Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Transcript Fact or Faked Q&A

I have the transcript from the telephone conference call Q&A with the "Fact or Faked" folks and once you read this and all the amazing information and intelligence that occurred in that session (I adore geek speak with smart minds about ghostly things--makes my toes curl), you will have whetted your appetite for the show's opening Thursday night on SyFy. Please enjoy!

Coordinator: Ladies and gentlemen thank you very much for standing by. Welcome to the Fact or Faked Paranormal Files conference call. During the presentation all participants will be in a listen only mode and we will be conducting a question and answer session.

If you would like to register for a question please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator please press star 0.

As a reminder this conference is being recorded Monday July 12 2010 and I would now like to turn the conference over to Erica Rubin, Sci-Fi Publicity. Please go ahead.

Erica Rubin: Hi everybody. We have a couple of cast members from Fact or Faked as well as Executive Producer John Brenkus on the phone. We also have Ben Hansen who is the team leader and former FBI agent and Bill Murphy who is the lead scientist and investigator on the show.

Again the series premieres this Thursday July 15 at 10:00, 9:00 central on Syfy. If anybody needs a transcript or audio playback please email me after the call is over and I will help get those to you or give you instructions how to get those.

Now I’m going to turn it back over to (Jennifer) and she will star the questions. Thanks so much.

Coordinator: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen once again if you do wish to register for a question please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. You will hear a three toned prompt to acknowledge your request.

If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw your registration please press the 1 followed by the 3 and if you’re using a speaker phone please lift your handset before entering your request.

Our first question comes from the line of Tony Tellado at SciFi Talk, please proceed.

Tony Tellado: Hi, how are you all? I have a question for Ben Hansen. When did you know that you wanted to investigate like you know the UFOs and that type of thing when you were - was it when you were with the FBI or earlier in your life?

Ben Hansen: Okay, well I actually was about 10 years old, my father got me kind of interested in this. We used to watch sci fi movies, we used to watch like The Thing and The Fly and those types of things late at night.

And he got me interested in UFOs, he started bringing me books to read on it. I wasn’t really aware at the time but he had a connection with his father, my grandfather.

He worked actually at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, I don’t know if you know about that base, it’s where supposedly some of the wreckage from Roswell was sent.

Well my grandfather worked there as a civil engineer and throughout the years of talking with him he always you know kept his oath of you know secrecy that he made with the projects he was working on.

But in so many words he let my father know that we’re not alone. So this kind of you know piqued an interest in my father and in turn he and I kind of bonded on this level where we became just tremendously interested in mostly UFOs.

I remember you know seeing ET when I was younger and really becoming interested in the possibility of life on other planets. So to kind of go back, no I was not you know per se investigating the subject in any professional or official sense when I was working with the Bureau or with any other agency.

But I always kept it as kind of a hobby until I developed a group and we kind of got into the ghost hunting and other aspects of it.

Tony Tellado: It just seems like this show - what makes it different is that - and this is for all of you that there’s a lot of investigative procedures and also science, hard science that’s used to investigate these things if you can comment on that.

Ben Hansen: Oh for sure, for sure. I think that any legitimate paranormal group tries their best to incorporate scientific methodologies. Where they often fall short though is getting a little too far ahead of themselves in their enthusiasm and trying to you know just get out there and maybe interact with these things.

And so the way you know that our group and this show is formulated is that we really try to make an honest effort in - as far as I’m aware one of the first attempts to try and recreate and replicate which is one of the bases of science has tried to replicate experiments.

And so as you can see in our shows you know we go out there and we try to take experiments to replicate what is seen on the video. And then you know if that fails we look at the paranormal explanation.

So we don’t always start out with the assumption that hey, we’ve heard about this haunted location or we’ve heard about this or that, let’s just go see what it’s about.

For most if not all of our cases we actually start out with some evidence that warrants our attention to it.

Tony Tellado:
Anyone else?

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question...

Ben Hansen:
Feel free to jump in there Bill.

John Brenkus: Well this is John Brenkus, you know the big differentiating factor here in terms of the paranormal group is everything is incredibly authentic. That a lot of paranormal shows sort of start with the premise it must be paranormal.

We sort of come at it from the angle of we’re not sure what it is but we want to explore every possible explanation. You know and with Ben’s investigative background we really bring the scientific element to it where you know the basis of any experiment, seeing if you can actually duplicate it.

And if we can get really, really close or get it you know pretty much spot on, then we feel like we perhaps have solved the mystery behind the footage. But if we’re unable to get even close and if there are things that we just you know cannot figure out a way to replicate it, then we move on to the alternate explanations. Maybe it is something that’s completely unexplained.

So we feel like in terms of tapping into what the audience wants to see, everyone sits around and clicks on these clips online. I mean people - we’re looking at clips that have millions and millions of hits.

And obviously they have such a wide audience because of how interesting the clips are. Everybody wonders is this real or is this fake? I mean what am I to think of this?

And we really take over where the audience leaves off initially on just being purely curious and we take it to that next level.

Tony Tellado: Thank you.

Bill Murphy: Let me comment really quickly on the science if it moves into the investigative phase that John just mentioned, because if we’re not able to come up with a rational explanation during our review process then we go into the field.

And if we’re doing an investigation then on the science side it can really help us because aside from just using you know common sense and good judgment, the science allows us to extend our five senses beyond what we’re capable of doing naturally.

Whether it’s seeing into the UV or the infrared and we have custom cameras for that purpose or listening into sounds that are normally inaudible in the infrasound range or even in the ultrasound, then that’s where our gear can be useful for us.

Because within perhaps make recordings and then with our software, with our hardware we can then turn that normally invisible or inaudible data into media that we can then view or listen to.

And as well as using the instrumentation to see if there’s any environmental anomalies that could be contributing to what the phenomena is that we’re investigating.

So science does play a part but you know we always look for the simpler explanation first.

Tony Tellado: Thank you all gentlemen, great answers.

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from the line of Kathie Huddleston with SciFi Wire. Please proceed.

Kathie Huddleston:
Hi guys. For you, for all of you what really makes this show special? Why did you want to get involved in it?

John Brenkus: I’ll just start off, it’s John Brenkus. I think that what’s interesting is that SciFi is a network that we feel is the most credible network to explore this sort of thing.

We really from a production standpoint we really like the fact that the SciFi audience is very intelligent. So we’re not looking to just make a sensational show and to blow things out of proportion and just to tell everybody that the aliens are here or that this place is absolutely haunted.

We feel that the audience is extraordinarily intelligent and this is an intelligent show and really an intellectual approach to what fascinates everybody.

And tapping into what most people do with these paranormal clips, they click around, they look at them, they really wonder. But they don’t have the resources to be able to go out and actually test is it real or is it fake?

That’s what’s really appealing to us, that we can take over where the audiences left off.

Kathie Huddleston: What about the rest of you?

Ben Hansen: This is Ben - oh go ahead Bill.

Bill Murphy: So this is Bill, so I’m just going to comment quickly about what really attracted me to the show. First off I should state that Ben and I had been operating in the same circles for years.

And so when Ben and I met we had a - developed a very quick rapport and we realized we’re on the same page but maybe you know taking it from different angles.

You know Ben’s formal experience has been in law enforcement. Myself, I’ve been involved in the paranormal for a couple of decades, it kind of goes way back with my family.

And with my family and growing up as a child with it was very skeptical. It was almost like you know I’m listening to the older folks talk about the tales and you know just about sort of skipped through it without necessarily putting a whole lot of weight into it.

Until I got old enough to see that these things were kind of going on around us but I wasn’t satisfied with just hearing the tales nor was I satisfied with what I thought my own perceptions were.

I thought I needed to be able to validate these experiences through technology. And so you know I set about to begin the documentation process.

So when Ben and I met and we spoke it was just like instant connection. And so I felt that this opportunity for me was a really good fit because I had been the skeptical believer you know if you will.

And sometimes that isn’t a popular position to take when you’re entrenched in the paranormal community. The community looks for gratification from evidence but is it the evidence of the paranormal? Is it misidentification? Is there an explanation that science more readily accepts?

Well this show takes a look at all those things and all those possibilities and we come up with the best possible answer. So Ben I’ll hand it back to you at this point.

Ben Hansen: All right, well going off what Bill’s talking about I think we make a great kind of dynamic duo the two of us because of our two backgrounds. I believe that there are things you know going on in our world that many people, especially in the scientific community will look at as anomalous and when they say anomalous to some that means it does not deserve or merit investigation or exploration.

Within science you have theories that are tested, some of them you know have been accepted for hundreds of years. Anything that comes along that is an exception to that rule, it’s not met with I guess open arms a lot of times.

But if we look at the polls of studies that have been done, surveys as far as how many people have experienced some type of paranormal event you know in very minimal estimates one out of every ten people there was a Roper poll done, one out of every ten people has experienced or said that they’ve had some type of event that could be classified as paranormal.

And I believe the numbers are about the same for having witnessed a UFO. So you know we listen to tapes where so many people have access to video cameras, cell phone cameras, technology that I’m not quite sure if there’s a proliferation of these events or it’s just that we now have technology to be able to transmit them to others.

But something very real is going on. And I am just really excited to be part of a TV show that at the very least we can just kind of stimulate you know some questions, get the subject out there even more.

And just you know try especially to get the scientific community to look at it as something that really merits further looking into in a very serious respect.

And sometimes science is not the best I guess vehicle even to study these types of things because they’re so elusive.

So there may be other ways of looking at it as well.

Kathie Huddleston: Thanks guys.

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question - oh please proceed. We’ll continue with the next question. Our next question comes from the line of Aaron Sagers with Tribune Company, please proceed.

Aaron Sagers: Hi guys, thanks very much for talking today. I’m actually wondering kind of a two part question. First off, what is the most convincing evidence that you’ve picked up off the show that viewers will not see.

And also have you had a moment where you know you or any of your team, anybody you’ve worked with has encountered something that really couldn’t be proven through evidence.

But you just had to believe it, you just bought into it even though you couldn’t support it.

Ben Hansen: That’s a good question. Two questions. Bill do you have something off the bat, I’ve got a few.

Bill Murphy: Why don’t you go ahead.

John Brenkus: Let me actually just jump in first, this is John. I think that one of the first things is in the debut show you’ll see that we investigate some mysterious lights in Arizona.

And we genuinely, you know I was there on the shoot, we were all there on the shoot and genuinely we caught something that we simply can’t explain.

You know we all witnessed it and we were extraordinarily fortunate to capture it on tape and you know it’s one of those things that we caught that we can’t say for absolutely certain that it is something paranormal but it’s certainly something that’s unexplainable as of today.

And I’m really excited to share it with the audience, that was definitely one of the highlights of the series so far.

Ben Hansen: And that’s really big for John to say that. John is actually one of the biggest skeptics ever. I could bring him a UFO on his lawn and he’d say it was fake.

Bill Murphy You know I have to agree with John. John that was an amazing moment to have happen and it was - to be there while it occurred, it’s one of things where you know can you believe your own eyes?

You know because seeing is supposed to be believing and in that case we had to believe our eyes, but John what I’ve learned since then and everyone else on this call is that sometimes seeing is not believing.

Sometimes you can’t believe what you’re seeing and there’s an alternate explanation but in the case of what happened in Arizona, that was a truly phenomenal occurrence to have happen.

And I’m glad it did, to that point it was early in the morning, we were all you know damp and cold and I think nobody was aware of the environment once our eyes were on the sky and we saw what we saw.

It was quite a sight for us.

Ben Hansen: You know talk about something that maybe that you’ve seen not on the show, something the best evidence of something you’ve experienced that wasn’t on the show.

Bill Murphy: Yeah, that was one of the questions. Well something that has happened and again you know I think everybody here on the show is focused on looking for an explanation that you can personally accept easier as opposed to moving it into the category of being paranormal.

But with that being said I went to a location in Colorado where there were reports of some sort of - it wasn’t necessarily TK what was happening there, it was people were being - reporting being touched and shoved by an unseen force.

And I found that to be you know interesting because I kept hearing thing from a lot of people. So when I was there, you know I was going through the location and yeah, it’s a beautiful historic place.

And although I was enjoying the architecture I walked through this area of the hall and it was like I had dozens of vibrating cell phones in every pocket. It felt like all the sudden everything vibrated on my body.

And I stopped, I was like hey what was that? And I backed up, took a couple steps back and I felt it a second time but wasn’t as strong as the first time. And I had to sort of just not laugh but I shook my head in disbelief in going these reports have a validity.

There is something here but what is it? As it turned out there could be an explanation for what people described as being touched by an unseen force and it has its roots in hard science.

It has its roots in the geology of a location and sometimes there are enough characteristics of a locale that when they come together they can cause a phenomena that can be perceived as being paranormal and if you took an interdisciplinary approach to it, you know combined sciences then you can come up with a rational explanation that can be considered paranormal.

Because it’s hard to duplicate that and that is one of the requirements for something to move from theory to fact. Can you replicate it? Can you replicate this effect?

And paranormal phenomena isn’t always repeatable even in a lab and that’s what makes it confounding. Because you can’t deny the existence of these events but they don’t adhere to the protocols that are in place for something to move out of the theory range.

But you have to look at people trend setting of this thing to happen. If something happens over and over and over you know there’s a certain credibility that comes from the accumulation of witnesses.

And if you can sort of demonstrate how it can happen scientifically then voila, we’ve done our job from a science perspective.

For me you know having the experience of an unseen force seeming to press against you was quite astounding but it wasn’t what we thought it was.

You weren’t being touched by an external force, it was a shape change to the skeleton and to the skull as a result of piezoelectric activities of the minerals in the location.

So you feel your skin moving but it’s happening under the skin as opposed to on top of the skin.

Aaron Sagers: And that definitely sounds paranormal in a lot of ways. The - I mean does that then - I mean between that, the Colorado experience, I mean that is somewhat explainable.

And the Arizona experience, I mean that still leaves the question of something that you just really had to believe even though you couldn’t back it up with any evidence or any science.

Ben Hansen:

Bill Murphy: Well no you take this one Ben.

Ben Hansen: I think I understand the question. Like let me give you an example of something well my two examples. The first one was when I was you know recently out of college, this is actually the very first time I tried doing an EVP session.

I had seen there’s a local ghost hunter group that would play their clips on the radio and things and you kind of take it you know with a grain of salt, just as everyone else who listens to these things.

And you may even somewhat believe but you just put it in the back of your minds because you know you get up and go to work the next day, you have your - it doesn’t really change the impact of your life until you actually hear one of these things yourself.

I was in a memorial - a war memorial park with my sisters and a couple of friends and we were kind of doing the Halloween thing and going there and doing some recordings.

And we’re standing next to this war memorial and I’ve got two recorders going and I was telling my friend I really wish I could have brought them there before they had cleared out a lot of the trees because it looked a lot more spooky.

And I could have showed them something that would really scare them. Well nothing really happened you know during the whole investigation until I got home and played the set.

And this was you know one of the old analog recorders and I played it back and I didn’t even need to slow it down the first time, very clearly I heard the voice of either a small child or a woman.

And it sounded like it was whispering right against the microphone which really creeped me out because you’re thinking if this is like a person they would have to have been right at my hip.

You know because that’s where the recorder was and it says, “Get brother.” And I knew where the females were in the group and my sister was about 15 feet away, you know we went through every elimination, it couldn’t have been this person, couldn’t have been that person.

And it gave us the chills. You know and I played it back for my family over and over and I had to face the realization that quite possibly I had captured something that was not a living person.

Now I’m not going to jump to - you know there’s many theories on to what EVPs are, but the phenomena is real in the same sense I’ve witnessed objects in the sky that I myself am a licensed pilot.

I love going to air shows and things and I’ve seen aircraft that have done things that conventional crafts do not do. And beyond that I can’t say what it is but the phenomena is real.

So I think I forgot the original question.

Aaron Sagers: Just what would make you a believer even though you couldn’t back it up with evidence. But I think....

Ben Hansen: I think it goes - you know not just in a paranormal sense, there’s a lot of things like Bill was starting to say. You know there’s this dichotomy of seeing and believing.

You know can we believe everything that we see, and if we don’t see something does that mean we shouldn’t believe in it? So I think a lot of people, especially the viewing audience may never have had an experience of their own but there’s a lot of people who believe.

And kind of you know by proxy or vicariously you’re able to see through the eyes of what these people are seeing and that’s the great thing about our show.

Many people would not be able to go out to the places we’ve been to. And by bringing them our experience through our eyes I think there is a way that you can believe without actually seeing yourself.

Aaron Sagers: So it’s the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence scenario then.

Ben Hansen: Correct. I think all discoveries, major discoveries started out with a phenomena that they couldn’t quite explain.

You know look at electricity and how it was discovered, well you saw the effects of it but did you actually you know see electricity, what it was you know doing.

And so people you know started setting up controlled experiments to find out well how can we test that. And I think that’s where we’re at in the paranormal field a lot of times.

Because we believe it because we know something has happened, has affected one of our senses. Whether we’re able to capture it on film or audio or some other way to demonstrate it to somebody else may be you know another question.

Aaron Sagers: Okay, thank you guys.

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from the line of Sharon Clauss with Ghost Hunting Theories, please proceed.

Sharon Clauss: Thank you. I’d like to put this question to John. I’m kind of curious, you guys are doing a show where you’re going to be basically debunking evidence but your primary audience is going to be basically believers.

So are you afraid that you’re going to alienate them by disputing a lot of evidence or how do you feel about that?

John Brenkus: No, not at all, I think that you know I don’t know if the audience is necessarily automatically believers. I think the audience is naturally curious. And I think even if somebody is inclined to believe in the paranormal, they want to know themselves what do I need to filter out.

You what is - what are the junk cases as opposed to the real cases? So what we’re doing is really helping people build their argument of the paranormal. Some cases out there that are insanely popular just simply aren’t true and we can prove it.

And that helps the community in terms of them being able to narrow down the things they should believe in. So we want to make sure that the show is helping all sides of the equation by making sure that people know there are clips out there that have millions of hits that are just flat out fake.

There are others that are so compelling that no matter what we do we can’t prove that they’re fake so there might be something to it.

And we think that that’s very attractive to the audience because very few people just watch a clip and simply believe. They’re just curious, is that real or not?

And that’s what I believe that we’re tapping in to.

Sharon Clauss: Excellent. I was just kind of curious because after working on the show for a while has it made you realize that maybe you don’t have the equipment to capture phenomena or has it jaded you to believe there is even such a thing as real phenomena?

John Brenkus: There are - I can tell you especially when you watch this show you will see clips that we can’t explain. And if we can’t explain it I mean I’d love for someone to come up with an explanation because we you know pretty much exhausted our efforts and we can’t come up with an explanation.

You know we don’t go so far as to say absolutely it must be paranormal, we say look, we cannot explain it, it very well could be paranormal because we simply can’t explain it.

And that’s what’s fun about the show is you’ll see something you know in the debut episode you will absolutely see footage that none of us can explain. We witnessed it with our eyes, we captured it with our cameras, we have no idea what it is.

It very well - you know is it the great smoking gun? It could be. I don’t know what it was and the group doesn’t know. And that’s what’s so exciting is that we’re getting original footage in our investigations you know as well as corroborating footage that we got that we flat out say we do not have an explanation for it.

So it’s very exciting and I think taps into something that the audience really wants to know and see.

Sharon Clauss: Excellent, thanks, that sounds very spine tingling.

John Brenkus:
It is, you’re really going to like the show.

Sharon Clauss: Yeah, I’m sure I will.

Bill Murphy:
May I respond to that as well John?

Sharon Clauss: Sure.

Bill Murphy: Okay, regarding the approach that the show takes, it’s not necessarily going out and debunking evidence per se. For me, I found the approach the show takes that where we attempt to replicate the video to be a very novel, very good way to investigate.

Because the way most teams do it and the way I have done it myself for many years is that generally you go out and you try to see if you can record or capture your own evidence based on what is usually undocumented reports by witnesses.

And you go out and you try to see if you can you know record some of that phenomena yourself. In this case we’re looking at existing evidence.

And I think it’s a great way to investigate, to go hey wait, can we make video that is - looks the same way using the tools that we have.

And we go way beyond what I think most teams would think of doing to try to recreate the original video. And it’s not a debunk, it’s an investigative method.

And I like it a lot, it’s actually something that I wish I would have been doing for many, many years now, trying that approach. I just didn’t and you know regarding the science, science will continue to catch up.

I mean I’d like to quote a friend of mine (Scotty) that said you know just because 5000 years ago we didn’t have instrumentation to detect the level of oxygen in the atmosphere doesn’t mean we weren’t surrounded by oxygen.

Our very existence demonstrates the fact that oxygen has been here the whole time, we just didn’t have a way of even acknowledging it or knowing about it.

And the same thing that’s happening now is that new instrumentation, better tools, new devices will continue to be developed and put into the field for us to try to validate a number of things you know perhaps even including the existence of multiple dimensions.

You know that’s a theory right now and it’s a theory that many mainstream physicists are strongly considering and theoretical physicists have been proposing as being true for many, many years now.

And tools will continue to come to the forefront to enable us to validate a lot of these things that are currently considered paranormal, but may not be paranormal at all.

We just haven’t had a way of proving them until maybe recently.

Sharon Clauss: Thank you so much, that was really amazing. You sound like you’re in complete alignment with me. Thanks.

Bill Murphy: Glad to help.

Coordinator: Our next question comes from the line of April MacIntyre with Monsters and Critics. Please proceed.

April MacIntyre: Hi guys, thanks for your time.

Man: Sure.

April MacIntyre:
So I have a question for you, I mean obviously this boils down to between - that’s your website making that noise in the background. People believe or they don’t believe.

They think this is junk science or they really you know they think there’s ghosts and they think there’s - you know just like in religion some people believe in the life hereafter, other people think we’re like a battery and we just wind down.

How are you going to present this show where it doesn’t turn off the people who think that this is just an ongoing junk science you know propagation that’s a lot of hearsay and what if?

John Brenkus:
Well I think - this is John - I think that in terms of presenting the show, I mean you’re right, people either believe or they don’t believe, that sort of - it’s kind of like people are either on one side of the fence or the other.

But I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. I think there are a lot of people who are willing to go either way, like they’re not sure. And this show really appeals to all the groups because we’re saying it could be real, it could be fake, might be somewhere in between.

And we want to go out and explore this and I think that when you see the tone and style of the show it doesn’t come across as anything other than a credible show that’s genuinely investigating these cases.

It could be absolutely fake, we’re happy to prove that, it could absolutely be something that we simply can’t explain. The tone of the show is what’s very important.

We feel that in terms of all the other paranormal shows that have preceded this, this is the one that kind of nails what the audience today thinks about the paranormal.

They’re curious and they’d love to know and for people who really believe, we’d like to show them some things you should believe and some things you shouldn’t.

And for people who don’t believe at all we should say here are the things that you’re correct about. But here are some others that we simply can’t explain.

April MacIntyre:
Don’t you think though that most people are - a lot of people are more susceptible to the power of suggestion? I mean you know I was watching Paul Mooney who’s a comic.

He made an interesting comment, he said that white people have to stop believing in ghosts, there aren’t any ghosts. And he was joking but he wasn’t, on - he was just on Showtime on The Greenroom and I just think that there’s a lot of truth to that.

I think that people are looking for something and they want to believe it, they’re going to see it no matter what.

John Brenkus: I mean I think that that’s true in everything but - and I think when you see the show you know we certainly - there’s something paranormal and people are inclined to believe it we’re going to demonstrate whether or not they should believe it.

Whether it not is there, I mean I think that when you certainly see the way that we debunk cases there’s no way to walk away from it and then say yeah but I still believe it.

Because we really debunk it, we make sure that if we say look, this simply is not paranormal we prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

If we can’t explain it then it’s still up for debate then we don’t - we absolutely don’t say is paranormal we’re saying it could be, we simply can’t explain it.

And I think that what’s interesting is even the way of you know approaching, of saying that the audience is either you know going to be a believer or not a believer I think that when you see the way that the show’s presented I think that it’s tapping into the way - I think that people are going to project their beliefs on to it and have it backed up when we come across something that can’t be explained.

And if there’s somebody who is not a believer it’s going to be backed up when we debunk something.

Ben Hansen: Right and this is Ben, just adding on to that the premise of the show approaches it in allowing the audience to decide for themselves that those who might say that you know this might be junk science or whatever I just think they haven’t done their homework.

If you look at the official government studies you know that have been done on - the FBI did a study on cattle mutilations in the 70s, Project Blue Book was you know studying UFOs and was followed by other official organizations for several years.

You know the CIA and military were experimenting with remote healing. If everyone you know believed that anything that was categorized as paranormal is junk science, I don’t think our government would be taking a serious look at it.

Because what if it were true? You know what if these things that we’re seeing or phenomena is true? Well it could be manipulated, it could turn into a potential weapon.

It could be you know used in warfare or promoting new scientific discoveries. So I think people who have this kind of cursory interest in it really have not gotten into it if they believe that a large segment of the government and science doesn’t take this seriously.

They do. The problem is for those who are amateurs or don’t have the resources to study it in that way, I mean there’s the problem because the rest of us are just kind of left you know sifting through everything and not knowing what’s already been done.

Does that make sense?

April MacIntyre: Yeah it does, but you know you keep talking like the government is an authority, but didn’t the government also - I mean the men who stare at goats, didn’t they put money behind that study?

And I just - I don’t know. It just seems - you can say it’s a science and have all these degrees but the real facts are always illusory. They’re always hearsay, they’re always someone’s perception, someone’s feeling, someone testifying saying I felt it, I know there was something there.

But you know I mean we’re all electrical fields.

Ben Hansen: Let me ask you another question. When you look at a criminal investigation and someone’s testifying in court, what is that evidence upon?

April MacIntyre:
Well ideally the evidence is built upon actual physical evidence that’s found at the crime scene. Physical tangible evidence.

John Brenkus: Yeah, let me just jump in. I think that what you’ll see especially in our show is we have criteria before we investigate anything. If we only have an eye witness we don’t investigate it.

We have to have - we have three criteria. We have to have compelling footage that we believe could be authentic. We have to have tangible evidence.

Then we have to have a credible eye witness that we feel like is not some kook who’s just saying I was touched in a hallway.

It has to be a credible eye witness and third of all it has to be a case where we can actually test it. If it doesn’t reach those criteria then we don’t investigate it.

Because like you’re saying we don’t investigate the you know hey, I think this place is haunted, I felt the ghost touch me. That doesn’t rise to the level of something that we investigate.

April MacIntyre: Right, interesting. I look forward to watching your show, I really do.

John Brenkus:
I think you’ll be - and especially when applying that criteria, I think that you - you know you like myself, I don’t want to watch a program that just seems frivolous, you know someone said they saw a UFO.

They have to have actual video of it, they have to be a credible witness themselves and we need to be able to test that video in some way, it can’t just be something that is not testable.

But that way when you meet those criteria you have a very satisfied audience.

April MacIntyre: Interesting.

Bill Murphy: I’d like to build upon that just for a moment, this is Bill jumping in. The show hasn’t given any sort of directive to any of the cast members that there is a specific agenda that we need to adhere to.

It’s a diverse cast and everybody has different skill sets. And when you put everybody in the same room then you send them out into the field, their specific knowledge, experience and background really come into play to see if there is a readily acceptable rational explanation.

I mean you know we kind of adhere to Occam’s razor if it’s possible the simplest explanation is the more likely explanation but it isn’t the only one that should be considered.

But we try that first. What is the simple straight forward explanation for this? Sometimes the explanation however is a little more complicated and involves several layers.

So when you have a diverse team that John Brenkus and Ben have assembled then it allows the multitude of expertise to kind of you know converge and study a particular video, comment about it quickly and if you’ve seen something similar and maybe you know how it occurred, then you know what maybe we’ll table that one for a while.

And we’ll look for one that sort of stumps the team and those are the ones that we act upon. So I like your line of questioning but you know I can say from my experience on the show there hasn’t been anybody saying hey, this is a case that we want to move on because you know we like the subject and we want the public to buy the existence of whatever.

Nobody does that at all. Furthermore when we get into the field we are generally experiencing - I’m sorry, when we get into the field, the audience will generally experience what we’re doing.

They see it as it happens and if we can solve it in the field, we solve it in the field. If we can’t then we’ve got perhaps a paranormal event that took place.

April MacIntyre: Quick last question, just to - since I’ve got all three of you here. What - are there parts of the country, are there parts of the world that are (paranormically) in your opinion more active, more energetic than others?

Bill Murphy: I’ll say yes. There’s something that actually does happen and I think it’s got an explanation behind it that is - it’s foundations are in science but still I would have to say it’s still paranormal.

And that’s when there is a specific location that has had a lot of people focusing their efforts in a plot for whatever it is, for you know people go for spiritual outreach or they go for you know some sort of - maybe even investigation at the same location over and over.

There are certain lairing that occurs there where there is thought forms that being to manifest at these locations or some sort of telekinesis that remains you know as a residual signature at that spot.

Yes. Specific locations can be changed by thoughts and experiences and particularly feelings. And that phenomena has been documented for many years by Princeton with the global consciousness project to show that there’s a mind matter interaction and it changes the statistics of in this case nuclear decay which is very readily timeable.

You know it doesn’t deviate. Nuclear decay, it’s like you can time a clock to it, that’s why they have atomic clocks. Yet you can take that on or off and you can affect it one way or another.

First it was thought that you could do it through intention. Later it was learned that emotional energy has a bigger footprint and a bigger imprint on a location than on electronically even than does intention and logical thought.

So feeling does take root and can change a location and other people come in afterwards and they can detect these shifts, they can record their own evidence and it may have started with something that occurred there that brought people to that location over and over.

But it does happen and the earth does it as well. There’s specific locations on earth that have unusual geomagnetic properties that are easily measurable and they affect the people that are going to those areas.

April MacIntyre: Interesting.

Ben Hansen: This is Ben, I really can’t top that. I’ll just say yes, there are locations it seems, hot spots. There’s been a large number of it seems like remote ranches on across the country where all sorts of like a smorgasbord of paranormal events are going on.

And those things really interest me.

April MacIntyre: Interesting. You guys have been great, thank you so much for your time.

Ben Hansen: Thank you.

Coordinator: Thank you, our next question comes from the line of Cynthia Boris with Sci Fi and Fantasy Universe, please proceed.

Cynthia Boris: Hi guys.

Ben Hansen: Hi.

Cynthia Boris: Hi, I watched the show yesterday, it was very compelling and I wanted the things to be true, I wanted that ghost car to be a real ghost car.

Man: Sorry.

Cynthia Boris: You ruined it for me. I wondered with you know all the famous footage that’s been out there, Big Foot and Nessie and all those things, what would you personally feel is the Holy Grail of film - to prove something really was true?

What would be that one piece that you’d say that’s the gotcha, it really happened.

Ben Hansen:
Wow. You mean if we could capture it. Oh go ahead John.

John Brenkus: Do you mean something that currently does exist?

Cynthia Boris:
No, like what would you love to capture? I mean would you really want to be the one who - would Big Foot be that guy that you want to find that actual irrefutable footage of or UFOs or ghosts?

John Brenkus:
Yeah, what’s interesting to me is that footage you know footage has along with it, it brings its own baggage. You know so for me there isn’t one piece of footage that would be the Holy Grail because it depends on where it’s shot, how it was shot, who was shooting it, what were the circumstances.

So you know like I say we have all witnessed a dinosaur squashing a Jeep in Jurassic Park and we believe that and that footage looks incredibly compelling but we know it’s not real.

So for me there - it’s the combination of factors of you know having footage that is just looks compelling shot by a credible witness into something that we can all try to recreate but we simply can’t recreate it, it’s the unexplainable.

I don’t think there’s any - for me personally there’s not any one, it’s sort of confluence of factors there combined into one piece of footage.

Ben Hansen: Thank you, this is a great question, I love this question because I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I was trying to kind of find a term to describe what John’s talking about.

And the only thing I could come up with is techno dissociative condition. To give you some background for all these advantages that technology provides it also has its limitations when we try and use it to capture simulations of an event.

So whether we’re watching the aftermath of an earthquake on CNN or witnessing a UFO video from Arizona, by its very nature technology removes us from the real experience and attempts to recreate it for us in our minds.

But in the process there’s a dissociative effect that takes place. We’re removed from much of the emotion, the fine details of the experience that really make it human.

And that’s why when we’re bombarded with so many media images every day it’s difficult to bridge that disconnect and sift through what we really can accept as reality.

So you know I always use the example of I would love to be able to film a UFO landing you know and then go up and interview the occupants.

If we are being visited from other worlds or if it’s some of our own technology, but how many people if I put that on the 10 o’clock news, if I gave somebody a whole day to film inside and out of a UFO and how it works, you put it on the news, how many people still are going to say well that’s great Hollywood effects.

You know I still don’t believe it. So that’s where we get back to this whole thing, seeing is not always believing. You know we - technology on our show has become our greatest friend and sometimes our greatest enemy.

Bill Murphy: And that’s why we don’t have an overreliance on technology. I mean there’s just you know good sound investigative methods that are followed in a high level of competency I believe among everybody who take the common sense approach.

So you know sometimes a tool that is intended for another purpose will work great for what we do and sometimes we have to you know make our own stuff because there’s nothing really available for us.

And we brainstorm and we come up with a way to build stuff that we can use, you know whether it’s going to be something to try to explain, an observable event or if it’s a tool that would get used for detection purposes.

We’ll make our own or we will consult with instrument designers and have one made for us. So we do use technology but there’s not an over reliance on it.

Cynthia Boris: And I just want to say I think it’s fascinating and I hadn’t thought of that connection to when we do watch like disaster footage, it does become - but you can’t even comprehend it any more, what it is, it’s just pictures.

You can’t really comprehend what you’re seeing. And I guess that’s...

Ben Hansen: We see it so much that it’s actually quite sad because when we initially see the footage of floods in Mozambique or earthquake in Chile there’s an initial shock but once we keep seeing more and more of it, we lose kind of that humanity to it.

Because you know a war’s always going on in part of the world or you know and so the images fail to simulate what the reality really is if you were there.

I mean you can only come so close.

Cynthia Boris: Well the show looks great and I can’t wait to see what else you guys come up with. Thanks for talking with me.

Coordinator: Thank you, we do have a follow up question from the line of Tony Tellado with Sci Fi Talk. Please proceed.

Tony Tellado: Gentlemen, interesting stuff. You know you actually touched upon it, you know these days where somebody literally with their own home based software could fake any kind of UFO or paranormal event.

I guess Bill could be the lead on this question, but I mean how much scrutiny do you have to go through on this footage to determine whether it’s a hoax?

Additionally what’s the challenge of kind of finding - debunking a hoax when you’re actually in the field as well?

Bill Murphy: Well the first part of your question, you know regarding the footage itself and how far do you have to scrutinize it, we have good tools as well.

So yes, the digital (unintelligible) at home with his desktop PC can you know manufacture media and put it out there.

But if you kind of know the software and you know how it’s done, spotting it really isn’t too difficult. There’s some pretty sophisticated material out there. And a lot of times it isn’t for the intention that somebody would create it just to deceive others.

But sometimes you have a (tweety) artist that wants to put his work out there and gauge the response of the public as to you know how good he is modeled the object.

And that’s okay that people do that, you know they may create UFOs, but there are UFO’s over Haiti models that you know kind of sparked this whole new wave of irregular shaped UFOs have been a lot of fun to look at.

But you know you can spot things. It’s how much time somebody wants to take in creating it is up to that person. Most people that put them out there are going to be students or they’re going to be you know somebody that’s trying to break into the field.

And they will spend a reasonable amount of time to create it and there will be flaws that you can spot whether it’s flaws in the composite or flaws in you know shadow placement.

You know there’s things that you can kind of pick up on fairly quickly. And what was your question about once you get into the field?

Tony Tellado: Yeah, exactly, so what’s the challenge with the tools you have in the field to spot something that could be faked?

Bill Murphy: Okay, well one of the criteria that we have and John had mentioned this earlier is a strong eye witness. And so if there are multiple witnesses, and in some cases that we’ve investigated, you know many, many dozens of witnesses.

And that makes for a really strong case because you’re talking about something that is not just a piece of video, that a service with the person who - where they shot it but something that you know physically is there that other witnesses have come forth and said they’ve seen.

And there could be 911 calls or news reports or you know whatever it takes, reporting an object or a sighting or some sort of event that’s happened.

And those are strong cases, so the video is bolstered by multiple eye witnesses or if there are limited eye witnesses then there’s a credibility you have to look at.

You know what are the motivations for this video being posted and if we get there we really don’t pull any punches to try to replicate the video. So the challenges are something that I don’t think we’ve had stop us.

Generally we try to stop at nothing once we’re there to demystify the video. I mean we stop at nothing. Really extreme stuff and it’s a lot of fun.

John Brenkus: Yeah, let me just jump in real quick. The - I think in terms of you know thinking that someone just created the clip you know on their computer, that’s part of the debate and discussion, well is it someone who just created an effect.

Because we’re all at this point, the audience is pretty savvy at being able to spot it. So the three criteria that we have set up is, is the footage actually compelling?

You know does it have credible eye witnesses and it is something that can be testable eliminates a lot of cases that you say well it was just created on a PC.

So you know we because I think you know the people behind this show and the audience look at these clips in an intelligent manner I think that what you’ll see is the cases that we investigate aren’t ones that you just automatically say well it must be CG.

Because it doesn’t get that far in our process if you can eliminate it that quickly.

Ben Hansen: And then let me add to what Bill’s saying, this is Ben. When we do come up against those cases that are very difficult, either they’re done very well in CG, we’re just not sure, that’s where I like to use my experience and focus on the poster or the witness who shot this video or provided this photo.

Because for me it’s a lot easier sometimes to find the signs of deception through the person themselves and you know with my experience, I’ve conducted thousands of forensic interviews.

And on the show it’s no exception. I like to you know isolate the witness and use the neutral questions and everything that I would do in a real you know criminal investigation.

And try to see if there’s deception there and more likely than not when people are pinned down and asked you know if they faked something, most people are not good liars.

You know so I rely more on that, Bill usually heads up the clarification of images and things like that, I focus on the human aspect.

Tony Tellado: Great, thank you gentlemen, looking forward to the show and definitely have to also compliment you on diversity of the backgrounds of your cast as well.

John Brenkus: Thank you.

Coordinator: Thank you, our final question is a question from the - it’s a follow up questions from Aaron Sagers with Tribune. Please proceed.

Aaron Sagers: Hi guys, actually this kind of plays off of the previous question about the fake images and video and everything.

When you finally encounter someone that is faking and you pin them down, I mean you kind of need these people to do your job, they make you sharper and you know they help put the truth out there.

So are you kind of happy when you find the fakes? Are you happy when you encounter the people that are trying to pull off fake fraud because you need them?

And also I guess a second part of that question is have you examined other paranormal shows and looked what they consider evidence and you know made judgments based on that?

Ben Hansen:
That’s a really good question. This is Ben. It’s - I’ve seen on blogs, I’ve read that, I’ve read you know people saying you guys should investigate this show or this show, kind of funny.

No, we’re not in the business of telling other people you know how to investigate or what to do. And as far as you know being happy about catching a hoaxer, I think sometimes the initial discussions I’ve had with people and the title of the show, sometimes they’re a little confused that we are just trying to evaluate hoaxes or not.

And that’s not the case. When we say fact or faked, faked could also be not that they purposely faked it but that it was a phenomena that is naturally occurring that they captured.

In fact you know very - I wouldn’t - I’m not going to throw a percentage out there but there’s a great amount of cases we’ve gone out on where I find that the witness is very credible.

And even from the start I’m not out trying to prove that they faked this video. More so I’m trying to find out what it was they captured on video, does that make sense?

So it’s not always was the video hoaxed or not, it’s was the situation a fake situation in that was it natural or other explanation or not.

But yes, if you do find someone who’s purposely gone out of their way you know to try to pull the wool over your eyes and you’re able to show them that it’s not real it is kind of satisfying because I think in the professional community of people who really give their whole professional life to investigate the paranormal, it’s disheartening.

It really detracts from the real work that’s going on when someone wastes someone else’s time you know doing this.

I love the fakes if people add a disclaimer. You know look what I was able to produce. But you know that’s where the responsibility and accountability comes in so I think it is kind of fun to you know maybe catch someone every now and then if they really had that intention.

John Brenkus: And I think when you see - this is John just real quick - when you see the structure of the show we have this you know situation room where we sit around and discuss clips.

That’s really where you find a lot of the blatant fakes where we know that they’re - look we know this is fake because you know it’s not even worth our time to investigate it.

When we go out to investigate it you know we have the cooperation of everybody involved with that case from the people that shot the tape to the eye witnesses to everybody.

So I think that you know unearthing something that was intentionally faked is probably going to be the rarity because we have the cooperation of everybody involved with the case.

And it won’t rise to the level of being a case that we’re going to investigate if we can determine that it’s fake before we ever go out in the field.

There are just too many cases out there that meet our criteria that we wouldn’t really waste our time going out into the field and investigating it if we already know that it’s fake.

So there are cases that wind up being the meat of the show are the ones that we feel are compelling footage with a credible eye witness and something that is testable.

Bill Murphy: And if I can add to that too, this is Bill jumping in. The - you know many occasions evidence of paranormal activity is recorded by accident. You know somebody is out there shooting the birthday party in the back yard for example and then something happens and the camera was rolling.

And they capture that, so those people, they’re looking for either validation of their material or they’re looking for an explanation. So there are many times you know just as curious as we are.

So what it is that they got on tape and how did this happen and can it be explained? So it’s not like a lot of people that are out there just trying to fool the team.

I mean I’m sure the internet is full of that but we do use that filtering process that John mentioned and those are kind of fun to look at but they’re easily dismissible.

It’s the ones that have happened by accident that I personally find to be you know very, very interesting. Because when you go out there and we can see this explanation.

And these people are looking to us you know for maybe some kind of an answer. If we can give it we will, if we can’t, you know it falls into the category of being paranormal.

Aaron Sagers: Well and it’s understandable that you’re not necessarily going to set out to investigate other shows, I respect that. But I guess on the flip side are there either shows or books or you know people that are within the media world that are doing things that you respect that you see them on TV with their own investigation saying yeah, you know what I dig that, I think they’ve got some good stuff there.

John Brenkus: I think you know not just because it’s on, but you know Ghost Hunters does a great job of you know bringing a scientific approach to the ghost hunting world and you know really looking at it.

And I think that SciFi is doing a great job of covering this topic in a way that an intelligent audience can really enjoy. I think that they’ve been very intelligent about not just pandering to an audience and you know saying look, this must be a ghost.

They really like to explore and get into it and I think that that whole group has done you know some really good work. And you know we’re really looking to build on the success that SciFi has had and take it to the next level.

Aaron Sagers: Ben?

Ben Hansen: For me, I just watched an excellent documentary last night and it was on SciFi but the one about inside the secret government warehouses I think was really well done.

You know they got as far as I think they could in researching that. I like the work that George Knapp in Las Vegas has done breaking the Area 51 story and the Skinwalker Ranch.

You know the book that he co-authored about Skinwalkers and I love reading those things because especially in books you have a lot more time to get in depths of the details and see their methodology and what they do.

So I try to build on that and I would love to be able - you know we’re kind of constrained in some senses. We can’t go out for months to a location you know and set up an experiment.

But those pioneers you know of the field are those that I really try to follow and respect.

Aaron Sagers: Okay. Thanks very much guys.

Coordinator: Thank you we have no further questions.

John Brenkus: Great, thank you guys so much.

Bill Murphy: All right.

Ben Hansen:
Yep, thanks a lot.

John Brenkus: All righty, appreciate it guys, thanks.

Bill Murphy: Okay, talk to you later.

Coordinator: Ladies and gentlemen that does conclude the conference call for today, we thank you very much for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines.



  1. You know, I swear that.. you know, I don't really say "you know" that often in real conversation. There must be something else, you know, going on with that transcript:)

  2. Ben;
    I know what you mean. I'm a medical transcriptionist. One April Fool's day in the ER, I typed the reports verbatim--including coughs, hiccups, stammers, "um's" and "ah's" and flirting with the nurses and gave each doctor their real copy and the one for the records. It made them crack up.

  3. Fact or Faked comes on tomorrow right?

  4. Never ask a girl if she fact or faked. ;) lol

  5. Looks interesting. And, Autumn, very funny about the transcripts for the doctors. :-D

  6. Gabriel
    Tomorrow night SyFy--I will, no doubt, do a post tomorrow with a sneak preview. There will be a quiz on Friday--hahaha!

    I thought it was only fair for what they put me through! (oh, and foreign doctors had phonetically spelled documents)

  7. lol@gabriel....if you don't know, i'm not gonna tell you!! heehee!
    i've been looking forward to thos show foever!!!

  8. oh darn, i don't have scy fy here at the residence inn, so i'm going to miss it. why kinda place is this anyway?

  9. Libby-Girl;
    Can't wait to talk to you about the show once we both see it. And, Gabriel, totally "fact" for me--completely!

  10. Sandra;
    I'm thrilled to hear from you. Hope everything is going smoothly. If you're lucky SyFy will put it up on their site cause they would want people to watch it if they missed the first one and get hooked. If not, you will hear a great recap on here and no doubt there will be reruns--you know the routine on TV!

  11. Sorry for feeling like a spy when I jump in here since you guys are discussing the show:) Kind of like the party where people are talking about you and you're only two feet away. lol. Good thing is that it's all positive so far! I digress. Just wanted everyone to know that SyFy does show it the next day, three times I think, and then throughout the week and online. It's also being shown at odd times on USA (like 3AM), on Bravo (10AM) and a channel called Chiller over the next few days and on Hulu probably. I believe they're all owned by NBC. It came as a total surprise to me that it's on more than one network, but I'm not complaining! OK, proceed:)

  12. Ben;
    Thanks so much for the info. You are adorable! I'm watching SyFy now--"GHI" and they keep showing your commercial every break--does it make you laugh when you see it? It's gotta be kind of surreal...

  13. P.S. Gabriel- if we get around to making girls T-shirts, guess what they're going to say across the front in big letters? Who knows, maybe the show title on the shirt may actually sell a lot for those girls recently out of surgery:) Yep, hindsight is 20/20. lol.

  14. It has been VERY surreal. For the first time we actually get to feel like we made something. When you're in the field and living in hotels it feels like just a bunch of friends on a road trip having fun. No one gives feedback and no one cares what you do. Now I feel like I'm standing on a stage for all to see and it's really strange. I laugh at myself all the time. Did I wear the right clothes, I thought those sunglasses looked cool (what was I thinking?), why do I always have that goofy look on my face? Being in the entertainment world was never a big dream of mine, but life is full of adventures and if it feels right, follow it! My sermon for the day (as my Greek grandmother says)... Always have a heart filled with gratitude and NEVER, EVER, GIVE UP! What truly is going to make this worthwhile for me is to see how others enjoy it:) Yeah!

  15. Ben, you're both humble and Greek--what a combo! Yeah, I know what you mean. I used to model and do pageants and I had it worse. I'd have to stand naked in front of swimsuit reps and listen to them talk about my body, so lousy sunglasses--not a real problem, sweetie. Honestly, I have a super thing for geeks, so if a guy looks too smooth, he ain't smart. I'm thrilled for you to be taking all your abilities, all your intelligence, all your background and making sense of it. I tell people all the time, whatever influences you had and interests--if you're living life right, it'll make sense in the end. That's how I feel about this blog--it makes perfect sense for someone who wants to knock around theories and concepts and not take the company line about what ghosts are. Your excitement and logic will show through and there'll be nothing awkward about you. Besides, you have one gal in the world with a TV crush already and I haven't even seen the show yet. You better get ready, buddy. They'll be coming out of the woodwork.

  16. Autumn, the show's called Fact or Faked. Not Fact or Flirt, LoL. Yeah, yeah. Lame joke, lame joke.

  17. Grim;
    You know me, I can't help noting the cute ones, the grumpy ones, the elusive ones, the nerdy ones, the shy ones, the living and breathing ones...

  18. Dan;
    Well, especially the undead ones--that's why I hunt those!

  19. Is THAT why you hang out in those graveyards at night? You don't bring a shovel with you or have any weird fetishes we should all know about, huh?

  20. Oh, my fetishes are out there for anyone who reads my blog. I ain't huntin' zombies, hon. I'm huntin' those pesky folk's spirits that won't rest. Hey, if I run into a zombie, though, that's be pretty sweet! har har, I'm just imaging me putting a foldable shovel in my fanny pack of equipment on a hunt...

  21. Well, hell. If it ever turns into a zombie hunting adventure then THAT'S when you may need to give me the heads up. Hell, you may even need Josh Gates tagging along on that one for comic relief or Ben even, to tell us no, we are not really seeing zombies. It was just all those mushrooms we ate on that hill over there. If that turns out to be the case then (speaking in future tense) I swear to God I thought they were strawberries!

  22. I want to see the tests Ben puts those zombies through. He may be able to determine that they are not zombies, they're just on the board of BP!