Up Close and Personal With Zak Bagans
It comes as no surprise that Zak Bagans is, as he puts it, a “night dude.” When I shoot him an email around 12:00 a.m. on a weeknight, he gets back to me pretty fast, asking if we can chat right away. This is the world of the lead investigator and co-creator of Ghost Adventures.
However, while Zak may stay up late and work a lot of overnights in haunted locations -- and has done so for more than the 5 years since his paranormal investigative show premiered in 2008 -- he isn’t in the dark. I have known Zak for a few years now, and I feel comfortable stating that the “night dude” is also an introspective one; he has taken the time to think about his role and own growth within the paranormal.
Zak and his team of fellow investigators, including Nick Groff, Aaron Goodwin, Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley, and all the fans who have supported the show, celebrated the 100th episode of Ghost Adventures with the investigation of the Exorcist House in St. Louis, MO, which was the inspiration for the film, The Exorcist. The guys' 1-hour special called Ghost Adventures: Up Close and Personal recapped the show’s top moments from the past 7 seasons -- all leading into the 2-hour special on Halloween night when the guys traveled to Transylvania to explore the legend of the “real” Dracula, Vlad the Impaler.
The milestone episode, along with the specials, frames the following conversation between us, and as you read ahead, you might get the impression that after 100 episodes of Ghost Adventures, the night is still young for Zak.
Zak Reflects on His 100 Episodes of Ghost AdventuresAaron Sagers: When you look back at your 100 episodes, what is the first thing that strikes you?
Zak Bagans: Honestly, I think about how much we've evolved. I look at different phases of myself, gradually learning and absorbing spirits, and the world of the afterlife. I see how it has changed me personally, how it has humbled me, how I stopped provoking demons. I see the advancements in our investigations, in terms of technology, and our better understanding of spirit communication. The growth is the biggest thing. It is like watching myself grow from a child into a mature adult, in terms of my understanding.
Sagers: What would you say to the Zak from 2008, when the show premiered on Travel Channel?
Bagans: I would just tell him that you need to be more cautious, and need to not open yourself up as much as you do. Don't try to do battle with a demon on a physical platform or through verbal transmission of words. You also need to start learning how to find some sort of a higher power to help guard you and rid your body of attachments, because this isn't something to play around with. Even though you are an investigator, you need to realize this can be extremely dangerous -- and not just because of demons. It is like Pandora's Box, and I feel like you've already opened it.
Sagers: In this evolution, do you think you’re closer to the end of your time as an investigator or are you just getting started?
Bagans: The deeper I get into this, the more fascinated I am by it. The deeper and more concrete the evidence, the stronger the spirit communication is, the more I’m fascinated and want to go deeper. That’s the thrill-seeking part of my personality.
Sagers: In the Up Close & Personal special, airing Sept. 27, you look back at favorite moments from past seasons, but what was your favorite thing to revisit?
Bagans: The thing I really like looking at is the fun I’ve had with Nick and Aaron, and the journey I’ve been on with them. It is the camaraderie, the laughs, the serious moments. In the end, as much as we may sometimes hate each other or want to beat each other up, we have that bond. It is a bond I feel, spiritually, was pre-planned. It is like we were supposed to do this. And seeing how spirits have changed certain sides of us and made us stronger -- like how I used to suffer from severe anxiety and panic, and Nick was a really shy guy and Aaron was really goofy -- seeing us go through these, what I would call possessions or spiritual channeling, those moments have sculpted us and really built us into who we are today.
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