course, to the history. I was looking forward to experiencing different cultures and seeing if the haunts overseas were any different than those in the States. The history is just so wild over there, and every time I start work on a new case I'm learning something different, which I really enjoy.
As noted above, photo by Ailk Keplicz and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!