Premiering tonight on SYFY, Haunted Collector is a new weekly series about the real-life hunt to find objects that may hold supernatural powers or be portals to the spirit world. John Zaffis and his crew of paranormal investigators seek out the strange and unusual, and often find it.
During a question and answer session for members of the press with Zaffis, I was able to gather information about this new series.
John, let me ask you, when you go into homes where these people have been having these problems, how do you determine which item it is the cause?
Well what we do is an extensive search with the equipment, and a lot of times there’s multiple items, each with a different story. In the initial investigations in speaking to the clients, we’re trying to determine did they bring in a genuine antique or did they bring something in from their travels, vacationing and etc. Usually at that point in time I can usually narrow it down. If the activity had started somewhere within that time framing of bringing that item in or collectible; something they might have picked up at a garage sale, it’s an interesting process. The best way I normally will describe it, it’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, trying to determine exactly what the source is and what item it may be. Once we have determined what the item is, in fact “haunted”, we then take the items to keep them safe. I’ve had the museum for several years now but it’s a private museum and it’s based on my property where my home is. So it is not something that is open to the public.
Can you talk about the precautions you take to ensure the powers of the items are contained while on display in your museum?
Yes, there are many different types of things that I do. I’m a paranormal investigator and I have to be very analytical. When dealing with a spiritual realm there are different precautions that I do take. I use sea salt, holy water, and there are a lot of different rituals and different prayers, depending on what that item might be associated with. So there are many precautions that I actually do over the items to either hopefully break that energy or contain it to that individual item.
Can you tell us more about your experience in this field and of your personal history?
After 37 years of being involved with the paranormal field, I’m a very fortunate young man. I call myself a paranormal brat because I had an opportunity to grow up and work with Ed Warren, and he was my mentor. Back then we didn’t have any of the equipment. All we had was cameras and tape recorders, and we would abide by a lot of the old methods. Putting baby powder down, one of the things is just to see if any energy or anything is going to move across it and make any markings whatsoever. I believe very strongly today in taking the old world and the new world and actually combining them together. So trying a lot of the old methods that we used to do just to see if there was going to be any type of changes or anything whatsoever, just letting a tape recorder run. I still have my original camcorder. Every once in a while I still use that and just set that up to monitor in a room. So there are many old methods that I apply that are very critical. Because then if you can document something with what we refer to today as our scientific community in the paranormal realm, getting an EVP, electronic voice phenomena, or getting something on video, that really substantiates things to me.
So, one could say that you have a real life Warehouse 13…
Yes, we have built a very large collection of items that have interesting stories, good and bad, and some that pose a danger to persons who don’t know of its true powers.
Anyone ever openly speculate that this is contrived or “make-believe?”
We have had our skeptics and detractors, but we don’t let that stop us. We’re bringing the old world and the new world together to actually try and get some evidence and to prove and substantiate some of these claims that people are telling us.
Has there ever been a time when you came into a situation that scared you or made you feel that you were in too deep?
Every day I come across something that makes me wonder if I am going to regret my work, but I never do, and yes, I have had my fear moments.
Can you tell us about anything recent that has been especially interesting?
Actually we had investigated a 1940s outfit; a woman’s dress with a jacket. A young lady had picked it up; she liked dressing in the older attire. When she started wearing it and she had it in the house and she started having a tremendous amount of supernatural activity in her home. She was explaining it to me and we were going back and forth and this is maybe about a month and a half ago. And she described the dress and the little jacket that she was wearing over it. She felt like she had energy around her like a tingling which is very common, because again we’re dealing with energy that it’s attached to some of these items. So at that point in time I had recommended to her to remove it and she did and everything stopped. She brought it back into the house again and the situations started back up again and she felt like somebody was watching her. The woman got back in touch with me on the telephone shortly afterwards; we were talking, going back and forth. And she said, “Mr. Zaffis, I don’t care what you say, I’m packing it up and I’m shipping it up to you.”
Anything else you would care to let us in on?
No, I have let too many of my secrets out, you will just have to catch our show Haunted Collector on SYFY, Wednesday, June 1 at 9:00 pm. You have to watch the first show; we will give you more in depth info on our methods and some great stories.
More Information on Haunted Collector on SYFY’s official page.