Sunday, January 8, 2012

Former GHI Case Manager and Investigator Brandy Green Speaks Out About Life After Para-TV

By Michael O'Brien

12/13/2011
Interviewer: Michael O’Brien
Special Contributor: Aanica





Brandy Green was born in Edina, Minnesota in 1984 and has one younger sister. Brandy studied psychology (with emphasis in death and dying) and anthropology in college and she has recently returned to school to study secondary education with a focus in History. Her interest in the paranormal stemmed from childhood experiences at both of her grandmother's homes. It was these experiences that drove Brandy to investigate the possibility of life postmortem. Ms. Green's interests never rested solely in the "spirit" realm; they envelope crypto zoology, ufology, anthropology, and how psychology plays a role in all of the above fields.
Brandy was born with a cleft palate and underwent numerous reconstructive surgeries during infancy and early childhood. She has been very outspoken with regard to supporting the Cleft Palate Foundation, Ronald McDonald Charity, the American Cancer Society, the Minnesota AIDS Project, Give a Damn Campaign, Animal Rights through PETA and the WSPA and numerous other organizations.
Brandy Green began traveling the world with the show "Ghost Hunters International" on the SyFy Channel beginning early in 2008. She has investigated the paranormal in over 40 different countries in all but one continent and has worked with GHI for three seasons as the Case Manager and Investigator. She prides herself in knowing that she is one of the few "Para-celebs" that has stayed true to the field and has successfully represented other strong women who are involved in paranormal research.
(MO) Where were you born and/or raised?
(BG) I was born and raised in Minnesota but spent some time when I was younger in New York City where I have family.
(MO) What were your interests as a child?
(BG) I had a lot of interests growing up, many of which I still have. Anthropology and the arts.
(MO) Were you like most children your age growing up?
(BG) Nope. haha! I was more of a loner. I grew up mostly in Eden Prairie, Minnesota which is an incredibly wealthy suburb where a lot of the Vikings football players used to live [and may still live] and my family wasn't rich. I had grown up going to Broadway shows and watching history specials on TV, which were definitely not the activities taken up by my Eden Prairie peers.
(MO) At what age did you realize you had a curiosity about the paranormal?
(BG) My aunts and my mother were all into the "paranormal thing" while I was growing up, so I was exposed to the Ouija board thing and the "haunts" of my cousin's grandparent's house. When I was really young, I don't know the exact age, I experienced strange things at both of my grandmother's homes. My uninformed mind at the time misinterpreted natural occurrences like floor boards creaking from settling and expansion and contraction, but back then I had assumed they were sounds of phantom footsteps. There were many things like that. Throughout the years, I've studied [a lot, like a nerd] photography, psychology, biology, environmental sciences, religion, history, and cultural anthropology. The knowledge that I've gained throughout the years in formal and informal settings have certainly created a more skeptical mind when it comes to the "paranormal".
(MO) Do you have any siblings? If so, how do they feel about your GHI investigative career or celebrity?
(BG) I have a younger sister. She's been pretty much unfazed when it comes to me having been on television. Now that I'm no longer apart of the franchise, and knowing that I do not support the direction that the show has gone, she'll often text me just to let me know when a marathon is running. She thinks it's funny because I usually respond with a diluted "yay".
(MO) Did your sister experience any paranormal activity as a child as well? If so, does she share in your paranormal curiosities?
(BG) My sister shared in one experience at my father's mother's house years back, an experience that I have come to find alternative explanations for since then. She isn't incredibly interested in the "paranormal". She's been a couple investigations here in Minnesota with me and I think she is on the fence about it all just as I am.
(MO) Did your grandmother ever validate your paranormal experiences?
(BG) My grandmothers both have told me that they've experienced strange things, but my grandmother on my mom's side doesn't believe in "messing around with that stuff".
(MO) How do your parents / grandparents feel about your adult paranormal investigative career or celebrity?
(BG) My parents were happy that I was able to travel and see the world and they of course watched the show while I was on it, but if I had not been on the show, they wouldn't have watched the program. My mother hated me travelling all of the time. She has separation anxiety and was a nervous wreck every time I left the country. Hell, she's still a nervous wreck anytime I go anywhere. haha My dad's mother watched the show while I was on it as well, but the rest of the family didn't really watch. Honestly, me being on an international show didn't really phase my family that much. It wasn't like I was hooking up with celebrities and getting calls from Spielberg. haha Para-celebs are not really true celebrity. They are just television personalities in my opinion. I certainly don't see myself as a celebrity, just that I was fairly well known within the SyFy community for a while.
(MO) How did you deal with your own GHI celebrity at the onset?
(BG) Again, I don't really believe that I ever had "celebrity" status, but it was quite strange being recognized by complete strangers in the middle of Target or at the Mall of America or on the streets of London. I always had the immediate, 'how do you know my name!?' freak out because I would often forget that I was on an international television show.
(MO) As an infant and young child you underwent numerous reconstructive surgeries on your palate. Did any of these traumatic procedures add to your postmortem curiosities or perhaps coincide with the paranormal activities you witnessed at your grandmothers homes?
(BG) I don't believe so.
(MO) You have been an outspoken activist for numerous 501(c) (3) charitable organizations throughout the US. Are your philanthropic efforts a direct result of your early childhood traumas or experiences?
(BG) I do support a number of agencies and organizations throughout the world. I have always wanted to be in a position where that was possible and I've been lucky enough to be able to voice my opinions and make differences on small levels. I think that certainly having some of the experiences that I had growing up in terms of being teased because of the way I talk or seeing others being bullied because of their sexuality, it all shaped who I am today.
(MO) You are also a strong supporter of PETA. How do you feel about GH incorporating Maddie (the canine) into the GH series? Would you adhere to that command if GHI or SyFy introduced a canine companion while you were investigating?
(BG) When I was on Ghost Hunters International, we utilized dogs for certain cases. The idea is that animals are more sensitive to changes in energy, which could then be related to finding "ghosts" [assuming that such a thing even exists]. Some people also believe that they can actually see "ghosts" as well. Animals have been used for this purpose for a long time and there are stories that go back thousands of years from all over the world that involve horses rearing and dogs acting strange or becoming mad in the presence of "ghosts". Now, for me personally, I am inclined to believe that this is a result of changes in the environment and not the actual presence of supernatural beings. The cases that I've worked with dogs have resulted in power cords dripping with dog pee and dog hair all over the place with little, if anything else.
(MO) With your collective experience and education are you prepared to state with any confidence that you believe there is life postmortem?
(BG) In my personal opinion based on ALL of the cases that I've done, all of the places throughout the world that I've been and my educational background, I am inclined to say that the "paranormal" is completely explainable with proper educated analysis involving subjects in environmental sciences, physics, biology, psychology, etc.
(MO) You were told at one time while with GHI you were, “too much of a skeptic.” Who told you this and did you receive this observation as more of an insult or compliment?
(BG) I was told that I was too skeptical by numerous people both in front and behind the camera. They were irritated, which is why they said it. The truth is, it wasn't like they were informing me of something that I wasn't already aware of. haha! I think that the biggest insult for me was the way I was edited on the show.
(MO) Do you believe anyone can be too much of a skeptic regarding the paranormal field?
(BG) I think that personal bias is a problem for both sides and in any type of "research". I do believe; however, that being a hardened skeptic is important with regard to the "paranormal field". I see 98% of this "field" being comprised of whole hearted believers who simply say that they are skeptics in order to look more professional. I've seen many of these individuals and groups in action and can say for a fact that they are NOT skeptical. Every knock and bang is a response to one of their EVP questions or any cold draft is a ghost [forget about heating and cooling systems, proximity to windows, doors, ventilation systems, etc.]. They are the same groups that use things like the Ovilus or Frank's Box. There are a lot of naysayers out there, but I don't care. The fact is, the majority of the "paranormal community” has no idea what they're doing. They base what they know off of a couple shows they watch. Many are ignorant too much of it. When I say ignorant, I don't mean to say that they are stupid or have no education whatsoever. I am referring to the lack of knowledge in specific fields like those that I mentioned above [physics, environmental sciences, AV, psychology, biology, etc.]. There are "ghost hunters" and then there are "paranormal researchers". In my opinion, they are two different things and unfortunately, the latter seems to be almost completely unrecognizable--and not in a good way.
(MO) May I inquire as to your theological beliefs?
(BG) I am an agnostic. I've formally studied world religions and while they are comprised of entertaining stories, I see them as interpretations of non-supernatural events only.
(MO) How has your belief system influenced your opinions towards the paranormal? Do you believe it benefited or hindered you personally or professionally?
(BG) I believe that being an agnostic has allowed me to shed many biases related to religion. It's allowed me to open up my mind rather than be restricted to a set of beliefs specific to one religion I've travelled extensively and have seen how religion really can and often does play a role in the interpretation of "paranormal experiences".
(MO) You’re a bit of a historical buff aren’t you?
(BG) I am. I love history. I'm a total nerd.
(MO) Historically speaking, what is the era you are most captivated with and take pleasure in investigating?
(BG) I love the history of the Roman Empire and Ancient Egypt. 
(MO) Can you tell us about your formal and informal education?
(BG) My formal education includes [prior to me being on television] primarily psychology and anthropology. I also had formal training in photography and religion. I am now going back to school to get my Secondary Education degree in Social Studies/History with an eventual goal of teaching anthropology at a university somewhere. As far as "informal" education, I suppose I'd have to include my experiences abroad among the many different cultures of the world. I've been lucky enough to interact with many very interesting individuals overseas and it did help to solidify and alter what I had previously been learning from professors and books. My perceptions of many different things have changed, some for the good and some for...well... I read a lot on crypto-zoology and the like as well.
(MO) Did your paranormal experiences as a child in any way influence your educational interests or eventual accomplishments?
(BG) Of course it did.
(MO) While knowledge of psychology, photography, crypto zoology, ufology and anthropology are each invaluable in their own right, what aspect of your instruction, curiosities or life practice do you believe assisted you the most with regard to investigating and understanding the paranormal?
(BG) I'd have to say cultural anthropology [which includes religion] and psychology. Of course, understanding how energy works and how the environment as well as how a person’s biology works is all very important too. I am, by no means an expert in any of those fields, but I feel that I have a strong understanding of them.
(MO) In your career, was there ever a piece of empirical data presented to you that you could not dismiss?
(BG) Due to time constraints because of filming, yes. Otherwise, I am confident in saying that there is always an alternative explanation as long as you remain skeptical and have the ability to apply one of the many fields that pertain to researching the "paranormal".
(MO) In your career, you’ve investigated in over 40 countries. Which location in your opinion was the most active?
(BG) Most active meaning the strangest occurrences that had viable alternative explanations? That would probably have to be Cambuquira, Brazil, Real Felipe Fortress in Peru, the Wolf's Lair in Poland, and St. Mary's Church at Margam Castle in Port Talbot, South Wales.
(MO) You were considered a constant on GHI as the Case Manager and Investigator. Why did you leave GHI? Was it your resolution? If not, whose was it and why?
(BG) I filmed with the show for 3 years and I was asked to return for a run in Central America but I chose not to go. It was my decision to turn it down. I honestly was through with the politics of it all and I didn't agree with the direction that they were taking the show.
(MO) You remarked, “I honestly was through with the politics of it all and I didn't agree with the direction that they were taking the show." Could you elaborate on what you mean by the politics and to what your point of contention was with regard to the direction of GHI?
(BG) I think most people already know by now, considering I've been saying the same thing for years since being on the show and it would be redundant if I went into all of that again. I've moved on and really don't have any interest in rehashing all of it again.
(MO) It has been voiced many times by fans that there were far too many investigators either joining or being dismissed from GHI from season to season. In fact, the most common contention from viewers online was, “I just can’t keep up!” Did you feel these cast shake ups were compulsory or feel the confusion ultimately led to a lack of GHI viewership? 
(BG) The dismissals were for the most part decisions on behalf of the production company in an attempt to maintain or increase viewership or because of other reasons that are not for the public to know. It's television. This is how it works. It's business and the main goal is high ratings. For those that decided to leave on their own accord, there were very very few of us. While I was on the show, there were 9 or 10 cast changes. If the viewers didn't like the change ups, imagine how I felt.
(MO) There were rumors that Ashley Godwin had personal and professional differences with you. Is there any truth to this?
(BG) I can't speak for her. She and I were never friends and we certainly don't speak today. I'll leave it at that.
(MO) Did Ashley Godwin leave the show as a result of these perceived contentions on her part?
(BG) As far as I know, her official public reason for leaving the show was that she left to go to school. Again, I can't speak for her or her decisions.
(MO) Overall, how compatible was your working relationship with the other female GHI investigators?
(BG) I honestly preferred working on the show when it was just me and the four male investigators. There was less drama and less people and we felt like more of a tight knit group.
(MO) A common viewer conception about GHI as that you and Robb Demarest appeared to be the most like-minded professionally speaking on GHI. Do you agree and did you work well together?
(BG) I do agree. I don't want to sound pretentious, but for me I was on the show to investigate the paranormal and not to fight for "screen time". It was never about the" fame" for me and I think that that showed, or at least I hope it did.
(MO) I'm curious as to your comment, "I was on the show to investigate the paranormal and not to fight for "screen time". In your opinion was there anyone specific you felt valued screen time more than the point of the core objective itself?
(BG) Everyone other than me and some are still on the show.
(MO) It appears that several cast members who have departed GH/GHI left on less than amicable terms. Some claimed maltreatment on the part of SyFy, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. Did you find any legitimacy to these allegations in your experience or in other cast member experiences?
(BG) I had very little contact with Jason and Grant. I met them in person only once and very briefly when I did an episode of GH. Grant sat and talked with me for a few minutes and he was very nice to me during that encounter. People have to realize that I wasn't controlled by the people over at GH while I was on GHI. We certainly did our own thing unless we were ordered by production to incorporate members of GH into our episodes.
(MO) IMBd online reported that you, “pride yourself in knowing that you are one of the few, “para-celebs,” that has stayed true to the field.” In your opinion, who has not stayed true to the field?
(BG) Honestly, if people want to know, simply look at the shows and the actions of the "investigators" with a true skeptical eye. It should be pretty damn obvious. Heh.
(MO) What does, “stayed / staying true to the field,” mean to you?
(BG) Staying true to anything means to focus on the core of whatever it is. Television can be a very complicated beast and if you let it take control of you, reducing your morals or shifting your purpose to something else completely, you are in trouble. I never let that happen to me. I'm not saying that it was an easy or completely pleasant road that I was traveling on, but at the end of the day I did what I had to do to remain true to myself and what it was that I had originally signed up for ["paranormal research"].
(MO) How do you feel about the success of Para television shows on the air today and do you watch them?
(BG) I don't watch paranormal television with exception to Celebrity Ghost Stories on the BIO Channel.
 (MO) Do you believe there may be or have been televised paranormal shows who have falsified evidence for ratings?
(BG) Absolutely.
(MO) In your opinion, are these paranormal television shows more about obtaining tangible evidence that hopefully opens doors of communication, contemplation or debate or simply entertainment for the masses?
(BG) See above.
(MO) How do you feel about the newer para equipment used by today’s televised paranormal groups and why do you believe GHI refuses to employ the same techniques?
(BG) The newer equipment isn't new. It's been used for years and not just for "paranormal research". Things like Frank's Box or the Ovilus are interpretation only devices that have absolutely no scientific backing in anyway, shape or form. They are for entertainment purposes only-just like the ghost hunting IPhone apps.
(MO) In your opinion, what was the demise of the countless Para television shows in the past or the success of current shows?
(BG) Cast, format and location. In that order.
(MO) How difficult was it on you psychologically being away from home for so long on your overseas investigations?
(BG) It was extremely exhausting both physically and emotionally, especially towards the end of my time working with the show. For me, travelling constantly for years on end and having no contact with friends and family due to no cell service or internet in some of the areas travelled to were aspects of this. Constant time zone changes, long lonely flights, sitting in hotels, researching, trying to pick up local languages, long drives with the caravan, missed flights, flight delays, security, and many other things all affected me. There were also a lot of strained relationships and growing tension between me and pretty much everyone else due to my stance on the direction of the show and growing animosities between other cast members and me for other reasons. I walked into the show with what I had thought were new friends and by the time I walked away, I had none. That's the nature of the beast. It is what it is and I've moved on.
(MO) You acknowledged, "There was also a lot of strained relationships and growing tension between me and pretty much everyone else due to my stance on the direction of the show and growing animosities between other cast members and myself for other reasons." Were you the only cast member who took exception to the direction of the show or did you have support? Also, other than the expected animosities that would develop between small groups of people over an extended time, could you elaborate on any disputations other than the norm?
(BG) I did not have support and everything else is nobody else's business. 
(MO) What are your plans for the future? Is there anything paranormal in the works?
(BG) Aside from working on another degree and my photography, I continue writing my book and I'm also working on a few new potential projects that aren't necessarily paranormal related.
(MO) You're writing a book? What is your books premise and when can we expect to see it published? 
(BG) I've been writing the book for the last couple years, but with my attention focused primarily on school, it's been difficult to work on it is I should. It was supposed to be out this year, but the release has been pushed back. I currently don't have a specific date. It will consist of many different things, including some of my photography. I don't want to go into great detail because I'm sure one of my ex-coworkers will decide to write something similar and push for it to be released before me. That's how they roll.
(MO) Are you content with what you’ve learned after your extensive journey exploring the unknown or are you still searching for your answers Brandy?
(BG) I certainly learned a lot about myself and a lot about the nature of other people who vie to maintain their screen time. In terms of whether I believe in ghosts now? I still don't completely believe in the existence of ghosts or spirits or the like. I find that I'm actually more skeptical than I was before becoming a cast member on the show.
(MO) Can you share the most valuable lesson you took from your experience with GHI?
(BG) See some of my other answers for this one.
(MO) In closing, is there anything you would like to share with your fans?
(BG) Thanks for your support!
In closing, I found Ms. Green to be a well-adjusted and energetic young lady who does her best to excel in any situation life hands her. To me, this woman is undoubtedly a survivor and an adapter under any circumstance.
Brandy did not hesitate to consent when I asked for her interview and as I researched her and her background, I found her to be exactly who she portrays herself as. She’s an accommodating, unwrapped, straightforward, educated, humorous and very deep individual who loves her personal causes and hometown. What’s more, she’s a young lady who wishes only to give back to the community she grew up in and global charities in general.
In all I find the way Ms. Green was treated by para TV production and former to current cast members to be par for the course. Para TV is no different than any other mass venue. It’s all about money and ratings. Of more inferior quality to me would be cast members who are obviously more concerned with face time and feigned dramatics than educating society.
Lamentably, ratings alone appear to dictate that intellect, professionalism, expertise and a healthy dose of skepticism intermingled in the quest for truth just isn't as marketable as they once were. If that’s the concluding verdict by Pilgrim Films and other production companies, then I would reason para TV is on its last legs and it is almost certainly about time.
Brandy Green
Disbeliever, disillusioned and disbanded
but by no means distracted, discouraged or discounted.

World Wide Prayer Circle – Sunday, January 8, 2012

WELCOME & Happy Birthday, Elvis!


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