During Wednesday night's Ghost Hunters investigation, the team discovered a gruesome murder that had ties to a number of hauntings reported by employees and guests of the famed Athenaeum in the heart of Indianapolis. In the episode "Dancing With the Dead," Grant Wilson's fellow investigator and paranormal historian, Mustafa Gatollari came across the story of Dr. Helene Knabe, a trailblazing doctor who was violently murdered in her apartment just blocks away from the building, which she often frequented. Shortly after her death and over the years, countless reports emerged of people seeing her appear around the storied halls of the cultural center, leading Wilson and his crew to further investigate the claims.
In an exclusive with PopCulture.com delving further into the episode's investigation and tragic history surrounding the pioneering doctor, Ghost Hunters star Brandon Alvis shares exclusively how the team tackled the case not just with a heartfelt human approach, but with a method most respectful of the entity and ensured they were on the right path. In the episode during night one, Alvis and Gatollari are in Grandma's Attic measuring the electromagnetic field in the room as many had reportedly experienced feelings of unease, leading the two to ask control questions.
"When we're in that situation such as Grandma's Attic, and we're starting to get EMF spikes that aren't associated with the natural electromagnetic field in the building, we need to make sure that we're actually in contact with an entity before we start jumping to conclusions and just assuming that we're in contact with an entity," Alvis told PopCulture.com, adding the method of questioning is put in place to ensure they are in contact with an entity.
Alvis admits the method "worked out very well" in this episode, especially in knowing that they started to talk to a woman that might have been Dr. Knabe, that Alvis later suggests to Gatollari might be a Grey Lady.
"We got some really pointed, very pointed questions answered in multiple ways," he admits. "So we say, 'Is this a woman?' 'Yes.' We rephrase that by saying, 'Is this a female?' 'Yes.' And then we ask again, 'Is this a male?' No answer. So, it's very important to have those control questions, and knowing that we're actually in contact with an entity before we start to jump to conclusions."
With the team hearing a story so gruesome, Alvis admits the team takes a very human approach when tackling such an investigation.
"We always approach the investigation in the same way, but if you recall when Mustafa and I were in Grandma's Attic and we at that point thought we were in contact with Dr. Knabe and we had those control questions answered, we wanted to stay away from talking about her untimely end," he said. "We don't want to disrespect the entity in any way, shape or form. That's not what we're there to do. If we are in contact with the entity, we want to make sure they're comforted and respected. We do take a different approach once we think we are in contact with a particular entity, and knowing the history associated with her, we didn't want her to relive that in any way, shape or form, so we can change the investigation in those instances."
After sharing the findings with the Athenaeum's executive director, Craig Mince, Alvis admits that though the conclusion was not something he had expected, he's glad to have provided some comfort and reassurance to those concerned about the reported hauntings.
"It was amazing to see Craig learn this new information about this prominent woman that frequented the building and the resolution that we gave him," he said. "Maybe she should be honored, honor her in the building — and there's so many different exhibits as you walk through the building, you see all sorts of history, not only associated with the building, but with Indianapolis. And someone that was so prominent such as Dr. Knabe, [she] should be honored, and maybe it's time for that to happen and maybe that will alleviate some of the fears that Craig has, as well as Dr. Knabe visiting the building."
Photo credit: A&E Networks