Category Archives: Haunted Collector Show

Articles about John Zaffis, Brian Cano – Atlas Obscura, Examiner, and more

Looking for Haunted Collector cast updates around the web, here’s what I found:

Haunted Maxcy gets Hunted for Ghosts (6 November 2013)

This article describes an investigation and presentation by Brian J. Cano and Chris Mancuso at Maxcy Hall at the University of New Haven.

“Cano and Mancuso spoke about their experiences with the different types of tools, and how situations differed from one location to another. They discussed the most haunted locations they’ve been to, and weren’t hesitant to mention ghost-hunting experiences that didn’t work as planned. Some locations simply didn’t result in the evidence that they had hoped for, but as Cano says, “If it made you think about things you didn’t before, then it was successful’.”

Ghost Stories Told in Waverly (20 October 2013)

Great article describing a presentation and investigation with Brian J. Cano, Chris Mancuso, and Jason Gowin.  Worth noting, at the end of the article:

“The crew then began to leave, but not before taking some unconventional precautions. To ensure the spirit didn’t attach itself, Mancuso, no longer the skeptic he thought he was, imagined himself surrounded in white light as he backed away.”

mirror-antiqueOld mirrors may harbor spirits, says John Zaffis, at (25 April 2013)

This article is at a website with annoying pop-up ads that froze my browser. So, here’s the crux of the information, from that site:

“According to Zaffis, this is more common with old mirrors. Because the reflective layer of the mirror was painted on, there is a gap between the two layers. Spirits, he says, can get trapped between the two layers of the mirror and be unable to move on.”  [Link]

That seems to be true. Among well-known haunted mirrors are old mirrors at the Myrtles Plantation (LA), Driskill Hotel (Austin, TX), Hollis Historical Society (Hollis, MA), and many university rest room mirrors connected with the “Bloody Mary” legend.

To learn more about haunted mirrors, see The Mystery Behind Mirrors.  It’s good reading.

Photos from John’s Museum of the Paranormal, at Atlas Obscura

“The collection contains artifacts from all over the world and run the gamut from innocuous artifacts such as a china set and a painting of a clown on velvet to more sinister-looking items, like tribal masks and a ventriloquist dummy…” [Link]

The Bizarre Science Behind Your Favorite Horror Films, at PolyMic, references John in an article.

This article talks about the “haunting” case in Connecticut and quotes John Zaffis about demonic possession and paralysis. Unfortunately, the article author then attributes all paranormal paralysis to the very normal phenomenon of sleep paralysis.

It’s important to eliminate simple sleep paralysis in these cases. However, it’s dangerous to attribute all such symptoms to abruptly interrupted REM sleep.   Facile dismissal of alarming symptoms is one reason many demonic cases aren’t identified early enough.

What Scares John Zaffis?, at Geek Nation

This isn’t what it sounds like. In fact, I didn’t see anything in this article that actually frightens John.  However, it’s a good interview from 2012 and worth re-reading.  It reinforces John’s views and what he tried to convey in the TV series.  (But, as we all know, down-to-earth sensibility isn’t as exciting as TV shows think they need to hold viewers’ interest.) [Link]

Haunted Collector Cancelled by Syfy

screaming-girlSyfy cancels Haunted Collector TV show.

A comment from the webmaster:

As John Zaffis’ Halloween tweet said, the Haunted Collector show has been cancelled by Syfy.

At Halloween, John’s tweet said, “”hi all just letting you know haunted collector will not be coming back sorry to all our fans.”

On one level, I’m really disappointed. Thanks to the cast, Haunted Collector was one of the few ghost-related TV shows that maintained a reasonable level of integrity in the ratings-driven entertainment field.

The loss of this show is significant.  Many fans — including me — are not happy.  We’re angry with the production company and the network.

Other networks — including PBS, CW, and more — have been busy, getting larger audiences for their shows via Hulu Plus, Netflix, etc.  It looks like Syfy is behind the times.  It’s been MIA in the digital TV revolution. That’s kind of ironic, given the theme of the network.

That makes the cancellation of Haunted Collector even more annoying.  The network and the production company could have made better choices.

For more insights, read Brian Cano’s blog post about the cancellation.  It’s especially disappointing to see how the cast got the news.

Seriously, getting a show cancellation notice by email is even more sleazy than ending a romance by email.  I’m sure less professional things happen in Hollywood, but this is a vile reflection on those in charge of producing the show.

So, you’ll see this website transform over the coming weeks. (In the interim, it may look kind of disorganized.) I’m shifting the focus to the careers of the stars of Haunted Collector.  I’ve known John and Brian for years, and I’m confident they have great adventures ahead.

I hope you’ll continue to follow the cast of Haunted Collector as they move on to better projects.

Like you, I wish each of them great success with whatever they do, next.

Haunted Collector – Season 2

LightningThe Haunted Collector TV series returned in June 2012.

We expected…

  • More chilling episodes.
  • More history of the objects and why each one is haunted.
  • Investigations in even more creepy and interesting places across the U.S.

Visit Syfy for a brief preview video! (Not sure if they’ve kept the video online. They seemed to be in a hurry to abandon this great series once they grew tired of it.)

Season Two of Haunted Collector – Filming Begins

The Haunted Collector show is filming Season Two.  Looks like the team will be on the road pretty close to the holidays.  With recent blizzards in the U.S., we hope their journeys are safe.

In Brian J. Cano’s new blog, we learned that the show has been filming at a Florida location.  Thanks to a WKTV (Utica, NY) news report, we learned that New York’s Hulbert House is also one of the Haunted Collector‘s investigation sites this season.

We found more info about Hulbert House online.

The Haunting of Hulbert House – CNY Paranormal – LITE 98.7


The Hulbert House was built in 1812 in Boonville, NY. Since it was built, Hulbert House has been active as an inn, and was at one time one of…

And this brief report:

Historical Sites in The Hulbert House 106 Main Street Boonville


We believe this site to be an active location

We also found this 10-minute video from a Hulbert House investigation by NNY Shadow Chasers.

What is it about places called Boonville?  We found references to hauntings in Boonville, Indiana and Boonville, Missouri, too.

Here’s an old video with an odd, ghostly figure in it, apparently filmed at a cemetery in Boonville, Indiana.  (One viewer mentioned Millersburg Cemetery “out by the local mines.”)

Watch that 1-minute video, then re-watch it, looking for what’s highlighted in slow motion at the end. (We spotted the figure at the tree before we got to the slo-mo section.  If that’s a real video, it’s pretty good.)

Then there are hauntings in places called Bonneville, including North Bonneville, Washington.  (Don’t get us started about the strange legends of the Bonneville Salt Flats between Utah and Nevada.)

We’ve heard rumors of ghosts in the ghost town of Caribou City, Bonneville County, Idaho.  Unlike many Idaho ghost towns, Caribou City has enough remains (one cabin but no roads) to make it a preservation issue.

That sounds too rural for any but the most intrepid ghost hunters, especially with no credible ghost stories yet.  We may have to wait for a “ghostly ghost towns” reality series.

But we digress.

We’re looking forward to Haunted Collector Season Two, and hope to have more updates about locations.

If you have additional information to share, leave a comment below.


Haunted Collector – Good, honest investigating

haunted collector uses baby powder for ghost huntingThe Haunted Collector TV series is earning respect as one of the best shows featuring “old school” ghost investigating techniques as well as honest ghost investigators.

If you’ve watched many ghost “reality” shows on TV, you’ve seen a few obvious mistakes, but few shows own up to them.

Haunted Collector is one of the few paranormal and ghost shows that says, “Oops!”

For that, it’s earning respect and it’s used as a reference when talking about what’s real in ghost hunting, and what might not be.

So, we liked seeing this article that mentions the Haunted Collector TV show and the use of powder to detect ghostly footsteps or movement.

Investigators claim ghost haunts East Coast Park | The Occult Section


of Haunted Collector last season on SyFy (I say last season because it was renewed for a new season) and Chris Zaffis (the son of John Zaffis) actually stepped in the powder that was put down by Brian J. Cano.

Tips for ghost hunters:

  • Before using powder during your ghost research, use a candle to see if there are any natural breezes or gusts.  If the wind might possibly move the powder, don’t waste your time putting powder on any surface.
  • If you are using powder, the first choice is plain baby powder.  That’s because it’s usually a finer grain than, say, cornstarch or flour.  Baby powder is far easier to disturb, so it’s more sensitive to ghostly activity.
  • The second best choice is pure cornstarch, sold in the baking supplies aisle of the grocery store.
  • If you must use flour for ghost hunting, look for something described as pastry flour or granulated flour.
  • Never use any kind of sugar. It will stick together (and to the surface its on) if there’s any humidity.
  • You can often find baby powder and cornstarch at “dollar” stores (or pound stores), sometimes in large containers.
  • Do not sweep up baby powder to reuse.  The reason it works as baby powder is that it absorbs moisture.  Once it absorbs moisture, it’s heavier and less likely to produce results in haunted locations.
  • However, do sweep it up — and dispose of it — after your investigation.  Don’t leave a mess for the site owner or the next investigating team.

We’re glad to see the Haunted Collector TV show being recognized for good, honest investigating and “old school” ghost hunting techniques.

News: John Zaffis at SUNY

latest news about John Zaffis, the haunted collector‘Tis the season to go ghost hunting!

Here’s a great article about John Zaffis, the Haunted Collector:

Ghostbuster: Paranormal expert communicates with dead, coordinates ghost hunt (October 16, 2011)

From that article:

“In the middle of Oakwood cemetery, John Zaffis stood surrounded by a group of more than 40 students from Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF. Zaffis, a nationally recognized ghost hunter, was trying to communicate with spirits that inhabited the cemetery.

The ghost hunter used an AM/FM radio, otherwise known as a ghost box, to scan over white noise static, which ghosts can communicate through, Zaffis said.

“Can you tell me how many spirits are here with us?” Zaffis called into the darkness. The students waited in complete silence, listening for a response through the ghost box.

“Seven,” a voice through the radio said…

Read more of that article

I’ve heard John successfully talk with ghosts using a “Shack Hack,” even when others weren’t getting good results.  So, I think contact isn’t just about the device, but the person who’s doing the talking.

Do communication skills improve with experience? That seems logical.  Are some people simply more adept at communicating with ghosts?  That could be true, too.

As this news story demonstrates, John Zaffis (of the Haunted Collector TV series) is someone who can contact ghosts and get real-time replies from them.

Reality, the Haunted Collector, and the One-hour Show

photo - clock - ghost showsParanormal reality shows make me talk to the TV screen.

(Okay, I rant at the TV screen… like anyone on the show can hear me, y’know?)

It’s like the first time I saw The Blair Witch Project.

When the person rushed out of the tent, alone, I was like everyone else who’d spent many years in Scouting:  I muttered, “Idiot! Never leave the tent by yourself.  Take a buddy.”

So, when I watch paranormal TV shows, I also talk to the screen.

As much as I like the Haunted Collector TV show, there are times when I talk to my TV as I watch it.

I talked less to the TV during last night’s episode (the firehouse episode, also featuring the Stratford, CT home), but I still talked to it.

The fact is: Investigations take days or weeks.  Usually, multiple weeks are involved when it’s a serious and frightening case, especially if children may be affected by it.

What John Zaffis says

In The World Within (linked at the foot of this article), a 2010 documentary about John Zaffis’ work, John very clearly addressed this issue.

Here’s what he said:

“Always remember it’s not like what you see on the TV in a half an hour or an hour.

“It can’t be done that quick.

“You have to remember, a lot  of times these guys are on the scene one week, two weeks, evaluating what they’re involved with and how they’re doing it.

“So, the actual investigation can go anywhere — from the beginning to the end — it can be several weeks in determining what needs to be done… What procedures I’m going to implement to help a person out.”

— John Zaffis in the “Shadows in the Dark” segment of The World Within

The acting issue

What you see on the TV, in the half-hour segments of each show, represent a far greater length of time.

photo - video camera - reality showsIn some cases, the camera crew was right there and caught the phenomenon or encounter, on video.

In many cases, a couple of team members were in separate part of the building when something odd, interesting, or chilling happened.  No one was there to film it, so they re-enact what happened after the producer says, “Yeah, let’s include that.”

That’s not faking anything.  It may (or may not)  seem convincing when it’s re-enacted. That’s a reflection of how well the person can remember what he or she did, and how well the person can repeat what was said, so it sounds normal.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cameras can’t be everywhere at once.
  • Sometimes (perhaps often) events happen off-camera.
  • When the evidence (filmed or not) is evaluated, some off-camera incidents will be re-enacted to more clearly share that moment with the audience.
  • Re-enacted incidents may be badly acted (these guys aren’t actors), but they’re not faked.

The ghost box issue

After the fire station episode, someone commented that nobody turns off a ghost box while it’s still communicating.

He’s right.

Since I’ve been with John on several investigations, I can say with confidence that John never turns off a ghost box that’s still saying important things.  Likewise, his crew never would, either.

Really, when any direct communication is taking place, I’m not sure that everyone remembers to blink or even breathe. It’s that exciting.

radio - ghost box - photoBut John takes it to an extreme.  He’s a talker… and a listener.

Whether it’s someone living or on the other side, John wants to hear everything they have to say.  He never turns off the ghost box or walks away, mid-conversation, unless (a) the person is being a jerk or extremely repetitious, 0r (b) John needs to deal with something in another area, urgently.

In fact, I’ve walked away from John (and others) who wanted to hear every last word from a ghost box, though I felt the box was repeating things I’d already heard three or more times.  (I wanted to explore other areas of the house, but… No, John had to stay to hear everything.)

About 30 minutes later, I returned to that room.  John was still there, listening, even though other people were leaving because the box hadn’t said anything new in nearly half an hour.

So, the ghost box scene in the firehouse episode did not accurately represent what John and his team do.  If anything, it was the exact opposite of what they do.  If there’s a whisper or even a single syllable yet to emerge from the ghost box, they’ll wait for it.

In other words:

  • No responsible ghost hunter turns off a communication device while it’s still communicating useful information.  That goes double for John and his team.
  • John Zaffis is more patient than most, and listens to people — living and on the other side — far after the average researcher would walk away.
  • Many moments in the show represent hours of research, but — due to time constraints — can only provide a glimpse of what happened.

Brian Cano and the poison bottle

I’m probably not the only one to notice that, every time there’s a dusty, icky, small space to explore — like a crawl space — Brian Cano is elected to explore it.

spider photo - haunted collector tv showHe has more courage than I do.

In the Louisiana episode, I’m glad he found that handgun, but there’s no way you’d catch me climbing under a house where there can be poisonous snakes, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, and the occasional rabid rodent.

But, one reader questioned whether Brian Cano “just happened” to notice the crawl space, as it appeared on the Stratford, CT segment of the Haunted Collector firehouse episode.

Well, Brian might have, but — working with a 30-minute segment — I think it’s more likely that he (or someone else) noticed the crawl space and then re-enacted that discovery when the cameras were there.  After that, they were able to film him climbing into the crawl space.  (Really, that’s not something anyone’s likely to do, twice.)

I’d be amazed if Brian simply found the bottle cap and the broken bottle as shown on the TV.  (Maybe he did.  Some psychics are drawn to objects, even hidden ones, it’s like they have an internal compass.)

It’s hard to tell.  Brian has a lot of experience behind the camera and in front of it, so he’s better at re-enactments than many others are.

Also, in a 30-minute segment, they’re not likely to show us the whole 10 or 20 or 30 minutes Brian climbed around amid dust, dirt, and aging fiberglass insulation.

So, I can’t address the issue of how quickly he found the pieces of the bottle.

The World Within

I recently (finally) saw the documentary, The World Within. It provides fascinating insights to what John Zaffis does.   It includes his work with haunted objects as well as his demonology research.

I’ll review the video in a later article, but for now, I recommend it if you’re a fan of John Zaffis.  What he says in this video — like what I quoted above — will answer a lot of questions raised by John’s TV series, the Haunted Collector.