On Wednesday night's Ghost Hunters double bill featuring two all-new back-to-back episodes starting with the mystifying, "Suicide Hotel," Grant Wilson and his team head to Okawville, Illinois after receiving an urgent call from a man whose concerns over his mother's welfare while caring for a 19th century hotel are increasing. Combined with the Original Springs Hotel's morbid history of suicides and a number of specter sightings with unexplained activity, the owner's son desperately seeks help from the team before his worst fears come to life.
During the first night of their investigation in the hotel, the team split up and cover different sections of the hotel that were reported sites of paranormal activity, which included the restaurant, the second and third floors. Investigators Mustafa Gatollari and Brandon Alvis head to the second floor, where staff claimed seeing a "lady in white," Richel Stratton and Brian Murray head to the restaurant in search of the haunting entity, while co-team leaders, Daryl Marston and Kristen Luman head to the third floor where people had experienced uneasy feelings, the sensation of being grabbed in their sleep and the infamous "lady in white."
While asking questions during their investigation with the data logger in place seemingly reciprocating communication, Gatollari and Alvis experienced a battery drain on their mic packs simultaneously. Cut to co-team leaders, Luman and Marston on the third floor who suddenly hear footsteps above their floor — however, there is no fourth floor in the hotel. Both experiences not only leave the team baffled, but with unexplained results.
In an exclusive with PopCulture.com about the peculiar moment, Marston admits that while it was one of his "favorite parts" to the night's investigation, it was something that still perplexes him to this day.
"The footsteps actually caught us off guard," Marston admitted to PopCulture.com. "I wasn't expecting that at all because we were getting higher EMFs placed throughout the house and throughout the actual hotel, and at that point when it happened, it really took me by surprise."
Amid the first night in their investigation, Gatollari and Alvis head to the hotel's bath house and discover high levels of EMF. Bringing it immediately to Wilson and the team's attention, they conduct a clean sweep and discover high levels of EMFs running throughout the hotel. Unsure of their findings so far, Wilson suggests bringing in an aquatic ecologist to test the conductivity of the waters as it can be hard to decipher man-made electromagnetic fields versus naturally occurring paranormal activity. After various tests, the ecologist soon reports that the mineral water is three times as conductive as normal tap water. As a result of these findings, Wilson reveals if the water is highly conductive, then any electromagnetic field is magnified by this and can cause people to feel paranormal activity when there really isn't any.
Marston reiterates Wilson's note with PopCulture.com, sharing how much of an effect it can have on an individual and their experience.
"With the high EMF in the hotel, it can really raise the paranormal activity as well. But I do think a lot of what's going on there with people feeling that, the feelings of high EMF, especially if you're sensitive to it and the pareidolia part of it — I think you could really make people think that they're seeing and hearing things that they're probably not," Marston said. "But I mean with the footsteps, we caught it on camera, we caught it on audio, so it was definitely there."
Gatollari reveals that with the results of these findings, he not only thought it was a "really interesting case," but one that proves not everything experienced is always paranormal in an investigation.
"Like Daryl was saying, the majority of the things we found natural explanations for. [But] I think that just only strengthens whatever paranormal findings that we were able to record and document," Gatollari told PopCulture.com. "It just goes to show that we're not just jumping at every little thing in the dark or every little noise here and there, but it's just that we can't provide any explanations for what goes on sometimes."
Gatollari adds for him personally, it's all about going "back to basics" in paranormal investigating, sharing he's "really proud of the work" done at the Original Springs Hotel. The paranormal historian and investigator goes on to share how the goal for the team is also one that distinguishes the objective of Ghost Hunters from other genre-related series.
"This is what separates us from a lot of the other shows out there, I mean, we really dig in," he enthused. "We don't go all night, thinking everything's paranormal. That's the first thing we do when we come into a location — we start on earth like Grant says, and we work our way up what we can't debunk. Now when we're finding this high EMF throughout the hotel that just goes to show that a lot of things that happened there in the past, could be dismissed to people just seeing and hearing things that aren't really happening."
Upon their findings and conclusion, Marston and Gatollari reveal they are happy with how the team approached the investigation and wouldn't change it one bit.
"I think everybody was at their A-game," Marston admitted. "I think we figured it out and I don't think there's anything on this particular episode that we could've done differently. I think with the testing of the water, we went every route humanly possible and tried to figure this place out and I think it was one of those episodes where our team really came together and showed what we were about, and about debunking and actually getting the truth."
"I would say, personally, I'm somebody like I go in and I'm like, 'Ah man, I wish maybe it could have been this. Maybe it could have been that. Maybe we could have investigated like this or dug into this a little aspect a little deeper,'" Gatollari chimed in. "But for this one, I think all of us are of the same mind on the team where, when in doubt, throw it out. If we're going into a place that has high levels of EMF, we're going into a place where there's a lot of natural explanations for why people can be feeling a certain way or why it could happen.
Gatollari adds that's when things take precedence in an investigation. "It could lead you with a lot of questions and when you can't find a natural explanation for it, that's when you really, really dig deeper," he said.
He tells PopCulture.com that with a lot to investigate, he would gladly head back to explore more of the grounds and its ongoing activity.
"Not just because I like the area, but I want to go back to that building and look into it," he said. "A lot of investigations, sometimes you're investigating a place for a couple of years — you go back to it and several times, and you always find new things. But I'm really proud of the debunking work that we did and testing of the water, bringing out the infrasound to find those ultra-low frequencies for certain rooms and certain parts of the building. I mean, we got into a lot of really, really deep debunking work on this one."
Marston adds on to Gatollari's response for returning to investigate a location, echoing similar sentiments across his own experience of almost 16 years.
"Like Mustafa was saying, we're investigating. I can investigate a place that's really active and come back a week later and not get anything, so that's where those locations, we could go back there in a year or two from now and it could be completely different," Marston said. "But when we were there, I think we all did everything humanly possible and our due diligence, and actually figured it out."
Ghost Hunters airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on A&E.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Photo credit: A&E Networks0comments