Following a strong return to A&E last week for its highly anticipated premiere, there is no denying that the overwhelming response for the Ghost Hunters reboot proves the existence of believers in the paranormal aching for authentic field investigations even three years after its finale is still very real.
But while so many evidently believe in the paranormal or at least try to consider the meaning behind unexplained phenomena, there are also those who are skeptical — having their fair share of doubts and reservations over the existence of purported occurrences beyond any normal experience or scientific explanation. With skepticism playing a vital role in the scientific appraisal of claims though, Ghost Hunters star Grant Wilson shares with PopCulture.com that he actually "embraces" it.
"We get [skepticism] a lot, obviously, and people will shoot down anything they don't know anything about," Wilson told PopCulture.com ahead of the premiere. "[But] we have no problem with it. We embrace the skeptics."
Wilson adds that there's just one thing he hopes fans and the clients his ghost hunting team visit can do when approaching aspects of the paranormal.
"We just ask to keep an open mind because you can't really comment on a situation if you weren't in it," he went on to say. "So, if you haven't had a paranormal experience, then you don't really have a lot of authority to say it did or didn't happen."
After experiencing his first supernatural encounter at the age of 15 and later forming T.A.P.S. (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) with friend, Jason Hawes in 1990, the two went on to pave the way for modern field work with unique, analytical technologies that many other paranormal investigators now use.
However, it was in 2004 that the pair of friends would go on to find prime-time success with Ghost Hunters — an unparalleled series on Sci Fi (later known as SyFy) that would pioneer a profusion of paranormal investigative series. But while Wilson left the show in 2012, he never stopped investigating the paranormal, telling PopCulture.com that even with a rich, storied career in investigating supernatural phenomena, he too has questioned the validity of certain claims in his almost 30 years of ghost hunting.
"We're skeptic ourselves," Wilson admitted. "I mean, we go in and we've had more than our fair share of experiences — I know I have. And I don't have a desire to really have more paranormal experience. I want to find information."
Wilson reveals though that sometimes he and his team get "anxious" only because they want to be able to decipher fact from fiction in an effort to bring relief to those feeling plagued by paranormal activity.
"We wanna find the truth, [but] in order to find the truth you gotta shoot stuff down," he said. "So, we welcome skepticism."
Wilson warns that when it comes to understanding the paranormal and looking beyond that which you already know or understand from personal experience, it's important to maintain an equilibrium as a way to create neutrality.
"If you're too open minded, that's detrimental," Wilson said. "[But] if you're too skeptical, that's detrimental, so, you have to have this balance."
As Ghost Hunters aspires to break down paranormal experiences, Wilson and his team, alongside co-lead investigators, Daryl Marston and Kristen Luman tell PopCulture.com that throughout their explorations this season, there's just one thing that makes it all creepy at the end of the day — and it's definitely not what many might imagine.
"None of it's really creepy because living people are creepy," Wilson laughed. "The paranormal usually means entities are reaching out and people usually, they're nicest when they need help. But some locations are creepy."
Wilson revealed that one of the creepiest locations the Ghost Hunters crew will visit this upcoming season is Madison Seminary, a historical landmark in Ohio that has a reputation for paranormal activity that dates back to the 1800s.
"We went into it — and it's seen better days, but part of it was an asylum, so all that can get in your head," Wilson said. "But we're trying not to think that way, but with graffiti everywhere and strange symbols…"
"Yeah, the strange symbols..." Luman adds. "And again, there's a human attribution to it and that's what actually is somewhat scary when humans get involved and try to take control of perhaps a paranormal. I never experienced an investigation where symbols were along the wall and we had to decipher if they were demonic or what they were there for."
While Luman adds it's that kind of element which can make things "get a bit frightening," her co-star, Marston interjects: "Humans are a lot more scarier than paranormals."0comments
Ghost Hunters airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on A&E.
Photo credit: Justin Bettman / A&E Networks