I am excited to say that our cover story is Kane Hodder, Co-Founder of the Hollywood Ghost Hunters, and a true horror film icon. He has played Jason Voorhees in four Friday the 13th movies, starting with part 7. He is also Victory Crowley in the four Hatchet films. Kane has the distinction of having killed more people physically that anyone in movie history, and in his interview he tells a story that he has never shared,, until now!
We also have the story of my visit to the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings Nevada. It turned out to be one of the most intense hunts I’ve ever been on. I also introduce you to PSI, the Pioneer Saloon Investigators, headed by Jill Padovese who is an absolutely hilarious person.
As a special Someone You Should Know I had the privilege of interviewing Tom Danheiser, the Senior Producer of Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, and he is definitely one of the good guys.
We have many other features and stories, so check them out! Enjoy!
To Hell and Back
Kane called me and asked if I would go to a screening about his life story, and he wanted me to be brutally honest in my assessment of the film, so I headed down to the theater to check it out. In full disclosure I am also in it so I wanted to see it for myself.
AT THE THEATER
I am sitting in the last row of a small theater in Los Angeles where I just finished watching To Hell and Back, the Kane Hodder Story, and it is hard to put into words what I’m feeling. I feel like I have just been in a fifteen round fight. I’ve known Kane since we both worked on Lone Wolf McQuade in 1982, and he has become one of my best and most trusted friends, and I can’t believe what I just saw. I had no idea some of the awful things he went through, and as I sat here watching there were times when I got very angry, and very sad listening to his firsthand accounts of the bullying he put up with as a kid, and then the detailed story of the accident that damn near killed him. I was mesmerized watching this documentary, the emotions that it puts you through are hard to describe, all I can say is if you only watch one documentary, make sure it is this one! And I can’t help but feel very proud for Kane, he not only overcame some very serious obstacles in his life, he actually knocked them down and went on to become not only a world renowned horror icon, but more importantly a well-respected man by those who know him, you could tell as celebrity after celebrity told their opinions of him and I don’t think you could ask for much more than that.
MY ANSWER TO KANE ABOUT THE FILM?
I watched with a very critical eye, because that is what Kane wanted, and honestly I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s that good. If it doesn’t win a few festivals, I’ll be very surprised.
Rick: Let start with something a little different. Is there a question that you’ve never been asked?
Kane: Yes there is… You’ll probably be surprised that I’m even bringing it up. It is a question that I’ve never been asked, and you’ll understand why they have never asked, and you’ll probably find it weird that I think it’s even a question that could be asked, but, the question is do I wish I had never gotten burned? Because you think that everything I went through the obvious answer is of course I wish I had never gotten burned.
Rick: The flip side of that is that everything that happened to you turned you into who you are.
Kane: Right. That’s why I think it’s not a ridiculous question because I know for a fact looking at myself I’m a far more empathetic person to other people’s issues than I ever would have been had I not gone through something like that.
Rick: I think you would almost have to be more empathetic after surviving that…
Kane: That is a tough one, because there are two ways you can go when you go through something like I went through, and that is either come out as a better person which hopefully I did, or go completely the other way and be nothing but fucking negative for the rest of your life because why the fuck did this have to happen to me at 22 years of age, why did I have to go through that and you can be fucking negative and end up killing yourself. Which many people who go through getting burned end up on the bad side of things, and that is people who had proper care.
Rick: That’s what people don’t realize, I think people are empathetic, but they just don’t realize that when something like that happens to you it is a 24 hour fight every single day.
Kane: Right, and even with proper care it’s that, so now you compound the whole thing with poor medical care it makes everything a hundred times worse. That’s what I will never, no matter what I do I will never in my life be able to clearly explain how bad it was. You know me, I’m not trying to feel sorry for myself, but there’s no way that even a person that has been burned could understand what I had to go through because they had the proper care.
Rick: I am putting something in the magazine; you said that you think it made you a better guy. Now I’ve known you for 37 years, ever since Lone Wolf McQuade, and it is going into the magazine whether you like it or not, and that is that I’ve never met a better guy.
David Carradine and Kane on Lone Wolf McQuade
Rick: You have gone through all this and now, I mean there are only a handful of people that are recognized by their characters name or being the character in the whole freaking world, are you ever driving along it and it suddenly dawns on you?
Kane and Kane as Victor Crowley from the Hatchet movies
Kane: Oh yeah, absolutely. As you well know, you go into the stunt business not trying to become famous, that is not one of the things that is on your mind, if I go into stunts I’m going to become famous and sign autographs, we both know it doesn’t work that way, and that is why nobody can accuse us of trying to become famous because that is not part of doing stunts. Most very well-known stunt people in the business, you say their names in the general public and nobody has heard of them. I am amazed that I’m in the position I’m in because I never sought that out. I certainly didn’t discount it when it started happening because I just appreciated it more and people always say you’re so nice and friendly to meet at conventions and stuff, and I’m like why shouldn’t I be? Why is that unusual? If you don’t like doing conventions and signing autographs and getting paid for it and meeting people then don’t fucking do it. Nobody is making you do the conventions so the least you can do is be approachable to the fans, that’s what you are what you’re there for.
Rick: I can say on a personal note, having been at a few conventions with you is that everybody says I didn’t know Kane would be so nice. You always make them feel like they really got to interact with you.
Kane: I think when you become well known for something, and I don’t even like to use the word famous, but if you become well known for something and you never expected it you always appreciate it more. If you go into the business to become famous and then it happens, and you’re like well that was the whole point, so you become a dick about it…
Rick: We’ve run across a few of those in our time too.
Kane: As Bruce Campbell said in my documentary most of the assholes you meet are comedians, and the nice people are the ones who play horrible characters.
Rick: What is something that people would be surprised at about you?
Kane: If you are really asking and if it doesn’t sound self-serving, I always worry about that, I just want people to know that all stunt people are not just crazy and have no intelligence. Because of what we do for a living a lot of people think these guys are just crazy and stupid, and crazy and stupid are not synonymous.
Rick: Neither one is the case with most stunt people… I bet most people would be surprised that Kane Hodder qualified for Mensa… And you dumb asses that don’t what Mensa is, Google it.
Rick: What do you want to do in the future? I’ve seen you knock it out of the park directing, would you like to be a director?
Kane: I don’t think so, I love performing, and in the future I would love to be challenged with roles that that people would never expect me to be doing. That would be my ideal rest of my career is to continue acting and to be doing roles that people say “Kane Hodder is playing that”? What?!
Rick: Would you like to tell everybody, because I’ve done some of this, not anywhere near what you have done, how really hard it is to act without being able to talk or use your face?
Kane: I have always said that, when you can act without your voice or your facial expressions because you have a mask or prosthetics or something, is much more challenging, so I’ve always kind of joked that once I started playing characters where I could talk and move my face I was like man this is easy, which of course it’s not. I love that challenge, it’s a whole different challenge and I’d like you to put in there that movie The Shape of Water. You and I both know the guy who played the creature in that movie. Rick: Oh yeah, Doug Jones…
Kane: Yes, Doug Jones, and you and I have both been in prosthetics like that in the water. It is difficult enough to work in full body prosthetics; it’s ten times worse when you are immersed in water. And for him to get as little recognition as he did infuriates me. They talk about all these other acting performances in the movie, where like the actress who didn’t even speak and she was wonderful… What about Doug man? She had maybe twenty minutes of beauty make up every day, he probably had about four hours every day, before he even started working and he’s barely mentioned at all… It just makes me so upset that he doesn’t get more recognition for that role. You and I both know and people that do know appreciate what he did in that movie, but people who are ignorant don’t even think about it. It’s just a guy in a suit, no big deal. Fuck you…
Rick: When you are underwater, first off you are in makeup, you can’t eat, can’t smile so you don’t crack the makeup, you are totally isolated from everybody else, and then they stick you underwater. It is a feeling that unless you’ve done it you have absolutely no clue, I mean we have seen someone who was doing a character just flat out say he couldn’t do this…
Kane: And you had to pick it up and do it for the rest of the movie, but he couldn’t handle it so you had to do it.
Rick: It is much harder than people think to be immersed underwater, isolated completely, I mean we tied a rope around my ankle and you would yank on it when they called action, and yank on it again when they yelled cut..
Kane: I just wish that creature actors would get more recognition. Doug not only had to be in the water, he had to dance.. Ballroom dance in that costume, if you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. He had to ballroom dance because she has a fantasy that she is dancing with him. He had to ballroom dance as the creature, bad enough he had to be in the water and all that. We know how that is.
Rick: I know someone else who danced as a creature…
Kane: Not very well…
Rick: That was Adam Green’s Chillerama.. I really enjoyed that movie. Watching you dance was hilarious.. I think that surprised a lot of people…
Rick: Tell me about Friday the 13th video game.
Kane: Do you know how long that you and I worked on that video game off and on, because I was doing the motion capture and you were the stunt coordinator for the entire video game. I don’t know if you realize the time period from the first session to the last session we did? Do you know how long it was?
Rick: I could make a guess; it had to be pretty close to two years…
Kane: We started January 2016 at the other location if you remember, over by the marina and our last session was October 2017 so that is almost two full years of off and on motion capture. That’s a lot of work man…
Rick: The feedback I’m getting about the game is awesome, anybody who talks about, they’re like yeah man I played Kane one time and I killed one… They just turn on and all of a sudden they’re all excited..
Ryan Staats, Rick and Kane during motion capture on the Friday the 13th video game
Kane: I think, between you and me is one of the best projects we’ve ever been involved with. That and
the Hatchet movies..
Rick: Definitely the Hatchet movies… I will say one of the things that you and I have done I am most proud of is when we drove with the girl standing between the two cars, like they did in Footloose.
Kane: For sure, stunt wise..
Rick: I have to explain what happened a little. We were recreating the shot from Footloose where Lori Singer stands on top on the cars as they go down the street, one foot on each car. We had a stunt girl named Hannah Scott, who has was absolutely awesome, she was as cool as a cucumber up there, and we actually were going 42 miles an hour around curves.. She was harnessed, but it is still dangerous and had to be scary as hell but she performed spectacularly…
Rick in the black car Kane in the green car
After we had done that we had to do a scene where Kane and I drag race in the forest, where one would be winning, then the other would pass and cut them off… We were following the camera truck which is also moving, and has a camera and operator on a boom arm on the back.
We take off, following the truck, and race beside each other, with us taking turns cutting the other off and taking the lead. I look up and see we are coming up fast on the camera truck, Kane is on my left and all of a sudden he heads directly at my driver’s side wheel well, just flying… I react by yanking the steering wheel to the right and he barely misses me and with very little room to spare he heads right toward the camera, which is low enough for him to hit. He slams on the brakes and goes sliding right towards the camera, the cameraman booms it up quickly and Kane slides right under it to a stop… It was awesome!
Rick: When you went by me I never thought you were going to make it..
Kane: The camera was too low for me to fit under there so I had to assume that the boom operator would counter my move and he did. That’s probably the best driving stuff we’ve ever done. Old 37 was the movie…
Rick: The thing that got me is I had two actresses in the car, I was driving the convertible, and on the last one I’m looking at the camera truck ahead of us and I’m thinking, boy is this going to be close, and I was expecting you to cut in front of me and all of a sudden you went right at my wheel well and I jerked the car to the right and you went sliding right under the camera, but I remember the most is the two actresses in my car were just screaming bloody murder. I hope they got that on tape because they couldn’t get better screams. I was watching from behind and when you slid under that and I just went holy shit!
Kane: The best thing about it was none of us expected to do it
Rick: The director made up the shot on the fly because we had a little more time left with the camera truck, he told us what he wanted and off we went…
Kane: It wasn’t planned in any way but I had the faith in you to react to it, and the faith in the cameraman to react to it…
Rick: The best part is when we went back to the video village and the whole crew was clapping and cheering, that’s when you know it looked pretty good… I remember the director saying Kane I thought you were going to tear the front of Rick’s car off, and you said Rick won’t let me hit him, and I wouldn’t let him hit me. I remember walking away and whispering to you and said I wish you would have told me about that, and we both started laughing.
Rick: So how does it feel to not only have a book about your life, but now you have a documentary about your life, which by the way I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to see it and it was awesome, and I don’t say that because you are on the other end of the line. I was so shocked by how good it was, and not because it was your life story, but because it was like a first time thing and I didn’t know how good it would come out. I remember calling you and telling you how good it was, and you asked me what would you change, and I answered nothing, honestly nothing.
Kane: Yeah I’m very happy with it, and of course, and it’s going to sound fucking lame, but I feel kind of honored that people appreciate my story. A book and now a documentary, I mean there are a lot of people who have had tough situations in their lives so I don’t presume to be the only one to tell a tough story, but I know from the reactions of people that it means something to a lot of people that have been through a lot of shit, even if it’s something different, completely different, that someone can go through something like that and come on the positive side. I’m not going to say come out normal because I’m not, but to come out in a positive way, so I feel very happy.
The guests in To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story
Kane: Here is something I’ve never talked about, but since the documentary has started airing I have had so many people, I’ve had this in the past, but not as much as since the documentary started showing, I don’t know if you want to use this, if it seems too self-serving you don’t have to put it in, but I have had more autistic adolescents, young adults and adults come and talk to me about the documentary.
Rick: Well that’s good; I don’t think that is self-serving at all, I mean what a better crowd to hit?
Kane: Right, but how can you not become touched by something like that?
Rick: I don’t think you cannot get touched by something like that.
Kane: How many times has a parent said I’ve never seen my autistic son look another person straight in the eyes while he is talking.
Rick: I’ve seen the little kids with you at the conventions, there is a connection there somehow, you sit there, you look like a monster half the time, you’re built up, wear the tight shirts on and you are famous for killing people and little kids run up to you, start grabbing you and playing with you like a big dog…so it’s actually pretty cool..
Rick: This is one I want to know, for a long time a lot of things in the book and movie you kept to yourself.
Kane: Yeah, for most of my life, yeah.
Rick: Do you feel better for people knowing that?
Kane: Because of the reaction I’ve gotten, yes.
Rick: Everything I’ve heard was positive..
Rick: Ok, you promised me a story no one has ever heard.
Kane: I think you are going to be surprised. Because it fits perfectly in this article, a story and it really is, and I’m not trying to make it sound dramatic, it really is a story I never told anyone. It happened in the hospital never told any of the nursing staff, never told my parents, that were there every day, never told my sisters, my nephews, nobody, ever, to this day. You know what; it just seems like the right time to tell this story. As you know I got burned and I was in a shit hospital for 4 months. After getting progressively worse I finally got to a burn unit in San Francisco, as you know, and everything changed. I was given proper medication and I started healing, the skin grafts started working and everything. I was there for 6 weeks, 4 months in the shit hospital, and 6 weeks in the good one and they turned me around. About 2 weeks into the stay at the burn unit I got my first roommate because every patient has been severely burned, and he was burned much worse than me, and he fucking died. So, I never knew it because I was so out of it all the time because they gave me proper medication, I was getting skin grafts, and surgeries and everything and one day he was gone, I figured they moved him. I asked and they told me he died, which happens all the time with burns. What I’ve always said about my situation, if you survive getting burned and you survive the first couple weeks that are the most critical because if you die it’s usually early. So when then told me after 4 months that I might not make it and that’s why they were shipping me to the burn unit, I was like amazed. Wait a minute, 4 months I went through and now I’m going to die? Hell!
It wasn’t surprising that he died; I had talked to him a little bit because we were in the same room, 2 beds in one room. One week later, and you have remember when I say they were giving me ketamine.
Rick: I’m not sure what that is.
Kane: On the streets it’s called Special K.
Rick: Oh! I‘ve heard of that for sure.
Kane: It is an hallucinogenic drug that completely takes away all pain, but you are totally aware, so I would go in to surgeries having been given ketamine, feeling they were doing something to me and feeling absolutely no pain but being completely awake. It was bizarre because I never experienced anything like that. So the point of the story is one early evening in my room after a skin grafting procedure and this fucking guy was standing there next to my bed. He was standing there and this was when I was at my worst psychological state because once you start healing and start overcoming the physical injury is when you get depressed. People don’t understand that either, you’re not depressed when you’re going through all the pain because the pain takes priority and you think about nothing but the pain and surviving. So once you overcome that and you’re going to survive, and in my case I’m 22 years old and I’m going to have burn scars over a good portion of my body for the rest of my life and always be stared at and shit like that. That’s when you get depressed, so here I am getting better physically and then getting worse mentally by a long shot, so I was very depressed. He showed up at my bed and told me I could get through this.
Now the reason I’ve never talked about that because I’m not sure if it was a result of the ketamine or if it was something that really happened, I could never really decipher what it was but it didn’t really matter if it happened or I dreamed it happened, the fact that I felt a dead guy told me I could make it helped turned me around. I always credit the guy at the counter in the burn unit and I could see his burns and he looked happy as a big part of it, and he was, but I’m not so sure how much more this didn’t help me too. Whether it was something that was just in my mind my mind or what, but it seemed to help a lot. You can see why I never told the story because of being on ketamine it could have very well just been that, I don’t know. The only reason I thought more recently about telling you about it because of our interest in the paranormal so that could have been an experience, I just don’t know…
Rick: I can’t tell you how many people who have told me they had someone come to them in a dream. I must have heard it a hundred times. It could be the ketamine where your brain was trying to find a solution to what you were going through, but it could just as easily have been the guy really showed up and told you that you were going to make it.
Kane: Whatever it was it seemed help me, it doesn’t really matter what it was. If you knew my dad he was never a big believer in that kind of thing, so he would have shot it down and made me feel stupid.
Rick: That is what I try to tell people, just because you didn’t have the same thing happen to you at the same place when you both saw the same thing, doesn’t mean
it didn’t happen to the other person. People see things differently, they feel things differently, they process things differently, and you can’t discount what somebody tells you.
Kane: It feels good to tell that story…
Rick: That is the perfect ending to the interview, a little paranormal theme…
Here are some links for the book, game and documentary
The Pioneer Saloon
I was invited to join a ghost hunt at the famous Pioneer Saloon in Good Springs Nevada, by Jill Allen Padovese of Pioneer Saloon Investigators, and had been driving down from Las Vegas, listening to music and feeling excited about getting to explore such an iconic location. I turned off the highway onto a dark, lonely two way road, you know, the kind of road they use in horror movies and drove seven miles, all the time thinking that if the Pioneer Saloon is at the end of this road it must haunted. I had no idea how right I was.
As I drove over the top of the hill, I could see below me the Pioneer Saloon. It truly was a sight to see, it was almost like going back in time. As I pulled in front and parked, I was impressed by the authentic look of the building. I walked to the left side of the building into the Good Springs general store, where I met the Lead Investigator, Jill Allen Padovese. The best way to describe her is as a human tornado, with an infectious laugh that you can feel all the way down to your toes. I knew I would enjoy myself with her showing me around.
We sat down in a long bar waiting for the rest of the members to appear, and talked about some of the occurrences that happened there.. Before I get to our hunt, here are Noel Sheckells, Owner of the Pioneer Saloon, and Jill Allen Padovese of the Pioneer Saloon Investigators.
HISTORY OF THE SALOON
The Saloon is probably most famous due to a tragedy that occurred on a mountaintop nearby. The famous actress Carole Lombard was killed in a plane crash, and Clark Gable sat quietly at the bar as they tried to recover his wifes body. Some claim Carole still visits the bar.
The haunted lockdown events originally started late in 2013 after the airing of the Ghost Adventures episode featuring the 100+ year old saloon and town. The proprietor, Noel Sheckells saw an opportunity to allow the general public to experience the same paranormal event as Zak, Nick and Aaron did when they were ”locked” into the saloon for an overnight investigation. He also had the idea of all the proceeds to be donated back to the town of Good Springs as a charitable deed and to keep a small town up of a little over 200 residents alive. I was lucky enough to meet Noel and some of his family who work there, and every one of them is as nice as you could ask for, and they make you feel welcome from the minute you walk in the door.
All of what happened next was captured on video and audio
Jill then took us to the back room, where there were two round tables, and I sat in the very spot where the man had been shot to death cheating at cards. Even as I sat down I had a very funny feeling that there were spirits near me, and I was to find out very quickly that I was correct. As we sat down, the guests, the investigators and I all set out our equipment, there were several voice recorders, and I had in front of me a K2 meter, and the girl next to me also set one in front of me, because she was sitting in the curve of the table, and the only place she could set hers was directly next to mine. Jill had been telling us more of the history and after about 5 minutes both of the K 2 meters in front of me went off with all 10 lights flashing, and they continued to go full blast for about ten seconds, when they instantly stopped.
We were all are chatting, and after a short time once again all 10 lights started flashing in front of me. I have been ghost hunting for over thirty years and what happened next has never happened to me before. I instantly became incredibly sick to my stomach, so much so that I thought I was going to be sick right then and there. I felt my body begin to tense up, and an intensely cold feeling went through my entire body. Jill, looking at the K2 meter going off says I think the spirits really like you. I replied I’m not so sure they do. Right at this moment the video captures a voice, a woman’s voice saying “we do”. Immediately following that you can hear “Rick” being called out, which we heard with our own ears at the time. Jill takes a good look at me and says” what’s wrong”? I asked Jill to feel my forehead and as she does she says “oh my God you’re as cold as ice”. The girl sitting next to me then reaches over and touches my left forearm and she says the same thing.
I am feeling so sick I get up and go outside to try and catch some fresh air, and as I walk about a foot and a half behind another girl that is sitting there she says” I can feel how cold he is from here”. I make it outside as the group continues to investigate. In the past I have been touched by spirits and on occasion I have felt a cold spot develop where I felt a touch, this however is my entire body, so all I can surmise is that I’m being touched by multiple entities.
I lean against the rail trying to compose myself, I haven’t been this sick for a long time, and after about 10 minutes Jill comes out to check on me. We talk for a few minutes, I feel much better and decide to go back inside and resume the hunt. As soon as we walk in the door I feel like I’ve been hit by a tsunami of sickness, and the ice cold feeling instantly returns. There is no way that I can continue the investigation, as I fear that I will ruin it for everyone, and I decide that it is best that I leave.
The rest of the investigators were still at the tables and turned around, looking to see if I was all right, when I told them that I thought it was best that I left for the evening, and as I turned to leave there was a voice captured, an EVP, not an actual voice you can hear at the time which said” turn Rick back”. For some reason I stopped and turned back to them to say my goodbyes and once again turned to leave when another voice says this time a man’s voice” release him” as I was walking away.
The fresh air made me feel a little bit better, clearing my head, but I was still incredibly sick to my stomach and during the drive back to Las Vegas there were many times when I almost pulled off the road to get sick. I finally reached Las Vegas and saw a CVS store and ran inside and bought a bottle of Tums and power slammed about a handful. I finally reached my evil stepmothers house where I was staying, and the rest of the night wasn’t great, but when the morning rolled around I felt a lot better.
Jill called me later that week and asked how I was feeling, and then told me something that really caught my interest. It appears that two more times during their investigation that people heard my name called out. I was later to find out that it happened again the following day. It seems like something really wanted my attention, I just wish it could find a better way of showing it!
Pioneer Saloon Investigators
Ara Ochoa, Darrell Harris, Jill Allen-Padovese, Jennifer Fargnoli, Linda Masanimptewa
Jill Allen-Padovese, also known as Jellybeans, was the radio show host of “Psychic Smackdown” on 107.5 where she predicted future for the listeners. Nowadays we can find Jill out at the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada where she works during the day. Jill is the Pioneer Saloon’s Director of Haunted Lockdown and is the Lead Investigator of the Pioneer Saloon Investigators (PSI). Jill uses her psychic abilities to communicate with the spirits, which helps to provide a great experience for the lockdown guest.
Linda Masanimptewa is PSI’s team photographer. She has published books of her experiences as a paranormal investigator and hosted an online radio show “Got Ghost? Will Travel”. Linda works as a cook on an Air Force Base and is a paranormal sleuth at night. She is proud of her heritage of being half Japanese and Native Hopi Indian. Being a sensitive, the Pioneer Saloon lockdown events have made her more of aware of the spirits.
Jennifer Lynn Fargnoli is PSI’s Paranormal Investigator-Tech. Jennifer’s paranormal experiences started when she as a little girl. She could hear doors closing, strange footsteps, and water running…her house was haunted. Jennifer works as a manager of a large chain store. As a Sensitive, she feels presences of the spirits and is honored to be a part of the Historic Pioneer Saloon and the amazing people who frequent the bar, living and passed. Jennifer is proud to call the PSI team members family.
MaryLynn Bast is PSI’s Psychic Medium. MaryLynn has a lifetime experience with the paranormal world and shares her gifts by helping those in need of spiritual guidance and advice. As clairvoyant medium, MaryLynn communicates with the spirits and provides a connection to the living. She is proud to be a member of the Pioneer Saloon team and loves to work with guests during the lockdowns.
Ara Ochoa: I am a ticketing agent and makeup artist. I was introduced to the paranormal investigation a few years ago when I visited the Pioneer Saloon with my husband, I used to watch TV shows about it but it wasn’t until then that I could really experience it.
Since I joined PSI I’ve had many paranormal experiences, or maybe this has been around me the whole time but now I pay attention and learn from it. PSI rocks!
Darrell Harris had a long time interest in the paranormal and the spirit world starting as a young child in Orange County, California. Along with being a “ ghost hunter “ with the Pioneer Saloon Investigators, Darrell is known wordwide as both a touring musician and Pro Photographer with Getty Images. He uses his photographic and video skills during PSI Haunted Lockdowns!
Darrell is married to Ara, also of PSI.
Someone You Should Know: Tom Danheiser
Tom Danheiser is the Senior Producer of Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, a late night radio show with three million listeners at any given time. It can be heard in the U.S, Canada, Mexico and Guam.
Ok, let’s get started, here’s our first question. Obviously you’ve been in radio for a long time, producing several Los Angeles radio shows on your way to Coast To Coast AM. Did you always want to be a radio person?
Tom: No, I worked at a linen company until I was about 19 and my job was paying the bills but I wasn’t really happy, so I decided I wanted to pursue radio. It’s something I wanted to do. There were these two new jocks on the radio, it was their first day. They were asking for jokes, so I called with a joke, they didn’t use it on the air, but they told me how to volunteer down there, so I immediately got a volunteer position at KLOS radio in Los Angeles and that is the first job I got in radio.
Rick: It seems like you’ve come quite a way from being a volunteer to being the Senior Producer at a radio network.
Tom: I’m lucky.
Rick: Well there must have been a lot of steps in between.
Tom: I volunteered for a while at KLOS; I then got a job in the Community Affairs Department where we put on station events that would make money for charities. I did this for KABC and KLOS which are sister stations. Along the way, we added ESPN radio and a station called the Zone, so I actually worked for 4 radio stations in one job, and I did that for many years, and then a longtime friend and great guy named John Ramos told me that Premiere Radio Networks (later named Premiere Networks) wanted somebody to help produce a radio show called the Motorized World of Leon Kaplan. I came over to the network to do that while still working at ABC radio. Disney eventually bought ABC which put a bunch of people out of a job, including me, and that is when I came over full time to Premiere.
Rick: How did you get hooked up with Coast to Coast AM?
Tom: It’s funny. The first year I was at Premiere they were looking at cancelling all 3 shows I was working on, so I and a group of other guys were faced with no employment at the end of the year. Then I was told “ hang on, we’re working on something”, and they called me in one day and said at the first of the year we are bringing this show called Coast to Coast AM down to L.A., would you like a spot on the show. It took me all of a second to say yes.
Rick: So you’ve been working on Coast To Coast AM now for how long?
Tom: For about fourteen plus years.
Rick: I’ve been an avid listener for a very long time and have heard your name for, well, forever; it’s why I call you the Gateway to Late Night Paranormal, because anybody who wants to be on the George Noory show has to go through you.
Tom: It’s a phenomenal show, the people are great to work with and the listeners are great. I originally wanted to get into radio because I felt that it touched people and I wanted to help people. I was a big band disc jockey at my college and it was a pretty big signal so I was heard from San Diego to Santa Barbara and all in between. People would call me and they would comment on the music I played, and I realized that people really listened to their shows and really bond with them; and the people they listen to on the radio and behind the scenes become their friends. Everybody that calls in are like family. It’s kind of crazy.
Rick: I always like when the guy calls in, and it’s almost inevitable, “long time listener, first time caller”
Tom: There have been people that have actually told me they have waited five years to get on the show.
Rick: I’ll bet! I‘ve listened for quite a while, and I’ve actually picked up a lot of knowledge from listening to the show. Now that you are the Senior Producer of Coast to Coast AM, did you have an interest in the paranormal before you got on the show?
Tom: Probably the short answer would be no, but it’s pretty interesting how I got intrigued. I remember that it was maybe the first month that I worked on the show and somebody had called in and they said “I got to tell you this; I got to talk on the radio. I woke up in the middle of the night, and I had an old lady sitting on my chest”. Now for people who know this story, that’s called the old hag syndrome, it’s kind of interesting. I didn’t really believe it at the time but it was kind of interesting. They told their story on the air, and then about a week later somebody called with the exact same story, states away across the United States. In the course of two or three months there were several calls from other people totally in different areas of the United States who had the same story. I remember that was the story that really got me going “wow, this is kind of cool”, and then I just became Mr. Curious.
Rick: That’s why I like the paranormal, I’m curious about everything, UFOs, Bigfoot.. Actually I want to ride around in a UFO looking for Bigfoot. Let me ask you this, has there ever been a story you’ve heard on the show that changed your mind about anything?
Tom: This guy called in who was incarcerated, broke the law in some way, and one day they brought in some new prisoners and they brought in a child molester. Now picture a wall that is chipped away and has pipes exposed and sticking out. The caller said he was sitting in his cell when the new prisoner was put in a cell. Suddenly the new prisoner’s head started jerking back and forth, almost as if he was having spasms, and his head went straight through that pipe. So the guy that called in and told us the story said that he really believed that was pure evil, the guy was pure evil. Boy, what a story!
Rick: There is no doubt there is pure evil in the world, all you have to do is watch the news.
Tom: I have another one, there was gentleman who had twin daughters, and one Sunday they were looking for grandma and they couldn’t find her. Now Grandma had a routine, she would go to church, then go get something to eat with her friends. Well, nobody had seen her, so they knew they better keep looking and looking, and they finally went to her house. No one was home. They decided to check the attic. The way they told it, they found her lying on her back unconscious with a burlap sack on her chest, and in that sack was a Ouija board. That’s another story that sticks in my mind.
Rick: Every once in a while I hear on your show about people using Ouija boards, I just want to drive over to their house, knock on the door and then smack them on top of the head.
Rick: Let me ask you this, have you ever been on a ghost hunt?
Tom: I have, the one that comes to mind is Penn State Penitentiary, and that was really a good experience, very creepy, really fun, there were a lot of people there so you had a comfort to it. The other one wasn’t a ghost hunting, but they took me and two other guys on a tour of the Mansfield Reformatory, where they shot the Shawshank Redemption movie and that was creepy, it had a vibe that was very creepy. I asked them to put me in “the hole”, and they shut the door, and thirty seconds later I asked them to please get me out.
Rick: We were doing a movie there and that’s when we started the Hollywood Ghost Hunters. Tell me about this new about this new business venture you have going?
Tom: About four years ago I thought to myself it would be really neat to bring radio to stage, so I formed an entertainment company with a great partner I have, her name is Lori Wagner. What we do is we literally bring radio to stage; we go to different cities and put on a three hour live stage show. We bring in guests, add a little bells and whistles, and create “Radio to Stage”. It’s a really fun evening for people. We’ve done Toronto, Vancouver, Boise Idaho, St. Louis, Mo, Asheville, NC, and Everett, Washington to name a few. We have a show coming up in June in Las Vegas, NV.
Rick: That reminds me of when we did the Queen Mary with you guys.
Tom: I can’t forget that, I loved that night! Was that the first time I met you?
Tom: You and Ra Mihailoff, that was a great night and a lot of fun for me.
Rick: Being on the Queen Mary, you had the audience sitting there, and just the feedback we were getting from the people sitting there, I can see how good the live stage show would be.
Rick: I know you do a lot of charity work, could you talk about that?
Tom: In 2014 I was driving around; I do a lot of thinking when I’m driving. Christmas time is my favorite time of year and I was trying to think of something to do to give back a little because I consider myself a pretty lucky guy. I thought you know what; I’ll do a Christmas charity CD. It was February, so I had time to put this together correctly. I started another company with a longtime friend of mine, Carrie Clarke. We started to look for guests who had been on the show and can sing or play an instrument. I wanted the CD to have a traditional feel with traditional holiday songs. It was quite an adventure, and it took a lot of work, but we found some guests who were phenomenally talented. We pulled this all together and Christmas 2014 we launched the “Holiday Magic Coast Style” CD. This lives on Amazon to this this day and 100% of the proceeds go to Veterans hospitals throughout the United States. Rick, you were tremendous in helping by putting it in the magazine, so thank you. Full disclosure we made our costs back for doing it, but we took no profit, I didn’t take anything, my partner who did it with me didn’t take anything, we just let it live on Amazon and when we are able to cut a check, we do so. It’s funny, the more you dive into charities, I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, the more you see how they make a lot of money. I’m pretty big on when I give; I want it to go to the right place. Every time we are able to cut a check, I drive it down personally so I know it gets to the hospital we choose. I hand it to the guy in the veteran’s hospital in Los Angles and have him get the funds to the hospital we choose. We pick a different state very time.
Rick: That is very cool.
Tom: That way I know it’s going to the right place.
Rick: I don’t know if you know this or not, but we have t-shirts and hats on our website, and all the profit, actually more than all of the profit goes to St. Jude’s Hospital.
Tom: I didn’t know that.
Rick: The other thing is that I’m such a sap, I’ll get people who hit me on Facebook that say I’m so excited that I found these t-shirts and I’m saving up to get one. I’ll answer them “what’s your address?” And they’ll say “Why”
and I tell them that I am going to send you one and it’s on me.
Rick: What are you doing in the future?
Tom: Well, I’m lucky enough to produce the radio show, and I also really want to concentrate on my entertainment company. Both provide a lot of fun for me; I have to have an aspect of my life where I have fun because if I don’t I’m just dying.
Rick: What is the name of your entertainment company?
Tom: Danheiser/Wagner Entertainment; you can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always open to taking on new clients and new projects.
Rick: Thanks so much for the interview!