Cue the confetti, fireworks and music ‘cause the party is underway. Hanging out with the effervescent Amy Bruni and entertaining Adam Berry is best associated with a never-ending New Year’s eve celebration without the hangover – unless you count the sheer heady intoxication from their jubilant and magical presence.
I am still laughing and smiling from the rollicking good time I was blessed to experience on Monday, August 15, 2011 from the exhilarating media press conference Syfy held with seasoned TAPS investigator Amy Bruni and newly crowned Ghost Hunters Academy winner, Adam Berry, who now sports an official TAPS title. I can start off by saying that my home growing up on Long Island was haunted, but I won’t. I can also add that when I was eight-years-old, my grandmother passed away and I was the last person to talk to her after she was dead – I kid you not. In a nutshell, it was November, there was a torrential down pour and I was talking about school, dolls, cartoons and Santa on the hospital’s lobby phone – thing is, she was already declared dead minutes before and my family was trying to convince the doctor’s that wasn’t possible since I was on the phone talking to her. My aunt’s husband, a police officer, even got in on the confusion because he was the one that dialed and handed me the phone. Hmmm… perhaps that is where my connection with the all things celestial began, but I know my love for a ghost is pivotal in my essence – got to love Casper!
As for my love for Ghost Hunters, I blame it on an old friend from Maryland and his mom and dad. I was heading out when I received a call from him telling me that the Syfy channel was reairing an episode from when the Ghost Hunters team was in his hometown. Instantly my eyebrow arched and my interest was piqued, after all, I wanted to know what was so eerie, ooky and spooky in lil’ ole Waldorf, Maryland. The TAPS team’s unearthly investigation was the historic Samuel Mudd House (Waldorf, Maryland). Turns out the ‘ole Mudd residence is famous – dare I say, infamous – for being a pit stop for John Wilkes Booth as he bolted following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Seems as though spirits allegedly haunt the home, which is currently operating as a museum. Now, you know how my addiction with Syfy’s Ghost Hunters began and it’s a healthy obsession even if I often play a Diva version of it around my home… ah, did I say that of my own volition or is one of the ghostly vampire chipmunks up to some mischievous antics… Never mind, I’ll inquire with the ingenious leaders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) at a later date.
Paranormal investigator, Amy Bruni, is no stranger to incorporeal beings since she grew up in a home that was haunted, and add to the chilling merriment in the Bruni abode, pops was an amateur paranormal investigator, in a word sweet! Father and daughter would hit the road on mystical excursions and investigate haunted locations. Bruni honed her craft by cutting her teeth and consuming everything on the supernatural she could get her mitts on. As a kid Bruni was a sponge when it came to the unearthly, and as an adult all things metaphysical are absorbed via osmosis. Bruni helped form the first ever TAPS satellite team, TAPS West, is part of the TAPS East Coast family and also lectures on ghosts and the supernatural.
Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Provincetown’s hometown sweetheart, Adam Berry, is without a doubt a rising star. Berry was the man with the grit, mettle and drive to grab the supernatural bull by the horns to become the winner of the class of 2010’s, Syfy’s Ghost Hunters Academy and ever since the dust has been settling… or floating about the ether. Newly crowned member of the TAPS team, Berry, is the co-founder of the Provincetown Paranormal Research Society (PPRS), which began as a forum to discuss paranormal activity and soon grew to venture out with small investigations.
What impressed me the most about Amy and Adam is their deep and genuine affection for each other and their mutual respect, because without respect, you have nothing! The closeness, sparkling ease with the media, playful inside jokes percolating over and their fascinating insights was absolutely exhilarating.
Now, without further adieu the extremely entertaining, intelligent and uproarious Amy Bruni and Adam Berry dish on all things that go bump in the night… and swirl about in the day.
Question: What your experience has been like now on the team and working with Amy primarily?
Adam Berry: Yes. It’s a lot more low key, that’s for sure. I don’t have to worry about anybody trying to stomp all over me or stab me in the back or anything like that – no sabotage. It’s actually a really nice breath of fresh air and Bruni keeps me right on track to where I need to be.
Question: Amy, would you want to add anything to that?
Amy Bruni: I actually couldn’t think of a better person to work with than Adam. It was great. As soon as he showed up it was like instantly we got along. And I kind of knew we would because he started emailing before he ever came out because we knew that he had won Ghost Hunters Academy and would be joining us. And so we started emailing and the first thing he told me was that I was fierce. And so I knew we’d get along after that.
Adam Berry: Yes. I was like you’re fierce and insane and that’s all that needed to be.
Question: You did mention it was more low key now and I’m sure that with all these intense investigations that you occasionally have some humorous moments. Would you mind sharing one that you and Amy, Adam or Amy too, that you had together?
Adam Berry: I mean she’s always teasing me and playing tricks on me without me knowing it because I’m very gullible at times. And so she’ll say things to me and I’ll believe her immediately. And then she’s like no, I’m not being for real of course.
Amy Bruni: We just did an investigation recently where I stuck all this gaff tape on Adam’s back and he investigated all night with this gaff tape on his back.
Adam Berry: Yes.
Amy Bruni: And when he finally found it he was like how long has that been there and I said it’s been at least four hours and it’s totally going to be on television.
Adam Berry: Yes. Gaff tape.
Question: Has the belief in the paranormal been with you since you were children? And if not, when did it begin for the both of you?
Amy Bruni: Well, for me it was since I was a child. My dad and I used to investigate together when I was like 10-years-old. So it’s been a long time. I grew up in a house that had seemingly paranormal activity and that’s when I got interested in it. So my dad and I went to the library and we checked out all these books on spiritualism and paranormal investigations and we had this really crappy tape recorder and we’d try to get EVPs and then we’d start going to cemeteries and local historical sites. And it was really kind of a bonding experience. And then I just kept on doing it and it was one of those things when I was in junior high and high school people made fun of me for it and now it’s a lot more out in the open so it’s very different. But yes, it’s been a lifelong thing for me effectively.
Adam Berry: Yes. I would have to agree. When I was a kid I loved things that go bump in the night, anything scary, anything scary movies, Halloween and all that. And so I knew something was out there but I didn’t have my first ghostly encounter until I was after college. So I had a later start but I always had a drive for it, a passion for it to find out what exactly it is. And it’s progressed from there and I can’t wait to find out what really lies behind that closet door. What is it?
Amy Bruni: (That’s true).
Question: What do you expect and where do you expect your passion in the paranormal to go in say the next I don’t know 10-15 years?
Amy Bruni: That’s a good one.
Adam Berry: Yes.
Amy Bruni: I know that I never expected it to become something that I could almost make a career of because that’s really not why anybody does it. It’s not normally a field that you can expect to make a living from. So I’m really enjoying being able to travel the country and do what I love right now. And I know it’s not forever obviously but I know that afterwards I’ll still be investigating because I did for so many years beforehand. I’m hoping eventually to get into maybe like writing a book or just something getting into the more educational side of it. And it will always be something that I do in sort of capacity but it’s very unpredictable.
Adam Berry: Yes. I would have to agree. The thing is it’s always changing. It’s an ever changing field because there are new researchers and new techniques and new things happening. So oddly we’ll never really know until we’re actually 15 years from now saying wow, I can’t believe it’s gone this far or progressed in this way. And I’m excited just for the future.
Question: What has been your scariest bump in the night moment?
Amy Bruni: Well, I know for me it wasn’t a ghost, we were investigating and it was this old jail in New Jersey and I basically was in the tunnels and I found this kind of manhole cover. And I lifted up the cover and I stood up into this room that we didn’t really know existed. It was this old boiler room. And I had stood up in a homeless man’s house. He was there, I was there, we looked at each other and I was like I should not be here. And I just went right back down and turned to the camera operator and was like let’s not go that way.
Adam Berry: (That’s odd).
Amy Bruni: That doesn’t happen very often because these locations are usually very, very secure but when you’re in a massive complex like that the buildings we’re investigating have actually been secured and there is nobody in there. But this was just some area that was way off the beaten path and they never went in that building. So yes, that was a little scary. I’m more afraid of people than animals.
Adam Berry: That’s true and I have to say that the moment that Amy and I had was at Benhurst Asylum upstairs. And we thought that crazy animals at the end of the hallway. That was frightening because we didn’t know what it was. Absolutely. And we couldn’t even find the animals. Didn’t find the animal, didn’t find what it was. So who knows? That was a freaky moment and also when we were in Hawaii the whole tsunami thing was absolutely the most terrifying experience.
Amy Bruni: Of course.
Adam Berry: And sometimes it’s not ghostly that’s freaking us out.
Amy Bruni: Yes. I’ll take ghosts over any of that stuff any day.
Adam Berry: Yes. I will too, absolutely.
Question: Back to pranks, what has been the best prank that you’ve played on each other? Like Adam, what have you done? Amy, what have you done to Adam? You want to share?
Adam Berry: Amy shared the prank that she did.
Amy Bruni: Yes, I did do the gaff tape thing to you. I’m trying to think what else I’ve done to you recently.
Adam Berry: Remember the time we were investigating in Derby, Connecticut and Steve was downstairs and we knew he was there, he didn’t know that we had entered on the top and we scared the bejesus out of him.
Amy Bruni: Yes, that was pretty funny because we were going into another part of this opera house we were investigating and we could hear Steve and Tango downstairs as we were crossing through. And we walked into them and said hey guys, we’re going to cross through real quick. But once we heard them we kind of camped out by this old staircase and waited for them to get near it. And then as soon as they were at the bottom of it we just jumped out and screamed and Steve like grabbed his heart and just started blaring. And he always says he’s going to get us back. We are constantly trying to scare each other. And it definitely wakes you up once you get that little adrenaline rush. But I’m trying to think if there was a really good one recently. And it wasn’t really a prank, we were investigating in Maryland and was it Maryland? I feel like it was Maryland.
But anyways, wherever it was, there were huge bugs and Steve was in the TAPS van and Jay was in the van with them. They were looking at the cameras and this huge June bug flies into the van. And when Steve sees something like that all rational thought leaves him. There is no like it’s a bug, I’m going to calmly exit the van. It is I am going to kill it, I am going to freak out. And so he just starts grabbing at anything, the keyboard, the cameras, something to hit this bug with. And so Jay has to grab him and literally almost put him in a headlock until this
bug went away. And we didn’t know what was going on and we see this whole van like rocking all over the place. Like what is going on in there and it was all from some little bug and Steve was freaking out.
Adam Berry: Yes and I think Jay even took a bug and put it on Steve’s shoulder without him knowing it in the van. Yes and then he looks to his left and sees the bug and then flailing. He turns and he’s doing karate and stuff.
Amy Bruni: Yes. That’s pretty funny.
Question: What do you guys do in your down time?
Amy Bruni: Sleep.
Adam Berry: Sleep a lot.
Amy Bruni: I try to – I go home and I cook a lot because we travel. I live in California so I’m on the road a little bit more than the other guys because we’re usually pretty close to New England. And I’m gone from home about 300 days a year and so I’m in hotel rooms and so as soon as I get home I just want to do something like cook. I cook, I go out and try to do normal things because you just kind of take all that stuff for granted until you’re on the road all the time. I do a lot of reading, I like to hike and I go wine tasting, all kinds of stuff.
Adam Berry: Yes.
Amy Bruni: Or I try to catch up with friends and travel around on breaks and go visit friends and stuff.
Adam Berry: Yes. Down time, especially when we’re on the road, is few and far between. But when we get it Amy and I love to Yelp like great restaurants nearby or ToDo and we go. It’s funny because people make fun of Yelp but we use it and if enough people are like you have to eat here, so we’ll go and try it and we’ll have just a nice dinner or we’ll all go out as a group and just have a good time and try to blow of some steam before the next intense case.
Amy Bruni: Yes. We’re definitely foodies. We lived it up in New Orleans. We gained 5-10 pounds there and we ate so much food.
Adam Berry: Yes. I’m still gaining weight so I haven’t gotten the memo to stop eating.
Question: What would you say is the most important lesson you’ve learned being part of the TAPS team or the hardest challenge you guys have faced?
Adam Berry: That’s easy for me. Be a team player. I’ve learned it from beginning day one GHA if there is some slack to be picked up, pick it up because you’re all working together. You all have something to do. You’re not working for yourselves even though you’re there having a good time and doing what you love to do. You have somebody who really needs answers, which is the client. So any time you are on any team doing anything it’s pick up the slack if you have to and do the best that you can possibly do. Bring your 150% every single time.
Amy Bruni: Yes. And I think that mine is very similar and it’s just kind of realizing that you’re on the road with your family and don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to say if something is wrong or communication has been a skill that I have definitely learned with the team. And it’s just because it is a different dynamic because you are traveling, living with and working with these people year round. And it’s not just the TAPS team. We have 11 crew that come with us too. So there are 17-18 of us at a time and communication is key and I think that has been a huge lesson for all of us. And I think it’s part of why we all get along so well.
Adam Berry: Absolutely.
Question: When Halloween comes around what do you guys do to celebrate Halloween?
Amy Bruni: Well, we do the live show.
Adam Berry: Yes.
Amy Bruni: We’re very into the month of October. That’s kind of like for us the Christmas season for retailer. We are so busy. Every weekend we have something to do and then we have to prepare for the live show. And it gets so exciting. There is always this buzz about that month for us. And every Halloween we are ghost hunting so it’s like we are doing what we love on Halloween night, which is great. So that’s how we celebrate.
Adam Berry: Yes. It’s a month-long celebration. I absolutely love Halloween, I love everything about it. I love the fall, I love the sweatshirts and apple cider – like come on, everything about it. And I can’t think of a better way than being in a dark crazy place with Amy Bruni for six hours on television. Can’t think of a better thing to be doing.
Question: Is there anything in your real lives that you find scarier than your investigations?
Amy Bruni: Geez. Some of our travel was pretty scary. We have had some when we were out at Mackinac Island taking the icebreaker ferry across the lake and then realizing we were stranded there and couldn’t take the ferry back. And had to fly out on this little four-seat plane and it took like 16 trips to take all of our equipment back and forth. And that kind of stuff is scary. We were driving across the country at that time in the middle of these crazy snow storms and we almost went off the road and had to pull over and stay at a hotel. And that stuff terrifies me. That’s the one thing that scares me.
Adam Berry: Yes. Actually and to add to that a couple of months later we thought the worst of the winter was over and we were driving up to Maine to do Fort Knox and literally the drive should have taken us two hours and it took us 4-1/2 hours because of the snow storm that happened. But we had to get there because we had nowhere to stop. We couldn’t see anything. Blinding snow – it’s terrifying.
Amy Bruni: It was. We were trying to calm each other down. We’ll be fine. We’ll be fine.
Adam Berry: Totally fine. And then we get there and we’re like yes, now we’re fine. Yes. Some hotels we stay at I’m like should we be investigating here? Like something’s crazy.
Amy Bruni: Some of the buildings we investigate, they’re in parts of town that aren’t always desirable because they’re run down and old and there are a few instances where we have had criminal activity happening very close to us, gunshots, things like that.
Adam Berry: Gunshots. Gunfire.
Amy Bruni: I won’t name any place in particular but yes, that has happened.
Adam Berry: Yes.
Ghost Hunters returns with all-new episodes beginning Wednesday, August 24 @ 9/8c on Syfy. Catch a sneak peek of Wednesday’s episode here.
Grab the Ghost Hunters Haunted House finder app here.
Syfy’s Ghost Hunters episode shot @ the Samuel Mudd House in Waldorf, Maryland, titled I Am Not Guilty aired in season 5 – episode 510.