“I may not believe in the concept of demons, but I accept that I might be wrong, and that the places I go are opening doors. I think the biggest tangible danger of paranormal investigation is becoming close-minded; there is always something to learn.”

July 28, 2011

Entertainment, Interviews

DarkMedia Interviews Daniel Hooven of Resident Undead:

On June 17th of this year, fans of the Travel Channel’s wildly successful Ghost Adventures were introduced to a reality show like we’ve never seen before.  Paranormal Challenge, hosted by Zak Bagans, never fails to be a wild ride as two teams go head-to-head, collecting evidence within some of the most haunted locations in America.

We were introduced to Resident Undead as they competed against the ladies of Paranormal Xpeditions, in a “battle of the sexes”, at Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, New York.  Adam Kimmel, Jim Leopardo and Daniel Hooven proved to be not only competent investigators, but paranormal enthusiasts with an edge.  Resident Undead is anything but predictable as they push the boundaries of paranormal research to new levels, while still remaining faithful to the context and history of their investigations.

Since their episode of Paranormal Challenge aired in June, Resident Undead has become no less than an ambassador in the paranormal community; bringing teams together on various social media sites, and raising the spirit of support and friendship among their peers.  For those who are interested in the future of paranormal research, this is a team you’re going to want to keep an eye on.

DarkMedia had the pleasure of interviewing the “virtual voice” of Resident Undead, Daniel Hooven.

Can you tell us a little about your team? How did each of you become interested in investigating the paranormal, and how did you find one another?

Resident Undead is based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania except for myself; I am from Philadelphia. Adam and I lived in a fraternity house in college that we accepted had paranormal activity, but it wasn’t until Adam saw the original GAC documentary that he decided to take his fascination and turn into his life.

Jim witnessed a full body apparition at his work, which piqued his interest in the paranormal. Adam met Jim at Hill View Manor and the two hit it off immediately. So when Adam announced he was going to Villisca, Iowa to confront what could be the devil in the attic of an old house, I jumped on board.  Finally, in November, Resident Undead had our first official team quarantine at the Villisca Axe Murder House.

How would you describe the investigation style of Resident Undead? Do you have a motto or mantra that encompasses your philosophy when dealing with paranormal entities?

Paranormal Challenge on the Travel Channel

I would describe the investigative style of Resident Undead as adaptable, in spite of the fact that many people see pictures or videos of us and immediately write us off as Ghost Adventure Crew clones. I take that as a compliment since, in my opinion, GAC are the best investigators out there!  However, people need to take the time to watch our product in order to understand how different we are. We do use provocation, but we try to be smart about it; anybody can go into a basement and yell — but we incorporate the history.

At the Prospect Place, we had a mock lynching of me where I was left hanging in a barn, Jim was placed in a candle pentragram infront of the cross, and in Villisca, Adam had an axe hanging over his head. Our tagline is “It’s time to confront the darkness”, and I feel our videos demonstrate our desire to showcase the dead.

Daughter of the Paranormal, Author Alexandra Holzer

Who is your biggest inspiration in the field?  What is it about their work you admire?

My two inspirations are Zak Bagans and Alexandra Hozler, two very influential people in paranormal investigation, but for very different reasons. I respect the hell out of Zak; he mainstreamed the paranormal, and has always made an effort to showcase local teams, most recently through Paranormal Challenge. Zak has given the paranormal community a face and media prescence, and we all admire him.

Alexandra Holzer may not have the media name recognition that Zak has, but her involvement in Paranormal Challenge brought the show a lot of legitimacy. Alexandra grew up and lived with what we search for at night, and is as legit as they come in this field.  Her father, Hans Holzer, is the regarded as the godfather of the paranormal — and the fact she is carrying his torch, while on her own path, is amazing.

In a relatively short time, ghost hunting has become wildly popular in the media.  What effect do you think that has had, or will have, on the field of paranormal investigation?

The paranormal community explosion is something interesting to watch; it seems that everybody is a “ghost hunter” now, which is term that I quite frankly hate.  I consider myself a paranormal researcher.  I think that you hunt animals or game, not the spirits of the deceased… even the bad ones. Every channel seems to have a show which has resulted in some interesting concepts, and some things that are just over the top. Nevertheless, I think the explosion is beneficial and will help the field progress.

In the community as a whole, have you encountered a greater spirit of competition or support?  Which do you think is more beneficial?

I feel that the paranormal community is supportive, overall. Through social media, such as DarkMediaCity and Facebook, we are able to connect with a lot of different teams, make local contacts, and share our experiences. I feel that the younger teams have really embraced the idea of sharing information and having free reign on how to research the paranormal.

However, we have faced some negativity.  There are a lot of groups out there with this inane perspective that there are “rules” to the paranormal, and get territorial if you go into their “spot”. The idea of territory is embarrassing, and any team that thinks like that should be ashamed — nobody is a landlord to the dead.

I will never claim to be an expert.  I will share my opinion, but to label yourself an expert just because you’ve been investigating barns and houses for fifteen years is idiotic. There are experts in the field, but I think the term itself gets abused. The paranormal world isn’t a quest for vanity or self validation, it’s a slate on which we leave our mark and pass along for the growth of the community.

What’s the most powerful location/experience you’ve had as a team?  What happened?

The Calvin Center

The Calvin Center was the most powerful place we have witnessed, which  is saying a lot considering we have been to Prospect Place, Villisca Axe Murder House, Rolling Hills, and other super haunts. We discovered the Calvin Center in Ohio and were not prepared for what happened during our recent shoot.

The Calvin Center was built in 1902, and some of the history revolves around repeated child molestation.  It has a basement with so many spirits that there is a supposed power struggle, according to one medium. For anybody not familiar with our team, Jim is our rock.  He is so desensitized to the paranormal that he booked a trip to Bob Mackey’s, just so he could be scared. Jim was setting up cameras in the molestation area, when out of nowhere he grabbed his chest and stated he had to go. He proceed to start crying and ran outside to throw up.  Jim wrote about the experience the next day and we were shocked by his emotional breakdown; he said he has never felt such sadness in his life. That night, Adam was in one of our “quarantine” sessions, and when we went to retrieve him, he simply looked at us, pale white, and stated “they’re everywhere”. Seeing Adam that scared, and Jim that emotionally scarred, left an impression on me.  It’s very disturbing.

Paranormal encounters can often change the heart and mind of the unbeliever.  For each of you, did you always feel a connection to the “other side”, or was there a moment that changed your mind?

I was a 110% skeptic when going to the Villisca Axe Murder House; even in college I would look for natural explanations of strange things at our house. Adam told me that having my first ghost adventure at the Villisca Axe house was crazy, but he also said it was a great way to baptize me into the paranormal.

When setting up the cameras, Adam jumped out to scare me and Jim, which made us all laugh after the initial shock.  But then I heard two little girls audibly laughing at us. The laughter was coming from the room where two of the girls were killed… so I guess you could say the paranormal world had me at Villisca.

What’s your favorite piece of ghost hunting equipment and why?

We have a piece of equipment that we refer to as “Pandoras Box”, and just bought a second one. These are very specialized and gems of paranormal investigative tools. We don’t really discuss the name, but this DVR is considered the Bentley of the community.  I love it because we almost always get amazing results — clear and intelligent responses in real time.

In a previous interview, you’ve discussed residual energy versus intelligent entities.  What would you say is the nature, and source, of an intelligent entity?  Human spirits? Demons?

Resident Undead on Paranormal Challenge

I feel that there are two types of activity– intelligent and residual.  How to explain them, I don’t know. I believe some events can be so traumatic that they literally get stuck in time on a cycle, while intelligent is a conversation we can have with a form of afterlife. On our episode of Paranormal Challenge we wanted intelligent responses, because you earn that response. We had so much residual sounds of people talking, music from the ballroom, and tricycles from the Christmas room, but we focus on intelligent responses. As for human spirits, demons, I would just say energy; I don’t know what form that energy takes, but energy drives both types of responses in my opinion.

On the subject of demons, do you believe they exist?  If so, have they made a significant impact on your investigations?  Do you seek them out?

When asking about demons, you have to discuss religion, and that is a conversation that I don’t have. I believe in a higher power, but am sternly against institutionalized religion; I feel man has manipulated something good into a control tool. I will never accept that an organization, or man, can accurately intepret something bigger then us. I believe there are good and evil spirits, just like there are good and bad people, but wouldn’t label them demons or angels. We seek out both, but usually the dark ones — due to the places we visit.

What would you say the dangers are in paranormal investigation?  How do you go about protecting yourselves from attachments and other invasive experiences?  Has anything ever followed you home?

There are dangers to investigating the unknown because, well, it’s the unknown. I may not believe in the concept of demons, but I accept that I might be wrong, and that the places I go are opening doors. I think the biggest tangible danger of paranormal investigation is becoming close-minded; there is always something to learn.

I believe an entity has followed me home from Rolling Hills, Jim has a friend from Hillview Manor, and Adam has something in his room. When I stay with Adam, we hold EVP sessions in his room, and every time there is a conversation between a female and male.  When I leave, only the female is there… that is interesting to me.

Congratulations on becoming the first winners of Zak Bagans’ Paranormal Challenge (Rolling Hills Asylum)!  What was that experience like?  Knowing what you do about it now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Zak Bagans at Rolling Hills Asylum ©Travel Channel

Thank you, that win was something we worked very hard to deserve. We went in there with a game plan, hit every location, and demonstrated our teamwork and use of history. The experience was amazing, and we are grateful every day for not only being selected out of all the applicants, but for the network to have enough faith in us to showcase us as the series premiere. To be around Zak and Gary (Galka), two of the most respected names in the field, was great.  And Zak was such a nice guy.

Knowing what I know now, I would have shut my mouth (haha). In all honesty, I don’t understand the backlash about my supposed sexist comments. I’ve played sports my whole life, and teams always had friendly ribbing.  But at the end of the day, you shook hands and respected them — and the same goes for Paranormal Challenge. People need to understand that this was a reality competition show.  So many armchair investigators and keyboard warriors came out to spew the hate, but I feel the majority of those in the field understand that you can’t judge an entire team by watching twenty minutes of a four hour investigation. But every day I am grateful for the opportunity, and I can’t say enough great things about Zak and Gary.

 What’s next for Resident Undead, and how can your fans support your work in the future?

Wow, the simple fact we have fans is so humbling. I would just say keep doing what you’re doing; tweet us, visit us on Facebook and DMC, check out our website, email us (, and comment our YouTube.

We are so thankful for all the support, and please keep spreading the word about us. We have a busy schedule coming up — filming at the Sedamsville Rectory in late August, then we are being joined by WPVI’s leader, Jordan Murphy (also from Paranormal Challenge), to film at the Old Pittsburg Hospital in Tennessee.  Resident Undead is celebrating Halloween with an overnight shoot at Bob Mackey’s, also known as “Hell’s Gate”… or, as we call it, Jim’s playground. We are always filming, and trying to improve.  We’re hoping something big comes out of our dedication, but if this just leads to more YouTube videos and great friends, then it’s already one hell of a ride.


Please join Resident Undead as they host the first-ever Paranormal Challenge Reunion chat, LIVE, exclusively on DarkMediaCity!  They will be joined by members of many of your favorite teams, along with other respected members of the Paranormal Investigation field, and maybe a surprise guest… or two.  Aside from their experiences on the show, teams will discuss some of their most powerful paranormal encounters, along with the investigation styles and philosophies of their teams.

If you’re a fan of Paranormal Challenge, or if you have any interest in paranormal investigation, this is an event you won’t want to miss!

The chat will take place on August 4th, beginning at 9PM EST.  Please click here for more details, and to RSVP.

(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission, excepting links to the interview.)

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One Comment on ““I may not believe in the concept of demons, but I accept that I might be wrong, and that the places I go are opening doors. I think the biggest tangible danger of paranormal investigation is becoming close-minded; there is always something to learn.””

  1. imitaSetenhat Says:

    Nice job, really good article mate


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