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Beyond Ghosts: Para-Historian Preservationists


I want to be BFFs with Beyond Ghosts. These are my kind of people. I’ve been itching to write about them ever since I found out what Beyond Ghosts is really all about.

Which was early last week. I actually knew of them before that, though, via Twitter (@BeyondGhosts). And somewhere along the line I had also become a fan of theirs on Facebook. (Heck, for all I remember it could have been either Patty or Brooke of SCARED! who suggested I fan them. I want to say someone turned me on to their FB page, but…I don’t remember who now.)

But I am forever grateful, because here’s what I do know: I finally went to investigate their site more in-depth last Monday. Why it’d taken me that long, who knows. However, thankfully I finally got my act together and clicked my way to them.


My natural starting point was their About Page. Beyond Ghosts started as an internet radio program (which it still is), but here’s the part that particularly caught my eye:

A few months back Beyond Ghosts started a lecture series on all things paranormal, which includes evidence from paranormal investigations of historical locations throughout Western New York. These series teach others about local history and the past by using ghost hunting as the popular theme. Lecture venues traditionally include bars and restaurants of historical significance, historical societies, and a wide variety of museums. Above the lecture programs, John & Ryan have participated in a number of charity projects to benefit places of historical value such as the Buffalo Central Terminal, and the Van Horn Mansion in Burt, NY.

When I read that, my heart leapt with excitement. I immediately used their handy email button on their website to ask if they had a logo I could include with the post that was already composing itself in my mind.


To my surprise, John Crocitto almost immediately wrote back. He actually summed it up best what Beyond Ghosts is all about, so I’m just going to quote him:

…please feel free to write about Beyond Ghosts and our endeavors as “Para-Historians” and preservationists. We strive to bring history to “life,” using the paranormal as a popular theme, and have had incredible results throughout the Western New York region. It’s interesting to us that far too often in this great country of ours we forget where we came from…too much emphasis on the future and modern technology. So Beyond Ghosts highlights places of historical significance by drawing on their “ghosts” of the past!

I dig that. Big time. (And I love the moniker “para-historians.” I do believe they’ve just coined a new term!)

What they’ve hit on is why I Haunt Jaunt.

Sure, there’s the thrill of “maybe” having an “experience,” but I’m always guaranteed the experience of learning about a place’s past. The prospect of a ghost just helps enhance the history and bring it more to life.

Which, as John and his Beyond Ghosts co-founder, Ryan Willard, have demonstrated (and which I firmly believe and have said here before): if you find a way to make learning fun and interesting, you can find a way to get through to the people. I think it’s wicked cool John and Ryan found a way to use ghosts for good like this. This is a happily-ever-after kind of paranormal tourism story.

And you know how I like those, partly because they’re so rare! It’s refreshing to find people interested in using ghosts to draw people in and educate them in an effort to preserve history –gimmick-free! (Meaning no phony Barwon ghost girl debacle “Look at the ghost pic we caught!” hijinks. Boo to those kind of operations!)

In fact, what they do is something similar to what I’d like to develop Haunt Jaunts into one day. (As far as setting up events, lectures, dinners, etc in haunted establishments.)

Hmm…gives me an idea. Maybe that’s what I’ll shoot for for next year’s anniversary bash: setting up real-life festivities in a place with paranormal activity. A Haunt Jaunts Ball maybe…I don’t know. I see big possibilities.

I wonder if I could coax John and Ryan and their events company down from Western New York to Middle Tennessee to show me the ropes?

Or, better yet, maybe I could jaunt on up there to one of their events. Speaking of, here’s what they’ve got lined up next:

Beyond Ghosts at the Van Horn Mansion

Charity Event to Benefit Newfane Historical Society

March 19, 2010 –  7 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Find more info on their website.


In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you can also find Beyond Ghosts on MySpace too.

And remember, you can listen to Beyond Ghosts live on Tuesdays starting at 7 p.m. EST on

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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4 thoughts on “Beyond Ghosts: Para-Historian Preservationists

  1. I just love that! Debe Branning at MVD Ghostchasers in Mesa AZ does something similar. She is on the cemetery board and does events that makes donations for preservation. I just adore when people who appreciate ghostly activity also appreciate the history that spawned them and the places associated with them. That’s how it should be–instead of tromping in and taking over for a ghost hunt and leaving the next morning, people should really commit to preservation and respect for such places. They’re not only historic but if they house the souls of our ancestors, they should be protected.

  2. My favorite thing about ghost hunting is discovering history. The history brings the story to life. Ghost stories would be very boring without the history. It would just be a bunch of knocking about. History press has a Haunted America series which focuses on haunted histories that I adore. I’ve learned more about local history ghost hunting than in all my years in public school.

  3. Autmnforest, HERE! HERE! Well said! I totally agree. Respect and protect is my motto!

    Jessica: I also totally agree with you! Thanks to ghosts I can now keep historical timelines straight…couldn’t do that before. But they really helped give me a point of reference like no sitting at a desk in class ever could!

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