After earning the respect and admiration of fans around their world with their work on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters, paranormal investigators Amy Bruni and Adam Berry are back with Kindred Spirits, a touching new series that brings sensitivity to the supernatural by helping families haunted by loved ones. We sat down with the dynamic duo to hear more about Kindred Spirits, what its like to work on both sides of the camera, and how many times you’ll cry during the first season of the series, premiering tonight on TLC. Hint: it’s a lot.
Greg Newkirk: It’s one thing to go into an abandoned building and look for evidence of ghosts, but in Kindred Spirits, the two of you are investigating homes where families still reside, something that requires a lot more finesse and sensitivity. When the two of you decided that you wanted to produce your own series, what was the motivation behind taking on family cases?
Amy Bruni: I think it was just because so many families reached out to us. When we first started Ghost Hunters, and really back in the early days of Ghost Hunters, there were so many family cases, and those really resonated with viewers because they could identify with those cases and those situations, so we just keep hearing time and time again, “I need help, my house is haunted, I don’t know who to turn to, I don’t know who to trust, I’m terrified,” and it just kind of dawned on us all of a sudden – especially once I had my own daughter. Family is such a huge priority to me and I thought of these poor families having to live with these hauntings every day.
Adam Berry: We really first started talking about it after we did the Waverly Hills case [on Ghost Hunters], and we were connecting with the nurses there, and we really wanted to do something more than just acknowledge their presence and then kind of leave them in their space, and we couldn’t do that at the time. So on the spiritual side of it, we started talking about, what’s the next thing we could do together that’s really awesome, actually mean something to us, and do more than just acknowledge the ghosts while helping families. That’s Kindred Spirits.
Greg Newkirk: What is it that you hope Kindred Spirits will add to the current landscape of paranormal television?
Amy Bruni: I want Kindred Spirits to bring the heart back to investigating. I think that paranormal investigation has been a thrill seeking activity for so long, which is totally fine – I mean I love doing it for the thrill too – but at the same time, we have situations with families that truly do need help, and I think it’s important to come back to that and realize that what were doing isn’t a joke, it’s very real to people who live with this every day.
I also think that what’s great about the show is that there’s a resolution. We take people through the entire case from start to finish. We try and turn it into more of a case study by investigating over and over again, doing really heavy research, and then at the end we don’t just walk away and say, “yep your house is haunted – see ya!” We tell them how to deal with it, and I think thats an important element that has been missing from ghost hunting for a long time.
Greg Newkirk: You two were a staple on Ghost Hunters for several years, but now you’ve returned to television as executive producers on Kindred Spirits. What’s it like being on both sides of the camera this time around?
Adam Berry: It’s rewarding because we get to do what we want to do, we’re in control of our own shit, if you will. It’s awesome to be able to investigate something and then realize at the middle of the investigation that we need an interpreter, or we need to go interview this person, or we need a piece of equipment that someone has who is fifty miles away – how do we get it? This time we can do that because it’s for the benefit of the case, and it really takes our investigations to the next level. To us, it’s a more clean look at exactly what a paranormal investigation is, and I think thats really cool, and what the audience is going to see is a more in-depth look at how it’s actually done. I’ll say it again – being in control of our own destiny, in terms of what we do for these people and how it all works, is our biggest advantage and difference I think.
Amy Bruni: I’ll add that it was also extremely stressful. It was nice to be on Ghost Hunters where we went in, and they’d say, “okay, this is what we’re investigating, here’s the claims, have at it guys!” These cases, they’re looking at Adam and me instead of a team of six or seven people, and they’re looking at us with fear. They want to know answers. The pressure and stress were a whole new development for us, and we did literally everything, as opposed to having a team of six or seven people who are setting up all the equipment. There’s just the two of us doing all the research. Just the two of us, and it was around the clock. That was definitely an adjustment. Then after we wrapped the filming of the episodes, we’re going back through the all the episodes and going through the edit and giving notes. Its a very rewarding process – I don’t think we bit off more than we can chew by any stretch – but I do think we’ve both been kind of surprised by just how much work it has been.
Greg Newkirk: Is there a particular case you’ve tackled in this season that you’re most proud of?
Amy Bruni: There is a moment where – I can’t say exactly what happened – there’s one woman in particular who had a big tragedy in her life, and she carried the weight of that tragedy for the last thirty-five years, and there were parts of her home she wouldn’t even enter because it reminded her of this stuff happening. At the end of the case, she gave us a hug and said, “thank you for giving me my life back.” To me, it kind of epitomized why we do what we do.
Adam Berry: Every case that we did, we were meant to be there. We found out there’s a reason for us to be there, there’s a reason why we picked this case, why this family came to us, and why we are here right now. It happened at every single location, which is awesome.
Greg Newkirk: I know that some of the episodes deal with what could be the spirits of children. Amy, how has being a mother affected the way that you’ve approached these cases?
Amy Bruni: When I feel like it’s the ghosts of children we’re dealing with – it’s actually been incredibly hard for me whenever that happens. There were like three cases in a row where the client says, “oh there’s the ghost of a little girl here,” and I would think, “are you kidding me? It’s happening again!” There was one case where when we discovered that information, I said, “stop rolling the camera.” I looked at Adam and just started bawling. I was like, “I can’t do this again, I cannot hear about this terrible thing that happened to a beautiful child again.” But we muscled through it, and we did it because we knew we had to. You have to. It made me very uncomfortable to think about things like that, but I also had to think about fixing this and helping these entities and helping these families. It was hard. It was very very uncomfortable for me, to be honest.
Greg Newkirk: Adam, I think that one of the neat things things about you, is that through Ghost Hunters Academy, Ghost Hunters, and now Kindred Spirits, people have had this rare opportunity to watch you grow and evolve as you continue to investigate the paranormal. That said, if you could go back and give yourself some advice as a young ghost hunter, knowing what you know now, what would you say?
Adam Berry: I’m a person who doesn’t like having any regrets, so I’ll say, “wear comfortable shoes.” There is a lot of walking – and that’s metaphorically too – because its a journey, its a process, and it wont be always easy, and you need to be comfortable on the journey, so wear good shoes.
Greg Newkirk: What are you most excited for viewers to experience about Kindred Spirits?
Amy Bruni: I just can’t wait for them to see our dynamic and how we do an investigation. I also can’t wait for them to see the direct results we got. You know, it’s funny that we could surprise ourselves, but we did. Like Adam said, we were meant to be in these places. The direct responses we got, the results we got – every time we would look at each other and go, “how is this happened?” If this surprises us – people who have been doing this for a bazillion years – I can’t wait to see what the viewers think about these cases.
Greg Newkirk: Something that I’ve heard a lot in the last few years is how much people missed watching the two of you on Ghost Hunters, so it goes without saying that a lot the series’ fans have been anxiously awaiting Kindred Spirits to premiere. Is there anything that fans of Ghost Hunters should know before they tune into Kindred Spirits tonight?
Amy Bruni: The biggest thing we want people to know is that even though we branched out on our own, we’re still very thankful for our beginnings and the fact that we came from the amazing Ghost Hunters team and TAPS team, and we’re forever thankful to them for letting the world see us and bring us together. We’re still very good friends with those guys. One door closes another door opens.
Greg Newkirk: Do you have any advice for people currently dealing with hauntings that may be related to a family member?
Amy Bruni: Don’t be scared. A lot of the activity people experience may kind of come off as negative or scary – things grabbing you or pushing you, sounds like growls or yells, but really it’s just these things trying to get your attention. So before you get scared, think, “this could be my family member. I’m going to talk to them like I would if they were standing right in front of me.” Thats really the first step because sometimes that’s all it takes, just going, “I know you’re here, I miss you, I love you, everything’s going to be ok.” And don’t be afraid to do an EVP session, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Just remember who they are, who they were, and don’t be scared.
Adam Berry: Don’t jump to conclusions. You might think it’s your grandmother but it might not be. Don’t take the activity in the attic as a ghost, it might just be an animal. Be logical about what’s happening, and don’t let your mind wander and get too wrapped up in what it could be.
Greg Newkirk: Finally, how many times are we going to cry during Kindred Spirits?
Amy Bruni: I cry watching the episodes and I’m there. I would say probably three out of four episodes. Seventy-five percent of the time you’re going to shed tears.
Adam Berry: You’ll at least cry once, and if you don’t, your heart is black and cold as ice.