Exclusive: Opening The Dead Files - An In-Depth Interview with Steve DiSchiavi
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of sitting down with Amy Allan (interview here), physical medium and co-host of Travel Channel's compelling series "The Dead Files." Today we spoke with her partner in crime, Steve DiSchiavi.
Devoting more than 21 years of active service to the New York City Police Department, retired Homicide Detective Steve DiSchiavi is now lending his expertise to the series that has paranormal fans worldwide absolutely buzzing. Based on the powerful premise that every property has a story to be told, DiSchiavi and Allan combine their unique skills to solve unexplained paranormal phenomena in haunted locations across America.
We began by asking Steve how he initially got involved with Amy and the show.
"I had been on a documentary for the NYPD called "NYPD 24/7" for ABC News," says DiSchiavi. "Once it aired, there was a lot of buzz. It even won an Emmy. After it aired, I retired, and a producer from Hollywood called me to see if I would be interested in doing television. I was like, 'What the hell are you talking about?' and that's basically how my relationship with the creator of the show started. Fast forward a bit and he reached out to me again to do "The Dead Files." My initial reaction was, 'No, I'm not interested in doing a paranormal TV show.' After some talking he convinced me to fly to Denver to meet Amy and film a sizzle pilot with her, and once I met her, I was hooked. Amy is unbelievable. I used to get into arguments with people over her in regards to her credibility with the people I worked with, but now I just tell them to spend a couple of hours with her and then talk to me."
If you've never seen "The Dead Files," let us assure you... for television this is as scary as it gets!
"It's weird; whenever I post a picture of myself smiling, people ask me, 'Wow, you smile?' Yeah, I smile! On the show we're not exactly portrayed as jovial. It's a scary show, a docudrama. I get that, but we have a happy side, too, ya know? However, I get a lot of Facebook comments saying, 'Steve, your facial expressions are hilarious. You don't even have to say anything!' I don't do it on purpose; it just kind of happens. It's reality TV, what can I tell you? When they asked me to do the show, I was like, 'Are you sure you want me for it?'"
Before accepting the job working with Allan, he was naturally very skeptical, having had bad experiences with mediums in the past.
"When I was on the job, I had worked with a couple of psychics on some homicide cases that I had. There have been times in my career in which I would have done anything to get a break on a case, you know? For me to turn to a psychic was a clear indication that I had nothing to go on. Unfortunately they ended up letting me down and leading me astray. This left me with a really bad taste in my mouth, and I decided I wouldn't be working with them again. Some of the people who claim that they have abilities have a tendency to say some pretty off-the-wall things like, 'I see pink elephants and they make love to me' or some happy horseshit, and I'm like, 'Really? Are you kidding me?''
DiSchiavi continues, "With this show we are dealing with people who have legitimate problems and are going through some very serious stuff. I guess you can say if you've never had it happen to you, you just don't know how it feels. It's like getting robbed. You don't know what that feels like until it happens. Or even getting shot at, you have no idea what that's like, and believe me, I can tell you first hand. Unless you've experienced the traumatic things that some people have, it's hard to empathize with them. We do our vetting thoroughly when it comes to "The Dead Files." We don't want to deal with any kooks who are just looking to get their fifteen minutes of fame on TV. We only want to go with people who have legitimate problems. Knock wood, things have been working pretty well. Amy has been able to help a lot of people."
Being a homicide detective, Steve is no stranger to helping people, but with this latest gig he found some great surprises.
"When I first started doing this show, helping people was the furthest thing from my mind, Steve marvels. "I had no idea what anyone was looking for. I was brought in to do a job, an investigation. For me that's the easy part. I just didn't know what kind of clients we'd be handling. I didn't want to have to deal with the woman who's on tranquilizers and drinking a martini in the afternoon telling me that she sees ghosts coming out of the wall. No shit you're seeing ghosts coming out of the wall, you're drinking martinis and taking Valium! *laughs* Again, we look for normal people with serious things going on in their lives."
Allan and DiSchiavi have created quite a trusting relationship that's built on their dependence on one another. One that plays a key factor in the proceedings of the upcoming third season.
"Amy and me talk a lot when we're not doing the show, and I have learned so much from her. She's at the point now where she expects me to understand everything about what she does, I'm like, 'Amy! I still don't understand everything that you do so you're still gonna have to explain some things to me.' We just had a new case last week that I can't really talk about yet because it hasn't aired, but man, it was something that I had never even heard of before. We've seen things in this third season that neither of us have had to deal with. I've gotten some pretty wild statements from people who have witnessed things. Amy is seeing things she has never seen before. I've taken some statements from people and think to myself, 'Really? Is that what really happened?' but when Amy comes to me and says, 'Yes, that IS what really happened,' I'm like, 'Okay. I'm buying it now.' The last three cases we had… man, they were all very different, and I've ended up loving every client we've had so far this new season. One of them is with a girl named Tisha in West Virginia, and she and her family were going through one hell of a hard time. To be able to help out people like that? That's worth everything to me and Amy."
Source: "The Dead Files" on Travel Channel