Jeff Belanger leads a very haunted life. He’s been fascinated with the supernatural since age ten when he investigated his first haunted house during a sleepover. Since then, the paranormal investigator has been a writer and journalist for various newspapers and magazines, and in 1999 he launched Ghostvillage.com as a repository for his writings and research on the subject of the supernatural. The site has since grown to become the largest paranormal community on the Web, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Over the years, Jeff has interviewed hundreds of people about their experiences with the profound. His objective approach to the subject makes the supernatural accessible to a wide audience. He brings personality and humor to this subject which makes him one of the most sought-after experts in the field. He's written for many paranormal Web sites and print publications and is the author of several books. Also see www.jeffbelanger.com.
Jeff Belanger graduated from Hofstra University with a B.A. in English. After college Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief of Main Street -- a biweekly arts and entertainment newspaper in northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, he worked in marketing and public relations for both private and public companies, and he's currently a full-time writer living in Massachusetts with his wife, Megan, daughter, Sophie, and parakeet, Mambo.
Books by Jeff Belanger
Jeff has been exploring the unexplained since 1997 when he was asked to research and write a documentary film on Dudleytown -- a ghost town in northeastern Connecticut. Since that time Jeff has gone on to write for several newspapers, magazines, Web sites, and he's authored several books (with more on the way).
The Ghost Files: Paranormal Encounters, Discussion, and Research from the Vaults of Ghostvillage.com (New Page Books, September 2007)
Ghosts of War: Restless Spirits of Soldiers, Spies, and Saboteurs (New Page Books, September 2006)
Our Haunted Lives: True Life Ghost Encounters (New Page Books, July 2006)
The Nightmare Encyclopedia: Your Darkest Dreams Interpreted (New Page Books, November 2005)
Encyclopedia of Haunted Places: Ghostly Locales From Around the World (New Page Books, August 2005)
Communicating With the Dead: Reach Beyond the Grave (New Page Books, April 2005)
The World's Most Haunted Places: From the Secret Files of Ghostvillage.com (New Page Books, August 2004)
Jeff Belanger has three forthcoming books scheduled for the next twelve months. The Ghost Files: Paranormal Encounters, Discussion, and Research From the Vaults of Ghostvillage.com is being published by New Page Books, his first children's book: Who Is Haunting the White House? is a middle reader being published by Sterling. And Weird Massachusetts -- also being published by Sterling.
Jeff is also writing a paranormal thriller novel that he hopes to have complete by the summer of 2007... errr, better make that late fall of 2007. For interview requests and media appearances, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: +1.508.966.5057.
Jeff Belanger 20 Questions
1. Where do you see ghost hunting and Paranormal groups, websites or Ghost information Books like your own in 10 years?
The subject of ghosts and the supernatural is a really hot topic right now because it’s being fueled by a show on every television network and cable channel, there’s hundreds of thousands of Web sites, many books, and tons of paranormal investigation groups all over the place. I don’t think the subject of ghosts can maintain this level of popularity too much longer. In fact, I’m already seeing groups start to diversify the paranormal phenomena they will investigate. Five years ago, everyone specialized. It was just ghosts, just UFOs, just Bigfoot, etc. Today we’re seeing groups delve into all of those subjects.
There’s also an ebb and flow to interest in the paranormal. In the 1860s, Spiritualism was huge, and a big reason for that was the United States Civil War. In the 1940s, Spiritualism again went through a revival--we saw another spike in the late 1960s and early 1970s just after Vietnam--but this time there was more of an occult angle to the interest. The 1970s was also the time when the UFO phenomena really took off – heavily fueled by the belief that Vietnam taught Americans that their government doesn’t always tell them the truth. September 11th played a big role in the next big interest spike in ghosts and the supernatural. Whenever there is heavy turmoil in the world, people will seek spiritual answers.
Ten years from now the interest in ghosts will not be as high as
it is today, but that’s okay. In some respects, all of the attention
subject receives right now has taken ghosts out of the realm of the weird and made it okay to talk about. This is a very good thing. Ten years from now we’ll be taking ghosts more for granted.
2. What would you personally consider to be the definitive proof that ghosts are real?
I don’t have definitive proof. I wish I did! However, I think there is some really overwhelming evidence out there, and chief among the evidence is the eyewitness testimony. Millions of people from all over the world have had a brush with something they can’t explain. The event makes a profound impact on that witness, leaving each individual with their definitive proof. Ghosts are a human experience.
3. What is the most real evidence you personally have uncovered so far?
I’ve interviewed over a thousand people about their claims of a supernatural encounter. I’ve talked to people about some really famous cases like Amityville, and I’ve spoken with the man-on-the-street. Collecting this testimony has been objective in the field of paranormal research. When I can be the first researcher a witness speaks with shortly after an encounter, that’s kind of the Holy Grail for me. Fortunately, because of what I do, I’ ve become a magnet for people who want to share their ghost accounts.
4. Are you skeptical of the claims others make of their findings?
I’m always skeptical, but I’m also open-minded. Some of these findings require a great deal of belief, so they’re more leaps of faith than scientific findings. My background is in journalism so I work hard to remain objective. If someone has findings to share, I’ll have questions for them. Because we can never remove belief and faith from this subject entirely, I think we need to leave a lot of the findings put forth by investigators for each individual to judge.
5. If you could investigate your "Dream Haunted Hot Spot" where would it be?
The White House in Washington, DC. I’ve been there once and had the opportunity to interview some of the staff about their ghosts, but you can’t get up into the second and third floors of the building without an invitation from the First Family. Sadly, I don’t have the financial resources to make a campaign contribution big enough to earn me a night in the Lincoln Bedroom.
6. What was your first Paranormal encounter?
I have yet to have a full-on paranormal encounter. I’ve had a few things happen that I can’t completely explain, but so far no full-bodied apparition. One of those unexplained things occurred while visiting the Catacombs of Paris, France, I was completely alone in the limestone quarry tunnels 30 meters below the city. It was quiet, dimly lit, and I was surrounded by the human skeletons of 60 generations of Parisians. The skulls and bones line each side of the tunnel in a very macabre and intricate pattern. When you first see the site, it takes your breath away. While walking through the tunnels, I kept seeing these darting shadows in front of me. I was the only living thing down there who could cast a shadow, and I can tell you mine was at my feet. I think we all have these unexplainable events in our lives—whether it’s smelling phantom smells, hearing whispers you can’t account for, or something even more profound. Whether we pay attention to these signs and try to derive meaning is another issue entirely.