By Michael O'Brien
Special Contributor: Aanica Guess
Everyone knows who John Zaffis is and may be familiar with his hit show “Haunted Collector”. As we get ready for a new season and first new episode tonight at 9/8 C, we decided we wanted to get to know one of those who are lucky enough to work with Mr. John Zaffis. A request was sent out through Facebook for fans to submit their questions for Ms. Brown and for over 2 weeks we collected hundreds of your [the fans] questions. These questions sent to Jesslyn Brown have been answered and presented to you unedited.
Please enjoy this most delightful interview featuring Jesslyn Brown from John Zaffis’ “Haunted Collector”
And don’t miss tonight’s first new show of the season Haunted Collector on SyFy
JESSLYN BROWN INTERVIEW
Anonymous asked: Jesslyn, where were you born and raised?
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised mostly in Winter Park Colorado.
Teresa Born asked: What are your talents other than ghost hunting Ms. Brown?
Something most people don't know about me is that I was a Jr. Olympic skier and 2 time silver medalist in Freestyle Moguls.
Caesar Romero asked: Did you go to a university and what did you study Jesslyn?
I went to college in St. Louis at Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts and majored in Acting. Being from St. Louis I am obviously a diehard birds fan, GO CARDS!!!
Anonymous asked: At what age did you realize you had any curiosity about the paranormal?
The weeks before my mine and my best friends 19th birthdays he passed away in a car accident. Both our families started noticing strange things happening, however I seemed to notice things that they didn't, like thinking an extra person came in the room, or hearing things they weren't. That is when I knew I needed more answers.
Kendra K asked: Are you a skeptic or believer in the paranormal at this point.
I am most certainly a believer at this point. That being said, I do my best not to jump to the conclusion that anything is paranormal activity until I have done my absolute best to rule out every other possibility, and even then belief is a perception, it is in the eye of the beholder, I have these experiences and feel them in my heart and soul, it's hard to explain that to a full blown skeptic until they experience that.
Anonymous asked: From your perspective working in the paranormal field, why do these spirits get trapped here in our realm?
I don't know that there is just one answer for that, lol this is one of my favorite conversations and I think I could go on for hours about it, so I’ll try to streamline my main thoughts on the subject. First off I don't believe that all spirits that we are able to communicate with are "trapped here" I think most spirits come and go. I prefer the term attached when speaking about a spirit that spends the majority of its time in our realm. I think that something, some place, someone, or some task, brings them to us, whether it is unfinished when they pass or they are sent back later i.e., a loved one is in danger and needs protection. Where they go when they leave our world, I'm not sure, I think that is one secret I want to leave untouched until I am an angel myself ;)
Mickey O’Bryan asked: Did you ever experience any paranormal activity as a child?
I can't say for sure, because I don't know that anything is for sure, but I can say that I believe very strongly, as do many members of my family that I had a much stronger gift as a child. I had two, what we believe to be spirits, who came to me when I was about 2 1/2. At first I was very shy about telling my parents they were around and certainly didn't want other children to know about them. Daniel was with me around a year, until he told me it was "time for him to go." And after that I never spoke of him again. Hamba was with me a little longer and when my family moved he told me she "had to stay there." The most compelling memories I have of these spirits are that of genuine emotion they would relay to me about people or events.
Anonymous asked: Do you have any brothers or sisters and how do they feel about you being a Haunted Collector celebrity?
I always think it’s funny when people say that because in no way do I, nor my family consider me a celebrity! I had 3 older brothers, one passed away, which is along with my best friend Phillip the other reason I am so invested personally in my search for answers about the other side. Between the 3 of them and their wonderful wives they have 8 boys & they certainly don't think of me as a celebrity, though they normally have the most interesting questions! They all think I am a little out of my mind lol but they are incredibly supportive!
Tiffany Reed asked: What religion did your parents raise you as and are there any conflicts between the religious beliefs they taught you and your interest / career in the paranormal?
I was baptized and confirmed in the United Church of Christ, which is a very liberal Christian based faith. I was very active in middle and high school in youth group and helped my church become open and affirming (accepting of all no matter what). I think that my understanding in basic religious beliefs and holding some of my own is an advantage for me in the paranormal field. I deal with many religious cases and it gives me a basic understanding from the begging where and how and why they might have been practiced with out judgement. I also believe I am able to keep a more open mind to the paranormal and the afterlife because of my personal beliefs.
Michelle Fife Haggerty asked: What was the most haunted, spiritually active, or intriguing item her and her team have documented and removed to date?
There are certainly a few items from this season that I cannot divulge just yet, but that absolutely blew my mind... For now I will have to say I was most blown away by the entire investigation and the removal of the item at St. Alban's asylum. I felt like we were not only able to take away a trigger item from a criminal spirit in power, but also release some trapped and tortured spirits so that they could move on to the after lift they deserved.
Anonymous asked: Do you think multiple items can be inhabited by a spirit, or only one spirit/energy per one item and can one item have more than one spirit attached? And…Why?
I think that when spirit is involved anything is possible. My team and I, and for that matter the rest of the professional paranormal field do what we do because we don't have all the answers, were just doing our best to figure some of them out. I have personally seen what I believe to be a spirit inhabits several items and I believe as well that several spirits can inhabit just one as well.
Anonymous asked: How did you deal with your own celebrity at the onset?
Hahaha there's that word again... I don't have to deal with it much on the day to day seeing as on the street no one knows who I am, and I am grateful for that. I am a very private person. There are a few funny stories when we have to change our names at hotels in small towns! Other than that my only hardship has been to try and relay to people that I can't be "Jesslyn the paranormal investigator" 24/7 365 days a year. Sometimes I need a break from social media and all that is PARA, after all this isn't my only job ;)
Gramma Tammy asked: As far as you know, can an object find its way back to the person it was meant for if it was given to someone it wasn't intended for?
I'm not EXACTLY sure what you mean, but if you mean original owner, then in my opinion, yes, I think if an object is powerful enough it's energy's potentials are endless. If you mean that it was meant to be passed down to someone or was made for someone and was taken, then I would still say yes, especially if energy is attached.
Michael O'Brien asked: Are you involved with any charitable organizations? If so, which ones?
I do a lot of runs supporting as many charities as I can and volunteer for many others that are close to my hart due to family hardships, some among those are Breast Cancer Awareness (my mom is a Survivor) Prostate cancer awareness (my dad is currently fighting and looking great!) SADD and MADD (my brother was killed by a drunk driver)
Michael O'Brien also asked: In your career, what was the most impressive piece of empirical data presented to you?
I think this is the best question asked of me so far, mainly because I'm stumped. I can tell you the best piece I believe I have collected was an EVP in Virginia... That one you will have to wait for ;) I think I will go with a piece of evidence presented to me by Brian Cano, LOOK for it in episode 3 of this upcoming season!
Debbie D asked: Do you believe in past lives Jesslyn?
I believe in reincarnation. I recently read the book "Soul Survives" a true story about a little boy who was reincarnated from a WWII pilot. If you are questioning the subject, I would recommend the book, it has encouraged me to study the subject!
Megan Mc Corkle asked: Do you do anything special before going to locations to protect yourself from any negative energy that may reside there.
I won't give away all of my personal secrets, but yes, I do "pray" in a sense, that is I ask my god, or my higher power to send my guardian angels (my brother, Sean, and my best friend, Phil) to protect me should anything negative or harmful try to threaten me. I also tell whatever/whomever I have been communicating with at the end of an investigation that it cannot follow me or attach itself to me. It may sound silly, but you have to make it clear that you have the upper hand and clear your head and energy before you leave a location.
Terrie Lee asked: In your opinion, do you believe there is life after death?
Of course, I wouldn't do this if I didn't. There is not a shred of doubt in my heart that souls survive after our bodies are gone. It is the scientific proof I seek.
Dave Q. Schroder asked: Do you believe in parallel universes?
I'm still on the fence about that one! While I think it is a fascinating subject and a great conversation over drinks, I am not quite sure I am convinced, then again, I quite believe anything is possible ;)
Larry Stone asked: When items are removed and sent to the Zaffis museum, do strange things happen there or does it “creep” you out to be where all of the items you have removed are in one location and is there any strange activity where all the items are?
Down in the museum where most of the sealed items are there is very little activity, (mission accomplished) The museum was built specificity to house cleaned haunted items and to keep them blinded from spirit activity. John's office where Aimee and I have a habit of wondering in and finding unbound creepy items laying around is a whole different story!
PandoraParaPublishing asked: Since you have worked with John Zaffis, what do you believe is the most important lesson he has taught you?
I think that respect is the most important lesson that John has taught me. Although he is the "godfather" of the paranormal he acts like an adopted dad to his team (and real dad to some ;) He always makes sure that we are safe. I don't think I truly understood the dangers of my field before or the true power of spirit. The truth is if you don't have respect for the work and every detail that goes into it, you have no idea how fast you can loose focus of an investigation, putting everyone in danger. I now not only have a different approach and respect to my work, my team and my investigation technique, but to each spirit as an individual.
Murial Teter Roby asked: What is the most innocent looking but most personally frightening item you have ever collected?
I would have to say the voodoo doll that we found in the broken tree in the woods of VA at Jordan Springs. I have only seen John react to an item like that one other time and it looks as innocent as well but you will have to wait until season 3 for that ;)
Anonymous asked: What are your plans for the future following The Haunted Collector?
It's hard to say because we never know if there will be more HC or even when exactly our current season will end! All I know for certain is that I will return to Los Angeles and I will continue to audition for film and TV like I was when I was approached about HC, basically return to life as normal, when I'm not a PARA-Nomad!
Connor Brandon asked: What was your funniest moment on Haunted Collector?
Oh man, there are so many! I hate to tell y'all, but 99.9% of the time we all like each other quite a bit lol! There are probably more times a day than the producers would like when we have to stop rolling tape because we're all messing around. Sometimes we fake interview each other, Aimee sings and dances about any mundane situation, I fake cry about nothing, Jason talks for 30 minutes about his application to be a glitter twin, Chris and Brian play light saber with their cellphones and John loves to break it down with mad dance moves!
Cody Little also asked: When you gather paranormal items, how do you keep everything contained that are not under glass? Do you shut the door and smudge the entrance?
This is mainly Johns area of expertise so I can't elaborate too far... We do have to travel with items sometimes for a while before they are put completely to rest at the museum. As far as the item itself goes, there are binding and protecting rituals done on each one before they are surrounded in sea salt and contained in glass. The museum was also designed to house the items, there is very little activity there. I also know that John has some location rituals that keep all of us and our clients safe and the property bound after the item is removed, but again, he is the expert in this sense, and I have not learned all his tricks just yet! I can say we have had some weird things happen while traveling with some of those items!
Anonymous asked: What is the tattoo on your right wrist? What does it say and stand for?
I have a tattoo on the inside of each of my wrists. The left says "P&J" with an infinity sign below and it stands for Phil and Jess forever. The right says "dheartháir" and it means dearest brother in Irish Gaelic, and is for my brother Sean. Phillip was my best friend in the world from almost birth, he died six years ago and started contacting me immediately. My brother Sean passed away two and a half years ago, and made my search for answers that much more important.
Tammy from Omaha asked: How did you get the job with Haunted Collector? What were your credentials that got you on the show with John Zaffis and his family?
I got a very surprising phone call out of the blue one day asking to come into speak with the producers of the show and answer some of Johns questions because he was looking for a new team member and liked what he knew and had seen of me. The Paranormal world is not a very big one, and we had mutual friends. What gives me the "credentials"? I don't know that paperwork is what it is about... technique in this field can only be taught and learned through experience and I believe I have, for one reason or another, been chosen by the best mentor out there. Whatever it was he saw in me, I don't know, I guess that's a question for him. But I am thankful every day that he did because if it weren't for John Zaffis, I would have given up on the paranormal and the answers I seek in my own personal battles.
Taylor from Taylor Ranch asked: Jesslyn, do you ever feel frightened or threatened on the set of Haunted Collector?
Threatened? Rarely, and if so, only for a moment, we do everything we can not to put ourselves in threatening positions... Frightened? sometimes. i always thought this would get easier, but as it turned out, the more I explore my sensitivity, the less comfortable I am being alone in locations. The more cases we do the more intense experiences I have and the more my sensitivity grows... For the most part, something whispers in my ear I'm like cool! Something crashes and I go running after it, I'm just a little more cautious to look in the room before I go barreling into it now! Though there will be one moment this season where you will see me completely and utterly break down. I was not frightened, I was terrified, and whoever was most certainly threatening me, whatever spirits were with me.
Tomas Griego asked: Are you married and how does your husband or boyfriend feel about you being put in dangerous situations on Haunted Collector?
I am not married, though I do live with my boyfriend. I think he's used to it, he knew what he was getting himself into. He tells me every night to have fun and be careful, he is incredibly supportive! Though he will call me in the missile of the night when I'm on the road because HE has just had a nightmare about MY scary stories! My parents on the other hand make me txt them After every night investigation!
9 year old Hunter Chase O’Mally asked: My mom doesn't like for me to watch your show but I do. She thinks it scares me and gives me nightmares but it doesn’t I promise Jesslyn. She is letting me ask this question. My question for you is, “What is your favorite book you ever read?” And if I’m allowed to ask one more question, “What is your favorite color and movie?”
Well Chase to your mom I say thank you! I think it's great that she cares :) I have 8 nephews and most are right around your age. They love the show, it spooks them at times, but I remind them that if you watch it your home can't become haunted ;) right now my Favorite movie is Paranorman, he makes me feel like weird is normal, and what I do is OK and acceptable and I think it's a great message. My favorite author is Dan Brown, while he writes fiction I love that he opens my eyes to the wonders of the mystery behind culture and challenges me to explore it for myself. I cannot tell a lie, however, I think the Harry Potter books will always be my favorites, I will read and retread them for the rest of my life, they are so magical and so real all at the same time! I love every color, I don't want to hurt any of their feelings by saying I have a favorite, but I am quite fond of blue.
Leslie Short asked: Are you planning to write a book about your experiences in the paranormal.
I journal often while on the road, in fact I am writing these responses in my journal. I think often about one day turning them into some sort of organized thought, but I feel that I am not sure just yet of the direction of my thoughts. To plan is to "make a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something" so the answer is yes and no! I am one day hoping to, however I am only in the note taking process, so who knows!