Jason Hawes, Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango of Ghost Nation have decades of experience investigating the paranormal. They also were trail blazers in bringing these investigations into living rooms around the country, setting the bar for what a paranormal research should look like.
The trio returns with a series of programs for Travel Channel’s Ghostober event, including a team up with long-time friends and colleagues, Amy Bruni and Adam Berry of Kindred Spirits on Halloween night.
Goncalves and Tango took a break from their work to speak to Conskipper about their upcoming episodes and the differences that they encounter on each individual ghostly investigation in this exclusive interview.
As part of Travel Channel’s Ghostober, Ghost Nation returns on October 17 and your first investigation takes place inside of a tattoo parlor. Is this a first for the team?
Steve Gonsalves: We were just talking about this. Yes, I believe it is the first time that we have conducted an investigation inside of a tattoo shop. What was really interesting about this case is that the owners knocked out a wall and combined two separate buildings to give themselves a bigger space, and there was independent paranormal activity in the original building and the building next door, so it like they were combined into one. This was the first time that we witnessed this, as it became sort of a “super haunting”, sort of like when two storms merge.
You investigate a number of different locations on a weekly basis on Ghost Nation. Do you prepare differently for a factory versus a home versus a prison or asylum?
Gonsalves: Anytime we investigate a large location, logistically it is very different. Our equipment will have different limitations, as signals are easier to transmit through a house than a building with concrete walls.
Dave Tango: Definitely. The mobile command center is going to be very important in a larger setting, with different hot spots and prep work that needs to occur before we investigate.
Are Your expectations also different based on the location?
Gonsalves: Yes, they are. When we investigated the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick, New York, it was a lot of exploring with 40 halls and stairs which made it very different than a private residence in terms of size, but also in terms of the reports from the location. You hear about a nurse everyone is seeing in a certain location and set up there, hoping to witness it. As an investigator, going to an asylum or prison is like going to Disney World for me with all they can offer.
A family home, especially when families are in crisis, is a whole different expectations, as the home owners are legitimately terrified. These hauntings are in many ways ruining their lives and they want to sell their homes and businesses, so we want to help them understand and deal with the problems.
Tango: In the big places, the expectations are different and the dangers are different. In these abandoned locations you have to worry about animals and missing floor boards and debris. Even the noises are different in the different locations, so you have to be prepared for them.
You got to investigate with your Dad, Bruce Tango, this season. Was he a big influence on your interest in the field of paranormal research?
Tango: Absolutely. My father was a police office and he would come home from work and tell us these true stories about what he and his fellow officers would sometimes experience. Back then, officers couldn’t put those type of details in a report, unless you wanted to risk being fired.
It was great to bring it all back and for him to be there to help with an investigation. I was very proud to be able to do that with my Dad.
You also take part in a special investigation featuring a few of your old teammates, Amy Bruni and Adam Berry of Travel Channel’s Kindred Spirits. What was it like working with them again?
Goncalves: It was really a lot of fun. We always keep in touch, but we hadn’t investigated with them in years and Amy and I have never worked on a case together.
It came together very organically, where we needed more people on an investigation, and we called on people we love and trust. They were both close by and it was a great experience.
Over the years, your fear of spiders has been highlighted on many of the investigations. How do you deal with it in these locations that probably have a lot of spiders due to their age and condition?
Goncalves: I am thinking about it the whole time I am on an investigation. Well, not the whole time, but I have developed ways to deal with it by checking every corner, I don’t lean against walls, I check the ceiling. It is a legitimate phobia, but it hasn’t stopped me from doing the work we do, but I do scream and run sometimes.
Tango: I used to not be afraid of spiders, but I think I picked it up through osmosis from Steve. I recently saw the biggest spider I have ever seen and I screamed bloody murder and apologized to the crew for freaking out. I think you called it Gargantua.
Goncalves: That’s right. I remember hearing screaming from the command center and I said “What was that? Who’s screaming?” and they said, “Oh it was Dave. You weren’t the one scared by a spider this time.”
Tango: For me, I am more concerned with the wild animals and getting rabies and the gross stuff you find in these abandoned locations.
Do you have any advice for people who want to investigate locations around this time of year?
Goncalves: Yes, that if you want to investigate, you should be careful as you can hurt yourself. Even walking through a grave yard, people fall and trip all the time. Also, it is always a good idea to go to locations with a few people and not alone and be sure not to go into places that are off-limits, where you could get yourself arrested. And always keep the laws of science in mind when you do investigate.
Do either of you have any memories that stand out about Halloween?
Goncalves: I personally didn’t have any paranormal experiences as a kid, but I remember being at a friend’s house on Halloween, and she had a Lite Brite toy and the little pegs would get flung at her. She went to her mother and said “It’s happening again!” and her mother called my mom and I had to get picked up. As teenagers, we talked about it and she told me how it would happen in her house.
Tango: I don’t have any paranormal experiences associated with Halloween, but I do like to dress up as objects and scare people. I recently dressed up as a chair and it was great. I am always late for everything, and when I’m not there, my family will sometimes say “Are we sure Dave isn’t here?”
Ghost Nation premieres on Saturday, October 17 at 9:00 PM ET. The two hour Reunion in Hell special airs on Halloween night at 8:00 PM ET.