If you lived through the nineties and have good taste in television, you were most likely a fan of The X-Files, the iconic sci-fi drama starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. And, if you weren’t, you can just fuck off right now. The fictional FBI-agents who investigated cases of the paranormal variety were a huge inspiration for paranormal enthusiasts, and former real-life FBI-agent Ben Hansen was no different.
Hansen’s first interest in the paranormal was specifically focused on UFOs and extraterrestrial life, which spawned from the quintessential ‘80s flick, E.T: the Extraterrestrial. He read books, articles, and everything he could get his hands on to learn more about the phenomenon. But it wasn’t until years later that his belief in ghosts was solidified. “My viewpoint changed when I was in college and decided to take a couple of audio recorders to a war memorial park for Halloween. When I captured my first EVP, I said, ‘Wow! This is incredible. There really is something to this and technology is able to evidence it!’ I was hooked.”
Since then, Hansen has travelled the globe investigating some of the most haunted places known to man. He has witnessed object manipulation, black shadows moving in empty corridors, objects moving, and captured numerous EVPs. Most people who’ve been in a dark, allegedly haunted building in the middle of the night will admit, perhaps begrudgingly, that it can be down-right, piss-in-your-pants terrifying.
Hansen claims that there have been multiple occurrences that sent his heart racing. But one of the standouts occurred on the U.S.S. North Carolina during filming of an episode of Syfy’s Fact of Faked: Paranormal Files, a series in which Ben served as lead investigator.
“We were investigating some shadows that were known to appear in the mess hall when I made an off-hand remark about a soldier who had fallen to his death down an open hatch. I didn't mean any disrespect, but I said his name incorrectly and asked if he had fallen down that particular hatch. Suddenly a large stainless steel lid from one of the food serving trays lifted up and slammed down just 5 feet behind us. There was no one else on that floor of the ship and moving a 5 pound lid with such force was not done by natural causes. I triggered an emotional response from someone on the other side who wasn't happy with me. We got out of there fairly quickly.”
For those thrill seekers interested in getting into the field, here is a big tip: leave your Ed Hardy shirts at home. For gear, Hansen recommends in investing in a good audio recorder (to capture your own screams no doubt), a Tri-field or K2 meter, and some quality video gear. If you have extra cash, quality night vision and thermal gear will definitely up your game. He also advises that people should steer clear of the numerous mobile phone gimmick apps and other devices. While it might sound obvious, if you’re trying to do real research, he says that often times it’s the first tools that some of the so-called “scientific” ghost hunting groups turn to.
Hansen isn’t all Mulder and he’s certainly not all Scully. In fact, he is more like a hybrid man-child of the two, and that’s a good thing. He stresses, “We should all be skeptical, not necessarily skeptics, because that’s a loaded term, but once we go through that process of considering the most plausible and sometimes the ridiculous what you’re left with often further validates the paranormal explanation.” But even with his rigid scientific background, Hansen can agree that these are strange times we’re living in.
When Ben’s not investigating hauntings, watching for UFOs, or camping with Bigfoot, he is slinging top-notch night vision gear from his company Night Vision Ops. You can find out more at BenHansen.com