In our continuing interview series with the “Ghost Adventures” crew in anticipation of the show’s Season 6 premiere on March 9th, 2012, we sat down with Nick Groff to talk about the formation of the group, what scares him, and much more.
“I actually knew Aaron before, for a long time,” says Groff of the very beginnings of his association with partners Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin. “I graduated from high school at Pelham High in New England and decided to take the big trip to Las Vegas because I got accepted to UNLV, University of Nevada Las Vegas, for film. I’m a huge film buff in general. To be honest, it was one of the only schools that actually accepted me because my SATs sucked.” *laughs*
Groff continues, “So here I am at UNLV and I’m taking this film class, and there’s this kid… he and I are the only ones still there at the end of this big conference where a movie producer was talking. At this point I was trying to shoot my own short films and was looking to get to know people. I asked the lecturer who I should talk to about shooting my short films and my scripted stuff, and he said, ‘See that guy over there? Talk to him.’ I turn around and there’s Aaron Goodwin standing there talking to another guy. Aaron actually snuck into that class as he didn’t even attend UNLV. *laughs* So we met up and became very good friends over the years.”
“It wasn’t about until 2004 that I met Zak. I was getting married to my long-time sweetheart from high school. I’m a very picky guy when it comes to music so as I was searching through websites, I came across Zak’s. He was DJ’ing at the time making some money. I called up his company and met up with him, and he became my wedding DJ. Me and my wife met up with Zak and we talked for a long time. We actually didn’t even get into the wedding stuff. We talked more or less about the paranormal and films and stuff including the projects I was working on at that time. It was really kind of funny how we clicked. I think you meet people in your life for a reason, and I think certain people come together spiritually. This was the start to our journey. The reason we were put on this earth, to do what we are doing now.”
“One day I was sitting there in my little apartment and we started talking on the phone. He told me about a ghost experience he had in Detroit, Michigan. I basically said, ‘Dude, I’ve been fascinated by the paranormal since I was a little kid.’ I had an experience when I was about ten years old in Salem, New Hampshire in my old house. One day when I came home from school early, I walked upstairs and saw this shadow figure standing in the kitchen area behind this sliding glass door to the porch. It scared the living crap out of me! I ran out of the house, and that’s where my parents found me once they got home.”
“Prior to that I actually had a near death experience, too, when I was about eight years old,” Nick says, reflecting on his past. “I was a very hyperactive kid. One day I was swinging from the branches of some tress over a cyclone fence and basically the limb broke and I fell and ripped open my whole arm almost to my artery by a half an inch. Good thing my mom was a nurse and a quick thinker. She was close enough to see me get up and then pass out and fall to the ground. She took off her shirt and wrapped my arm up and basically saved my life. They were able to stop the bleeding before I bled too much. I didn’t die obviously because I’m still here.”
“I think those elements actually got me fascinated by the paranormal, and that’s when I was talking to Zak, fast forward in time to 2004. I’ve been fascinated by all the paranormal: UFOs, ghosts, and anything unexplainable. But I’ve never had that major experience to say, ‘Wow, this is it. This is what’s going to open up my mind to something different than what we know as just death.’ That’s when I basically grouped up with these two guys, and we became really good friends and decided to hit the roads of Nevada to hit up all of the haunted mining towns to search out some ghosts. Zak was very passionate because of his experience, but I was more or less a logical thinker wanting to see something with my own eyes. Could this kind of thing be captured on a little night vision video camera? We went out full throttle to see what we can come up with. We all came together and it spawned into ‘Ghost Adventures’. We never thought that was gonna happen, a huge successful TV show phenomenon all across the world and a ton of people just representing us and who we are: GAC members, Ghost Adventures Crew members. Worldwide. It’s amazing.”
“What a lot of people don’t understand is that we were never just cast in this show. Selected out of thousands of acting people or whatever. We’re not actors. We weren’t geared to go out and do this. None of us ever took acting classes. I took film because I have a passion for film. The good thing was that it came in handy later. It taught me how to push the little red button on the camcorder and make sure the camera is in focus. That’s really it. It’s kind of cool how we came together, it’s definitely a classic story. It’s genuine, it’s real. We are just down to earth guys. We are who we are. What you see is what you get when you’re watchin’ us on TV at your home.”
Now that the group was all together, they set out to make their first documentary film, called Ghost Adventures. Call it fate, call it luck, but Nick, Zak, and Aaron got more than they bargained for on the road, capturing a full body apparition on tape.
“I was confused at first,” says Groff of the first time he watched the footage. “Typically as a logical thinker you try to explain stuff that your brain can’t totally wrap things around. That’s unexplainable. When I set up that static night vision camera in The Old Washoe Club during the documentary, when Zak, Aaron, and myself went in there, I walked into this room and I’m using my digital recorder walking around asking questions like Aaron and Zak are on the upper floors, trying to communicate with anything that’s up there spiritually. I remember walking into that room, asking a question, and then leaving that room. And that was that. I was getting some very weird feelings, don’t get me wrong. It was very creepy walking around there by myself in complete darkness and not knowing what we were actually dealing with back then because we were still new to the paranormal.”
“When we got home, I had tons and tons of tapes to go through. When I got to this one particular tape from that static night vision camera in the Washoe Club, I was like, ‘What the hell was that, that just walked after me?! What is this? This can’t be possible.’ I rewound it at least forty times before I picked up the phone and called Zak. I told him, ‘Dude, you gotta come here and check this out. It’s freakin’ insane.’ Zak came over and checked it out. We were absolutely blown away. This was like gold. Like finding the needle in a haystack. This was what ‘Ghost Adventures’ fed off of in the beginning to keep pushing us. Then we pursued other locations like Goldfield after that. That was kind of the fuel for our fire to be honest. It motivated us more than anything.”
From then on the “Ghost Adventures” crew would begin assembling the building blocks of their investigation techniques, including separating from each other in the middle of some of the scariest places on Earth.
“I was the first one who suggested we split up,” says Groff. “I said to the guys, ‘I’ve got an idea. Let me go sit off by myself, see what happens. Let’s separate for a second. You guys go investigate, I’ll go off by myself. Put me in the dark and let’s see what happens.’ The idea was that if there are any spirits present, we can limit the scenario to where there’s no protection around us, and we were bound to capture something amazing. That’s what happened at the Washoe Club when the apparition followed me out, by myself. I’m always trying to think of ways to push the limits to capture evidence. Not in a stupid way or a jackass way, but more or less in an intelligent fashion.”
“For instance when we did the abandoned psychiatric hospital in Essex County, New Jersey (Season 1, Episode 6), we were walking through these underground tunnels, and it’s so freakin’ creepy. One of the creepiest places I’ve ever been, that’s for sure. After a while we came across the morgue, where the lockers are for dead bodies. Basically what happened was I said, ‘Hey, if there’s ghosts in here, they have to be lying in this room.’ This area was the last stop for tens of thousands of bodies. So I said to the Zak and Aaron, ‘What happens if I get inside this thing and you guys go and investigate. Close the door. Put me in here. I’ll put a night vision camera on the outside in the hallway and on the inside. If there are any spirits, they are bound to have an effect on me or something around me and show themselves because I’m all alone. They won’t be intimidated.’ That’s the type of crazy shit that I do, we all do – Zak, Aaron, and me – to push the limits.”
Check back next week for more with Nick Groff.
For more info be sure to visit “Ghost Adventures” on Travel Channel. “Ghost Adventures” Season 6 premieres on March 9th, 2012.
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