Ghost Hunters ventured into the frigid, isolated town of Haines, Alaska on Wednesday night, investigating claims made by a hotel employee and past staff whose reports of paranormal activity, including sights of shadow figures, anomalies, disembodied figures and moving objects has raised cause for concern. Accented with a strong history of fortune seekers looking for prosperity during the Klondike Gold Rush and many of whom met with death and violence, the team made the cold, snowy trek to the remote site — but not without some unnerving results as witnessed with co-team leader, Daryl Marston, who was at the center of an almost aggressive and ghostly encounter while at the Halsingland Hotel.
While Marston along with Mustafa Gatollari, Brandon Alvis and Brian Murray also experienced something similar during their solo runs — of which did not make the broadcast — in the hotel's Room No. 9, paranormal investigator, Richel Stratton admits exclusively to PopCulture.com that the whole account detailed in the episode, "Alone in Alaska" was a strange one, especially as she and co-team leader, Kristen Luman didn't experience what their fellow investigators felt at all.
"So, I also did a solo run up in the area where Daryl got the apparition and where he did his solo run and when I went up there, it didn't feel scary," Stratton admits to PopCulture. "I was very calm. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean the spirit wasn't up there at that time, but I think that whoever's up there possibly had an issue with men being up there. Because also, the people that we talked to that had experiences up there were men."
Stratton goes on to share how the aggressive nature of the encounter might have been "almost like a territorial thing" when it came to the experience only being felt by Marston, Gatollari, Alvis and Murray. "Like, they were okay with a woman being up there because it wasn't threatening," she said. "But when it came to a man coming up there, it was like, 'You're in our space.' So, they were a little bit more like, trying to show their dominance."
She adds that it was "tough" to hear how her fellow investigators "felt uncomfortable up there," admitting Marston was someone who was really unsettled following the activity experienced on that floor.
"He had that [first] encounter before his solo run. He went up there after that person — he felt like someone had charged him," she said of his investigation with Gatollari. "So, I understand why he would feel uncomfortable up there again. But with the battery — when it's that cold and battery drainage, you have to take in consideration that it could be the weather that's causing it. The climate. It could be a spirit trying to manifest. At that point, you just don't know. There's a couple of different variables. [But], he did say that it was uncomfortable up there."
The Illinois native adds how she and Luman also heard "what sounded like a woman" when they were investigating the hotel's laundry room, which wasn't shown in the episode. "You hear a lot of footsteps in that building that sounds like it's coming from other floors," Stratton said. "So, in the episode, I actually radio to see if anyone else was in the building with us and there wasn't. I know we were in the basement or the laundry room, and the reason I didn't go and check all the other floors is because our motion detector went off when we were in the room."
With Stratton believing Haines is home to both intelligent and residual hauntings because there are "some things that you can't necessarily explain" taking place, Room No. 9's confrontation wasn't the only challenge experienced by the team as the snow presented its fair share of tests when it came to be executing an investigation.
"Obviously because of the weather, it was extremely hard for us to all stay warm," Stratton laughed. "Those buildings did not have heat and unfortunately, that does start to affect the equipment with the batteries being charged. So, we had to adapt with that. We had to make sure that we had fresh batteries with us, and we did more runs, but the investigations weren't necessarily as long as they normally would be because our equipment needed to essentially get warmed up."
As for the buildings being very old and historically intact, the narrow hallways gave the team an almost "labyrinth" affect for everyone with Stratton admitting it was a lot more complex than seen in the episode. "You could get lost really easily, not knowing exactly where you were at in the building and it made it difficult for camera placement essentially because the location, the narrow hallways and the different nooks and crannies, it made it hard to find out where we were going to place cameras to where we could hit the most claimed areas," she said. "And trying to set up a tripod in a narrow hallway, but still be able to get around it is difficult. And so, we had to be creative […] definitely like a Tetris game. You have to maneuver, and we made it work. But it was definitely a tight space."
The paranormal investigator admits pulling up to the town was an experience in itself and one that was "eerie" as the team made their way by ferry. "You could not see anyone at all in the town. You could just see the fort and the buildings covered in snow. But it didn't look like anyone was out," she said. "And quite honestly, I don't think that we'd seen anyone for at least an hour, maybe two once we got off the ferry and unloaded and headed to the hotel. We didn't see anyone out and about and that's strange going into a town, like, they're used to snow so, you would expect people to be out. But you weren't seeing cars driving around or even people outside, so, it definitely put an eerie feel to the whole entire place."0comments
Despite the cold temperatures and creepiness, Stratton reveals she and the team would love to head back to Haines during the warmer months and investigate the town. "Haines was lovely," she said. "It was a really cool place and all the people there — it's such a tiny town, so everyone knows everyone. It was a very nice location. Even with the snow, the people are friendly and I'd like to go back there and investigate for sure because it definitely had activity. I'd like to see if the activity changes based off of the amount of people in town because it was the off season."
Ghost Hunters airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on A&E, and is produced by Lionsgate's Pilgrim Media Group and executive produced by Grant Wilson. For more on the ground-breaking reality series, spooks and other paranormal-related news, keep it locked to PopCulture.com. While you're at it, follow us on Twitter @PopCulture for the latest and greatest in news and entertainment coverage.