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“Anybody can go into a dark room and yell, but few can coax a reaction from the darkness.” -Resident Undead

January 16, 2012

Interviews

DarkMedia Features Resident Undead:

Each month this year, DarkMedia will feature a paranormal investigation team.  We’ll focus on investigation style and substance, personal experiences, as well as the growth and development of the paranormal community as a whole.

To start things off, the month of January is the month of Resident Undead — winner of the premiere episode of Zak Bagan’s Paranormal Challenge on the Travel Channel.  Fresh off the finale of their first season, which was completely and impressively self-produced, DarkMedia had the pleasure of sitting down with Daniel Hooven to discuss more about their team, the experiences they had over the course of the first season, his thoughts on the “paranormal underground”, and what we can expect from Resident Undead in season two.

Having finished season one of Resident Undead Paranormal, what would you say was your greatest challenge? What can we expect in season two?

I would say the biggest challenge was creating an entire series and season independently. Despite popular belief we are not contacted with a production house, meaning that everything we did to create season one of Resident Undead was self-financed, produced, and filmed. All of us have full time jobs and responsibilities, so the idea of doing what we did was quite ambitious and special to us. I (Daniel) just recently left the corporate world to return to graduate school, so money is tight for me, Jim finances the majority of our equipment through his multiple jobs, and Adam literally spends months doing the production job of five people in his office at night. Creating a full episode is so much more then just clipping your best pieces of evidence, you have to build a story arc, characters, and a concept; all while editing fifteen hours of footage into a one-hour format. We literally created a television show from scratch that was consistent in quality, entertainment, and pacing.

Season two is going to continue our quality and entertainment, but we are also all in with this season. Like season one, we refuse to stay local and have quite the paranormal manifest lined up. We want to add some more suspense to our episodes, so we not be revealing our location until after the episodes are in process. We want to enhance our strategies and are planning some more intense stunts, adaptability, and dangerous situations. We want the viewer to truly feel the pure terror, sadness, or mystery that we experience in our journeys and enhance our character-viewer relationship. Season two will also feature a pleasant surprise involving the SyFy network, we can’t go on record with specifics, but we always say every story has a beginning…

Since your appearance on the premiere of Travel Channel’s Paranormal Challenge, Resident Undead has been a leading force in promoting good will and uniting what’s infamously been such a divided community. Do you see this as a pervasive trend in the right direction? What do you hope others will do to keep it going?

I (Daniel) think that the concept of Resident Undead promoting goodwill is centric to the point that we feel everybody is free to do what they want. The more involved I get in the paranormal community, the more I feel that the paranormal world needs to practice tolerance before unity and that, while a great idea, paranormal unity is not growing at a fast pace. Since our appearance on Paranormal Challenge, I have witnessed multiple groups implode, countless keyboard warriors, and pure hatred from other groups for our style, their glass egos and insecurities. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some really great people before, during, and after Paranormal Challenge; but the majority have been groups or individuals attacking me. Recently, I simply asked a group if they were appearing at a convention through their Facebook page and the response I got was disrespectful, immature, and uncalled for; I had simply asked a yes or no question, and an individual felt he needed to verbally attack me and Resident Undead. We firmly believe in a ‘live and let live’ mentality, because this is a free country after all, so as long as you are taking care of the properties your group investigates, and practicing a level of respect, then do whatever makes you happy.

When Adam first started, he asked for help and information from other groups; but instead of helping, they tried to recruit him. I’ll never truly understand the gangland mentality in the paranormal — other groups are always trying to arrange joint investigations and work with each other, which sounds great, but at the same time, how much unity can you bring in a building until contamination becomes an issue. We are always flattered with the requests to investigate together, but we know most groups don’t want to do all the pre-production we do — our group films for production purposes and takes our investigations very seriously.  I’m not saying others don’t, but we almost have to be in isolation to get an end product we like.

Do I love what I do? Absolutely, but I would never feel threatened by another group or persistently tell people they are below me.  I have always believed if you have something to say, you say it in person and man up. Unfortunately, all I have seen is a lot of trash talk by individuals who hide behind a keyboard. With that being said, the good people I have met in my journey outweigh the bad. Groups like EPIC, Eerie Paranormal, SOPI Inc, Appalachee Paranormal, Copperhead, George Lopez, Scott St. John, Jordan Murphy, the Paranormal Linebacker Helmey and countless others, have been nothing but a wealth of information, candor, and a great time. So I think with the Para-unity, we need to focus on tolerance.  I am a big believer that there is no right or wrong in this field.  Many objected with Jim cutting himself in a pentagram, myself being lynched, and Adam being crucified at Bobby Mackey’s, but I believe that you respect each other. Everybody needs to take a step back from the keyboard, set aside their ego, and just be tolerant of each other, because tolerance will lead to unity. As far as the paranormal community in terms of fans, I think para-unity is stronger then ever.  Whenever I get burned out by the keyboard drama other teams try to start, I log onto twitter and talk to paranormal fans.  They are the best — so open minded, and great people.

How would you define the “underground paranormal community”?

I (Daniel) remember in the early 90’s when alternative rock was the best… or as I say, when music was actually good. You had bands like Collective Soul, Counting Crows, REM, all great bands, but the same type of music and then… Nirvana arrived.  A whole new genre, raw, emotional, and no apologies for what they were, we believe we are the Nirvana for the paranormal; not in the pop cultural aspect or even popularity, but in the sense, we are different in the way we do things and a new type of experience. This is not just towards us (Resident Undead), but towards the THOUSANDS of paranormal investigation teams out there, we are the largest population in the paranormal community and should have our voices heard.

We have always been proud to represent the paranormal underground, a population we believe is growing and is a driving force behind pulling back the curtain on the after life. Many people think that what Ghost Hunters presents as “paranormal investigations” is the norm, because we have all been influenced by different mainstream paranormal shows.  We are regularly compared to “Ghost Adventures”, which we take as quite a compliment due to their success, in spite of the fact we have nothing in common with GAC other then a three guy team.

We believe the paranormal underground wants more, they want different approaches that mainstream teams like TAPS or GAC can not air due to network restrictions.  The paranormal underground is able to push the envelope and discuss ideas that networks are not ready for, we are passionate people who love the paranormal, new ideas, and are willing to do anything to get the answer. We (Resident Undead) want to give a voice to the voiceless — we consider ourselves and the paranormal underground as the boots on the ground, we are the weekend investigators that invade haunted locations all over America every weekend to investigate.  Para-tourism is a growing industry due to our drive and desire.  We want to give the paranormal underground something to watch that shows the new generation the paranormal — because this generation is young, growing, and hungry. If I could sum up the term paranormal underground in one word, it would simply be… Passion.

Adam, Jim and Daniel, each of you bring something so unique to the team. Can you describe, a little more in depth, each of your roles and how you contribute to your investigations?

Adam is the head of the snake, he always hates saying he is the leader, because he is a firm believer that you succeed as a group, but he is the man with the plan. Adam directs, produces, and edits all of the videos himself; he is a one man production company and a story teller. He is the voice of reason of the group and is our “Cool Hand Luke”. I (Daniel) have never once seen Adam lose his cool in any situation in the six years I have known him. Adam acts as the host of Resident Undead and always has a plan, one of things he always says to me is “trust me, this will work…” and to this day, somehow, things always work out.

Jim is the patriarch of Resident Undead, he provides wisdom from his experience and provides the group with an Alpha Male presence; he is literally afraid of nothing. People complained that they didn’t see alot of Jim on Paranormal Challenge, but the show was TV-PG and you can’t get Jim below TV-MA — it’s simply not possible. They did post one of his clips online where he informed the spirits of Rolling Hills that he was “willing and able to give blood” to the spirits. He is one of the few out there that has been locked in the basement of Bobby Mackey’s music hall by himself, with no supervision; and he walked out still not able to truly say he was scared at any point. Jim is also the procurement specialist of the group — he literally breaks his back to finance the equipment — and is the emotional rock of the group. He is always creating and modifying equipment for the group which has enabled us to document some great evidence. Jim acts as our lead cameraman due to his extremely steady arm and acts as Adam’s main camera view.

Daniel is the virtual voice of Resident Undead and is active with their Facebook, Twitter, and online presence. Daniel is the relief camera during investigations and is mainly used as bait for the spirits. Adam has dangled Daniel, literally, in many locations and is known for his schizophrenic like emotional range as he goes from an admittingly forced bravado to extremely scared in a matter of seconds.  He talks a big game, but he is the first one to get scared. Daniel also takes care of contacting new teams and is the webmaster for www.ruparanormal.com.

As a team, and as individuals, what would you say your greatest strengths are? Greatest weaknesses?

Our biggest strength is the fact we are truly friends and a team, since there are only three of us, we are extremely close-knit and we have a great chemistry with each other. Chemistry is extremely important as a paranormal investigation team and a production team. We know each others tendencies, so if a stomach grumbles or a one of us whispers, we recognize it immediately and can discredit or credit what could be paranormal. As a production team, we have to be in sync with each other, Jim and Adam have an amazing chemistry and Jim is constantly giving me signals to ensure my relief camera is set up correctly. We are extremely honest with each other, which is very important, too many times I see groups bickering with each other or breaking up due to “creative differences” or drama, things that we avoid by just being blunt; we put the product first and understand that we succeed together, not individually.

Our largest opportunity would be finding a production house, we love doing what we do, but we would like to sign with an established production company in 2012. We have entertained offers, but have not found the right home for our concept, but we are optimistic for 2012 and can’t wait to see what happens with Resident Undead in the new year.  Hopefully the Mayans were wrong… and if not, we are ready to haunt whatever survives.

You’ve recently been complemented for doing some of the most thorough research on Bobby Mackey’s in recent years. What was that experience like? What are your thoughts on what’s been called “the portal to Hell”?

Receiving the positive feedback from Wanda Kay of Bobby Mackeys was amazing, we were blessed to have had her with us during the investigation and words can not express how appreciative we are to her and her tour. Sadly, recent episodes of popular ghost hunting shows have found that trying to discredit or misrepresent a location is entertaining, to go to an established place like Bobby Mackey’s and claim you got one EVP in two nights and purposely misrepresenting the legacy is not only unprofessional, but flat out ignorant. Perhaps in a show’s jealousy over another’s experience, they felt the need to edit the segment to a point that was just wrong about Bobby Mackey’s — this something we would never do. We take pride in doing our homework and making sure that the management of these locations are involved in our work.

The experience was surreal, less then one year ago, I (Daniel) had never even watched Ghost Adventures, and next thing I know I am at Bobby Mackey’s Music World. I was in awe the entire time and just kept thinking of Carl Lawson. For Jim, this was his dream investigation, but he was also concerned that he was not going to be scared at the portal to hell; sadly he left without dining with the devil. Adam was excited for Mackey’s as well and it was also surreal for him, he had literally filmed in a local cemetery a year back, and now after hitting some of the superhaunts such as the Villisca Axe Murder House, anchoring Zak Bagan’s reality show, here he stood, announcing that it was “fight night” in Kentucky.

Mackey’s was active.  While nobody got scratched, our scientific approach recieved a warm welcome from the spirits. We brought out the big guns for this investigation and as a result got some compelling evidence in return. The PX box was the most active and consistant we had ever seen it on any investigation, providing intelligent answers and repeatidly saying Satan, to a point we edited in a “Satan” Count. During the quarantine, we captured activity during a scene in which Adam was crucified at the infamous well, while Daniel was duct taped to a wall post reading scripture from Revelations. Wanda confirmed our experience during this time, as the cross attached to Adam was visibly shaking as the situation escalated. During Jim’s private meeting with the devil, he had some of the children reach out to him and at one point captured what sounds like hoofs running right by him. The Mackey’s experience didn’t end after we left either, Jim and myself reported scratches afterwards and it was obvious we had brought some evil home with us… and neither of us are roommate ready.

The experience was very rewarding and we are excited to go back, from our time spent with Wanda to our camera’s being shoved on the floor, Mackey’s was very active and a great way to end season one… bartender, we’ll have what Carl Lawson’s having!

What locations have you not investigated yet that you’re hoping to cover in season two, and later seasons of the show?

Locations for season two are definately a challenge, taking a look back at season one, we hit so many super haunt locations and discovered a diamond in the rough with the Calvin Center in Youngstown, OH; a building that is quickly gaining a reputation through the paranormal underground as being one of the next super haunts, the place is extremely active and angry. When you start in Villisca, Iowa and end in Wilder, KY, finding new places will be a challenge, but we assure you that season two locations will not disappoint — and each one has a meaning.

As far as dream locations, I know that we want to go international; Adam would like to go to Jerusalem and Auschwitz due to the historical significance. I would love to go to Trenobal and the underground tunnels of France where Benjamin Franklin sinned with other delegates. Jim is looking towards Linda Vista and Ireland as well. We would love to go to Alaska during the 30 days of darkness, or as we call it, the Dead’s Mardi Gras.

Has your investigation style changed at all since we saw you on Paranormal Challenge? Do you think it’s important to evolve, or stay true to what first made you strong paranormal investigators in the beginning?

We are always evolving, we believe that the paranormal is something that you always have to question yourself with and that exploring new techniques is necessary. In the same breath, we have stuck to some of our principle techniques such as role playing, trigger people, and the use of Pandora’s Box. Our role playing technique hit full speed at the Old South Pittsburg Hospital shoot, where we integrated many costumes and situations to trigger activity. We unveiled our “Blitzkrieg” technique when we entered the building dressed as doctors, dragging Jim to the psych ward dressed as a psych patient; complete with Hannibal lector mask. The location really helped our role playing out as the owners, Cindy and Doug, have an endless supply of props and are two of the nicest, most genuine people we have met throughout our travels. We also utilize our “Pandora’s Box” EVP tool for the majority of our EVP sessions for two reasons. Reason one is that we LOVE real time results, going back to Paranormal Challenge, we are obsessed with real time results and this provides that opportunity, our second reason is our belief the dead have gone into deep hiding from us. Ever since debuting “Pandora’s Box”, our EVP count on our regular EVP recorders have slowly died down, they are still there; but not like they used to be.

Our teamwork and aggressiveness that was displayed on Paranormal Challenge are traits that we will never lose. Looking back on the show, we feel that we were portrayed as trash talkers, which is fair considering my comments; but we are much more reserved in our techniques with the dead. We like to adapt and interact with the dead, not taunt and provoke.  Anybody can go into a dark room and yell, but few can coax a reaction from the darkness.

What advice would you give to either an individual, or a team, who’s interested in starting their own show? Before you began yours, what’s the best or worst advice someone gave you?

The best advice we can give is to go for it and don’t be afraid to be different, there are no rules in this field and proceed accordingly. As far as somebody wanting to do their own show, make sure you have the proper tools. Everybody knows how to use iMovie, but few truly know how to use it, we are lucky to have Adam as our producer. Make sure you have a plan on what you want to do and your presentation; too many teams worry about coming up with an acronym and t-shirt design instead of focusing on the product. Another piece of advice is if you want to try and create a brand, this can’t be a hobby, if you want to be a “ghost hunter” and go out with a group of 20 people to super haunts every now and then, then this is a hobby for you and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you are serious about creating a show, you are going to need to finance trips and isolate yourself in low numbers for filming purposes — there is a HUGE difference between being a paranormal enthusiast versus creating a brand — but if you are serious, then go for it and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The worst piece of advice would be the detractors at the beginning that Adam and Jim faced, when Adam said he wanted to make a show, an owner scoffed at him and gave a sarcastic good luck; but that moment would be one of the main drivers in Adam’s efforts. The worst advice is going to be the collective groups telling you rules and how they are right about their theories.  The best piece of advice, well, we would say is stay true to yourself and never -ever- buy into the concepts of boundaries of the paranormal. They sky is the limit, even if you’re six feet under.

So many of the paranormal investigation sites have been visited over and over again, by so many teams and individuals. What do you do to keep your investigations fresh in locations we’ve all seen so many times? Are there any you have on the agenda that we may not have heard of before?

Para-tourism is growing everyday and any location that has been featured on GAC is booked months in advance, but we always try to keep our ears open by networking with local teams on Facebook about active locations we may not know about. Locations like the Sedamsville Rectory from season one were not that well known, but yielded amazing results with paranormal activity. We always take a fresh approach to locations and try to give the spirits a good show while we are there and make contacts, we are proud of our track record with the management from all of our shoots; they have all been supportive of our efforts. We would endorse the Calvin Center as a must see location for any paranormal teams out there.  Other teams have confirmed the violent spirits that haunt the building and the cast of a move that was recently shot there also expressed discomfort and reports of paranormal activity in the facility. We loved the place so much that we volunteer there as tour guides.  So, if you want to meet us, we are available on a limited basis at the Calvin Center, but words can’t describe how active that place is.

Tell us something about Resident Undead your fans would be surprised to know.

We try to be as visible as possible, but we all have some human aspects that many do not know.

Adam holds a Political Science Bachelors Degree from Slippery Rock University and his uncle holds a place in US History. Adam’s uncle, Admiral Husband E. Kimmell is Adam’s great uncle and was the scapegoat for Pearl Harbor; who to his deathbed denied the accusation, an accusation that was later confirmed false by many historians. Despite his self stated title of being the team’s quarterback on Paranormal Challenge, Adam is not a football fan and coached Tennis for many years.

Jim is a machinist full time and holds multiple side jobs on the side. Jim is an Oakland Raiders fan, is nicknamed the “Luv Machine” and has three cats and his faithful dog, Shadow. Jim recently got his first tattoo which can be seen on Facebook and Twitter.

Daniel talks like a jock, but is a nerd at heart. He holds a BA in Communications from Slippery Rock University and is a Graduate Assistant at Edinboro University with the University Planetarium; he is earning his Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications and is a licensed financial advisor.

Thank you so much for interviewing with us. DarkMedia has always been a fan of what you guys do. Where can people go to find out more about you, and watch the episodes they may have missed?

Thank you to DarkMedia for everything you do for the paranormal underground.  While Paranormal Challenge may be a dirty word at the Travel Channel, it was a blessing for so many of us in the paranormal underground and we truly believe you have created a virtual community center for all of us into the paranormal.

______________________________________________

Resident Undead is currently featured on DarkMediaCity, a free social network for those who like it Dark.  Whether it be literature or film, music or art, horror or sci-fi, paranormal romance or paranormal investigation, we’ve got something for you.  www.DarkMediaCity.com

For more information on Resident Undead, please visit their website, or Facebook fan page.

Season 1 of Resident Undead can be found on YouTube.

They can also be found on twitter at:
@ResidentUndead
@Adam_Kimmell
@Jim_Leopardo
@DanielHooven

Or via e-mail at:
residentundead@live.com

(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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