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30 Jul 2009


The Ghost Hunter Gals Talk About Believing, Globe Trotting and Ghosts

-Photos Courtesy of Syfy-

Do you believe in ghosts and life after death? If you do, you're not alone. According to a Harris Poll, 58% of women believe in ghosts and a whopping 89% of women believe in survival of the soul after death. To learn more about these phenomena, iVillage chatted with the two female stars of Syfy's Ghost Hunters International, Brandy Green and Ashley Godwin. The two ladies dished on their craziest experience ever, how to talk to your kids about ghosts and why you may not have come across paranormal activity... yet.

You can catch Ghost Hunters International on Syfy on Wednesdays at 9 pm.

iVillage: Why do you think women, especially, are so interested in the paranormal and life after death?

Ashley Godwin: To be completely honest with you I wouldn't know. I mean, I have almost the same opinion as Brandy. I don't think that it has to do with being male or female whether you believe more... Mostly I guess it all depends on how you were raised, your family and how you were brought up...whether you believe in religion or not.

iVillage: What about female intuition? Does that make women more open to believing?

Ashley: Well, I guess it's a possibility.I guess it has been proven that in some ways women are more sensitive than men. Not spiritually or anything, but just in general, our brain works much differently than men's brains do, so I guess you could say that.

iVillage: I know that you don't want to generalize women, but have you noticed any differences in the way that men and women believe?

Brandy Green: You know, honestly, I don't. People get into the field for their own reasons and some of those reasons are very personal to those individuals and it's just tough to really pinpoint exactly what it is. But, from my studies, the number one reason is people's fear of dying.

iVillage: What do you say to people about that fear?

Brandy: I think that people are afraid of the unknown and I think that trying to determine what happens to a person after they die is important. It's important for closure. It's important to sort of ease those fears. It's important to know that there is, maybe, something out there afterwards. I think that's what we're striving to do, to understand it better.

iVillage: How do you see religion playing into people's beliefs?

Brandy: That's actually a really good question and for us--which makes us different from some of the other shows--we travel internationally and with that we see a lot of different religious viewpoints. It does play a vital role in understanding people. Some people may be more inclined to hear a noise and automatically think, "Oh, it's a ghost," whereas people from another area that may have another religious belief may be thinking, "It's absolutely normal and there's an explanation behind it." So it really depends on where we go, but I really do think religion has a big part in what we do.
iVillage: You mentioned that you're international right now, so how are you able to balance your personal life, work and family since you're traveling all over the globe?

Brandy: (Laughs) I don't have a personal life! No, I'm just kidding. But it is tough. You miss your family. You miss your friends of course. Life on the road is exhausting, it really is. You're moving from country to country every week--new case, new opportunities, new people, new language barriers. You really have to be in it because you love it and have a profound interest...that is your driving force behind it. Otherwise, you can burn out very quickly.

Ashley: Downtime is the best time to just rest up, call back home, talk to your parents, talk to your friends. Even in our downtime I go out with the rest of the team and we'll go see a movie or something or grab something to eat. We are out here for a long time and we become family. That's pretty much what they are to me--they're like my second family. It makes up for that lost time with your actual family back home.

iVillage: Is it hard to balance relationships and your work?

Ashley: Yeah, actually it is. It's pretty hard. But I think that if you're in a relationship strong enough to handle it and you care about each other enough, you can definitely work through it. There's always Skype. There's always Instant Messenger. You can still keep in contact everyday. It's not like we're constantly on the clock, so there's always enough downtime to keep that connection going. The couple of weeks that you're home you just do what you normally do. It keeps that fire going. Being away from that person for so long and then having that couple of weeks back with them and then leaving again, it's a little exciting.

iVillage: Is there any harm in believing in ghosts and the paranormal?

Brandy: In my personal opinion, I don't think so whatsoever. I think it's important to understand possibilities, and ghosts are a possibility...a very real possibility.

iVillage: Do you have any advice for parents when talking to their kids about ghosts?

Brandy: I think it's very important to have them understand that they can't be hurt. It's not like in the movies. Your head won't spin around. I think for them to have a base understanding of what it is can be very helpful. If they have any questions don't be afraid to talk about it.

Ashley: You just have to pretty much comfort them and tell them that nothing's going to crawl out from under their bed... I've been in many, many, many places and I haven't had anything like that happen to me yet, nor have I heard of anything like that happening to anyone, other than in the movies.

iVillage: How do you feel about other TV shows that dismiss what you're doing as nonfactual, like The Mentalist?

Brandy: We're always going to come across skeptics and no matter what kind of evidence we put forward, people are always going to try to find alternative explanations. We do our best... We're very good at dismissing things that we can prove are not paranormal. With that said, there's always going to be people that are going to shut us down and that's just part of the field. Whether you're on TV or you have your personal home-based team, it's always a reality.

Ashley: I'm definitely used to it. I think everyone should definitely keep an open mind of things. I'm 50/50, I'm literally straddling that line of you know, it's like I want to believe, but that's why I'm out here, is to prove to myself and others. There's so many people out there that are just like me; it's like they want to believe, but they're not sure if they do, so that's why they're still trying to balance out the whole line of science and spirituality.

iVillage: What's the craziest experience you have had with ghost hunting?

Ashley: Oh boy...there's so many crazy ones (Laughs). Well the most realistic thing that I couldn't explain that's happened to me before was hearing a disembodied voice--like a loud growl and a hiss, as if something was literally standing right in my face and it just growled and hissed at me. I've never heard anything like that before...that's something I couldn't explain.

iVillage: If people haven't had experiences with the paranormal are they just not looking hard enough or does not everyone get to experience it?

Ashley: If you go out looking for it, obviously you have a better chance of seeing something or experiencing something. So for someone who has never experienced anything, it's not that they're not looking hard enough for it, it's just that they haven't had that chance yet or it hasn't happened to them. We're out there actually looking for it so of course we're going to experience more than, you know, just your parents back home would.

--Jacki Garfinkel

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