Paranormal Investigator Steve Gonsalves Talks About His Most Terrifying Experience [‘The House In Between’ Interview]
They've seen it all.
Steve Gonsalves is no stranger to the world of the paranormal. Gonsalves has been a staple to the crew of the hit show Ghosthunters since it started in the early 2000s. He’s done hundreds of investigations and encountered all matters of paranormal phenomenon. Then, in 2019, he worked with friend and director of photography Kendall Whelpton to take it to the next level. They made a documentary, The House In Between, about one of the most haunted houses in America.
Now, Gonsalves and Whelpton are back with The House In Between: Part 2, delving deeper into the mysteries of this house to try to find an explanation for all its phenomenon. Get the full details about the documentary and the exclusive trailer here. We sat down with the team to chat about the upcoming follow-up, as well as how scientists can better work with paranormal researchers and both of their most terrifying unexplainable experiences.
Dread Central: Steve and Kendall, I want to hear how the two of you met. How did the two of you come to work together?
Steve Gonsalves: We were filming our show Ghost Hunters and we were really fortunate at the end of season two to get an order for more episodes added on to that same season. And, with that a new camera department. And, along with that, came Kendall Eton. So we actually, met, gosh, I wanna say maybe 2005 or 2006.
Kendall Whelpton: Yeah. 2005. It was October, right? For the Halloween special in Savannah, Georgia at the sore weed house. That was my first case with the crew.
DC: So then I’m curious how the two of you came to work on this project, which is The House In Between Part One and now Part Two. How did the two of you link up to work on this specific case together?
SG: I knew of the property. They were reaching out to me through a bunch of different means they could through agents and different people, anyway, they could try to get in touch with me. And eventually I started hearing some things about it that were quite intriguing. The fact that [the house] had been studied for at that time about 10 years straight without any interruptions and it was just open for whoever wanted to investigate it.
The [homeowner] Alice really didn’t sleep in her home for 10 years and her level of comfort in the house at that time was nonexistent. So just knowing everything and what was going around, I decided that I would chat with them. I started talking with them and eventually I was coerced into going to the house. It was really quite incredible meeting Alice and the gang there. I’d never quite seen a dynamic like that. Talking with Alice, I just was blown away and figured that this was a pretty good story to tell in terms of the paranormal, something that wasn’t quite done before. But I’m not a camera savvy person or, or really much in that regard.
But, I did know Kendall who of course knows all of that inside and out like you wouldn’t believe. So I called him and said, “Hey, man, I have an idea for a film project, telling a great story. Would you be down to travel that road with me or maybe make this a documentary?” We chatted for a little bit, and luckily, he said this does sound pretty awesome, let’s do it. That’s basically how we forged the relationship to make the first film.
DC: Steve, I know that you have been working in paranormal investigating for a long time. But Kendall, how did you get into this world of paranormal investigating? Was it something you were interested in before you started working on these shows?
KW: Ghost Hunters was my first real kind of dip into investigating the paranormal world. But, for me, I’ve always been interested in the paranormal. That’s why I answered the Craigslist ad that said crew gearing up quick for a ghost hunting show. I actually lived in a haunted house, an old hospital, when I was 18 out in Colorado, way up in the mountains. I had a few experiences there.
Once I hit that first investigation, the second investigation, I realized quickly that that was something that I was very interested in and very lucky to be doing, following these guys. They were at the forefront and, still are at the forefront of paranormal research. It’s been quite the trip. With every one of these shoots and every one of these investigations, you keep learning. So it’s always fun and interesting.
DC: The House In Between is the first documentary about the background of Alice’s home. But now we have part two coming out. So what can we expect in part two and how does it differ from the first?
SG: It’s a great question because we haven’t really said too much about the next one. So there’s been some speculation about what it could be. But quite honestly there still was a lot going on at the house and Alice still wasn’t staying in the house. So my job as a paranormal investigator wasn’t over. I wanted to make sure that we got real answers for her and really helped her. The mission, although it is a movie, really is to get her back in her house.
Kendall and I spent quite some time just really thinking, especially on the paranormal side, about what we could do. We were able to do a lot of things we weren’t able to do on the first one. It took us well a year and a half, two years of trying to get a geophysicist to work with us. We finally did find one who not only came and worked with us at the house. She set up at the house and, and did research there on the property. To have an actual geophysicist with a background in astrophysics, come and do that level of research at the house, was awesome and really enlightening. It uncovered a lot of really awesome information and some other things that I don’t think the audience is quite going to expect.
We just amplified everything to try and get some resolution for Alice. And as storytellers were wanted to continue that story. Where is it going? How is it going? What’s the deal now? And we were able to document all of that.
That’s so cool. I watched the first one last night and I’m very excited to see where it goes. Cause there’s some weird stuff going, lots of different theories and things happening that I’m fascinated by. When you are asking for experts, is it hard to convince them to be a part of a paranormal investigation? Is it a weird sell when you talk to scientists about this kind of thing?
SG: [laugh] Yeah. It’s actually a no-sell quite honestly. I mean, I went through maybe 30 or 40, physicists before I found the one that would talk to us about the paranormal. Honestly, the second time around was a little bit easier because the film had reached the science community a little bit. Last time I got all no’s, even electrical engineers. All of them turned us down.
KW: We had a bunch of solid no’s from geologists. I mean, very, very much hard no’s, very, very scared to even put their name with anything paranormal because of their jobs or their credibility. But as Steve said, it was a little easier this time because what we accomplished with the first film, not many people have done, which is, you know, taking the scientific approach to the paranormal. It was a lot easier to get some of these experts this time because number one, we could show them the film and show them that we’re trying to get the best here for Alice. It still is difficult, but it’s starting to come around. This movie is definitely an example of that, for sure.
SG: Interestingly we had some scientists who would, Ghost Hunters, holy cow. I’ve watched that show. My entire grew up watching it. Oh my goodness. I can’t believe it!” Then we’d ask “oh, would you want to talk to…” And they’d go “Nope, get me outta here.” Every time! Like, “oh Steve, this is the coolest thing. I can’t believe I’m talking to you.” “Oh, right. Would you talk on camera?” “Nope. Get outta here. I’ll, I’ll lose my grant.” <laugh> “I’ll lose my funding.”
That’s what they’re afraid of, being ridiculed and, and losing, their funding for their research or for their whole department. I had one geophysicist tell me that if he did talk to us about paranormal, he’d be afraid that he would lose all the funding for his whole practice and put 10 geologists in Mississippi out of business. So he wasn’t even willing to talk. It was very bizarre, but science is very closed off.
And, you know, through talking to us, we did find out the main reason is that not only do they not believe, but secondary, there’s no way to measure the paranormal. Science needs to be able to measure for their research. They need to be able to have repeatability and to be able to measure their results. They need to be able to recreate it in laboratories and they can’t do any of that. So they’re having a hard time looking at the paranormal because there’s no way for them to measure it. And in science, that’s a big, big problem.
DC: How do you think that science could better work with paranormal investigators? What do you think could be a solution to having better collaboration between these two worlds?
SG: I think the first step is that the paranormal community needs to tighten their reigns a little bit. Science is a little scared of paranormal investigators. Most paranormal investigators think everything that they hear or experience is a ghost. They’re open and believe in everything. And that’s really troublesome for most level-headed real-world scientists. They’re looking at people who are so open to everything that their findings are being misled. There are no checks and balances, no peer reviews, or controlled situations. There are no controlled studies.
So until the paranormal community really starts to tighten themselves up in that regard, I don’t think scientists will really ever join us. I think they’ll dip their toes in and have fun in the paranormal world. Then they’ll go back to their regular gig and, and be like, that was fun for a weekend, but nothing I can take seriously. But someday maybe, you know, we’ll start to dig in a, a little deeper.
KW: On top of that real quick, the home team is documenting Alice’s house 24/7 without her there. If more paranormal investigators do that type of investigating where they’re able to document this stuff over and over again and see these patterns and some of this evidence, it’s a step. It’s definitely caught the interest of the people that we’ve shown on camera and off camera. So I think for the community, for the paranormal community, any kind of really good solid documentation is always key.
SG: Ken made a good point that no one else is doing this level of research. Paranormal researchers can’t find a residential home to study as a bit of a controlled study for 10 years. It just doesn’t exist. Who can give up their home, who really can afford to live somewhere else and just open up their beautiful home to science to be studied. It’s just is usually not a possibility. We have a very unique situation here, which is I think one of the reasons it makes it quite compelling.
So one of my final questions for y’all and Kendall, I wanna ask you first, since you kind of came into the world of the paranormal with ghost hunters, what has been your scariest experience so far working in the world of the paranormal?
KW: Oh, wow. Um, oh boy. I’m always scared of people, buildings, or locations. That’s really scary to me. You know, actual people sneaking in or people squatting, that’s always like a, a very big concern. But actual paranormal. With Steven and Jay in Philadelphia at Dr. Physick’s house in season 11, we had a cart move on us. It picked up speed and ramped towards us. It startled me so bad. I ended up yelping like a little girl. I think that’s one of the top ones, but there have been so many experiences, especially with following Steve, Tango, and Jay for so long. There’s always something happening.
DC: Same question for you, Steve. I know you have gone to so many different investigations, but what is one of the top sticking out of your head, scary, freaky, weird unexplainable moments that you’ve had in your career?
SG: Ooh. There are quite a few. I’m very fortunate that the paranormal doesn’t scare me. So I don’t necessarily get scared, but I do get quite startled. Then that quickly translates usually into fun or excitement. I will say just recently, we were investigating and using a LIDAR system, which is just a laser and a sonar hybrid. I was actually investigating with my buddy Tango and we were picking up something on this LIDAR with us in the room there. This senses anything with mass. It’ll map it all out and show it in a visual form. It’s quite fascinating how it works. We were picking up something else in the room with us, and it was reacting to us and, and reacting on command, which was quite interesting.
But then as we asked for it to come towards us, we actually picked it up on the LIDAR system moving towards us. It showed it rushing at us very quickly. What was interesting was that we could feel the concussive force of its presence pushing towards us. We actually got bounced back a few feet and that was quite scary. We both sort of pulled ourselves together and looked at each other and said, what the heck was that <laugh>. Our bodies didn’t know what to do. All we could do is laugh, you know, because our body didn’t know how to process that.
Like what is happening? What is this? Are you kidding me? So we just ended up laughing and giggling about it. And then it was after the fact realizing like, oh man, that was something else. That was quite startling and definitely was a scary experience. It really was. And if I wasn’t an investigator who, you know, was there to experience that, I would be quite terrified.
The House In Between: Part 2 comes to digital and VOD on June 21, 2022.