Just in time for Father’s Day, I was given the opportunity to interview Jason Hawes, father, founding member of T.A.P.S (The Atlanta Paranormal Society), and one of the stars of SyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters television series. My husband and I are huge fans of the show and I couldn’t have been more excited to ask Jason a few questions about his life in the parenting and paranormal worlds.
GeekMom: First of all, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to answer a few questions for me. My husband and I are longtime fans and your show is the only paranormal of anything I can watch on TV and not get freaked out.
Jason Hawes: That’s great to hear. To be honest, I’ve been to your blog site many times in the past. I like your science section! The only thing that makes the paranormal scary is Hollywood. Well, that and the fact you could see someone in your home or another location just walk through a wall. LOL.
GM: What tips do you have for parents with children that are afraid of the paranormal?
JH: My children have grown up watching what I do and have watched me on how I handle things. They have learned that there is always an explanation, a reason, a story, behind what may be going on.
Children tend to get their fears from their parents or from their own life’s lessons. My kids are not scared of the paranormal because they have never been taught that they should fear it. I do handle many cases “off air” for law enforcement, religious organizations, etc., that I keep private from them for now and I wouldn’t want them to deal with at this time in their lives or in the future for safety concerns.
Eventually, I will teach them and show them all that I have to teach. I will make it enjoyable and about mystery instead of fear. Some may carry on with what I’ve done, some may choose other paths in life. All that will matter to me at the end is how they saw me while I lived, remember our time together when I’m gone, and the love my wife and I showed them throughout our time together.
GM: What is the scariest thing that you have experienced either on the job or as a parent and how did you overcome it?
JH: Being with my wife during her ultrasound when they told us we were having twin sons. LOL.
The paranormal can be freaky. It can and will startle you at times, but the living are the ones you need to look out for.
They can hurt you. You never truly know whose house you are walking into. Is their problem paranormal, medical, mental, etc.? Are they under-medicated, over-medicated, self-medicating; this list can go on and on.
GM: If you could investigate anywhere in the world with no holds barred on access or anything else pertaining to the investigation, where would you go?
JH: To answer this, I would need a time machine. LOL. I would want to see what truly happened at the Amityville house. I know the claims and have studied the case for many years. I spoke to George many times before he passed and found stories that, “Every time I was told,” never seemed to match the previous story. I just believe there was way too much hype and not enough truth to it.
GM: What do you feel is the most important part of being a paranormal investigator?
JH: Being a part of a bigger thing. Many years ago, I created the TAPS Family. It is made up of hundreds of teams across the U.S. and many other countries, teams that work hand in hand with one another in hopes of furthering the field and supporting each other. We have an annual TAPS Family Reunion where members from each team meet up and discuss the field, our expectations, our future steps, and how to better the field we all love so much.
GM: I know that you’ve been to a few places more than once. What is the draw for visiting somewhere that you’ve already proven has activity?
JH: You already know the hot spots. You sometimes already have some sort of communication with what is there.
GM: Is there a place that you visited and either wish you hadn’t or would never go back to and why?
JH: Not yet. Well, except for the little old lady that forgot she invited us in and chased us with a frying pan. Yes, true story. She told us all about the crazy activity going on in her home and then said she was going to go in the kitchen and get some snacks. She came out swinging a frying pan, thinking we were burglars. If you haven’t realized yet, her problems weren’t paranormal.
GM: Have you ever had to debunk anything like the Boogeyman with your kids when they were younger?
JH: Funny, my kids have never had those fears. I came home one night to my youngest daughter, who is now 14, Satori, telling me her room was haunted and she kept hearing voices. I sat on her bed for an hour while she figured out totally on her own that the voices were coming from a Furby with low batteries. If there is ever a Boogeyman under my kids’ beds, I’m sure he’s hiding there due to his fear, not theirs.
GM: Are there any similarities between being a father and being a paranormal investigator?
JH: Communicating, watching, and understanding.
On a case, I will watch the client; their movements, their mannerisms, etc. I watch that with my children as well. It allows me to see if something is bothering them, if they are upset about something, etc.
Ghost Hunters is currently on hiatus until the fall, but you can pick up Season 9 on DVD and check out some of the behind-the-scenes action on the SyFy channel’s website.