I can almost hear some of you moaning, “Please, Courtney, stop! You’re killing us. Enough with the ghost hunting shows already. Haven’t you covered them ad nauseam this week? Do you really need to tell us about another one?”
MY TALK WITH “SCARED!‘S” CASE MANAGER, BROOKE HARAMIJA
Brooke contacted me at the end of last year in response to my HARO query for people affiliated with ghost TV shows. (All part of my Haunt Jaunts Ventures Behind the Camera series.) Thursday night I spent two hours on the phone with her.
Now, to some that might not sound impressive, but let me just add this: I actually don’t like talking on the phone. I try to avoid it whenever possible.
In fact, I tried to weasel my way out of calling Brooke by asking if it’d be all right if I just sent a written questionnaire. She wrote back and said something to the effect, “Aw, I was really hoping to talk. I think we’d have a good time.”
Something told me to just suck it up and call –and man I’m glad I listened to that little voice in my head. From the moment I said, “Brooke? Hi, it’s Courtney with Haunt Jaunts,” and she said, “Hi! We did it! We connected!” (I’ve only been saying I’ll call her for the last month!) we had, well…a connection.
WHAT “SCARED!” IS ALL ABOUT
They’re based out of Staten Island, New York and have been in the “filming themselves investigating” business since 2002. (Yes, even before the now famous plumbers got into the act.) The group is comprised of Lead Investigator Chris Mancuso, Parapsychologist Brian J. Cano, Psychic/Medium Lisa Ann, Investigator Greg Cusick, Psychometric Paul Digennaro, Investigator Wael “Shawn” Sharaydeh, Investigator Jason Porcino, and Brooke, their Case Manager.
Unlike Paranormal Cops or Ghost Adventures, they’re not on TV. Like Believers, you can watch some of their episodes online. (They have some on their site, such as their investigations of the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, the Portsmouth Lighthouse & Fort Constitution, or the Danvers Mental Institution, to name a few.) Visit their Episodes page for more info. You can also buy DVDs of their investigations from their online store.
So why haven’t they been picked up for cable syndication yet? Who knows. The stars haven’t been aligned just right. Luck hasn’t been on their side. There could be a million reasons.
One of them is not that they don’t have their act together. They’re professional through and through. Also, they certainly have a fan base.
After talking to Brooke, I think they haven’t “hit it big” (so to speak) and penetrated the more mainstream paranormal consciousness because of their approach.
THE “SCARED!” STYLE OF INVESTIGATING: THE TRIANGLE APPROACH
Check out the banner below. It holds an important key to what makes SCARED! different and me very excited about them.
Again and again and again I’ve questioned:
- Why investigators aren’t more conscious of prejudicing and influencing one another on investigations.
- Why they don’t use psychics in conjunction with equipment while investigating.
- When using a psychic, why they don’t make more attempts not to prejudice them pre-investigations. (For instance, if you watched Ghost Hunters Academy, one of the recruits-in-training, Heather, was a medium. She opted not to go on walk throughs so she wouldn’t be unduly influenced. It was a wise move, one Steve didn’t respect. But Heather was trying to do something right actually.)
- Why there isn’t less focus on the group investigating and more focus on the place being investigated. (Basically, why one place isn’t investigated over and over and studied for what activity manifests when and why to find common denominators.)
And I’m not the only one to express frustrations/concerns about a need for varied investigative approaches. I’ve read some of the bloggers I respect most (such as Autumnforest of Ghost Hunting Theories, Julie of Above the Norm, Javier and Gary of GhostTheory, Rotten One of Rotten Works, and Nathan of A State of Mind) pose similar suggestions for how investigations (televised or otherwise) could be improved.
Low and behold, this is a lot of what SCARED! strives to do.
- Each “point” of the triangle conducts their own investigation of a location separately. (So the scientist goes in and investigates, then the skeptic, then the psychic.) Then they discuss their impressions. They don’t always agree if a place can be considered “haunted” or not.
- Interestingly, Brooke explained the great lengths they go to to keep Lisa Ann in the dark when it comes to investigations. She might know the zip code of where they’ll be investigating about a week beforehand, but she literally doesn’t know the actual location until she gets there to investigate. (They have her meet them somewhere nearby then drive her wherever they’re going when it’s time for her to do her thing. Otherwise, they keep her un-enlightened about the locale as long as possible specifically to try and not prejudice her.)
- They try and investigate more than just one night. Episodes might reflect a single investigation, but they’re more than willing to return again and again to a place and study it anew every time.
- Even though they’ve been investigating for a while now, they are opposed to being considered “experts.” They’re constantly still learning. (Plus, they’re fully aware you can’t really be an “expert” in the paranormal field. Well, you can be, but since there aren’t any standards for obtaining such a status like there is for doctors and such, you’ll only be a self-proclaimed one!)
- They encourage the sharing of information between groups and enjoy investigating with others whenever possible. (And wish there was actually more cooperation amongst people in the field instead of so much competition.)
That’s why I think maybe they haven’t “hit it big” insofar as being picked up by a network. Maybe their larger purposes is yet to be revealed. Maybe they’re not meant to be tainted/influenced by producers who will rely on gimmicks more than on real results to draw in viewers.
Because you know how Ghost Hunters found very little their first season? (Yet we all still continued to watch, no hype necessary? Yes, that was meant as a zinger.)
That’s a lot of what you can expect from SCARED! Sometimes they find evidence. Mostly they don’t.
But it doesn’t stop them from producing a quality show. And if you’re looking for one that’s still focused on the research/investigation end of business, SCARED! is one to give a chance.
An episode of an investigation that was just released for sale on DVD and is one to especially watch is The Grand Midway Hotel investigation. (If you click the link you can watch the trailer at least.)
Brooke indicated it was among their more WOW! investigations, because it changed their lives. That’s a huge statement. All I’ll divulge is it was their first experience with a negative, non-human entity. DraculaCon II‘s going to premier it during their event.
You can also learn more about the Grand Midway Hotel’s story by visiting ILiveInAHauntedHotel.com. (It’s no longer a hotel, but a private home. PA Haunts & History actually posted an interesting write-up about it.)
WANT TO FOLLOW “SCARED!”? LINKS THAT MIGHT HELP