Elements Of A Haunting – Paranormal Podcast 713

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You know Brandon Alvis and Mustafa Gatollari from TV’s Ghost Hunters. They’ve teamed up on a new project together. We talk about that, some of their favorite investigations and their efforts to create a classification system for paranormal activity.

You can find their new book on the subject at Amazon: Elements of a Haunting: Connecting History with Science to Uncover the Greatest Ghost Stories Ever Told

Thanks Brandon and Mustafa!

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Thanks Calm for your sponsorship of The Paranormal Podcast!

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Jim Harold  

Today we have two paranormal VIPs, Brandon Alvis and Mustafa Gatollari from Ghost Hunters. And they’re going to talk about Elements of a Haunting on the Paranormal Podcast.

Paranormal Podcast Announcer  

This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.

Jim Harold  

Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I am Jim Harold and so glad to be with you and happy new year everybody, back after a little holiday break and excited to get to it. Today we have two great guests from TV’s ghost hunters, Brandon Alvis and Mustafa Gatollari and we will get right to them in just a moment. First of all, a big shout out to our friends over at Paranormality Magazine. They decided to make me the, the cover boy for their magazine this month. You’ll see a smiling picture of me on their magazine this month for January featuring Jim Harold’s Campfire. So we thank them and folks, if you want to check it out, you can go to pararnormalitymag.com. And quite an honor. So thank you all for that opportunity. Also, if you’re new here, welcome aboard. What we do is we interview some of the greatest minds in the study of the paranormal and the supernatural, hauntings, ghosts, all of it. So I hope that you will subscribe or follow wherever you listen and please rate and review. I know over the last few weeks, Spotify has rolled out rating so please rate us over on Spotify. Rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and make sure that you are following us on both of those platforms or any other podcast platforms you’re on because it helps you because you never miss a great show like this one we’re gonna have today. And it helps us because it elevates the profile of the show and more people discover it and it’s just a virtuous circle. So thank you so much. So we’re gonna get to it. Now we’ve got two great guests, we’re going to talk about their new book and their opportunity or their attempt to connect history with science to uncover the greatest ghost stories ever told. And the book is called elements of a haunting connecting history with science to uncover the greatest ghost stories ever told. And our guests today are Brandon Alvis and Mustafa Gatollari and we’re so glad to have them with us. Now those names are very familiar if you follow paranormal TV Brandon Alvis is the star of the A&E program Ghost Hunters, he has used his scientifically oriented techniques to investigate more than 200 public and private locations with his team, the American Paranormal Research Association, and Mustafa Gatollari is also a star of the A&E program Ghost Hunters, serving as historian and site analyst for the team. He has investigated more than 80 locations, from abandoned factories to mass grave sites. We’re so glad to have both of them with us to talk about Elements of a Haunting. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us today.

Brandon Alvis  

Thanks for having us on, Jim. This is awesome. 

Mustafa Gatollari  

Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure.

Jim Harold  

So let me ask you, why do you think–to start off, why do you think that you guys were natural to team up? Oh, what’s compatible about you? How do you work well together? Why did you guys decide to team up on this project? Because it’s one thing to maybe do another project where you were kind of thrown together. But when you choose to do something that makes a lot of difference. So why did you choose to work together on this book?

Mustafa Gatollari  

I mean, I think what–it’s probably one of my favorite stories that I like to tell, you know, when you’re when you’re applying for a show, like Ghost Hunters, it was a very kind of surreal experience getting on that show and how it started and I didn’t even know it was for Ghost Hunters. And that’s a pretty rigorous process. I mean, it’s not just the countless interviews and meetings that take with members of the production team, but there’s also like psych evaluations and then there’s–I don’t know how the hell I passed that, joke joke joke. But there’s also you know, there’s the screen tests, they put you in a room with like a floodlight on you like something out of the blacklist and it was, it was nuts. But the one thing that kind of kept me grounded throughout the entire process, and I have to thank my friend David Vadim, for helping me with this. He just said don’t worry about trying to go at it like it’s an interview or it’s a job, he goes, “You are clearly passionate about this. This is something that you love, you have a chance to say something. Focus on what you want to say, focus on the work.” And that’s what I did. And that’s a struggle, like minute to minute to make sure because you know you’re in, you’re in Hollywood and you know, you’re at this like big production studio and there’s all these things that you dream about.  But that’s all I get. And I just kind of really got personally violent with myself to say what I wanted to say about the work, almost like an anger at myself if I didn’t do that. So I didn’t really interact with people, there’s about 32 people, and they kept kind of sending people home. But I did notice that I just–you can send someone’s vibe. And I sensed that Brandon was very similar. So when we were investigating together, they paired people up for like screen tests to see how they investigated with one another. I think Brandon kind of felt the same thing. And then while Mike Nichols, executive producer of the show is like looking around, scanning, seeing who’s gonna pair up, I kind of noticed out of my peripheral that Brandon kind of like, edged closer over to me. And then I just didn’t even look at him. But I just acknowledged, I was like, I like this guy. Like he’s, he’s, he’s slick, it’s like, good, but it’s great. And then we went and we investigated together. And we had some pretty cool experiences. And it was just, it was just one of those things like so rarely in life to something just work, it was just one of those things that it just worked. And I think it’s a lot because when we found out, even though I kind of knew, not to sound like a rom com, but like, even though I kind of knew from that first minute, that it was like, Oh, this is somebody I want to work with. We just kind of discovered when we were on the road for the show that like, hey, we had all of these same interests. These are the things that we hold that are important to us. These are what, this is what we prioritize. So it just kind of seemed insane not to continue working with him. Because again, so few things in life just work, and this just worked.

Jim Harold  

Sure. Brandon, your thoughts?

Brandon Alvis  

Yeah, thinking like Safa. You know, when we first investigated together in Calabasas, California in the screen test. It was just a natural chemistry where him and I had very similar thought process, very similar investigation techniques. And, you know, we kind of hit the ground running. And then once we got on the road with Ghost Hunters, and we were hitting all these different cases, we would throw out our ideas and our theories and it just gelled really well. And you know, we decided to write a book together. And that’s what became Elements of a Haunting.

Jim Harold  

Now, the premise of the book. Explain to us where the scientific process comes in, because a lot of times when people hear that it’s like, well, you can’t apply science to this stuff. This stuff is spiritual, it’s of the other world. It’s almost like taking things by faith that science is not applicable. Why do you both feel science is applicable? And how did you try to do it in this book?

Brandon Alvis  

Well, you know, I’ve been very lucky since 2006, working with various professionals from technical industries, and one of the which is, Dr. Harry Kloor. He’s the first person in history to receive two PhDs simultaneously, very brilliant man, someone that’s really helped me understand scientific principle, someone that really helped me remain grounded, and logical. So, you know, having that guidance, and that advice from Dr. Kloor really helped me implement scientific principle into investigation. So a lot of times you see with the pop culture phenomena, that is the paranormal field right now, that you see that people are using devices specifically made for paranormal research, devices that give out false positives and really have people you know, really have people chasing their own tail. What I’ve done in the guidance of Dr. Kloor, is utilize various pieces of technology, from technical industries, from the digital imaging scientific community, and implementing that into the paranormal research. So instead of us going out there, and testing theories based off of flawed devices, or going out there and trying to find environmental conditions, trying to find out what’s changing in the environment of these places that are said to be haunted. And once we have data that has been monitored in these locations, we take that to a third party and peer review, and have them really separate fact from fiction, what’s something that’s natural versus something we can’t explain? And so it’s, it can be difficult at times to really implement that principle, but it’s very rewarding.

Jim Harold  

Mustafa?

Mustafa Gatollari  

Yeah, evidence, evidence, evidence. I think any time, like all of the people that I respect regardless of their vocation or industry, they all kind of shared a common thing and that’s proving something to themselves. and having a really, really high bar for that being set. And I think there’s again, a little bit of anger at the way current things are being done. I mean, any type of real breakthrough always comes from a deeply rooted dissatisfaction with how a certain industry or certain phenomenon or certain studies or research is being conducted. So, historically speaking, you know, you look at that, and you say, “Okay, well, how can we take this further?” I’ll be honest, there’s a lot of, and again, I’m not gonna name anything particular, or anything like that, but there was a lot of like, parallel programming and stuff that me as an investigator, I was just kind of disgusted with, I’m like, this is not, I’m like, how does anybody think that this is actual research, um, it kind of just seems like it’s a bunch of folks who are kind of stroking their own egos, indulging false positives, and just creating a nice little diluted, unhealthy, diluted bubble with which they feel like they’re accomplishing something. And for me, that’s not good enough, it might be good enough for somebody else, or whatever, or maybe they don’t see it that way. But that’s how I see it. Um, so I was always someone who wanted to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Because there were experiences that I had, and things that I witnessed, especially when I was younger. And later on in life, I would always ask myself, I’d be like, “Did I really see that? Did that really happen?Was this–” And even though it was multiple people at the time would like witness the same things, I’m like, did we kind of like–“were we a part of some weird communal, like, insane insanity?” Like, I don’t know, like, I question my own sanity at some points. So for me, I need to prove that, it’s a very personal thing for me. So that’s why I want this high bar of being able to like, “Okay, no, there is empirical data here.” And significant– significantly documented, environmental changes and variances that cannot be explained through current empirical thought. So, you know, like, Brandon always says, “If it ain’t normal, it’s paranormal.” So I, we have to go to great lengths to prove that it’s not just normal. And that for me is it’s, it’s a, it’s a very personal thing, that I need that high bar and need that to be satisfied. And like Brandon says, it’s extremely rewarding when you do that. And I think ultimately, way, way scarier, if you’re one of those paranormal viewers who want to, like, you know, watch it for those thrills, which is great, but like, you know, what’s scarier than being like, top researchers, and scientists from other industries cannot explain what’s happening. You know, other than, like, “Oh, we got this like, voice on this, like, you know, dated recorder,” or the DS 60, or whatever the thing is I don’t know, but it’s like, people have all these things that they use. And I’m like, no, that’s why that’s happening. You know, you want to be diluted, that’s fine. But that doesn’t cut, that doesn’t cut it for me.

Jim Harold  

Well, you just actually kind of addressed my next question. I mean, there are people who intensely want their houses or their place of business, or whatever it may be to be haunted, maybe, to the point of delusion saying, “Yeah, it’s haunted, and I know it’s haunted” because they want it to be, how do you deal with that? Because I’m sure that in a considerable amount of cases, you know, you run into the fact that this place ain’t haunted. This is like, you know, you’ve got bad electrical, you’ve got leaky faucets, you’ve got creaky boards, but it’s not a ghost. I mean, how do you deal with that?

Brandon Alvis  

You know, 95% of the time, that’s exactly the case, is that there’s a completely rational, logical explanation to the said phenomena from the eyewitness. And it could be a sensitive situation at times, you know, but you have to come in and show them the data that supports that there’s a natural explanation. Like you mentioned, Jim, a lot of times, there’s bad wiring, high levels of EMF, natural infrasound, things like that, that can really mess with someone’s temporal lobe activity to make them, you know, feel like they’re having supernatural experiences. But it’s a very common thing that happens more times than not. And, you know, some people have such a belief, and they want to believe to such an extent that it’s really hard to present that to them in a way that shows them that, hey, this is a completely natural occurrence. This is why this is happening in your home, your business, whatever it may be. But if you have that data, and you’re able to break that down, or the not only visually, but in a very calculated way, it eases that tension at times, but it’s always very difficult to change a person’s belief system, but again, 95% of the time, there’s always a common explanation or a practical thought that can really explain some of these experiences.

Mustafa Gatollari  

Yeah, I just I don’t think you’re ever going to, in most situations, I don’t think you’re ever really going to convince someone that something is haunted or, you know, or not haunted, when they want to believe that thing. We see this in, in any type of you know, social forum, people have preconceived notions, they want to support their preconceived notions. And I think I’ve come across a lot of people who in a very weird roundabout way want to be intrinsically special, and therefore have intrinsic, you know, special-ness, for the lack of a better word, because I can’t think of it because I’m having a brain fart, but they, they take, “My house is haunted,” as this is the thing that makes me special. And this is what makes me stand out. And it’s like, it’s very, you get into very dangerous territory, when you start to challenge that. That’s why I just, I just stick to the evidence, “Hey, this is what we documented, we weren’t able to replicate any of these things, or we were able to replicate these things. And these are the natural explanations.” And you can usually sniff out the people who are going to get offended and mad if you’re trying to tell them it’s not haunted, and they would literally die for the idea that, “Well no, this place is haunted.” So once I sniff that out, I say, “Hey, this time, we weren’t able to document it,” you know, and I leave that, I extend that olive branch out. There’s so many cases that I’ve been on, where I’m just like, “there’s no way this place is haunted, or there’s no way you’re experiencing that phenomenon, I was able to replicate it all naturally.” But you know, I just don’t, I just don’t want to start fights with some people.

Jim Harold  

Now, the kind of stereotype or what I’ve heard from people, or people I’ve interviewed–I’m not a paranormal investigator and I don’t claim to be, I think it’s kind of like you watch a football game, you know, you got a lot of former players who are coaches, who are commentators. And then you’ve got like the old school broadcaster, so I never claimed to be an investigator. But what people tell me, that do this, that certain places tend to be more haunted than others, hospitals, asylums, theaters, old houses, and those kinds of things. And Mustafa, in particular, because of your historical bend, I’m interested in your take on this. But let’s just wipe away all the stereotypes based not on what people say, but on your experiences. Are there certain types of places that tend to be more haunted? And what are they?

Mustafa Gatollari  

Yeah, um, you know, I think Brandon can corroborate this too. But a lot of things that I’ve found is, you know, everybody always has this, like alure, and it’s kind of lured and gross, where it’s like, there needed to be some really, really, really deep dark tragedy in a place, which is sometimes the case, but there needs to be like, you know, sexual assault, or there needs to be some murder, or there needs to be like tragedy, all the stuff that happened there. But the one common thread, and, and there’s others–other threads, but there’s one big common thread is a really deeply rooted familial history, a place with lots of like generations, where multiple people are like a lineage, whatever that lineage is, whether it’s through vocations or through something that people would they were vying for a specific thing to maintain a certain high level. And that requires consistent like any type of like, it requires a lot of consistency to stay at that top level of whatever you’re doing, whether it’s maintaining a family business, or upholding that family name, or being great at what you do. And you’re doing that for years and years and years, and you pass it on to your kids and years and years and years. You know, they pass that on to their kids. Um, we’ve noticed that there though, a lot of those places, there’s their significant activity. I mean, I went to a place Bingham Waggoner state for an event and I wasn’t really expecting much from him. There’s no real bad history there. And yet, like EVPs right away, we captured and multiple on command. And it was, it was extremely surprising and rewarding, but also predictable, in a way considering all of those other locations. And I think I think Brandon’s experienced that too, in some specific spots. But um, yeah, that’s that’s definitely that’s definitely one of them. 

Jim Harold  

Brandon? 

Brandon Alvis  

Yeah, no, Mustafa’s exactly right. You know, not only is there, you know, that deep familial tie to some of these locations that seem to have activity that we can’t explain, but it’s also a cultural belief in some of these places. I mean, if we are looking at what we believe to be ghosts are, you know, deceased humans that somehow retain consciousness after death, you have to think along the lines of the time period they lived, the way they lived their lives, the cultural aspect of that, and a lot of times you know, that will be very fruitful in an investigation. If you understand the time period, understand the way these people lived their lives. And like Mustafa said, it’s, you know, usually a familial tie, a very deep connection to these locations that somehow retain energy, be that in a way of just–almost like a tape playing over and over in a residual way, or sometimes even in an intelligent way. So you have to not only look at that familial tie, but you have to look at the cultural aspect of it in the time period of which these people lived in.

Mustafa Gatollari  

Yeah, it’s highly emotional, I think that’s what, like I’m getting at like, it’s there’s, there’s got to be an emotionally charged thing, you know, human beings, when you think of us, like, so many people walk around their lives by like, certain events that are–that stay with them. And they either use that to make their lives better, or they’re haunted by them, and they run away from it and that, like pollutes every aspect of their life. So you got positive and negative, “I’m going to use this thing that really deeply affected me in either a bad or a good way. And I’m going to use that in order to live a bigger life or I’m going to use that as an excuse to not do anything with my life.” And you know, it’s going either right or left with that and that energy. I mean, in theory, what I think is like that’s what’s captured me. That’s what we’re documenting.

Jim Harold  

Very interesting insight. Our guests are Brandon Alvis and Mustafa Gatollari, they are the authors of Elements of a Haunting: Connecting History with Science to Uncover the Greatest Ghost Stories Ever Told, and we’ll be back with them right after this.

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If you love the Paranormal Podcast, be sure to check out Jim Harold’s Campfire where ordinary people share their extraordinary stories of ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, and terrifying encounters. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune into Jim Harold’s Campfire today. Now we return to the Paranormal Podcast.

Jim Harold  

We’re back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guests today are Brandon Alvis and Mustafa Gatollari. We’re so glad to have both of them with us. We’re talking about their brand new book, Elements of a Haunting: Connecting History with Science to Uncover the Greatest Ghost Stories Ever Told. So one thing that I know that you both tackle in this book is a classification system for ghosts and hauntings. Talk about, you know, how you do that, what are some of the different categories, residual versus kind of sentient ghosts? I mean, how do you do that? What are some of the categories and classifications, and why did you do it?

Brandon Alvis  

You know, when I first started researching Jim, years ago, before I actually ever stepped foot in the field, I did as much book research as possible. And I started to read case logs and information dating back to the 1800s, with the ghost club of London, and they really started to implement terminology for different types of ghost entities, or whatever you want to call them. And I noticed that there was a trend that people didn’t really continue that line of thinking or research. So, you know, going back to consulting with Dr. Kloor, one thing he always talked about, in order for this field to take a step further and really start to, you know, to be taken seriously, is that we have to talk about a classification system. So for instance, if you go to a zoo, you don’t say you saw a bunch of animals. So you go to a zoo, you saw tigers, and lions, and elephants. So with, you know, the paranormal, investigating ghosts, you have to start to look at it in that sense that you’re not just going to a place. Okay, it’s haunted. That’s it. No, what is it? What’s the origin of it? You know, what’s the classification of it? So, for instance, one of the classifications is a pseudo haunting. And one of the theories that, you know, we believe and one thing we’ve implemented is at certain locations, that people have been, you know, frequenting for so many years hearing legends of the haunting, hearing legends of history that can’t be documented, that they start to believe it in such a manner that it starts to take a life of its own in these locations. And that would be kind of a thought form manifestation, or a pseudo haunting, as we call it, where people for decades and decades, go to a room and try to communicate with a ghost or an entity, and they’re telling this story that’s not factual. And all of a sudden, that phenomena starts to take on a life of its own and starts to manifest itself. So one thing we have to do in order to, you know, take this field seriously, and also to, you know, take it that step forward, it start to break down, why this phenomena is happening, what’s the history associated with that phenomena? What’s the data associated with that phenomena? What are the environmental conditions? And that’s something we have to do in order to really start to step forward.

Mustafa Gatollari  

Yeah, I mean, Brandon, introduced me to the idea of the classification system early on, and I was, it just instantly kind of made sense to me, especially when you consider like, you brought up hospitals before, we noticed there’s like a lot of similar types of phenomena and activity, that we were able to document at different hospitals. And it’s, it’s got a different feel, not that we’re using feel as like an empirical, you know, measuring stick by any stretch of the imagination, but they not only–there’s a reason why there’s a different feel, and then that manifests in the documentation that we capture at these places. So yeah, this, the classification system, I really think is going to be something that’s going to help move the field forward and can definitely get like more data and different, add more entries, as we like, follow this thread moving forward.

Jim Harold  

In terms of what ghosts are, and again, I don’t want to be guilty of, you know, this zoo analogy and just saying, “Oh, we saw a bunch of ghosts.” What–do you guys have theories as to what ghosts are? I mean, mostly, I think people over the years have thought, “Oh, ghosts are the spirits of dead people.” But it seems to me that that’s too simplistic that maybe in some cases they are, but when you have like a residual haunting, where there’s constant replays, and the ghost seems not to be cognizant of what’s going on, is that really a dead person? Is that more of an imprint? So have you developed any theories as to what ghosts actually are? And I’m assuming they can be different things.

Brandon Alvis  

Yeah (Brandon and Mustafa stumble over each other), no, no, no, no, go for it. Sorry.

Mustafa Gatollari  

Okay. Yeah. No, I mean, I think anybody who says for sure what a ghost is, is, is lying, or they’re trying to serve some type of narrative that they’re going to benefit or profit off of, you know, for themselves. I, I don’t think anybody knows because, you know, nobody’s been a ghost. And nobody’s been able to kind of, like, come back and be like, “Okay, this is what happened,”  And if somebody does say that, you know, we kind of look at them, like they got nine heads. But I think, I mean, in terms of theories, there’s, there’s a lot of really great stuff that we’ve captured, that opens up the door for, for some really cool theories. I mean, you know, you’re communicating with an entity and you mentioned the year and you ask them what year they’re in and they give you a year in an EVP that’s different from your own, and it’s in the past or other years ago, or 200 years ago. That’s, that’s really interesting. What, what can we glean from that? That those are, you know, Brandon introduced the usage of the EMCCD camera on Ghost Hunters. And you know, there’s other investigators who are using it now to detect photon events, light events. Well, what we know from scientific theory is that matter is neither created nor destroyed. So what happens to our matter after we pass away? Does it retain consciousness? Does it manifest as photons? Does it manifest as light? We don’t know. Now, we also, we noticed in our research that there’s a lot of drops or increases in barometric pressure, whenever weird stuff starts going on. So what does that tell us? Well, pressure has something to do with that. So then that brings in a whole other slew of scientific theories, right? So pressure, light, that pertains to the study of, you know, the theory, theoretical study of time travel and black holes. Are we peering into a rift in time when we are conducting these paranormal investigations? Because time, we perceive it as a straight line, but it’s not. It really isn’t. Or are these remnants of beings that lived now manifesting as light? And if we understand anything about light, the beginning of its life cycle is the same time quote, unquote, as the end of its life cycle, there’s, there’s no difference. So does that after something or someone passes away, does that change the nature of how it interacts with time or functions in time? We don’t know. But what we do know is that light and photon events and pressure have a lot to do with paranormal research. And we have to continue to follow through those threads other than just like, you know, kind of sticking to certain, you know, I speak about it from like, my religious background, like, you know, anything that was paranormal was a jinn. You know, that’s how they people would say that–

Jim Harold  

Right. Right.

Mustafa Gatollari  

–and it’s kind of provincial, and almost arrogant in a way to think that “Oh, my belief system is correct and this is a jinn, or this is an angel, or this is like, you know, some demon that sits in the corner and like, you know, pees in my Cheerios.” It’s like, no, it’s, this is, we have to go by the data that we have.

Brandon Alvis  

Yeah Mustafa’s 100% right. And, you know, that’s the big breakthrough that we made that really changed the outlook of our research with photon events in this correlation with pressure. And we started to get to a point where we would put a data logger that is monitoring pressure in the environments in the line of sight of the EMCCD camera, which is measuring photon events and recording photon events. And not only did we start to have these unbelievable photon events happening in these places that are said to be haunted. But we started to see, in real time, the dramas– the dramatic, excuse me, dramatic change in pressure, be that increase or decrease. And that’s something we have to look into. And like Mustafa said, as well, you know, energy is neither created nor destroyed, so where does that energy go when we die? Does it you know, if we’re made up of energy, we’re firing off neurons right now, where does that energy go when we die? Does it retain consciousness? That’s the question. But we really can’t say at this moment that all paranormal phenomena or hauntings are associated with the consciousness after death. But we do know that there are photon events taking place in these set haunted locations, and that there’s a direct correlation with, you know, dramatic pressure changes.

Jim Harold  

One thing I want to ask you both about, and I know Mustafa’s the historian as I understand it. But I’ve always been fascinated by history and I kind of laugh when people say, “I love the ghosts, I love the paranormal stuff, but that history stuff, that bores me,” and I’m like, “what?” That’s the, that’s the thing, man. The history is the thing. That’s, that’s all of the fun. What do you both think about the role of history in paranormal activity and your thoughts on it? Because I personally think it’s really neat.

Mustafa Gatollari  

I like to know as much as I can, before heading into an investigation. I think, you know, even if you look at it, let’s say you’re a business, you know, you’re in business and you’re traveling the world, going to Japan and you–and you’re not from Japan. You’ll probably be better suited and have more success, understanding a specific region’s culture, or cultural cues, their social cues, and even if you get it wrong, it demonstrates that there was at least an attempt to try and meet somebody halfway, or to try and get where they’re coming from. So I look at it, I look at it like this, when I conduct this historical research, when I really, really, really hold myself to the fire, and do everything that I can to put in the work, I can be 100%, wrong, you know, going into an investigation, I can get a lot of things incorrect, or maybe I, you know, the leads weren’t good, or the research wasn’t conducted the right way. But a lot of times, we end up getting activity, because I do believe that that energy is something you can’t lie about, you really worked, and you really, really struggled to try and meet the entities that are, you know, theoretically there, halfway. So I think that that energy resonates. And it’s, even if you’re a paranormal investigator, who’s all about just experiencing things, I feel like doing your research and delving into the history as much as possible, not only gives you a lot of cues to use in your investigation, if you’re trying to, you know, communicate with an entity that’s there, but it’ll also help you to maybe better understand the nature of the phenomenon that’s going on there. Like Brandon said, earlier, culture’s a big, big, big part of it. And if you’re not making an attempt to understand the culture, and this, this goes for any vocation, I mean, even if you’re, you want to become a professional fighter, you learn the culture of that gym, and that martial art that you’re trying to understand. You know, you try to become a podcaster. You know, you learn the culture of podcasting, and journalism for that specific niche that you’re doing. So if you’re not making an attempt to understand, I just don’t know how, like, in real life, people won’t respect you, because you’re not really going to respect yourself because you know you didn’t do the work. And I think for a paranormal investigator that that’s, that’s really important. Now, obviously, you know, there are people who were mediums and psychics and maybe it’s better for them not to understand the history so they can go into a place and you can corroborate what other people did, actually. But I think if you’re going in as an investigator, you’re really doing yourself a disservice by not delving into the history. 

Jim Harold  

Brandon?

Brandon Alvis  

Yeah, yeah, exactly. And Mustafa’s 100% right, you know, history is a direct correlation with the set phenomena, if we don’t understand the history, or know as much information as possible about this source, the history associated these locations, we’re doing the investigation disservice. So we have to understand who these people were, what events have taken place in the set locations, and how does that connect to the eyewitness testimony or the stories associated with the haunting? You know, for instance, when I started investigating the paranormal, I worked with a lot of historical societies throughout the country where they started to implement programs at their, you know, historical societies or their museums, where they would open up the locations to paranormal investigation. And these people that normally wouldn’t go into the museum or the Historical Society for some kind of tour about the history are now showing up because of the paranormal. But because they’re there to look into the past and look into the possible phenomena, you have to learn about that history to have an understanding of what is possibly going on. So there’s no better way to relive history, then investigating the paranormal, it’s almost like time travel. In a sense, you’re going back to that time period, understanding the customs, the culture, what it was like to live in that time period. So the history goes hand in hand with parallel investigation, in my opinion.

Jim Harold  

Now, I know it’s like picking–asking somebody pick your favorite kid. But I’ll ask each one of you. What’s your favorite, we certainly want people to get the book. We don’t want to spill all the beans. But what, individually, are your favorite, one of your favorite stories or experiences or locations in the book?

Mustafa Gatollari  

Oh, for me, for one that’s in the book, I would I would have to say it’s the Worley Hospital in Pampa, Texas, for a multitude of reasons. I think that was our 10th investigation, Brandon, that we had gone on for the show. And there was, if we want to talk about history, we–we had a plethora of validated historical claims, historical happenings phenomena, people who were there at the hospital, who worked at the hospital, and there was a specific individual, which people can read about in the book and if you watched the show you’ll know who this is. Mary Lucille Meyers, you know, maiden name, Mary Stanton. And there, there was a specifically a really sad story that was highly emotionally charged, that was associated with this location. Our investigative protocols, I mean, they’re always, we always have a high standard for ourselves. But it was just one of those cases where things came together. And we were able to, I believe, and I think a lot of other people saw the episode. And when people read it in the book, though, they’ll come away thinking this as well as we had sustained for a very long period of time communication with the end, with Mary Lucille Myers. So it was, it was insane. We had multiple devices, corroborating our communication with this individual. And it was something that just all came together. And for me, it was personally rewarding, because I’d always kind of like, second guess myself, during investigations in terms of like, “Did I just really see something, was something really there?” And Brandon had seen something the night before, our second night in the investigation, I thought I saw something and I was like, usually it kind of like second second guess myself. But then I kind of followed it through and then that blew the whole case wide open. So it was so rewarding. So so rewarding.

Brandon Alvis  

Now I’d have to say the Glenn House in Cape Girardeau, Missouri was a great location as well, that’s featured in the book. You have this amazing story, actually very tragic story about the Glenn family and the various losses they’ve had throughout their time in the Glenn House. Not only that, you have, you know, this amazing history with that familial connection that we talked about earlier–earlier, you have these crazy environmental conditions, it’s right in front of the river, I mean, not too far from a massive flowing river. So you have all these environmental conditions associated with this amazing history. And it all came together. And we laid that out in the book in a way that’s gonna, I think, really break it down for people and really understand our ethics, standards, protocols, and the way we investigate the paranormal and also implements the classification system in a way that I think will be very easy for people to understand.

Jim Harold  

I want folks to definitely check out the book. I mean, I think that it’s, it’s great, but I’ll let you guys give your pitch on why they should check out this book and get their copy of Elements of a Haunting and let both of you take turns.

Mustafa Gatollari  

Yeah, I mean, I, obviously I think parallel investigators will definitely benefit from the book. I’ll have people asking me all the time, like, “how did you guys capture that? Or how did you do that? Or, you know, how were you able to get this type of, you know, documentation?” And the book really does lay that out. But I also believe that there are a lot of people who, you know, Brandon and I always say that there’s one thing that unites human beings, there’s one thing that unites us all and that’s, that’s death, you know, we’re all as much as we want to, like, you know, not think about it, or just, you know, pretend that it’s not gonna happen to us, it’s coming. And I think this is going to sound like such a used car salesman pitch, but I think if you’re a human being, you’re going to benefit from learning about research into death and the possibility of a life after death. I research the paranormal and I study it to make my own life better, it makes me want to live at a higher level. And to really, really value and enjoy what I do on a daily basis, whether it’s walking my kid to school, or you know, shooting a show for a year. That’s why I study and that’s why I dedicate so much of my time to it. So if you’re a human being, I get it sounds so cheesy, but it’s true if you’re a human being I really think you’re gonna get a lot of benefit from from reading this book and looking at all this research that we’ve done because there’s a lot of fantastical things out there. And our, the other thing is, you know, there’s obviously our love for paranormal research that kind of unites Brandon and I but we always, we always, we share this one thing and that’s a fight to do what we love at the highest level possible to satisfy ourselves and make ourselves happy. So yeah, I really do think that people even if you’re not interested in the paranormal, but the possibility of a life after death, you’re gonna love this book.

Jim Harold  

Mustafa and Brandon I want to say one thing and then I’ll let Brandon go. I ask you something, now I interrupt you, but Mustafa’s point is so good because I often say we cover everything on these shows because to me paranormal I include UFOs, cryptids, like the old school definition very broad, not just ghosts. But the truth is people ask me what topic interests me the most and it’s the afterlife because we might not all see a Bigfoot we probably won’t. We might not all see a UFO, heck, we might not even all see a ghost. But guess what? Hate to tell you. We’re all gonna physically die at least. And we’ve all got to walk that road and what lies beyond that is the ultimate question so that really resonated with me. Mustafa, so I wanted to mention that but, but yeah, Mustafa, go ahead, what were you gonna say?

Mustafa Gatollari  

Well, Brandon, Brandon, I’m done. My spiel’s done.

Jim Harold  

No, I thought I saw you unmute. These guys are expert Zoom users. They’re like muting and unmuting, so I saw Mustafa unmute. Okay, Brandon, go ahead. I’ll shut up now.

Brandon Alvis  

You know, I really hope that this book can become a guide for all people that are interested in ghosts and hauntings. Not only as an active investigator or researcher, but someone that just has a general curiosity. We really lay out, you know, our ethics, standards, and protocols, our–our communication with various professionals from technical industries that help us remain grounded not only in scientific principle, but logic. And I really hope that people can look at this book, look at the way we implement our belief system and our way of investigating into the field. But also, you know, understanding that we’re coming at this from a logical perspective, we’re not just telling a bunch of ghost stories, we’re not rehashing a bunch of urban legends or sad stories that are mentioned on all kinds of different shows. But we really show that passion and that desire to find true answers and really step out of the shadow of pseudoscience. And just to hopefully, you know, advance this field in a way that really hasn’t been done in the past.

Jim Harold  

Well, it’s been a great discussion. The book is Elements of a Haunting: Connecting History with Science to Uncover the Greatest Ghost Stories Ever Told. Gentlemen, I’m looking at it here on Amazon. I’m assuming you can get it everywhere fine books are sold.

Mustafa Gatollari  

Oh, yeah. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Llewellyn’s own website, which Llewellyn Worldwide is the oldest, oldest publisher and active publisher in America. Right, Brandon?

Brandon Alvis  

Correct. Yeah, amazing publisher. They’ve been fantastic to work with. And now we’re very excited about the book coming out and get your copy today.

Jim Harold  

And are there any other websites or anything else you’d like to share? Because I’m sure after this conversation, even if people are familiar with you both from the TV show, they’re gonna want to learn even more.

Mustafa Gatollari  

Yeah, you can find me on social media. You know, Instagram, @mgatollari, Twitter @TafGato, my old mgatollari Twitter handle got banned because I, somebody reported a tweet where I criticized the Legend of Zelda games to launch store. But also Facebook, and I have a link tree on my social media. So you can you know, stay up to date with my events and get links to the books and all the other stuff that I’m doing.

Brandon Alvis  

You can find me on my official website and brandonjalvis.com and that will lead you to all my social media in the book as well.

Jim Harold  

Very good. It’s been a pleasure. These gentlemen have been very, very generous with their time. The book is Elements of a Haunting: Connecting History with Science to Uncover the Greatest Ghost Stories Ever Told. Our guests have been Mustafa Gatollari and Brandon Alvis. Thank you both for joining us today. 

Mustafa Gatollari  

Thank you. 

Brandon Alvis  

Thank you. 

Jim Harold  

And thank you for joining us on the Paranormal Podcast. Happy New Year, everybody, and we’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week. Bye bye.