Jeff Belanger is as close as you get to a paranormal expert. He is an author, lecturer, hosts his own show “30 Odd Minutes”, and also appears and researchers for other paranormal television that we’re all familiar with.
What is your favourite part about the paranormal? (i.e. Cryptzoology, UFO’s, ghosts, etc.)
When I was a kid, ghost stories interested me the most. Ghosts are what drew me in to the unknown, and they will always hold a special place in my heart. However, over time, I realized the lines between the various phenomena are blurry at best. In recent years I’ve been studying more ancient mysteries, cryptozoology, and UFOs because it’s all fascinating. All paranormal phenomena have a few things in common: 1. A living person who witnessed an amazing event; 2. A story that has grown from that witness and become part of a community’s identity. These are human experiences we’re talking about here. Human experiences that touch on belief, religion, science, psychology, history, and more. I can’t imagine any subject more interesting than the paranormal.
What is your approach to the paranormal?
I usually let the paranormal approach me! I started my career as a journalist. I wrote for newspapers, magazines, and then Web sites when the Internet came along. I still mostly approach this subject as a journalist. I want to explore all sides of the legend because I know tomorrow it will change as new people become part of the story. But more than a chronicler of the phenomenon, I also want to have these experiences for myself. If there’s a monster in the woods, I want to see the damn thing!
You write and research for the hit show Paranormal Challenge, where has been your favourite place they’ve been so far?
Paranormal Challenge was a fun project that spun off of Ghost Adventures. I’ve been fortunate to work on both shows. My favorite Paranormal Challenge location was Pennhurst State School outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s a location we first covered on an episode of Ghost Adventures. I’m proud of the way we covered that story. Pennhurst is an ugly stain on America. The lesson that building, its history, and its ghosts can still teach us is how awful we can treat human beings who can’t care for themselves. That profound sadness and trauma led to the place being haunted. You can’t explore the ghosts there without first retelling the history. It’s good to remind ourselves that it wasn’t that long ago that we underfunded that facility and drove a short-handed staff beyond the breaking point.
In the Pennhurst Paranormal Challenge episode, I had the opportunity to be a judge. The place is creepy! I’m not psychic, but damn the place is haunted. You feel it in the walls when you walk through those buildings.
Do you have a favourite “ghost hunting” tool? What is a must have in any investigator’s kit?
I still like my camera. I don’t capture spirit photos, really, and I discount 99.999999999% of all orbs I see, but I love capturing the places I’ve been. If a ghost walked there, or a UFO was said to land in a spot, or a monster scratched its back on a tree—I want a photo of it. I want to remember I was there and stood where the legends walked.
Do you have any advice for paranormal investigators?
Do this work because you love it. If you’re in it for any other reason, be it fame or money, or some kind of weird social status motive, others will see through you. Plus, having been in this for 15-plus years I can tell you there is very little fame, money, or social status to be gained anyway. Go be a rock star if you want that stuff.
What is your pet peeve in the paranormal world?
Orbs haunt me.
What advice do you have for those who are trying to take the paranormal field to the next level?
Get off your ass and do it! Don’t wait for an invitation. There will be no collective agreement on anything in this field. BUT, good ideas and practices will always find a way of surfacing and spreading around to others. Do your thing, share it with others, and then don’t rest. I’m here to help you if I can.