An Interview with Famous "Ghost Hunter" Hans Holzer
By Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway
Every time I see an image of a ghost, goblin or Halloween witch I feel frustrated that we raise
our children to think that disembodied spirits are scary and to view witches as evil.
Any student of metaphysics knows that there is a world of helpers "on the other side,"
and this includes those who have "passed over." They aid us, guide us, commune with us
and, occasionally, annoy us. However, just because they happen to be dead, doesn't mean they are
As for witches, you will find those who are over the top or very dramatic about their beliefs, as
in any spiritual practice or religion. But most witches are typically regular folks, who are
connected deeply to nature, the earth, the heavens, divine source and their own creative spiritual
spark and spiritual craft. One of the reasons witches are lumped in with
and goblins for Halloween is that many of the people who practice the craft also believe the veil
between the worlds is very thin on Halloween; it is a very special time of communing with and
honoring our dead. It's also easier to see into the future.
October 31 ~ Halloween
Although the west knows October 31 as Halloween, the pagan holiday is called Samhain (pronounced
"sow-when"). When Celtic Christianity took hold in the lands once governed by pagan ways,
many of the old holidays were adapted. Samhain became Halloween. It is celebrated as
"All Soul's Day" in the Catholic Church.
Today, even Mattel has created a "Secret Spell" Barbie to honor witches, and
contacting the dead is practically an American sport, with books and TV shows like John Edward's
"Crossing Over" growing in popularity and media mediums like Silvia Browne often spotted
slinging insights from the other side on Larry King and Montel Williams.
My Interview with Expert on Ghosts
A few years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing famous "ghost-buster"
Dr. Hans Holzer. The author of multiple books on the topic of disembodied spirits - those that know
they are dead and those that don't (ghosts) - Holzer has had amazing experiences testing the
and helping many of them "go home" when they get trapped in between the worlds.
Obviously, his experience of things that go bump in the night transcends popular images of Casper
and Halloween haunting.
In fact, he speaks of
and other spirit entities as if they are real people, like you and I, who are simply headed for,
or living in, a different dimension. He shared with me his rather expansive understanding of the
nature of spirit friends. With the world's most noted counselor to the disembodied spirits, sitting
around telling ghost stories takes on new meaning.
"I'm a scientist and this does not mean 'to know,' it means 'to quest for
knowledge,' " he clarifies. "It's never finite. It always keeps changing and moving
and you learn new things. But you do have to have standards. And scientific standards preclude me
from accepting some of these fantasies."
"The other side tends to confirm what most religions teach," says Holzer. "If
it weren't for the facts of parapsychology, religion wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Religion takes
some of the evidence, which we know in parapsychology, and uses it for its own end--to distort the
truth, to get people to obey. I'm not against organized religion, but spirituality is not religious;
spirituality is a way of life. You don't need intermediaries for that."
Rev. Laurie Sue: Do you believe in ghosts?
I don't believe in anything. Belief is the
uncritical acceptance of something you can't prove. I work on evidence; I either know or I don't
know. There are three dirty words in my vocabulary: belief, disbelief and supernatural. They don't
exist. There's no "supernatural world." Everything that exists is natural. Yet there is
a dimension of existence that is as real as your living room, even if the average person cannot
access it with all their senses? I coined the phrase "the other side" because it really
is the other side, like one side of the mirror. The spirit world, or "the world next
door," as Eileen Garrett called it, is not up or down. It is here, moving at a different rate of
speed. And the dimension into which we all pass--except
because they can't get into it until they are liberated from their compulsions--is concentric with
this dimension. It exists in the same special area, but because it's strung out further, it does not
clash with the thicker atmosphere, the thicker dimension, in which we exist.
LSB: What's "the other side" like?
Everything we have here, they have over there. This is a duplicate of this world except over there
the purpose is to develop the personality from the negative to the positive, or to give them
assignments or to send them down for some more education.
LSB: What is the difference between a ghost and a spirit?
We are all spirit. When we pass on, we simply get rid of the outer layer and, underneath, there
really is a duplicate layer. This inner body - like an inner tube of a tire - is where our
personality resides. At death the physical body is worn out and dissolved, so the inner body is
where we live. So we need to have an atmosphere, a dimension, that fits this inner body and that's
the world of spirit, or the etheric world. The etheric world is all around us. At death, we ride out
into that world and we are right there. That's our normal transition. However, once in a while
something goes wrong when somebody passes from the physical state.
LSB: What turns them into a ghost?
The death is not smooth. When there is trauma--an unacceptable accident or shock or surprise - this
will, in some cases, cause the personality to go into a state of psychotic shock. In that state of
shock they are not aware that they've passed on. They are confused as to their real status, because
they can see everybody and no body seems to be able to see them. That's what a ghost is, somebody
who's gotten stuck in the physical world but is not part of the physical world. And they become
panic stricken for attention and eventually they do things to get attention, like moving objects,
creating noises. This is not to frighten people, they're just attention getters.
LSB: But not everything that goes bump in the night is a ghost?
It's the exception, rather than the normal transition. I have found that about 75 to 80 percent of
the sightings or auditory phenomena are not really people stuck in our atmosphere, but replays from
the past; like an imprint on the atmosphere. It's a psychic imprint; an imprint on the atmosphere,
which is energy like a television picture that is stuck in time. To the average person it looks
exactly the same as a ghost. Even some mediums can't tell the difference. But if phenomena are
observed exactly alike at the same time in the same place and a number of witnesses have reported
identical experiences, then you probably have an imprint. If, from different witnesses, you have
reports saying there's a variation in what the ghost entity is doing, then it's a real person. That's
the only way you can tell one from the other.
LSB: How are they different from ghosts who crave attention?
The ghost personality is generally in various stages of psychotic condition--otherwise they would
move on. The stay behind is someone who lived in one place for a very long time, and usually dies
a gentle death; they just fall asleep, no violence, no pain. They are unused to any other place,
partially because their religious belief has primed them to believe Hosanna with angels wings on
their back, or in some cases, fellows in red underwear with pitch forks, would take them away. Low
and behold, at death, they're still where they were before. The physical body isn't there - but
there's a body and they see themselves, so they stay put. That's why people go to the funeral of
Aunt Minnie, come back and there she is in her usual chair.
LSB: You made a distinction between a ghost and a spirit. Is there
a distinction between a spirit and a soul?
No. The soul is the spirit. The soul is the personality. The soul is energy that manifests through
and resides in an etheric body. This energy field, which is us, is what the church calls the soul
and what the spiritually inclined people call the spirit. Popular culture has offered a few glimpses
into the other side. In the movie "Ghost" we saw a spirit shocked out of his skin,
yet determined to finish some business.
LSB: In your opinion, was it an accurate portrayal?
Everything was correct except for that last scene--which is Hollywood--where the furies come and get
the bad guy. It doesn't work that way. There are no furies, there is no hell. There is only that
which you bring with you to the other side. But movies are fantasy. This is real.
LSB: So we do bring our baggage with us at death?
When you pass on you take your memories with you. And if your life has been negative or a destructive
one, you will have to go to school, so to speak, and the next time around you will have a chance to
confront some of those issues again. That's the whole idea behind reincarnation. I did a lot of work
on reincarnation for Life Beyond (Contemporary Books). I have no doubts whatsoever it exists for
LSB: Yet in between gigs in human form, can our beloved relatives
communicate from the other side without being ghosts?
It's very common. Unfortunately, our culture teaches people that it is not possible, there is nothing
out there, yet when somebody passes on, the first thing when they arrive on the other side is they
want to let their loved ones know that they are still alive and that they are well and they are happy
being with other loved ones. There is touching and cases where they feel the person. Yes. Oh, all of
this is very possible.
Copyright © 2003 Reverend Laurie Sue Brockway, All rights reserved. If you are interested in publishing this article, please email .
Want More Information About Ghosts?
Check out these books by Hans Holzer.
GHOSTS: True Encounters With The World Beyond
by Hans Holzer
Hans Holzer's Travel Guide to Haunted Houses: A Practical Guide To Places Haunted by Ghosts, Poltergeists and Spirits
by Hans Holzer
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About the Author
Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway is an interfaith minister and non-denominational wedding officiant who helps people get ready for love and marriage, and who blesses the unions of couples in love in unique and loving ceremonies. She is author of
Wedding Goddess: A Divine Guide to Transforming Wedding Stress Into Wedding Bliss
(Perigee Books, Spring 2005),
A Goddess Is a Girl's Best Friend: A Divine Guide To Finding Love, Success and Happiness
(Perigee Books, December 2002), and the online course
Find Your Spiritual Soul Mate
Visit Rev. Laurie Sue at