Daughter of Pioneer Paranormal Investigator, Hans Holzer, Opens Up in Candid Interview
Hans Holzer is considered the pioneer of modern paranormal investigators. From a young age, he felt attuned to realms beyond our own. Now, for the first time ever, Travel Channel will reopen Holzer’s case files to be investigated by a new generation of paranormal researchers. On Thursday, October 3, at 10|9c, the premiere of The Holzer Files will see investigator Dave Schrader, psychic medium Cindy Kaza, and equipment technician Shane Pittman revisit Holzer’s most captivating cases with a fresh perspective.
Hans Holzer’s career began in academia, studying at well-respected schools like the University of Vienna, and Columbia University in New York. He went on to receive both a master's and a doctorate from the London College of Applied Sciences, before returning to America to teach. He used this rigorous academic background as the backbone of his paranormal studies.
Holzer believed in a journalistic approach to investigating the unknown, and had a way of connecting with people from all walks of life. His first book Ghost Hunter was a collection of his experiences with people who had encounters with the paranormal. His reputation grew, and soon, researching the supernatural was a full-time job. By the end of his career, Holzer had written over 140 books on topics such as spirits, the afterlife, UFO’s, witchcraft and more.
To know more about the life of Hans Holzer, there’s no better source to reach out to than his daughter, Alexandra Holzer. Alexandra takes after her father in many aspects. She’s an empathic medium, and continues her father’s quest to answer the unexplained. She’s also a prolific writer, having numerous books of her own and contributing to HuffPost, OM Magazine and many publications in the UK. She’s now about to embark on a new journey with Travel Channel, as she assists the show in understanding her father’s legacy.
Do you know what your father’s first experience with the paranormal was?
I do! When he was about five, his father received a note from his kindergarten that Hans was frightening the other kids with ghost stories. He was attuned to another world, but didn’t know it at the time. He would tell stories not just about ghosts, but about faeries, and all sorts of things that were not of our world.
Did he ever have his own encounters with the paranormal?
He did. One of his earliest stories was about his cat. He told me that when he was a young boy he had a white cat that he absolutely loved. Sadly, the cat passed away. But one day when he was walking home from school, his cat was right there behind him, following him home. He loved animals. I mean, he was a vegan! That’s how much he loved animals! He told me that the cat was letting him know he was OK.
What made him want to investigate the supernatural? Do you think it was that experience?
What really got him into the field was Eileen Garrett. She was a famous Irish medium, and one night the two of them were at some swanky party, and they were just fascinated by each other. Something had drawn them together. My dad was in academia at the time. He was a very well-educated man. Eileen said to him, “You have to write a book.” She told him that he was very special, and had a way of communicating people. She said his academic background would be a very useful tool to investigate the unknown.
So, with that advice, he began to interview people who claimed to have had experiences. He would record the information and compile lists like a journalist. He spoke with all kinds of people from all walks of life. And that information is what he used to write his famous book Ghost Hunter.
His most famous investigation was the Amityville house, which inspired the countless books and movies…
Well, yeah, publicly, that was probably his most famous. But you know, to him, it was just a case like any other. He was contacted, so he chose a medium to accompany him to the house. But it’s important to remember, my father was investigating the DeFeo murders. (Six members of the DeFeo family were found shot, all lying face-down in their beds without any signs of struggle. The son, Ronald DeFeo Jr. claimed spirits helped him kill his family).
The Lutzs were the next family to live in the house. They’re ones who ran away after only a month, and spawned the famous Amityville Horror. But my father was investigating the DeFeo family, not the Lutz family. He even interviewed Ronald in prison multiple times.
With your father investigating such intense and traumatic cases, did he ever bring anything back with him? There’s so many stories of paranormal investigators who accidentally bring spirits back home.
Oh yeah, they’re called attachments. And absolutely. My father would get called out to investigate at all hours of the night, and every time he’d come and go, the energy of the house would shift, I’d see things all the time. My room was basically an orphanage for lost souls!
You know, my father only wanted to help. He was so empathetic, and was never afraid. He knew that when we die here, we keep living, just in another realm. And sometimes, people get stuck, and they obviously don’t want to be stuck. So he was always determined to help them.
As someone who believed in the afterlife and believed that those on the other side can communicate with the living, one has to ask: Has he ever tried to contact you since his death?
(Laughs) Oh yeah, oh yeah. Soon after his death, a group from Florida wanted to do a ghost box session with me. I didn’t even know what a ghost box was! And we weren’t even trying to contact my dad… and then, suddenly, my dad comes through. He announces himself. And he’s talking to us through a ghost box, which is so funny, because my dad hated equipment. During his life he never would have used a ghost box, and now he’s talking to me through one! And even since then, you know, we’ll just be sitting at home, and suddenly books fly off the shelf, and I’m like … Dad’s here. But it isn’t a haunting or anything. It’s just my dad.
He was someone who used to investigate the other side, and now he’s on the other side contacting you.
Yeah, you know it’s hard to talk about a little because … it’s my dad contacting me! It’s surreal. But you know, this is my life. This is all I know. And it’s emotional for me to know he’s there. And I think the show is going to be very emotional for me, because I’m putting it all out there. But you know, we have work to do. My dad would have wanted to me keep investigating, and so I’m going to.
Any closing remarks on your dad that you’d want the Travel Channel audience to know?
I’d want people to know he was the real deal. He was an academic, he wasn’t an attention-seeker. He was who he was, he didn’t take any crap from anyone, including spirits, and he has a lot to still teach all of us.