“Ghost Hunters” stars Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango, Amy Bruni and Bruce Tango spend four days at the 2011 Dragon Con holding panel discussions and meet and greets with fans of the Syfy show.
Article and photos copyright Suzanne Philips
Fans of the wildly popular “Ghost Hunters” show on the Syfy channel were excited for the 2011 Dragon Con. Some of their favorite stars from the hit paranormal show which paved the way for all of the paranormal shows that have followed were on hand for four days of panel discussions and autograph and photo opportunities. Investigators Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango and Amy Bruni joined Dave’s father Bruce Tango, who is a guest investigator on the show for the Atlanta event.
The panel discussions were a give and take with the stars asking the audience questions and the fans getting the opportunity to find out more about the making of the show and the lives of those on it. Each panel started out with Tech Manager Steve Gonsalves asking the audience if anyone was in a paranormal group and what they called their groups. All of the TAPS members had a genuine, easygoing way about them and the audience really responded to them. They are honestly just like they appear on television and it was refreshing to see that the easy camaraderie that they enjoy onscreen is not just put on for the cameras. Steve and Tango were both just as much of a comedy duo off-screen as they are on, and they had the audiences laughing out loud at numerous points throughout the panels.
Fans were given the opportunity to ask questions and they were as varied as the audience members in attendance. One fan wanted to know what the crew did before getting into paranormal investigation. Amy Bruni was a project manager, Steve Gonsalves and Bruce Tango were both police officers and Dave Tango was a magician. During one of the panels Dave actually came out and performed a little magic for the audience! Fans were also curious as to what got them involved in the paranormal. Bruce Tango said that he had an experience when he was 6 years old that was traumatizing and stuck with him ever since. Amy Bruni saw an apparition at 9 years old as the house that she grew up in was haunted. Dave Tango said that for him it was more of just a curiosity. His father would bring home books and movies about the paranormal and Dave got interested from that. Steve Gonsalves said that he was “watching a film called “The Entity” with my mom when I was about 5 or 6 years old. My mom would cover my eyes during certain parts and I would peek around her fingers. I was pretty freaked out and my mom told me that it was all make-believe. When I saw the end credits (of the film) it said it was based on a true story and I was like Mom why are you lying to me?” Ever since then he tried to find out more about the paranormal and investigate it.
With numerous investigations behind them, is there one place that the crew would most like to investigate? Dave Tango says the Paris Opera House, Amy Bruni said Graceland, Bruce Tango wants to do the Coliseum in Italy and Steve Gonsalves said the pyramids in Egypt. The Amityville house was also high on the list. “We tried to do it” says Gonsalves. “Our producer went and knocked on the door. They wouldn’t return calls. The owners didn’t want to promote the stories. Maybe now that the house is going to have new owners soon, we might try again.”
One fan favorite episode is from the notoriously haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. Fans will be excited to learn that the “Ghost Hunters” crew will be returning to Waverly for an episode this season! Another favorite location is the creepy Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. Steve Gonsalves shared a really interesting story about filming at Eastern State. “We investigated it in season 1 and it was really run down. We went back 2 1/2 to 3 years later and it had been renovated and cleaned up. I was walking down a hallway and a piece of paper got stuck to my foot. I pulled it off and it was a piece of paper with our equipment notes and Grant’s doodles from the last time we were there 2 1/2 to 3 years earlier!”
“Ghost Hunters” has featured many Celebrity “guest investigators” over the years, but Meatloaf has been on the show several times and has proved to be one of the most enthusiastic investigators they could have found. Lots of spirit activity seems to happen when he is around and Gonsalves surmises “It could be his energy. He is so in love with investigating. He doesn’t want a break, he just wants to keep going. He was really adamant the first time that he not only get to go on the investigation, but that he be able to help review the evidence as well.” Amy Bruni agrees “He feels like he is a conduit – that’s the word he uses – a conduit. He told me that his entire life he has had strange things happen to him which is what got him interested in the paranormal.”
Tech Manager Steve Gonsalves’ phobias are well documented on the show. One fan asked if he really has the phobias about flying and spiders that are so often featured in the show and he confirmed that he does. His fear of flying has led to him not being able to participate in certain investigations and someone in the audience suggested to him that he try Xanax so that he could get on the plane and go with the rest of the team. “If I told you the drugs that had been in my system to try to fly, YOU would pass out” says Gonsalves.
Along with the panels, the team also had meet and greets with fans who wanted to take photos with the stars or get an autograph. They were so gracious to everyone who turned up and seemed particularly happy to be able to spend time with their fans.
The new season of “Ghost Hunters” is currently airing on the Syfy channel on Wednesday nights. If you haven’t checked out the “Ghost Hunters” on Syfy, find out what you are missing!