Huntley ghost-hunters scare Kentucky woman on 'Wife Swap'
The Myers family from Huntley will be featured on Wednesday's episode of "Wife Swap."
The producers of "Wife Swap" must have thanked the heavens when they learned about the Myers family of Huntley.
Samantha Myers, vice president of an insurance company, is the main breadwinner. Shane, her husband, takes care of the kids and home while pursuing a private investigator's license. Their four children range in age from 4 to 19.
Not terribly unusual in 2008, right? But wait, there's more. Shane Myers, an American Indian, says he was raised as a shaman and has psychic abilities. When he met Samantha, a person with similar, if undeveloped, gifts, he passed along his interest in the paranormal to her.
Today, Shane offers tarot card readings in his free time, and the whole family travels to houses and abandoned buildings to encounter spirits or, in some cases, chase them out.
"We go all over the country," Shane said. "We recently got a call from a man in Wisconsin who wants us to exorcise his house. He says he's being clawed by something as he sleeps at night."
The Myers family's ghost-hunting ways made them perfect candidates for ABC's "Wife Swap," a reality show in which the mothers from very different families trade places for two weeks. The Myers episode will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday on WLS-TV Channel 7.
The show thrives on the sparks that fly when the new mothers move in, and that certainly happened when Samantha Myers traded places with the very traditional Karen Sutton from Madisonville, Ky., a town about 150 miles southwest of Louisville.
To put it mildly, ghost-hunting isn't a big part of life for Sutton and her family.
"I thought it was so crazy!" Sutton said via e-mail of her initial reaction to the Myers family's paranormal hobby.
But Shane and Samantha point out that fans of "The Amityville Horror" and "Poltergeist" shouldn't expect the same kind of drama from the supernatural work they do. The paranormal world doesn't work like it's often portrayed in the movies, they said.
"People ask us if a ghost has ever come in and possessed our bodies," Shane said. "But it doesn't work like that. We try to help people understand the paranormal better."
When they visit a house that's occupied by a spirit, Shane and Samantha can either move the spirit out or help the residents learn to coexist with it.
"People live with spiritual energy all the time," Shane said.
Samantha, who says she experiences premonitions, has never actually communicated verbally with a ghost or spirit. The awareness is more of a feeling, she said.
"You know when you walk in on a couple that have just been arguing? The whole room seems to vibrate with that tension? That's what it's like," she said.
During the swap, Sutton spent the first half of her time in Huntley feeling freaked out about the Myers family's hobby, then spent the second half trying to eliminate it.
More adjustments awaited her, though. The wife of a coal miner and mother of three daughters, Sutton leads a traditional life. Hers is the kind of household where men go out to a job each day and women do the cooking, cleaning and other home tasks. She wasn't sure what to make of the fact that Shane stays home with the kids while his wife works.
"She tried hard to make me get a job," Shane said with a laugh.
Samantha, meanwhile, found it difficult to live in a house where she was expected to be everyone's maid. And she tried to open the Suttons' minds up to the existence of the paranormal.
"I actually took them ghosting at one point," she said. "They liked it."
Both moms said that while they clashed with their new families, they loved the experience of trading places for a while. It opened their eyes to different lifestyles and gave them a chance to sample a bit of Hollywood. The Myerses and the Suttons remain in contact with each other.
"I loved the excitement and the cameras, and the crew was so terrific," Sutton said in an e-mail. "I think everyone should do 'Wife Swap' so they can say: 'I did something crazy and loved it.' "
Not that either mom was unhappy to re-join her real family.
"It felt so amazing to see them after not being able to talk to them for 10 days," Sutton said. "It felt so right."